Archive for January, 2015

Mondays with Melitas – January 26, 2015

FOR A CHANGE                                                       JANUARY 26, 2015


A few week ago, the Warden and I were sitting around in the Visitor’s section of the Compound just shooting the breeze, and I came up with this: “You know, we haven’t had any stir-fry for eons. I can’t remember the last time; it had to have been long before some of my Humpty Dumpty days — the Nile Tile fall (with the hunks from 911,) the River Bed fall, ending up with MRSA, the San Juan Capistrano motel fall with the broken knee cap — these are a few I recall at the moment.”

And whaddya know! The Warden sounded all enthused — probably because I have to do most of the stirring. She said, “No, we haven’t done that routine for quite some time, besides the past few years have become quite a blur with all those visits to the ER, and I can’t remember when we had your wonderful, tasty stir-fry. I’ll go shopping for everything we need, so you will have to make a list, and I do hope you remember everything.”

That was a mistake right there, putting the idea in my head that I might forget some ingredient. That happened, not once, but about 3 times that something had been left out, so we finally tackled it last week. Warden had to slice up the pork into very thin strips — we seem to need a new, very sharp knife for this part of the dish — the strips were not all thin. The Warden was not at fault — we just need a knife for stir-fry to be hidden away until the next time stir-fry is on the menu. And I can imagine we can lose track of where we hid it.

I had to stir it a bit longer so the “strips” were sure to be done, and it meant that I did the vegetables a bit longer; so it was not my best “do” of stir-fry. But now that we got warmed up, the next attempt will turn out much better.

And you might guess what I have to relate next. But, of course, you would know my breakfast, or early lunch as the case may be, was absolutely loaded with stir-fry. First time I ever had lentils with that, and it was great. The bean sprouts were a little obstreperous when they had to get on the spoon, but other than that, the water chestnuts, the pea pods (Warden had cut these in half) and the other items all acted like they were old friends with my lentils.

If I weren’t feeling a little puny today, I could’ve given you a longer tale for you to mull over. Next week will be a better week. Love you — every last one of you. Melitas



MELITAS FORSTER                                       MONDAYS WITH MELITAS

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Mondays with Melitas – January 19, 2015

DEAR GEORGIA                                                  JANUARY 19, 2015


I’ve been trying to get a new computer up and going, and am having a terrible time of it. Why the old one let me outlive IT, I will never know. My brain is just getting too old for these kinds of cranium calisthenics. Maybe I’d better go back over to the Senior Center for some beginner classes. We’ll see …..


The story which follows popped up on me while working on the new machine. My friend, Georgia, from Sun Lakes asked me some questions about the mansion over in San Juan because she had been there with family sightseeing the Mission San Juan Capistrano, and was wondering about it; so this was my answer for her. This took place a couple of years ago. I know a number of you have already read some of this stuff, but bear with me, there may be a few new readers out there. It may even make them want to go back and find some of those old blogs of mine to read. Glory be!

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MELITAS FORSTER                                         MONDAYS WITH MELITAS


Dearest Georgia, Of course, the San Juan Capistrano Mission was the first “mansion” when great grandfather, Don Juan Forster and wife Ysidora Melitas Pico made it their home for 25 years. The US Gov. evicted them after 25 years.

The nerve!!!!


The next mansion was located in back of the brick home of Judge Egan which is located across the street from the El Adobe Restaurant. The picture I am sending       you, is that mansion which was called La Casa Grande. On the right, standing very tall, is my grandfather, Don Marcos Forster, his wife was Guadalupe Soledad Avila. When I enlarge the photo I can distinguish my 2 aunts, Ysidora and Lucana, on the left, standing. This mansion had 11 bedrooms, so with 4 sons and 2 daughters one would need plenty of bedrooms and still have guest rooms.


The “mansion” you saw belonged to my dad’s next to oldest brother, Frank and his wife, Ada Guirado. Uncle Frank was the family Santa Claus, and that home was the gathering place for Christmas Eve.


The next REALLY mansion for Christmas Day was Titán (Uncle John) and my Aunt Mae’s home on the hill. It was built in 1926, designed by world-renowned architect Paul Williams. His work can be found the world over. Down the State Hwy. to San Clemente you will find several gorgeous homes, and that was the reason Aunt Mae contracted Mr. Williams. Ole Hanson, the founder and developer of San Clemente, used Williams for his mansion, as well as other big-wigs. There is the Rasmussen home, still a showplace, and then there is the Ham and Victoria Cotton spread at the south end on the ocean bluff. Ham (Hamilton)

was a horse breeder, and raised race horses, so there was the race track and barns. You might remember President Nixon bought it, and it was called The Western White House.


By asking me to clarify about “mansions,” you got me off my duff.


I could spend every day just writing the wonderful, beautiful history. Well, some it is not so beautiful. Don Juan and Ysidora had 3 sons: Juan, Marcos, and Francisco. Francisco was shot to death on the steps of the Los Angeles Mission by a spurned, beautiful Indian lover. Many years later, my grandfather, Don Marcos, disinherited his eldest son, Marquitos, because he married an Indian maiden.


And the beat goes on.




blog 1-19a

Outside La Casa Grande. The left 2-some — on right is my Aunt Tota. Her real name = Ysidora, and her husband Cornelio Echenique, a real dictator, was only one who called her that. On right lower, my Aunt Lukie (Lucana) Don’t know who the gent is.


 Line of people on north side of home. Don Marcos, very tall, just left of horse, then 2 young girls, Lukie then Tota.  Grandmother Gudalupe in front of steps, holding forth which she passed on to granddaughter Melitas.

Line of people on north side of home. Don Marcos, very tall, just left of horse, then 2 young girls, Lukie then Tota. Grandmother Gudalupe in front of steps, holding forth which she passed on to granddaughter Melitas.

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Mondays with Melitas – January 12, 2015

Tammy:Well, it seems as though buying a new computer has stressed out Melitas, I received this email from her yesterday:


The day is so gloomy, a few sprinkles, and I am fitting right in with it. Just can’t get myself to move onto this machine, take a story and WRITE it. Maybe it’s because I have a half dozen stories wanting to get out of my brain all at once, and they are confusing me. They are old Palm Springs stuff, even about gangsters, and about a couple of the hotels, a golf club, a little airport. Just remember, I have been coming to Palm Springs since I was just a little kid, and the autos didn’t have roll up and down windows, and we would drive down to Indio on the wooden planks, which lay on top of the sand, and voilá! that was your road.
So, Tammy, please put this on “Mondays” which will explain to all my clamoring readers why I don’t have a scintillating story this week. Having to change to a new computer has done me in.
Tammy:  I know she still reads all your comments so spread the love and send her a comment.
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I will be teaching 4 days in February! Sign up now to reserve your space!

4 day Mega Workshop: Each day 10 am – 4:00 (lunch included each day, sunday instead of lunch we have an all you can eat brunch!) You will get 5 hours of writing instruction and practical writing each day.

Pick one day only $100.00

Pick any two days: $180 (Save $20!)

Pick any three days: $265 (Save $35!)

Come all four days: $350 (Save $50)

Come for one day or all 4!

Sunday Feb 8   – Capturing Memories and Turning them into a Page Turning Memoir

this 32 page workbook that you will receive includes topics such as how to map your story, how to achieve vivid memories, vocabulary, resources to aid in your writing, how to balance story and reflection, dialogue and also the importance of finding the right structure for you memoir/ Bonus I will teach you 5 strategies that will motivate you to write every day!)

Monday Feb 9 – How to Write a Knockout Short Story (14 pages)/Writing the Perfect Scene (10 pages)

Tuesday Feb 10 – Descriptive Writing Workshop (8 pages)/ Exploring Writing about your mother (or grandmother) I am excited about this newest workshop I am currently writing. It is through writing and discovering more of this key relationship in your life that you will unlock the door to yourself. No matter what type of relationship you had with your mother or motherly figure in your life, discover more of you by writing about her.

Wednesday Feb 11- Women’s Legacy (we will do all sections which normally is $160 for the 4). Topics we will explore and write about Expression of Love, Unexpected Circumstances, Peace and Turmoil and Our Dreams and Daydreams This is a great class whether or not you have been to any of the women’s legacy classes, come write with us as we explore these topics and not only will you learn how to dig into your own thoughts and beliefs but you will learn how to better express yourself through your writing.


To register for one or all, this is how you do it:

This is a first come first served basis and seating is limited. You send a check to TLC Writing Workshops

mail it to 712 Vista Chino in Palm Springs, California 92262

Once I receive your check I will notify you by email that check has been received and that your spot has been reserved.

You have over a month to clear your schedule and I am coming from Baja to teach some great classes, so go ahead and sign up!

All workshops will be held at Heritage Palms Country Clubseder blog

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Happy Birthday to my Son, Kurt Michael!

kurt and cdog hiking2 me and kurt before run IMG_0975 IMG_0988 IMG_1887 IMG_2154 IMG_2157Kurt Michael…

It is hard for me to imagine that you are now 26 years old. Sometimes it seems like just yesterday I held you for the first time. Your birth was my most memorable for so many reasons…like your other 2 siblings you were also 2 weeks overdue, but never in my wildest imagination would I have imagined your birth to have happened the way it did.

Laying in bed after your older siblings were put to bed, I recorded my contractions in the Reader’s Digest I was reading. The pain was bearable, but since I was so tired I fell asleep, not knowing you would be making your grand entrance like you did.

I awoke around 2 am on January 7th, knowing you were ready. I awoke your dad and said, “the baby is coming!” He quickly went into “get me to the hospital mode” and said he would get your brother and sister into the car and take them to grandma’s house before our 7 mile drive to the hospital.

With the pain intense now, I said, “no, the baby is coming NOW!” and with that the rest is history. After a few pushes you made your entrance into the world and into my heart.

The pure joy I felt when I held your warm little body is the same joy I feel each time I see you or talk to you now.

It is really true when my Palm Springs students met you and told me later that you were a real mensch. The kindness and gentleness you show forth to everyone you meet warms my heart.

I am proud of the man you have become and look forward to the day I get to see you again, Happy Birthday son…




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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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