Archive for June, 2015

Mondays with Melitas – June 29, 2015

WHEN THE SWALLOWS COME BACK                             JUNE 29, 2015


It turned out that I told Rita, the Fiesta Association President, that

I would be honored to serve as the Grand Marshal before we even left

the Mixer. Thought I’d better grab it because the powers that be might

just decide to grab some other hapless soul while I vacillate around on

giving Rita and Directors my answer. This is one time I didn’t let any

grass grow under my size 6’s.  Since this was June 2008, we made a

date in late September for Rita to come out to La Quinta to give me a

rundown about all the arrangements that would have to be made at the

end of the year.

In August I was out in yard surveying my Mexican Lime tree, and

managed to pull one of my Humpty Dumptys, while traversing the

landscaped dry river bed by the tree to get a better look at my crop

which gives the Don Julio a nice little tang — I slipped, landing on the

rocks, Ouch!  Ended up with gash on right lower shin, which ended up

with a MRSA infection.  It’s a good thing I was almost recovered, or Rita

might’ve thought it wasn’t too late to replace me. Horrors!!

When Rita arrived in September, I was still sporting the bandage, I

was feeling good, and we didn’t waste any time going over all the details.

There would be a Photo Opp in December, publicity stories, interviews

with the Orange County Register and also photos with The Desert Sun.

The Association had a Publicity woman, Barbara Kimler, who would be

taking care of most of this. Barbara has since become a dear friend to

Alba and me, and she visits the Desert to play golf with the Warden.

Barbara also has a friend, Molly, who comes over from Cypress to join in

on the golf and partying.

mel blog 6-29

The first thing we had to do was the Photo Opp, and that came up

in December. Alba and I went over to spend several days, not only for

the photos, but to visit Family and friends. For the photos I wore a white

shirt with large collar under a red velvet jacket, with black slacks.  The

Photographer had picked a wonderful backdrop area down on Rios St.

where the City has been busy for years refurbishing and rebuilding the

old houses – some adobe, some board and batten – all very old. Many

adobes are from the early Mission days, which was founded in 1776.

Rios Street has become a big tourist attraction.

Before we fled back to Coachella Valley, we took Rita’s advice on

where to find Western garb, and turned into Fred’s Ortega Tack & Feed

Store where we had a grand time shopping. I ended up with two jackets,

one a light tan suede, turquoise-color beaded; the other a black leather

with brass studs. These were expensive. Then 3 fancy Western shirts, a

maroon, a blue, and a green. Expensive. A pair of dressy tan riding pants

– expensive; and I already had Western Levy’s at home.  So there’re my

get-ups.  Oops, the boots there were not to my liking, so the minute we

arrived home I was on Zappo’s web site, and found a deal: a black pair

on close-out for $68 — couldn’t click fast enough to snag those; the tan

ones were not on close-out  but plenty inexpensive and I had to have a

tan pair.  Two ensembles: one for the Grand Marshal-ing, and one for La

Presidenta Ball.

An Aside: One time, the President of Zappo’s sent me a bouquet!  I

had to call the Company because they didn’t have a certain shoe, and by

the time I had talked to everybody in the whole place with all my stories,

and how old I was, the President’s Secretary probably gave him the word

that he’d better send me a birthday bouquet to soothe me  — and get

busy and order a pair of the Trotter white shoes for me, while he was at

it.  It was in April, with my birthday coming up.


So, now where are we? Oh, yes, it’s about the Grand Marshal

chapter of my life, so get going, Melitas — stop horsing around.

Next, all those interviews and publicity items were taking place.

That meant the time was getting close. I was getting antsy, and I knew

the natives in San Juan were working themselves into a fever pitch.

The Parade would go on, rain or shine, on Saturday March 21,

2009. However, remember I mentioned the La Presidenta Ball, and this

goes on the Saturday prior to Parade weekend, the 14th. The Warden was

committed to an 80th birthday party so had to forego all the whooping and

hollering over in San Juan.  My 2nd niece, Roberta Forster, a very dutiful

niece, drove from Huntington Beach to La Quinta, on Friday, then  to San

Juan, where the 2 of us camped at the Best Western for the weekend.

Off we went on Saturday night to join other Family members at El

Adobe. We had our own reserved table amongst the notables, and I had

been scheduled to say a “few” words. The party-goers were mostly in

“period” costumes, circa 1850’s Western – women in colorful long, loose

skirts, fellas in dark long jackets, boots. There was dancing to a live

band. The speakers took over for a little while, and when my turn came, I

managed to keep it short. I figured if I went on and on, as usual, they

still had time to replace me. I related a comical little story about my

Great – Great Uncle, Andrés Pico, whose brother was Pío Pico, Mexican

Governor of California, and Andrés was the General of the Mexican Army.

Someday I will tell the story if I can write it in my Mexican-Anglo dialect.

I wanted to write more about the Gala, but need to get on with the

Parade, but here I am at bottom of Page 3 with no Parade in sight. This

story may continue as my life work. Next week, Part III, will be all about

the Friday night before the Parade with a huge Forster, and others, party

at El Adobe.


THEN the PARADE.  Please hang in there, Gang.

MELITAS FORSTER                                        MONDAYS WITH MELITAS

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Mondays with Melitas – June 22, 2015

the last year of motorized entries.  I am in the middle, front row.  We were an entry.

the last year of motorized entries. I am in the middle, front row. We were an entry.





In San Juan Capistrano, we have the SJC Historical Society, and also the SJC Fiesta Association — both vibrant organizations in the City of San Juan Capistrano. The Historical Society is a museum taking care of artifacts, old photos, restoring old adobe homes, etc. On the other hand, the Fiesta Association takes care of throwing the biggest party of every year — the Swallows Day Parade celebrating the return of the Swallows on March 19th.

The Historical Society hosts their Annual Mixer in June, held at the Society grounds, then there is also the Annual Heritage Barbecue in September which is held on the Rancho Mission Viejo about 15 miles east of town in a hidden little valley off the Ortega (Hwy 74,) called Campo Amantes.

The Warden and I would slip over to the coast, stay at a little motel across the street from Doheny Park Beach for 4 or 5 days to have a little respite from the desert heat. Alba loved to go over to the beach to read and relax while I would go visit family in San Juan and old friends in Laguna Beach. So these events, like the Mixer, the Barbecue, or the Parade came in handy for us, and we always had a great time. When these events ended, there was always a gang to get to the Swallows Inn, across the street where my saloon THE SWALLOW used to be. I had sold the buildings there, and the old adobe stuff was demolished, and a beautiful 2 story building replaced it with restaurant and shops. The Swallows Inn is a very noisy place with live music (?)



In June 2008, the Warden and I motored over to San Juan on a Thursday to attend the Mixer on Saturday. At the Mixer, the day was picture perfect, outside of the Museum, under the shade trees, some of the guests would stake their seats amongst the folding tables and chairs. But some just wander around greeting old friends, and meeting new ones. It is a colorful sight with some in costumes, many in Western attire. We meet up with Family and stake a claim for our seats. I like to wander around to see who’s there, and I had a lovely cocktail glass (plastic) with some tasty Don Julio over ice — this to keep me going. I don’t know which Nephew – Michael or RJ – had brought this to me. They know what their Great, Great Aunt enjoys.

I was just standing there watching the dancing going on with a lively band providing the beat, when Rita Propersi came over to shoot the breeze. At the time, Rita was the President of the Fiesta Association. She grabbed me for a big hug, and then blurted out: “Melitas, would you be our Grand Marshal of the Swallows Day Parade next March 2009?” I was overwhelmed, speechless, stunned — never in my wildest dreams would I think of being asked to have a place of such honor come my way. I answered that I would certainly have to talk it over with her to find out what the “job” entailed, what was expected of me, and so forth. She would drive out to La Quinta and go over everything with me. This was June so we had several months.

I started reminiscing about the past years and how the parade grew from when some of the cowboys would dash back and forth in the middle of town — about 2 blocks — on their horses to celebrate the return of the Swallows. The native Indians whose ancestors lived and worked for the Mission would get all dolled up in their costumes, and walk back and forth. The towns people would doll up their autos and drive back and forth. All this activity was not organized, and the Sheriff would send Deputies to keep order — but not much. As the years went by, some of the smart people decided it was time to get the Parade more orderly. Finally, in 1951 the Parade was planned and organized, with a Grand Marshal, and how really, really great to have BARBARA STANWYCK as the first.

From 1947 when I opened The Swallow Bar in the middle of town on the west side of the Camino Real, my customers and I had front row seats, and even rode in the disorganized ones. In 1951, no more motorized entries.

I was hoping Stanwyck would ride back to the Swallow after the parade ended, I would invite her in on her horse and offer her a cocktail of her choice. (She didn’t show up.)


This is not the end of the story. Part II coming up next week.



MELITAS FORSTER                                     MONDAYS WITH MELITAS

I just know names of 2 or 4, but readers wouldn't know anyways...I am in the middle, we are in my Swallow Bar.

I just know names of 2 or 4, but readers wouldn’t know anyways…I am in the middle, we are in my Swallow Bar.



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Mondays with Melitas – June 15, 2015

A SPORTY WEEKEND                                                 JUNE 15, 2015

I pretty much have my entertainment figured out for the weekend, but I also have to do some work on getting a blog out for my Coach Tammy. I hope the play and the work will somehow mesh, and I won’t get mixed up on what I am doing at any particular time. The entertainment part of the weekend will be watching some sports, and the work will be writing the blog, so it means I have to carefully arrange and set times for each. An alarm clock will help.

Friday has come and gone, but the sports results have to be told. All the entertainment will consist of watching a few sports, then squeezing in some scribbling for Tammy. It worked out real well because first on my agenda was the LPGA (women’s golf tour) showing from 9 AM to noon. I had time during the golf to have my bowl of lentils, with whatever else the Warden finds leftover to toss in.

I love golf, but I do wish our American gals would pick up the pace to win more. I like winners. When watching the girls, I enjoy critiquing everything from their attire, to their swing, or how dumb they were on some shots, or feel awful when the putt would slide by, and feel worse when at the end of play, there are not enough USA players on the leader board. You’d be surprised how many don’t look so hot in their costumes. Years ago, I thought I should be part of the LPGA advising the players as to what to wear. I would have them all looking very chic. The one who wears a golf cap backwards with braids yet —well, that hat would have to go, and if the hat didn’t get gone, she AND the cap should disappear from the links.

After Friday women’s golf, there was a span of 5 hours until my next entertainment. That’s when the writer’s cramp would emerge, while I was scratching some words on the writing pad. Also, the clock would reach 4 PM, and you know what else would emerge to give everything a lift —Don Julio and Patrón are very welcome guests in this household.

I don’t watch much men’s golf anymore since Tiger got off the tour. I wanted him to break every record there was. I used to be glued to the TV for football and baseball, but anymore just don’t waste my time. The baseball players look like slobs with those long pants, they should go back to the old style just below the knee. And football has turned really mean. Those players are mean to their little wives, and they are having gun fights, and sometimes get killed.

Then at 5, it was time for the WOMEN’S WORLD CUP SOCCER game. I have to admit soccer is not one of my favorite sports — all that running around, back and forth, up and down the field, letting the ball bang on your head – or your boobs. Yesterday, they did all that running and kicking the ball all for naught. Score: USA-0, Sweden-0. What a waste of 100 minutes, but at least one can watch the world’s greatest goalie, Hope Solo. She is an incredible player. So, during all that, I could scratch out a few words for the blog.

I played Field Hockey back in my school days. It’s similar to soccer, except you have a hockey stick to hit — or try to — a much smaller hard ball. There is a lot of running back and forth to try to hit the ball past the Goalie into the net for a score. In one of the games, I was tangled up with a couple of opponents, trying to get the ball into my possession when all of a sudden I was clobbered on the head. After a few moments of lights out, I went ahead and finished the game. I don’t remember who won. The school nurse made me go home with a note to my parents saying: “Get that kid to a Doctor!” Turned out, it was a concussion, and I was filed away in bed for a week.

They could’ve started a survey right then and there about the concussions suffered by athletes. Just in my case, there would be plenty of data, however not all happened in an athletic venue.

On Saturday the ladies will be playing at noon, and so that is all the sports I will see. Now then, on Sunday it will be a very exciting day. I will have to get up early, finish the blog, then just sit, or lay around for 8 hours glued to the tube. No Soccer, and it’s a good thing because it would conflict with the other stuff I want to see. At 6 o’clock I will tune in to the NBA championship game with Oakland vs Cleveland, tied up with 2 games each. During the regular season of the NBA — basketball, in case you didn’t know — I only watch the games when the Lakers play. It was rather painful this past season, but I kept watching each game they played. I am not a fair weather fan who gives up on a team when they are not doing well. They have been “my” team since they moved to California. And now I will be rooting for the Oakland Warriors. I have to say I DO like Curry — but wish he wouldn’t look so glum at times. On the Cleveland Cavaliers team there are a couple of players I intensely dislike.

That will bring to a close my “sporty” weekend. I will start to bed around 9 PM because it takes me so long to get ready for bed, then towards midnight, wide awake, I will have my “wheels” get me to the kitchen for a cup of Hot Chocolate, then back to bed to sleep nice and cozy. A very nice time will have been had by me.

MELITAS FORSTER                                     MONDAYS WITH MELITAS

This is SOFTBALL, Melitas on the ground in some sort of misunderstanding, probably suffering one more concussion. She could not hold her ground, and she could not keep herself standing.

This is SOFTBALL, Melitas on the ground in some sort of misunderstanding, probably suffering one more concussion. She could not hold her ground, and she could not keep herself standing.


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Happy Anniversary Melitas!

It was 4 years ago today that Melitas did her first blog on my website.  I had no idea that that one blog would lead to many more and eventually become Mondays with Melitas!

If you go and check out the archive button to the right you can find June 14, 2011 and see her very first blog.

July 25, 2015 mark your calendars for her book signing extravaganza!  Her book will be available for purchase at the luncheon and if you aren’t able to attend I will get the info to you on how to order your own book.

Yes, at 97 she still amazes me.  She is probably the one person who has most inspired me in my life…

So Melitas, I love and adore you and I am so proud of you!


Your coach…TammyMelitas May 18, 2015blog 2-6

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Mondays with Melitas – June 8, 2015

The "author" at work...

The “author” at work…

ABSOLUTELY THE AWFULLEST                                    JUNE 8, 2015


This state of affairs happened to me last Monday morning when I went checking on Tammy’s website to see how my story titled “Friday, May 29, 2015” came out. Maybe I should’ve just kept going and just plain old left town.


For there, in full view — actually in NO view — were two lovely ladies NOT THERE. Missing, that’s what, and I don’t even have the slightest idea how they did become missing from the recounting of my friend Amy’s Celebration of Life.


What can I say? Well, I should mention that I am extremely nonplussed, and so ashamed. I didn’t want to face anyone after pulling a stunt like this. These are two very dear people in my life. I am placing the blame for this faux pas on the brain department where the memory sometimes is so hazy that the ideas and thoughts can’t seem to get through when desperately needed. I didn’t want to blame other departments such as an old hip, or a rotator cuff, or especially my heart. Maybe I should not be allowed to run around with pen and notebook in hand. I can’t be trusted anymore.


We’ll take them in the order they appeared on the Program. In my eyes, Mary Nordin, is the epitome of a classy, smart, warm person, always willing to help. Mary was on the program after Patty Henderson. Her friendship with Annie came about when Annie left the Islands, and returned to live in California. It was Mary who helped Annie get through some very bad bumps on the road of life. Mary is an accomplished chef, and then she is blessed with a sweet, beautiful singing voice.


Now, Sunbeam Beamer, is a regal, beautiful Hawaiian. I didn’t know her real name is Helen. I like “Sunbeam.” In Hawaii, her family is famous for the songs they have written, the songs they have sung. Great family of wonderful entertainers, very revered. Sunbeam was the closer for Annie’s party, and when she sang a cappella (also blessed with an excellent singing voice) “Beyond the Reef,” there was not a dry eye on me.


Mea culpa, Ladies



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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