Friday, January 31, 2014


“Hairy Mary
Full of grape,
I’m on bent knee”
An old Del Bloggolo childhood prayer from parochial school.

All my life I’ve had unhappy run-ins with nuns. I started way back in 1st Grade when I checked out a girl across the school yard, amazed by how she could skip rope and NOT show her panties. A nun came down the pike like a Mack truck and crashed into me, my head spinning well into the year 2000!

Of course there was the time I went to a ceremony of some sort at my sister’s church and the nun, a rather mean old witch if I do say so myself, gave instructions:  ”Absolutely NO flash cameras were allowed during the ceremony!” Having a movie camera and not using a light, I figured she didn’t mean me. In my viewfinder was the ugliest, meanest, ornery kisser looking at me yelling: “I SAID NO CAMERAS!”

And of course there was the time at a fund-raiser for the Sisters of Halifax, teachers of TLW (The Little Woman) and her sibs in high school. What I was doing there was beyond me, but there I was amid all these people that had tags on that read: SETON HALL, CLASS OF_, and the barer filled in the year he or she graduated. I decided to wear one that said: Bellport High School on it. As we were leaving the event that evening, TLW and her sister decided to stop off at the little girls room while I waited in the vestibule. A nun comes over and strikes up a conversation with me. Reading my nametag she asks where I went to high school, and I mention the obvious and then state that I did go to Catholic school as a child. You’d think I quit while ahead? Think again, because I then tell her the nuns in those days were much meaner than they are today. She gives me the once over and walks away, leaving me standing there, awkwardly!

Which gets me into today’s topic: nuns. Yes, those religious ladies that walk silently, hands clasps into their sleeves, sensible shoes and: “Don’t tread on me or I’ll kick your ass” on their faces.

As I sit slouched in my chair across from mom in her hospital bed, I glance into the hall and see three ladies, dressed in civies but looking like the doomsday representatives from Hell. As is their want, they travel in threes, and don’t make noise until they are ready to smack you. When they are, they change into their ‘habits’, black with black shoes and veil and long rosary beads that are as thick as grape fruits and hurt.

Tessie, my oldest sister (much older) and I tense up, and old habit since elementary school (There’s that word again, ‘habit’!)

“Del Bloggolo?”
Me: “Yyyyess?”
“We’re with Palliative care. Is this your mom?”
Me: “Yyyyess.”
We’re here to find out what mom’s wants when she leaves the hospital.”
Shaking mom’s hand and stroking her forehead, the lady says: “WHAT do YOU want when you leave?”

“Well, once you are well enough, we will be taking you into rehab, and we will work very hard to make things better for you, but first you have to get your strength back.”

Mom: “Ok, but THEN get me outta here, I want to go home!”

Looking at Tessie my oldest sister (much older) and me she says: “Come with us, we need to talk.”

Leading us into this small conference room, they sit us down and begin to destroy my whole concept of what nuns are, being nice, calm and three of the sweetest ladies I’ve ever met! They are killing me.

Thursday, January 30, 2014


I love the winter. I love it because it isn’t the heat and humidity of summer. I like nights that don’t require air conditioning and days that don’t cause you to move slowly because you can work up a sweat: breathing!

But as much as I love the cold, I hate the snow, and it is what makes me crazy.

The other day I was planning to go somewhere after a major snowstorm and I had to think like an Eskimo, throwing a shovel in my car and dressing twice, with double layers. I remember as a kid growing up in Brooklyn and going to school on a cold morning, Mom would make me wear leggings, scarf and hat, gloves and double underwear. Then there were the boots that went on over the six pairs of socks and shoes, which took twenty minutes a foot to put on, all this cold protection for me over a blue tie and white shirt with Aberdeen paints and jacket.  

As I descended the two flights of stairs like a zombie, unable to even bend my knees, the after thought of the farina I had to eat repeating on me, I hit the cold air and slowly made the trip to Stone Avenue, up to McDougal to Broadway, under the train tracks the clamored and clickety-clacked overhead to Aberdeen Street and Our Lady of Lourdes school, while my cheeks froze.

A sacrificial altar if you didn't know your catechism lesson!
In sub-zero temperatures it seemed, I had to wait for the school bell to ring so I could assemble on a line and march into the building, where the steam from the radiators hit you and you knew you were in a place that meant business.

Getting up to my classroom, I would collapse into my seat, my face smarting from the cold and stood to salute the flag and say a prayer, finally sitting down where I was ready to fall asleep.

Falling asleep in the classroom was the last option you took, as the teacher, Ms. Langon would begin by preying on her first-graders over the catechism lesson that was drilled into me by dear old mom the afternoon before. Believe me, it was a long day for a 6 year old.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Did you ever meet someone for the first time and get a sense that for some strange reason, they instantly like you? Me neither. Only kidding!

While in the hospital yesterday, my older sister Tessie (much older)  and me had some business to attend to with a head nurse.

Reaching to shake my hand she gave me this sunny, happy face, introducing herself and making the intros pleasant.

After the business was completed and it was time to say goodbye, she grabbed my hand and arm around the bicep and said: “WOW! You look just like my uncle. You have a double in this world! You are a dead ringer for him! He’s my favorite uncle!”

Me and her uncle
Many years ago, while exiting a subway station at street level, this woman came up to me and said: “Oh my God, Tony Bennett!” This was in the ‘60s and he was very popular at the time. He used to comb his hair like me, and wore sweaters like I did.  I could never see it, but she seemed to.

I left my heart in the refrigerator
Then in the ‘70s, I was working in the city and was ordering typography for this job. I was in the process of hiring a typography shop and interviewing this one company. The representative was shown into my office, stopped in his tracks and looked confused. I invited him to sit down when he says: “Is this some kind of joke, Charles?” Now we were both confused, since I was all along using Joe, and we were not on a first name basis yet.

“Did Danny put you up tp this to bust my chops?”

Still confused I said nothing, then he looked at my desk and saw a picture of TLW (The Little Woman) and my daughter and realized he was looking at Charlie’s double. Apologizing profusely we had a great laugh and he invited me down to his shop to meet Charlie. He didn’t get my business.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Writing this blogue everyday, it is meant to be but a diary to some degree about my life experiences, memories and a record of events in the world as they transpired. January 28 is one of these days that hold deep and lasting memories for me, significance beyond the ordinary.

I look out the window, and all I see is snow that covers the grounds, sits on tree branches and over the roofs of buildings. Smoke from fired chimneys curling high into the sky, only remind me of the cold facts that are. It gives me a feeling of cold reality that I face today. Mom is losing her physical freedom, condemned because she is almost 96, and her body can’t keep up with her mind. That is not all I it gives me, it gives me a deep and lasting reminder of what was and what could have been.

It was 33 years ago, that I crossed the cemetery and walked the snowy path toward my little son’s grave, on a cold snow covered day, and said one last goodbye to his physical being. I don’t remember more that the bright sun, the iciness and the fact that I couldn’t see much, because it is hard to see through tear-filled eyes. I remember making tracks in the icy snow-covered ground, the crunching of the snow as I stepped toward the crowd that gathered around the resting place. I remember holding my wife and seeing the faces that shrouded themselves in the solemnity of the moment.

One life has had so much: a youth, marriage, children, great and grand children: days of laughter and of good times and bad… life. Yet the other life had nothing but illness and death, and this is what I compare on this day.

And so today I make a comparison of the two lives, one for an old life that holds truths, memories and one life that had so little time. I wonder why that must be so, I wonder why some of us live and some of us don’t. Then I remember what I have always told myself: that one hundred years from now, no one individual will either care or wish to remember. That is the greater part of life, not to dwell on what was but to move forward to what will be.

Monday, January 27, 2014


Visiting Mom at her hospital bed is tough. She has a hard time seeing and hearing. Old age has taken its toll. With me for this visit is my older sister Tessie (much older) and she is sitting at the foot of mom’s bed, while I occupy a chair next to mom.

Tessie: “Did you sleep well last night Mom?”
Mom: “WHAT?”
Me: “She said I look MUCH younger than her!”
Tessie: “How are you eating?’
Mom: “WHAT?”
Me: “She says she is jealous of how much better looking I am!”
Tessie: “He’s really getting annoying now!”
Mom: “WHAT?”
Me: “She says she wishes she had my brains too.”
Tessie: “Did Henry come to visit yet?”
Mom: “WHAT?”
“She says she wants all the money in the will to go to me because I deserve it more than her.”

Tessie my older sister (much older) decides to move her chair close to mom.
Tessie: “Ma, don’t pay attention to him.”
Mom: “I never do.”

There is this deep dislike for me because I turned out prettier than the girls. I had natural curly hair, my own room growing up, and of course just a sweetheart, and that’s from mom, the girls aren’t too happy either.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


The other day I went to my mom’s house to supervise the installation of a new cesspool. I also had the clean team coming so I was spending the day there it seemed. As the time wore on, I got a little hungry and went looking for something to eat.

At first I was a little hesitant and felt maybe I shouldn’t be doing that, then thought about it and decided that it was mom’s house, my mother, and this house is where I married from, why not?

I looked in the frig and nothing got my attention except for some olives, but no, that wasn’t what I wanted. Then it hit me, cookies, yes cookies would do it! So I started looking in closets, opening drawers and standing tiptoe to see, and something was happening. I was getting these strange vibes like someone was looking at me, watching me, and ready to bear down on me.

I was suffering from the old malady of mine, stealing cookies from mom’s cupboard! I was also feeling guilty, and maybe feeling I was ready to be discovered once more, just like the old days! What if I found a unopened box? How would I handle that? I could use the trick I once used where I carefully slit the glue away without tearing anything and gluing the box back intact. But what if I really liked the cookies, would I eat too many and mom would be wise? Suddenly I could picture the wooden spoon coming down on my head, leaving the echoing sound I hate when wood hits wood, and my retreating to the old bedroom, that is no longer a bed room, but her den.

But hey, what should I be afraid of, she is almost 96 years old, what could she really do to me? Then there is the question of guilt, whole, unadulterated guilt: the kind mom lays on me when she was too tired to chase me.

I guess I’m too tired myself to do this anymore, she won! I didn’t find any cookies and I didn’t want to anymore. So I went to mom and confessed, and she said: “Don’t be silly, if I have any cookies, have them!”

Dam, I hate this aging process, I’m never sure anymore!

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Went to my mother’s bank to make some changes and adjustments regarding her account, being how I have Power of Attorney, since she can no longer write her name or see too well.

The drive-by tellers come to your parking spot
I enter the bank, go over to this lovely teller who helps me and as we finish I ask about on-line banking. She calls over a gentleman who works for the bank named Mateo, we shake hands and I go over to his desk.

You are greeted very warmly at TWBB&TC by the employees!
After a wonderful session on the joys of on-line banking, we finish up and I say:

“You know, my wife works for the Wanna-Be-Bank & Truss Co.!”

“Oh, what does she do?”

At TWBB&TC they take your banking seriously!
“She works on the platform.”

“She does what I do?”

“Yes, if you call this working.”

“Hehehe… would you like to know about some of our services Mr. Del Bloggolo?”

“WHAT? I have to live with that woman Mateo!”

“We have excellent customer services beside on-line banking.”

“You see Mateo, that is the difference. At the Wanna-Be-Bank & Truss Co., I am a member: that means that Mrs. Del Bloggolo has to treat me nice, even at home. She never will know when I’m just ‘Hey you’ or honored Mr. Member!”


“Yes Mateo, it is the ONLY thing I have left in life I can enjoy. Please don’t offer me a deal I can’t refuse.”

Friday, January 24, 2014


Life is funny, it is so unpredictable, and sadly so sometimes.

As I visited Mom, one of the things I find myself doing is feeding her. I take the time to cut her food and be patient with feeding her. Her arms can’t do it anymore: her hands can’t be there to care for herself. So God sometimes gives me the job.

At first I thought: Should I be doing this? Then I realized I should have asked to do it. I should have pushed everything aside and told everyone to stand back, I have to do this. I have to serve mom, take care that she eats and eats well. I have to wipe her chin, clean her mouth, feed her and do all the things she did for me so long ago.

When I come to visit her, often she is asleep and I have to gently nudge her, call her and when she awakens, she sees me and a smile crosses her lips. So many years ago, when I decide to join the world, I gave her the nudge and with great pain that every mother feels, she lovingly gave bird to her child. Then when she was done suffering the pain of delivery, she worried, worked and prayed about me, like she did for all her children. In days when her own health was poor, she stood her ground to see her babies were fed, that they were safe and cared for.

When it was time to let us go and marry or go off to school, she didn’t stop loving us, she prayed more and had faith that what she raised would survive.

So there I stand, in the service of Mom, when she needs us most. We will try to preserve her dignity, her honor always in front of us, for she gave her all for us to be there for her when she needed us the most.

It is a difficult time for me to see mom so worn out, so sick and frail, and knowing that she needs help to survive. But I love the fact that at least in her suffering, that I can come in and help her, feed her and advocate for her, and above all, make her smile, even if it is a little.

So life continues and the roles reverse themselves. From caring for me, I care for her. I thank God for this honor.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Visiting Mom at the hospital is tough at times. She is sleepy and will drift off, although when she is awake, I manage to make her laugh. Usually it is just myself, so you can imagine how easy it is for her to drift off, I even drift off on myself.

Yesterday I had a huge surprise, as I entered the MICU there standing outside my mother’s bedroom was my niece Annmarie! Annmarie is the daughter of one of my younger sisters and a proud mother of 2 beautiful children.

As we entered the room, and talked for a while, what to my great
delight happens but my niece Laurie Ann appeared! Two of my beautiful nieces paying a visit to my mom, and I had the benefit of being there. Laurie is the first child to make me an uncle, a title I cherish because the people are so special that do that. I have many nieces and nephews that allow me to call myself Uncle Joe, and they are all wonderful people, there are many achievements that they have scored and all like Laurie and Annmarie have beautiful children along with really great guys and nephews with wonderfully great wives they married. I’m sure if Mom would count her blessings, she could start at that point.

Sometimes we don’t really count our blessings fully. Maybe we look too closely at what is immediately in front of our eyes, but might miss some spots in our hearts. I love all my sisters, and after that visit by Annmarie and Laurie Ann, I realized blessings go beyond my big nose and sit deeply in my heart and soul, counting my children and nieces and nephews. They are all outgrowths of the family history, products of those I love and it makes me so damned proud when I see them.

I guess I’m a lucky uncle.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


One of the paradoxes of love is the unpredictability of where it finds itself. One can define love, and yet not even scratch half the surface, what we scratched is all we think there is!

There is a man, a sweet gentle man who has devoted his life to helping others in his old age. He is 87 and spry, still driving and still caring as a human being. He is set in his ways and will never change them, and why should he? Why should any of us for that matter? , This man’s generosity far exceeds his height and weight.

The man has never married and comes from a bad relationship when we met him for the first time. He is a former nurse’s aid, after years as an engineer.

My family and I have adopted him as a permanent member of the family, yes just like a father figure to some extent, and we are happy we did. Why? Because right after Dad passed in 1991, he revealed himself to be a friend of Mom’s, knowing her from the hospital where they both volunteered. Over the years they have become close friends, spending their old age as company for one another.  This unlikely relationship comes to prove that whatever our prejudices are: we need to take a serious look at them and realize we may be wrong all along.

In his devotion to Mom, he has been better than any husband could possible be, better that any friend or relative could conceivably be. His deep concern and passion as a human being was demonstrated lately in a very touching manner. It gives life to love, and love to life. It is a beautiful thing!

As Mom lay on her hospital bed, suffering from the affected and collective onslaught of her stroke, colitis and inability to be who she once was, helplessly suffering, he bent over to say goodbye to her for the evening, He place two fingers to his lips, and gently with love in his eyes and heart, placed them on Mom’s cheek. Tenderly and softly he admonished her not to make trouble and to behave, a twinkle in his eyes and almost tear filled as he looked at her. Mom in turn looked like a young schoolgirl, accepting what he had to say, a small grin creased her stroked stricken lips and silently nodded.

Find me a greater love and a way to express it better than this wonderful individual if you can, but I doubt you will. He is old himself, and has only one living relative. She has MS and lives in Colorado. When he is no longer able to care for himself, we as a family will rise up and take our turn next to his bedside, and we will walk with him hand-in-hand to a conclusion. Why, because he taught us to.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


I took a journey through Heaven and Hell.

I visited Mom in her unit of the MICU, (Medical Intensive Care Unit) around lunchtime and had an experience. Feeling better she was getting to be her stubborn self once again and I was paying for it.

The dietician deposited mom’s lunch tray and fled the scene, leaving me holding the bag as they say.

Mom fiddles with her dentures while I lift the cover off her lunch tray, revealing the mystery meat of the day. “Wait for me to get my dentures in place first.”

I lift the cover to her plate finally, and start to cut up her chicken, and potatoes. Mom can’t see well, so she is guessing what is coming. I slip the fork under some peas.

“Peas!  I don’t like peas.”

“Ma, you know why you are getting these peas?’

She doesn’t answer me. “Because as a little boy, you made me eat all the peas in the stew, and I hated the stew, and the peas. Besides, if you don’t eat all your peas, you won’t get the vanilla ice cream!”

“Ice cream?”

“Yup, ice cream.”

I scoop some more peas and bring them to her mouth.

Squinting her eyes and moving her head left to right she says: “NO!” If ‘no’ can be said any more emphatically, I’ve never heard it.

I open up the cup of vanilla ice cream and start the process of feeding Mom.

“Ummm, like Heaven!”

“I don’t know Ma, you shouldn’t be getting this, I had to eat my peas when I was little.”

“So did I!” That ended that part of my fun for the day.

Every time I fed her ice cream: “Ummm, like Heaven!” or “Oh! So good!”

I pause momentarily, and she looks at me like: 'What are you waiting for, move that spoon boy!'

I finally come down to the last spoon full of Mamma’s goodness, and she signs off with another: “Ummm, like Heaven.”

“Well Ma, back to purgatory like the rest of us, you are out of ice cream.”

Monday, January 20, 2014


It takes only moments to deteriorate, to break down from freedom of movement to complete incapacitation! You don't need to go anywhere to do it, no special equipment need be installed, and it only cost you your life.

Yesterday I spent a great part of my day visiting Mom, and it was an emotional rollercoaster. Her physical wellbeing is not good and getting worse, and for the first time, my suspicions have been confirmed, she had a mini-stroke. As she sat up in her hospital bed, it was time for lunch. Her frail body seems to hang together as I pulled up the tray from the rolling table. She winces and an immediate guilt crosses my being. I slowly cut up her meat and her pal Henry begins to feed her small fork-full at a time.

As the day wears on, the hospital staff informs us that mom will be moved down two floors with the general population, and then suddenly things change. Based on the finding of a cat scan, she is moved into a MICU, where she is hooked up and fast asleep as we enter.  Mom is diagnosed with colitis, and it is the kind that affects the outer stomach, the worst kind you can have.

Right now, she is crumpled up in her bed, it is dark, and dreary and hard to imagine being happy there. There are only 5 other patients in the MICU and they are all totally out of it.

Today I go back, take care of some bills for her and return to the hospital where I will meet my sister and Henry, her and our best friend. He is really part of our family.

NOTE: Since this was written, Mom has improved greatly!

Sunday, January 19, 2014


When the American and global economy took a stumble in the fall of 2008, many families had to find ways to economize. Those who were struggling or were carrying debt were particularly crippled by the downturn. Finding themselves unable to meet mortgage and rent payments the recession hit those of greater financial means as well. Many families comfortable economically tightened their belts. Eating out less and cooking more, they took fewer vacations (remember when the word "staycation" entered our parlance?), and generally found ways to stretch the dollar.

As you know by now, I have been fighting off the affects of pneumonia, and I hear it will be around for at least another 4 weeks. The most you can do for yourself is rest. Rest is supposed to make me better.

I have four beautiful sisters, all of them are wonderful ladies with their own distinct personalities, and all, like me are sharing a particular family event that needs our close attention, mainly my mother’s health.

Coupled with the fact that I live an active retirement, with a synopsis I am writing for a memoire, researching material for another book, and painting an oil painting with another waiting, I am active and very busy with the agency where I am on the board of directors, plus I chair a 50th Reunion for my high school classmates. I can’t sit still.

My sisters want me to go on a ‘staycation’! Why, because it takes rest to rid oneself of the affects of pneumonia. They want me to stay away form Mom, stay away from doing anything but rest!  How well would that go?

I found out long ago, that sitting around all day, watching a TV or even reading a book only leads me to the refrigerator, where I find something to make, get a yen to cook, then while cooking dreaming up recipes that lead me back to the creative process, where I will then get behind my computer and type, tire of sitting, go to my studio and paint.

I think my sisters have hatched a sinister plan to drive me crazy, and so they call me and tell me to stay away, “rest” and they’ll call me, I shouldn’t call them.


Saturday, January 18, 2014


I have a complaint. Of course I do. The other morning TLW (The Little Woman) went out to the deli and got 2 buttered rolls for our breakfast. These rolls come as Kaiser rolls with poppy seeds and are buttered and cut in half. Then the owner or worker of the deli inserts it into a waxed paper bag and tapes it. They are put neatly into a basket and the customers help themselves to as many as they want and pay for them, the cost only $1.09. Not a bad price. But…

WHY DO THEY MAKE A HALF HEARTED ATTEMPT AT CUTTING THE ROLL IN HALF? They NEVER slice all the way through the roll and you have to sometimes rip it apart, destroying the symmetry and order of the roll, causing the butter to get on your fingers.

When done correctly-a thing of beauty
If this isn’t enough, order a sandwich in a deli and see what you get. I ordered a ham and cheese, with lettuce, and tomato, mayo and sometimes a little onion. What happens? The surgeon behind the counter doesn’t cut the damned thing all the way through, causing mayo and tomato, to slide, fall out and get all over everything. Then the mayo starts to seep and soon once again, it is on your fingers and maybe at some point on a new tie, even if I’m not wearing one!

Now this rant would not be necessary if the guy behind the counter with the Samurai sword would do his job correctly.

Getting a bagel with cream cheese or as we said in Brooklyn, a “smear”, what you are really getting is a bagel with cream cheese on you! And, you will be smeared, on your fingers, clothes and the area in your immediate vicinity.

Now I own what I call ‘Dining Shirts’. These are shirts that have been to the restaurant and been stained by previous dinners and lunches. These stains are a lot like the stickers you put on your luggage when you travel to foreign lands and want to show off. Mine stains are mostly Italian, French, American and Japanese (sushi) and a sprinkling of Chinese, from both column A and B. These shirts are to be admired, not tossed like TLW does to me.

Friday, January 17, 2014


Yesterday was a sad day for me. Mom is not herself anymore, and the gradual breakdown of her body has crept up on us like a blade of grass in the summer, it grows but you don’t see it until it is time to cut it.

Her whole right side seems to have given up on her, her knee on that side is very weak, causing her to fall, and her right arm and hand do not allow her the freedom she once had. When she stands often she will fall and she went from a cane to a walker to a wheel chair.

I remember Mom when I was a pup, I used to watch her cook, and she had her wedding band on her finger, and as I watched her hands do so much magic, I knew I could pick her hands out in a large group of hands because hers were so special. The gold band was always there for me to identify, and love. Today I see a snarly looking, arthritis invaded hand, distorted by the disease and painful to even imagine.

When her children were growing up and bringing home every disease imaginable, there she stood, rock solid, taking care of us, our shoes polished and lined up on the cast iron stove, the urging to eat our breakfast on a cold winter’s morning, admonishing us about our behavior in school and to our elders. She would cook the most delicious meals, some of which have inspired me to this day to try to re-create. She has a passion for cooking, baking was without saying a specialty, she could knit these most incredible blankets, and is a very talented woman.

There was a special side of her that I always used to keep our relationship warm, the power I had to make her laugh. When she was not doing well because of whatever evil lurked, I would go over to her and talk, and suddenly she would be laughing at me, over my attempts to make her happy once more.

In my last job where I worked for a company, in the afternoon I would close my office door and no one was allowed to disturb me, including my boss. This was so because I would spend the time planning, so no phone calls, no interruptions, no anything. There was a woman who worked in the office pool who had a laugh and used it. Behind my office door she sounded just like mom, and I would pause and soak in the sound. It made me happy.

So yesterday we took her to the emergency room to have the doctors look at her more closely, to see why she is going to the bathroom about 50 times a day at least twice an hour, day and night! We are going to see why there is blood where there should not be any, to try to mend that knee and find a solution to her inability to use her right side.

Oh, we know what is going on, but we owe her every chance there is, every respect due her and we are putting our lives aside to make her last days as best as they can be. I will watch with amazement as she accepts whatever is and what ever will be. I will make attempts to make her laugh one more time, and she will.

I am not feeling sorry for her, nor am I feeling sorry for myself. What is happening is part of life’s process, God’s plan. I just hope to hold mom’s hand as she goes through it, and maybe when it is my turn, I can have her courage, humor and strength and maybe someone will help me through it all too.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


A rose is a rose is a rose, or a rose by any other name would still smell the same.

The other night at dinner, I voiced my feelings that I didn’t know yet what my new grandchild would be named. I already have a vision of her beautiful face, now I need a name to go with it.

TLW (The Little Woman) immediately went on the offensive:

“They have a right to name the baby anything they want” she opined.

“Yes, I just wish I knew the name, just so I have a clearer picture.”

“Oh! So you think Josephine would be good?’

“Nooo, just a name, I need a name.”

“Well I don’t think Josephine is very pretty for a girl.”

“I don’t either.”

“How about Emily, or Emma, I love Emma!”

“Sure, Emma is nice, I just wish I knew the name.”

We tossed about a few names and finally came to the conclusion that it must be very important that it will take a long time for them to name the child. Back in my day, we didn’t know the sex until the child was born: so then we worried what to call it, maybe a day or two before the birth.

I suspect they had something to do with all this.
I really have no preference as to what they name her, just as long as I can spell it and put on her cards, Love, Grandpa.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


It was Friday morning and I dressed for work and headed out to my Camaro, stopped, turned around and went back into my house, reached into my dresser and removed the little jewelry box containing TLW’s  (The Little Woman’s) engagement ring. Opening up the box I looked one more time at it, closed it and stuck it in my jacket breast pocket.

I walked to the train station in Bellport and started to get a little excited, I was going to surprise her with the ring on the train, fooling her and our plans, and why not, we were getting married in June anyway.

I boarded the train and said hello and good morning to everyone on the car. It was like family in those days, as I sat through each station, it seemed like East Islip would never come. Finally, the sign for the station said ‘East Islip’ this was it.

I looked down the aisle and here she comes, with her red nose from the cold, matched by her red pants suite, matching her my mood: Merry!

We kissed good morning and I sprung the ring on her. She was surprised and at first said: “I thought we decided on Valentine’s Day!” Slipping the ring on her finger before I could answer her, she then began to parade up and down the aisle showing all our  friends what we had done, and what was to be.

I will always remember those days. They were care-free and happy, filled with promise and no clues of what the real tomorrows would bring. The time from when we first met through a mutual friend until the day we married will be forever etched in my mind, clearly and lovingly. The places we went to, the dinners and cups of coffee, the visits and even the movies were all so special, that it has left an after taste of sweet times.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


It was a Thursday night in 1971, January 14th to be exact, and the weather was a little dreary. Except for the fact that we TLW (The Little Woman) and I would meet after work to pick up her engagement ring in the diamond center in New York City, then a dinner afterwards: everything seemed the same.

TLW wanted a pear-shaped white gold band diamond and two gold wedding bands for the big day that would come in about six months. Having first met her in July on the train into the city, we started dating and by November, the day after Thanksgiving, I asked her to marry me. Catching her off guard she said ‘Yes’ and the rest is history.

It was so uneventful the evening we went to pick up the ring that I remember just about every moment, from when I met her at her office to the jeweler and his second story shop over a diamond store, to the stroll down to 34th Street and Penn Station where we stopped at the Riverboat for a dinner of ribs.

Going to the jeweler is an interesting experience. Seeing something for the first time that you rely on someone else to make for you is filled with anticipation. The jeweler poured out the ring onto the desk and reading from the receipt, all was in order. TLW picked up the ring and slipped it on her finger, and it fit! Almost as an afterthought, we both tried on our wedding bands and they too fit.

We had agreed to getting engaged on St. Valentine’s Day a month later, that I would hold the ring until then. As we left the jeweler we headed downtown towards Penn Station, and there on a corner stood the Riverboat, a large noisy place with gigantic platters of ribs, so big they took your breath away when the waiter brought them out!

We took the train home to East Islip and I dropped off TLW and drove home, thinking I now had a responsibility of this expensive ring I paid for, and God forbid I lose it between that day and St. Valentine’s Day, I would be an unhappy man.

Arriving at home, I got an idea, that would change everything.

Monday, January 13, 2014


Well, I guess by now you have heard either through Facebook, TV or the press, that The Big Bang Theory has won another People’s Choice Award. Unless you live under a rock and still know me, you know #1 Son Anthony is one of the many talented writers and producers on that show.

To me the award is a great thing, but what is greater is that he is working on that show. Just think about it, here is a kid who always gets adopted for one reason or another by others. When I was working at Publishers Clearing House, I got him to work for the company. The day before he started I was known as Joe Del Bloggolo, senior art supervisor, the day after, as Anthony’s father. There’s a lesson in that boys and girls, stay away from that kid. Even my old boss, Tom Owens, who looks like St. Paul, started calling him: “Our son.”

Back row, third from your right
Being I was sick the night of the awards, I fell asleep early and when I woke up it was the next morning. Coming downstairs I am greeted by TLW (The Little Woman) who says: while holding the remote control: “Are you ready?” She clicks on the remote and on comes the people’s Choice Awards and: “The People’s Choice Award for best comedy goes to… Joe Del Bloggolo’s son.”

Well, maybe it didn’t go quite like that but close. Accepting on my behalf was #1 Son: all spiffy and dressed up just like that time in Nursery School, when the whole class did a hop like a bunny dance. 

It is very hard for me to keep this quiet, the fact that he works on the Big Bang Theory, so please forgive me if I get too obnoxious, rather than my standard obnoxicity. (I made up that last word)'s+choice+awards&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&client=safari

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Am I feeling old these days. I get a cold and then suddenly I’m good for nothing, proving Mom, Dad and TLW (The Little Woman) right.

As I am slowly getting better, and I mean slowly, everything is too hard to think about, there are too many chores to do, when I move I feel aches.

Getting old does have it perks, whether I want them or not. Like the other day I was leaving a store, and some old guy held the door for me as I was leaving. He had to be about 60! Really, what is he doing running around by himself unsupervised?

All the pretty girls sit next to me now, since they or I can’t conceive of any threats. If I hold my breath, TLW checks my pulse. In fact, while I was making funeral arrangements for myself, the cemetery salesman pointed out a plot that he thought I would like. “You’ll have a beautiful view of the swan pond,” he assured me.
I wasn’t sold: “Unless you’re including a periscope with my casket, I don’t know how I’m going to enjoy it.”

I have taken to using my android and texting with my older friends. They even have their own vocabulary:
BFF: Best Friend Fainted
BYOT: Bring Your Own Teeth
CBM: Covered by Medicare
FWB: Friend with Beta-blockers
LMDO: Laughing My Dentures Out
GGPBL: Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low!
GGGG: Gotta Go, Got Gas!

Reading a prescription bottle is now time-consuming. The pharmacy companies have decided to print the ‘usage’ in 4 pt. type, causing me to take off my glasses and sticking the instructions directly under a lamp, causing me to burn my fingers.

I decided to dub New Year’s Eve as amateur night so I don’t have to stay up past 10:00 PM. I used to go to the toilet because I had to, now I go to read and get away from it all.
I like this joke, so I thought I would share it.

At 85 years of age, Wally marries Lou Anne, a lovely 25 year old.

Since her new husband is so old, Lou Anne decides that after their wedding she and Wally should have separate bedrooms. She is concerned that her new, but aged, husband might over exert himself if they spend the entire night together.

After the wedding festivities Lou Anne prepares herself for bed and the expected "knock" on the door. Sure enough the knock comes, the door opened and there is Wally, her 85 year old groom, ready for action. They unite as one. All goes well, Wally takes leave of his bride, and she prepares to go to sleep.

After a few minutes, Lou Anne hears another knock on her bedroom door, and it's Wally. Again he is ready for more "action". Somewhat surprised, Lou Anne consents for more coupling.


When the newlyweds are done , Wally kisses his bride, bids her a f ond goodnight and leaves.

She is set to go to sleep again, but, aha --- you guessed it --- Wally is back again, rapping on the door, and is as fresh as a 25-year-old, ready for more "action". And, once again they enjoy each other.

But as Wally gets set to leave again, his young bride says to him, "I am thoroughly impressed that at your age you can perform so well and so often. I have been with guys less than a third of your age who were only good once. You are truly a great lover, Wally."

Wally, somewhat embarrassed, turns to Lou Anne and says, "You mean I was here already?"  

Saturday, January 11, 2014


For 10 days I have been feeling very sick.  So sick I hadn’t eaten in about 3 days! Food had no taste, I had a constant headache, and I was shivering and falling off to sleep frequently. I couldn’t stop this terrible hacking cough that seemed like I would be productive, only to be denied.

The Little Woman (TLW) finally said the magic words: “GO TO THE DOCTOR!” That was in the back of my mind and I was inching towards that but not yet quite convinced to do so. The thought of getting dressed and going into my car on a cold day didn’t appeal to me with a headache and chills and the cough,

Finally I made an appointment and off I went to Dr. Strangeglove.

Arriving at his office, his staff went through the usual rigmarole of record keeping and in I went almost immediately, which was a shock to my system.

He checks me out and says: “Did you take your blood-pressure medicine today?”


“Hmmm…. Did you take any over the counter medications and what were they?”

I list them all and think maybe one of the meds was the culprit for my elevation of pressure.

“We’re going to get some x-rays now.”

I love the ‘we’, and wonder who will go first, him or me? The good doctor leads me down the hall to his high tech x-ray machine, where X-Ray Mary greets me. Void of personality, she leads me to the wall and sets up the machine. She adjusts the plate for my chin and then goes into the little room, asks my name, how to spell it and what am I shooting. WHAT AM I SHOOTING! Well how about for starters I shoot her.

She becomes totally disarrayed, confused and slightly agitated and runs out of the room, leaving me standing there with an apron hanging over my butt and wondering what I did wrong.

Suddenly the room is crowded with two doctors, a staff person and X-Ray Mary, who is now in near tears while one of the doctors decides to undo everything and re-ask the questions and shoot the X-Ray. I’m standing at the wall and he has a device in his hand that he sticks on me somehow.

“I’m measuring you before I shoot.”

“I take a 44 regular, no cuffs.”

Off I head back to Dr. Strangeglove who calls up the X-Ray and asks me to sit.

“Now here is the x-ray I took of you last August. Notice in the right lung, everything is clean, you can see veins and here is the recent x-ray from a few moments ago, where you can see no veins, two masses that indicate pneumonia and last night’s Jack Daniels. Your infection you once had has now evolved into pneumonia!"

And so I have pneumonia, and let me tell you, it is NO fun.

But I plan to live a little longer, just to feel what normal is like, once again.