Category Archives: Bad times

The Grand Theater, a historic Vaudeville building, collapses

John and I were married there.  We met some of our close friends there.  Years of memories and its gone.  Some of Julie’s heart and soul still lived there.

It’s a painful day for a lot of people.


Our Morgan died last night.

She was suddenly sick and we rushed her to the hospital.  She had something called Bloat; she would need immediate surgery or would die slowly.  Problem was, her odds on surviving surgery and post-op were slim too.  So they made her comfortable and we said our goodbyes – as much as you can when you’re not ready to say them — and she was put to sleep.  I held her and she pillowed her head in my lap as John petted her.

And that’s how she went.

If you knew her, you understand when I say that one of the best people in this world is gone now.

And our hearts are breaking.


“The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.” ~ Andrew A. Rooney

We’re taking on water, Skipper!

Thursday morning, I found a little flood in laundry room and half our family room.  We figured it was from all the snow melting and rain; not only is our ground saturated, but our street slopes a bit, so everyone’s excess water runs down to our place since we’re the last house.

So I stayed home to use our wet vac to clean up.  I went over everything 3 different times.  I couldn’t believe I couldn’t just pick up the 12 gallon tank and vacuum cleaner up the stairs; I know I’m out of shape, but yeesh.  Then a friend told me later that it’s basically translates to 100 lbs.  Well… all right then.  Be nice if it meant I was getting buns of steel, but I got love handles of hurt.

Anyway, Friday morning we checked and it flooded all over again.  Plus, the tub was half filled, our washer had all this water in it, and we had a flooded bathroom floor with the hallway carpet also a mess.

We got a plumber, who found out that our drains for our gray water (listen to me talking like a camper) was blocked, so it was shoving all of that back into the house.   It was possible the flood in the laundry room was still saturated ground, but we had to fix the drain problem so the tub and washing machine could drain.

Of course, it rained all weekend.

Friday night I cleaned up the latest flood (six more trips with the vacuum tank).  But!

We’re not taking in any more water, so it really was the plumbing problem.  Yesterday, I  went over it again jst to keep getting as much moisture as I can.  The dampness outside isn’t helping in things drying out, but at least we’re not fighting a constant battle.

Thank goodness, because the ground really is saturated; the rain is sitting on the yard.  But it’s not coming in!

Knock wood.

Things are such a mess.

Each day, it  just gets worse and worse.

Let’s just leave it at that.

Yesterday, we buried a friend.

Yesterday, two people had to say goodbye to their child.  His mom whispered to me at the casket, “Look at my little boy.”

A woman buried her husband.

A man and a woman had to say goodbye to their little brother.  Another man and a woman said goodbye to their big brother.

A young man said for his brothers and sisters, “He wasn’t my step-father.  He was my dad.”

Uncles and aunts had to file past their nephew in their last goodbye.  So did their children.

Nephews and nieces had to learn that goodbyes can come too young.

And a lot of other friends were like me: stunned, crying, telling stories and then smiling in our goodbyes.

Goodbye, Shawn.  Tell my mom and everyone else I said hi.

My friend Shawn died this morning.

I’m just stunned.  Then I cry, then feel surreal again.

I grew up with my friend Ann, Shawn, Jake and their whole family since I was 12…  I started in the 7th grade at St. Joseph’s in Swedesboro one day, and I wasn’t there 15 minutes when this other girl passed me a note.  A note!  Way to start off as the new kid to the school: get caught passing notes…. But we didn’t; the note said, “My name is Ann.  Welcome to the class!  Why don’t you sit with me and my friends at lunch?”  Just like that: taking in the new kid, making sure she had a friendly place to be at lunch.

And that was that.

We all got so close that they called my mother Mom, and I called her parents Mom & Pop.    They’d introduce me as another sister, which always drew surprised stares because Ann and her family are black, and if you know me, you know I’m what Jack Benny called “frog belly in the moonlight white”.  To the surprised glances, Ann, Jake, or Shawn would say that I was the white Webster or that I came from the light side of the family…  After the movie “Remember the Titans” came out, they used that line: of course she’s our sister.  Can’t you see the resemblance?

So many years; so many memories….

So many times in the past few years, we’d say we’ll get together and we get busy and you don’t…. I so wish I had been there more often for him.

I’m a bad friend.

He went into the doctor’s for test and they were going to do angioplasty on Wed; following that, they ordered surgery for yesterday.  That’s when Ann called me; the surgery had gone fine. Shawn was relaxing.  Without thinking, I said I’d go to the hospital today to see him and just say I was his sister so I could get into CCU to see him.  That brought back the old laughs: the white Webster.  And Ann laughed: Of course she’s our sister.  Can’t you see the resemblance?

Then I got her call first thing this morning; suddenly, at 2:30 this morning, Shawn was gone.

His mom and dad of course needed to collapse tonight; Ann’s blood pressure sky rocketed, so she had to lay down too.

And I sit and think: why didn’t I go last night?  Or any one of the hundreds of nights that I didn’t in the past years?

You’d think I’d have learned from losing my Mom…. say the things you should say; do the things you should do – like get together with the young man who proudly called you his sister.

I get mad at myself for crying and hurting, because I think what right do I have?  Where was I the last few years?  But my sisters and niece Jenna reminded me that if our positions were reversed, I’d be proud that I meant so much to Shawn still that he’d cry for my loss.  That if you had asked him just yesterday about me, he’d say I was his friend.

I’ll miss him.

And he’d better not tell my mom anything I didn’t want her to know!

It’s another week of bad times.

If your spirit can’t take a lot of bad news, I don’t blame you and I recommend going to read something cheery.

On top of things we’re worried about at home and my sister’s Cathi’s car accident, within 12 hours, we had 2 terrible pieces of news.

John’s close friends lost their mom.  She had been like a Mom to John too and that makes the 4th that he’s lost.  She died Wed night, a half hour after they called John to say she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and only had a few days.

The very next morning, a good friend’s aunt rushed into the hospital with chest pains and trouble breathing.  They found an extensive mass on her lung and they think it’s lung cancer.  They also worry about their older aunt as she crumbles watching her baby sister, the last of her siblings, fall under this.

In the past couple weeks, one friend suddenly lost his wife and another saw his sister pass away.  The month before: my friends James and Joe lost their moms.

It’s something we don’t think about growing up and we hear our parents talk about their friends’ parents fading away.  But the generation that had the Boomers are in their 70s, 80s, and 90s.  Many people I know are Baby Boomers and even though James and I are late in life kids, our own parents were the ones to grow up in the Depression and WWII.  And the Boomers themselves are in their 50s and 60s…. with all that comes with that.  Including my family.

It doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking.  It’s horrible.  But the scary fact hit me this week… I’m living what I remember my Mom going through with her friends and their parents.  Now I understand while the generations younger than me are the ones who now don’t feel it yet.  I hope they don’t for a very long time.

We all need something cheery after that.  How about this?

In the middle of the most poignant scene in our play, my cell phone rang.  And now just any ring, but this:

As I ran off the stage, fumbling to shut it off, one of the other women grinned and said, “Muppet Babies! Awesome.”