Give the gift of a by-gone era; travel back to the 1940’s

Book re-edited, and now with twenty seven funny stories!

Available in:

paperback here:

E-book here:*Version*=1&*entries*=0


An excerpt from my new book “Childhood Memories from the 1940’s – “Man Tan”

Man Tan
That was the name they called this particular tanning lotion, when I was a teenager.
That was my freshman year in high school which was 1957.
My girlfriend, Ann Apicella, and I were going over to her house after school, to spend some time together.
On the way we stopped at the corner drug store to buy something. I can’t remember what, but while we were there I spotted this bottle which said tan without sun.
Well it looked like clear water in the bottle.
I showed it to my friend and between the two of us we had enough money to buy this bottle of Man Tan.
The two of us were really excited to try it.
Now let me give you a little back ground on my friend and myself. Ann was Italian with beautiful olive skin, so she already looked tan, especially next to me.
I am Irish, English with light skin with freckles.
We headed to her house and couldn’t wait to get started with this tanning lotion.
Needless to say we read the directions very quickly and rubbed it on our faces, arms hands, and legs.
It was winter in Connecticut, so we wore long sleeve sweaters and blouses.
We were supposed to see some results within two hours.
While we were waiting we listened to music, did some homework and kept checking our skin.
It wasn’t working, so we kept putting more on until we had used the whole bottle.
Soon it was time for me to go home.
I told Ann that I would call her when I got home and report back any color changes.
When I arrived home I could not see any change.
I called my friend and she confirmed the same.
It looked like we had wasted our money.
I told her I would meet her in the morning at school before we went in to class.
I ate dinner and went to bed.
The next morning upon waking, I looked in the mirror in my bedroom and almost fell over from shock.
I had a tan alright but not the kind of tan you see from the sun.
My face was this really dark orange black color and so were my hands and arms.
All I could think was, oh my God my mother is going to kill me!
I got dressed with a long sleeve shirt and pull over sweater.
I tried to wash it off my face, but that was not happening.
I went into the kitchen and tried to keep my back to my mother so she could not see my face, but as only my mother could do, she said “will you please look at me when I am speaking to you”.
I turned around and before I could even explain, she screamed loudly!
You can only imagine what was said after the shock had passed.
I said maybe I should stay home and not go to school today, and she said,” Oh you are going to school”.
I met my friend at school. She was so dark.
We looked at each other and starting laughing so hard, then our friends started to arrive and started laughing too.
As we passed other kids at school everyone was staring at us.
We both went to our first class, different ones, so we had to go at it alone.
Then, when things were already really uncomfortable, our names were announced over the loud speaker to report to the principal’s office!
Oh God, were in trouble.
The principal was really angry; he asked if we were trying to look like black people?
Needless to say, we were expelled from school until we looked normal again.
My mother scrubbed my face until I thought the skin was going to fall off.
Then she found some cream that lightened it so I could return to school in a couple of days.
My friend took the whole week off.
I can tell you, that was the end of my tanning days without sun.
The plus to the whole thing, was that my friend Ann and I were famous at school.
Everyone knew who we were, and we made a lot of new friends.


I suppose you could call me a very late bloomer.

My mother was pregnant with my second brother, which  I wasn’t aware of until one of my friends told me that my mother was going to have a baby.

You can only imagine my surprise when I asked if this was true.

My parents said they were waiting for a call from the hospital, to let them know when a baby was available.

Can you believe that?

The stories they told.

I was eight years old when my second brother came, so I wasn’t very up on life and all that happens, that’s for sure.

One morning my mother was not there, and my father was home making breakfast for my brother Bob and I.  “Where is mom, dad?”

She is at the hospital waiting for a baby.

Pure excitement ran through me.  “Can she get a sister for me?”

Dad said, “You just have to take whatever they give you.”


Then the magic, in walked my mom with this little baby brother.

I had a cold at the time, so I wasn’t allowed to close.

She put him in the crib, but I could only stand at the door.  I couldn’t even see him because there was a bumper pad that went around the inside of the crib. He was completely out of sight.

I remember being very sad that I could not go in the room.

When my cousin arrived along with my aunt and the rest of the family, to see my new brother Richard, I wouldn’t allow my cousin into the room.

We are close in age, just a year apart, and if I couldn’t go in, then neither could she.

I spread my arms across the door way and would not let her pass.  Talk about an over protective sister. <Laughing>

My mother finally got a face mask for me to wear.

I sat on the chair next to his crib, and I was finally able to touch his little hand and fingers.

His tiny hand wrapped around my finger.

It was love at first touch.

From that day forward he was the most important thing in my life.

Don’t misunderstand, I loved my brother Bob, who was a year and a half younger than myself; we always played together.

This was just different, Richard was a baby.

The first baby in my life.

There I was, always wanting to be around him.  As he grew, I helped feed him and took him for walks in his carriage.  Where ever I went, I took him with me.

When I went with my friends, he went too.

Then when I was old enough to drive, he would want me to take him to McDonald’s, and of course I did, also to the movies or wherever he wanted.

I bought him his first skate board and I can still remember the excitement on his face!  That’s what big sisters do.

He was a wonderful brother throughout my whole life.

I lost my baby brother three years ago in October to pancreatic cancer.

The pain is still deep, but life must go on, even when those fingers slip away.

Special effects and the bionic woman

Some days very strange things happen our way.

I was driving from a visit with my cousin, nearly home, when I saw a bright red car in the outside lane moving very fast.

As he sped along the side my car, passing on the left, I could see something flapping.

He was only a little bit in front of me when THE-WHOLE-REAR-BUMPER ripped off the back of his vehicle, and went flying in the air… RIGHT-OVER-MY-CAR!

Oh. My. God!

I could not believe my eyes.

It was like a special effects movie.

Thank goodness that bumper went over me and not into me.

This was a big flash back in time, to 1978, when I was traveling on interstate I 84 heading to Hartford, Connecticut.

A truck tire with the full rim, was in the passing lane of the highway and by the time it was visible, it was too late.

I hit it with my car.

I was only going forty miles in a fifty mile zone.

Upon hitting the tire, I was air borne.

The next thing I heard was this awful crack of my wrist and forearm… breaking apart.

After surgery and a metal implant in my right arm, it was almost a year before I could drive again.

I did get a cool nick name though, my kids call me the bionic woman.

So you can imagine this bumper flying over my car was like a bad dream reinventing itself.

But I I believe in angels.

Mine, I am sure has been pretty busy taking care of me all these years.

That angel of mine sure has had a big job, <laughing>.