Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Verily I say unto you...
Once upon a time there were three divas.

Mama Diva was the Uber-Diva.
The sun, the moon and the stars revolved around her
all the time. Sometimes, off the cuff, she would recognize
her two children and as an after-thought remark that
she loved little baby brother barry-diva
and by the way, big sister Carol too.

Big sister Carol was not allowed to be a Diva
until her sixth decade because the mama Uber Diva
was too bright and her blinding brilliance caused pain.
One could not get too close to her.
Like Icarus flying too close to the sun...

Along came Papa Diva.
He was always very occupied with all sporting events.
Much time was spent on the phone with business associates.
Minimal involvement in family life,
much time in restaurants and imbibing. Wherever he went
his diva-ness was acknowledged...far and wide...

And then there was baby brother Barry-Diva.
Due to extenuating circumstances
having to do with the Uber Mama Diva,
baby brother barry went to live with Papa Diva where he learned
that the sun, moon and stars revolved around him also.
Truly he came to be called Drama Queen.

Getting back to Carol-locks......
in her sixth decade she became a Diva too. She no longer sets
herself aside immediately to listen and 'do' for others.
Nowadays, carol locks-diva is basking in the afterglow
of her diva-ness upon seeing her eight abstract paintings
hanging in a prominent public space.
This was her dream. To have an art show.
While not exactly 'living the dream', it's a good start.

Carol Miller, 2009
written upon reuniting with ex-brother,
who exhibited diva-like behavior until
he was told there was only 1 diva and that was her !


We are coming up on the one year Yarhzeit of my mother, Shirley...June 27th...

I've read The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion and On Grief and Grieving by Elisabeth-Kubler Ross. Mimi recommended On Grief and Grieving. I read them over Mother's Day weekend. It helped enormously to get me in touch with the feelings. After she passed away, the tears flowed like a faucet - until my ex-brother was deposited on my doorstep before a week went by. The grief was truncated - while I re-directed my energy to help him. Now he is out of the picture - it's all about me and her.

I am starting the process of getting a marker for her. It is very hard and very painful. The last thing I have to do, want to do, need to do for her. I am sorry I had her buried - I was on automatic pilot - it was such a shock - it happened so fast - one day here, gone the, almost a year later, I wish I had her cremated - then I could keep her ashes with me forever. If I ever have a spare $5,000.00 I will have her exhumed and cremated. But for now...

In On Grief and Grieving, she talks about how important it is to talk about the talk about the person who died. I feel the need to talk about her with people who knew her and that is not easy - she isolated for 20+ years.

Who has memories of Shirley ? Good or bad ? I want to hear from you, please.

I cannot be isolated in my Grief. Grief for me, what I didn't get, grief for her, a life not lived..........

And now Aunt Ruth is the last Sandler standing....she told me last week she doesn't remember anything from that long ago....she will be 92 in July.

Saturday, May 11, 2013



Below is a transcription of a conversation I had with Shirley on June 4, 2011. She had a lot to say and I typed as fast as I could to get it all down. Words in Italics are mine for clarification.

After I graduated from high school, I worked for a place near South Station, Tanner Shoe...I didn't like it....I never really liked working in an office.

Then she proceeded to work in offices until she married Julius Silverman. She was a Book Keeper and a good one judging by her checkbook which was balanced within an inch of its life.

Her last job was at Alexander Carpets in Boston. She had a Supervisor there, Alberta.

I walked in one day at 10:00 a.m. and I could see they added more merchandise. (They were open Monday nights till 9:00) Alberta said, "Mrs. Miller, it's 2 minutes past 10:00....I was so angry, but I was no longer single, I was a single working mother. I had an attitude after that. Mr. Goldstein told me not to worry about it and I never spoke to her unless I had to after that. I went home and I told you and Mock and Ruth."  (Golden, our neighbor in Dorchester)

Alberta trained me to use the posting machine; she checked the files when I wasn't there to see if the clients paid.

We were living at 104 American Legion Highway when I went to work at the House of 9, a clothing store for petites. I bought a black dress there.

In June 1964 I married Julius. I bought a blue dress. It looked like silk, a sheathe, light blue with short straight sleeves, size 10 ? It came with a jacket, scooped neck in the front. I don't remember having it shortened. The sleeves came down to the wrist. I bought it in Fabians. (Boylston St., corner of Arlington on the second floor, just after the church) I had the sleeves shortened to the  elbows.

Mrs. Savitsky lived on the first floor at 104. I got a beige knit dress from her daughter. It had a plain, round neck; the waistline was like a shift. I wore it with a gold choker around my neck - an Omega. gOne day, walking through Jordan Marsh, I bought a leopard peter pan collar and wore it with the beige dress. It was about 2" wide.

I got to be a Filene's Basement shopper. I bought a dress, belt at the waistline, one side beige, one side black leather. It was beige. Originally it was from Saks Fifth Avenue. It was $60.00 at Saks. It was lined, you didn't have to wear a slip. It was a nice dress. But I bought it even though it was beige because when you're poor you can't ......(I didn't get how she finished that sentence, c.m.)

Maybe I have an aversion to hand-me downs because I had to wear them. Marian offered me clothes from another little girl for you... first I said No, but Marian convinced me to take it so you got the coat.

Next door to us at 92 American Legion Highway, 96, a young couple with two little girls. One was Paula, one year older than you. She gave me some clothes from Paula and they were nice....a couple of skirts, one dress, a rosy pink, big white puffed sleeves, petticoats and you had a pink one. Philip had a birthday across the hall, ankle strap patent leather shoes. Philip's mother opened the door and she said, "Look at Carol !" The dress was  pink sateen, cotton sateen....a nice little dress. I bought you a beautiful dress in first grade. From the waist down it was ivory with little flowers and the top was a slate blue, straight sleeves with slits, mandarin neckline. The waistline had a hot pink cumberbund. 6.95 I paid for it in 1955. In those days there was a Grants in Codman Square.

You had one of the poodle skirts. I bought it in Robert Hall. (I remember that skirt. Black with hot pink poodles)

Zaidy's father...his father looked like a typical Russian guy....thick eyebrows. His mother had a shawl on her head. She was beautiful, oval face....Boby didn't have those pictures on Stratton street. The pictures hung in the hallway on 48 Harlem street, not on Stratton street...

I asked her when did Boby + Zaidy move from Brunswick Street to Stratton street.

I don't know the year. I got married and moved out of the apartment on Brunswick street. Boby and Zaidy were thrown out so they could give the apartment to their daughter.

Ruthie was living on Blue Hill Avenue. Her furniture was in storage. Boby and Zaidy lived with her.
They stored a sewing machine in our apartment at 92. (American Legion highway)

Kenny was very attached to her and knew her....
While Boby and Zaidy were living there, Ruthie had an Appendicitis attack and the story I got is she was in the hospital for five days.

Roby was going to Ohio University.
In Maine he worked at the Cliff House ...
in New Hampshire, he met some people his age from Dorchester. One of the guys he met there was younger than he was and he was going to Syracuse and I wore that brown bolero outfit.

I bought a pair of brown fake alligator shoes,
high heels because the outfit was cocoa brown.
Roby took me to a party in Brookline.
I met Dave and went out with him.
He went to Syracuse. I met another guy from Harvard.
He took me to a football game.

I was working for a place (in Boston), At Your Service.
I was working as a receptionist.
People would call for theater tickets.
It was at 1 Boylston street where it meets with Tremont street by the Common.
There was a beauty shop in the building. I had my hair done once a week.
There was a dentist on the same floor. It was a three room office.
I sat in the first office.
The phone had a hold button and I was so stupid I couldn't figure it out.
I cut people off...
One girl in the office came in one morning in a grey satin dress.
She was a real floozy.
The bosses parents lived on Stratton street.
I was living on Harlem street.
I got $25.00/week in 1948.
While I was working there, Dave and I corresponded.
One of his friends had a tufted headboard.

I bought a black dress to make me look older to go to the Totem Pole (nightclub).
He liked me, Dave Somers but I wasn't interested.
The first time I went there Roby took me.
Ruthie was already married and barbara....(?)

One night at the Totem Pole, Newton or Auburndale.
The coat check girl gave Ruthie somebody else's coat
+ Ruthie took it because she liked the coat better.
I went with Ruthie and Hy and Roby took Shirley and they danced.

I told Ruth Golden about the coat -
"and they say you're crazy" said Ruth G.
After I said that's not your coat, we went to Legal Seafood.

(note: first time I heard someone refer to her as 'crazy' in her early twenties)

I am reading "I Remember Nothing" by Nora Ephron.
She sounds like a snob.
Whiting and Davis handbags; I used to have a Whiting and Davis mesh wallet.
I lost that too.

I said I lost her graduation ring at a hotel while in downtown Boston;
I washed my hands and left the ring.
She had adhesive tape on it so it would fit me.

Boby used to go to the Fowler street shul on the holidays.
I used to go when I was little.
They had a crystal chandelier.
Roby used to sing in the choir.
It was an orthodox shul and he sang in the choir.

Friday, May 3, 2013


Learning photos from new camera......
From my window....I like to see all the different color greens at this time of year; it lasts 2 weeks....true Spring Green.

On the way to whole foods and back....