Posts Tagged With: friendships


One year, about age six, my favorite Christmas gift was a Christmas card. I take great pleasure from them now and have a tendency to keep them forever, much to my kids dismay.  It’s harmless enough.

The yearly ritual of a Christmas letter for me began in 1988. It was disconcerting to have distant friendships from the past reduced to a Christmas card each year.  Sending a short personal message in each card wasn’t enough. Besides,  my penmanship is practically unreadable.

Friends often send a family photo, or a personal work of art made into a card. Mine are pretty dull, without photos. My parents had twenty siblings, thus cousins number over one  hundred. Now I can send Christmas greetings  on-line.

Internet cards, or a simple message has replaced cards for many of us. I treasure my email as much as I miss the cards.

My new ritual is to read last year’s Christmas letters, and cards, then put them away in a box. Then as Christmas approaches,  I take out old cards,  from any year,   to enjoy the beauty and sentiments.

Or the whimsy as in Happy Moo Year.

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Quartzite, Arizona is a mecca for gem and mineral buffs as well as RVers. The gem and mineral show brings about 100,000 RVers to this port. It is then followed by a huge tent show of RV accessories. Suffice it to say, town is loaded with road warriors from all over the U.S. and Canada.
Ever on the lookout for some oddball sign, I did a double take at an RV Proctologist sign. Hope it gives you a chuckle as well.

Arizona also has a number of nudist colonies and Quartzite attracts quite a contingent of nude RVers. This sign on BLM land warns you if you are sensitive to nudity. You may remember from a former blog the picture of Paul, the nude bookstore owner from Quartzite we met in January of 2009.

We weren’t interested in the RV or Gem and Mineral show this year, but Jim wanted to catch up with long time friends, Joan and Jim Belluomini, now westerners, but originally from New York. Jim was also in the nuclear power industry. He retired at 51 years old, just before the Nuclear Power industry pretty much collapsed, and he hasn’t looked back. The two Jims and Joan met in an RV caravan back in 1996. The Belluomini’s now enjoy Washington State as their summer home and wherever they wander,  as their winter home, but they are considering going back on the road full time. Its an addicting lifestyle. Part of the joy of RVing is keeping in touch with old friends and you often do it on the road.

Just as we turned into one of the BLM roads to meet the Belluominis, Jim did a double take as he spotted his old rig going by. He was more excited than a kid at Christmas. He sold his Suncrest in September of 2009, and there it was zipping by. He only had Ned Bedinger’s home phone number in his computer. Luckily, Ned’s wife was home. We arranged to meet at the BLM camp area called Dome Mountain.

Here is Ned with the Suncrest. Ned and his wife,  Jane were Peace Corp Volunteers in the 1960’s to the Phillipines. While there they explored Indonesia and Thailand, two place close to my heart. We enjoyed a beer and conversation. Ned invited us to his place in Washington later in the year.
The RV community is a friendly, engaging community.

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I’ve had almost continuous company since Dec. 22nd. Yesterday, my brother, Norman left, and the house was eerily quiet after a storm of activity. I plopped in a chair and read magazines for about an hour before attempting to do a thing. An article in one of those magazines was about testing stress levels. In short, it claimed that looking at pictures was the best stress reliever among a number of activities. And, of course, I’ve taken more pictures and looked at more pictures than any other year of my life. Normally, I don’t look at Jim’s blog before setting out my blog. This time, he called me, and I did. It was pictures he had taken of me. So, in turn, I’m going to post pictures I’ve taken of Jim. 

And, he is such a ham-

He actually studies his destinations, works on smooth sailing, and reads directions-twice-before trying a new product.

He is nurturing, and caring and treasures his family and friends.

This is supposed to be a travel blog.  Choosing a life partner and a travel mate, Jim Jaillet has enriched my life as we move forward into 2011.

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My neighbor, Jan Stewart, invited Jim and I over for a second Thanksgiving Dinner with her family. Jan is my friend and neighbor.

Her son, Brian, went to grammar and high school with my youngest daughter.

Brian’s wife, Debbie Pendergrast and my daughter were best of friends and have children close in age.
Jan’s oldest grandson, cammeron, is now married with a child of his own and he lives on the road above me and is also my neighbor.
His mother is Jan’s oldest daughter shown here with her first grandbaby. That makes Jan a great grandmother. It sneaks up on you. Suddenly we are the matriarch’s of our families and it only gets better and better. When I was growing up, grandmothers and great grandmothers didn’t look like these two women, youthful and full of fun. May it ever stay that way.
I like the connections and roots of friends, family and neighbors. But, as Jim prepares to leave, I know that you don’t lose those connections by becoming a gypsy and ramblin’ about the countryside as we did most of 2009 and 2010. You just gain friendships and connections as you go. How grateful I am to have met and got to know Jim’s son and family, cousins, Donna and Bob Parker, the Di Paola family, Diane and Bob Comollo, Jackie and Ray Nichol and their daughter Rebecca, Simone and Pat Purcell. Friends, Dolly Giordano and Arthur, Bill and Loretta Gallagher, Jim and Ginnie Palumbo, Sue and Art Lambart, Ted and Sandy Walden, Leo and Fran Perth, Ted and Judy Price, Al Penta, Beverly Malland, Randy Vining, Bob Gambol, Horst and Margo Schnieder, Barbara De La Fuente, Helga Geday, Jan and Larry Seaberg, Debra Vinsel, Kerri Kaufman, Donna Huffer, Bob Parker…I’m probably forgetting someone. Each has become a connection and gives life that same solidity as the roots of home.
Now I have new names to give to my plants. My wandering jew I’ll call Randy…
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My partner Jim, and Ned Bedinger, struck a deal. Ned gets Panama Or Bust and we found a new friend. It made for an auspicious day when Jim sold his rig. It was actually more than a rig, it was his home for nine years. And, not without some emotion about letting go, he said: “I’m homeless!” I understand the feeling. I too was temporarily homeless at one time.
Later this morning, I have guests from Hardwood, Michigan arriving.
I’ve blogged about them before, but just for an update, let me explain why this unusual group of visitors are headed my way.
My house burned to the ground in 1946 or 47. My mother was left with the clothes on her back but without shoes on her feet. My dad was cutting pulp for the paper mills and the house was consumed before he was able to reach it. My older brother, sister, and I were in school when it burned. Two younger brothers were home with my mom. No one was injured in the fire.
It was catastrophic to have the school bus driver leave us at the crossroads that day with nothing but a spiral of smoke to go home to.
In rural Hardwood, our closest neighbor, the Robinson family, was adjacent to the bus stop. In the opposite direction, about 1/4 mile away, was the Cousineau farm.
My two chums, Pat Robinson and Bernice Cousineau were at the bus stop with us. We spent that first homeless night with the Cousineau family.
With no house, we moved to a friend’s camp, then a very tiny house with a renovated chicken coop that served as a boys bedroom. Within a few weeks we moved out of Hardwood to Iron Mountain where my dad got a job at the Ford Plant.
Except for one brief encounter, I never saw my childhood friends, Pat and Bernice again.
Today, after a lapse of over 60 years, Pat Robinson Whitfield, and her husband Richard; Bernice Cousineau Patrick and her sister Marie Cousineau Gaber will arrive at Sacramento Airport for there first visit to California. We had had no contact over these intervening years until a phone call out of the blue last year. I was amazed they managed to run me down after so many years.
Every picture our family had was burned in that fire. They’ve promised to bring some photos. Old friends found. You will meet them on this page as we renew a lifetime of changes in the weeks ahead. Homelessness and friendship is something you never forget.
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