2017 A to Z: Letter D… All About Me

2017 A to Z: Letter D…

I thought I’d change up the ongoing 52 stories this year to an A to Z of 26 stories and write  “All About Me”.  I plan to post bi-monthly, but I’m not holding myself to a certain time frame other than completing by year end. Originally I was going to do the “All About Me” for the April A to Z, but as I might get just a wee bit long-winded, I thought I’d give myself a longer time frame. Hopefully by the time I reach letter Z, I will have written all I can remember about “me.” If you so feel inclined, why not join me in your own “A to Z” of All about Me!



D delivers … Daddy, Dolls, Dreams, Diary, Dogs, Dancing, Driving, Driver’s Ed, Driving License, Divorce, Desserts


I could have saved him for the letter F, for father, but he was my daddy. While I have many photographs of me with him when I was young, I think we became closer later on. Many reasons for that, but it is what it is, and I never stopped loving him.

I don’t have many memories of family time with daddy as a young girl, he was always working and if not there, it was because he had fallen into the bad habit of gambling and drinking. He picked up the bad habit of gambling, I’m told, from the early age of a young boy. He wasn’t always the one sitting by my bed when I was sick or taking me to school, but he was there for me in other ways.

I remember daddy taking me out to dinner in a restaurant called The Saratoga in Macon for birthdays… always special having dinner dates with him. I was never too old for him to order me a Shirley Temple. He even took Steve and I there for dinner before we left Georgia, and I guess I still got my Shirley Temple while the guys had a drink… married and still not old enough to have a drink!

He became closer to me when it was just the two of us living together after my parent’s divorce. The time Steve came down to marry me was one of the toughest things for him, although I never realized that until much later on. I was a giddy 19-year old, in love, getting married, and only had eyes for my soon-to-be husband. Daddy was losing his little girl. I’ll never forget the first time he met Steve…. I was sent to take an early bath, as he wanted a man-to-man conversation with him. Of course, I kept the water running low because I wanted to hear. He was reading him “the riot act” as they say, and how he better be in love with me, and not do anything to ever hurt me. Well after, almost, 46 years of marriage this year, I guess he complied! (I met Steve while he was stationed at Warner Robins AFB)


New Perry Hotel: Photo from Wikimedia Commons  with a creative license

Daddy took us out for dinner at The New Perry Hotel the day we returned home married …after our little excursion to Aiken, South Carolina. Why did I marry there…. long story, but if you must know. Steve was in the Air Force and soon being transferred to Thailand, from Loring AFB in Maine; he wanted to leave me home as his wife. My big brainstorm was that if we weren’t going to plan a wedding, we’d run off without any parents and marry. I had heard you could marry the same day…no blood tests – no waiting; we learned quickly, after arriving, that there was a 24-hour waiting period… I hadn’t done my homework!

The day we left for Connecticut, daddy rose early and left the house before I was even awake. He called later to say goodbye, and apologize that he couldn’t make it back before we left. I learned later from a friend of his that he was having a hard time dealing with me leaving; I guess he couldn’t bring himself to say goodbye to me in person. If only I had known, I would have searched him out for that last daddy hug!


My biggest doll obsession was always Barbie, but I did have a baby doll I kept all these years… my Madame Alexander baby. She is now my new hat model for the granddaughter’s hats, and she never complains!

pink grey hat

My Alexander Baby Doll modeling one of my many knitted Baa-ble hats!

Barbie is who I most remember mostly playing with and I’ve kept her, Ken, and Midge safely tucked away in a Barbie case for many years. Mama was Barbie’s personal seamstress; often in the summer she’d let all the girls and go to her and place our Barbie clothes orders… returning later in the afternoon to pick them up. Mama sat at her sewing machine all day just to sew for Barbie… that’s a loving mother!


Barbie, with friend Midge, has lived inside this case since the mid ’60’s. How interesting that my Barbie was a red head in light of my daughter and two granddaughters…. also red heads! Look how cute Midge is with that flipped up hairstyle, so popular back in the day, but the blue eyes they gave her is just a wee bit scary!

The leopard stole is the one item in Barbie’s wardrobe that my mother stitched… and that I saved. Hmm, wonder what she cut up to make that? I only wish I knew what else she made for Barbie, but neither one of us remembers at this point! Don’t you love my Barbie and Ken doll case, but my Ken seems to be MIA. Did he run away because he was balding; he once had a small fuzzy head of hair, but over the years, he seemed to have lost most of it. I will be on the hunt for him!


I don’t remember any dreams as a child, and I very seldom remember any of my dreams now, but my husband has the wildest and craziest dreams ever. I often ask him what he dreamed about because he was usually kicking and fighting me in bed the night before. When I first came to Connecticut and lived with his parents while he was in Thailand, I had a very vivid dream that had me seriously questioning whether true or false when I woke; I dreamed about planes flying over and we were possibly under attack. It took me several minutes to get myself together, and it left me very shaken. I really wanted to call Steve in Thailand to make sure he was ok, as I thought maybe it was a sign; I knew it wasn’t possible to make that call, which was tough.

Several years later, after moving to Westville, we lived on the second floor of a two-family home; Steve worked nights, so I was home alone with the kids. I often stayed up late working on crafts, but after falling asleep one night I dreamed that I walked into the front room and saw the glass french doors ajar; they opened to the front hallway going downstairs. As I put my hand on the doorknob to pull it shut, I felt resistance, and I struggled to pull shut to close…. while thinking someone was on the other side trying to come in. I woke to my heart beating so fast…  Steve came home to every light on in the house that night at 3 a.m. I probably dreamed about those doors as I worried about them even before we moved there; they say that’s why you dream about things – things on your mind and worrying you.

The one dream I remember having over and over is one about my father… but it has finally stopped and I can’t even remember now when I last dreamed about him. In my dream I’m calling him on the phone, or trying to, and I’m having a hard time finding his number and then getting him to even answer the phone, and when he does answer he’s very evasive about seeing me. Another part of the dream is actually going home and looking for him at places where he was supposed to be, but I couldn’t find him; if I found where he was living, he was never there. At times in my dream, I’d get him on the phone and beg to see him, but I can’t remember why I never could get there. So what do my dreams mean…. well I don’t know. I can only assume that I wanted to see and be with him, but when he remarried, things changed. Strange how dreams occur… I guess they happen when your mind or self-conscious works overtime at night.

Diary: I guess my diary qualifies as my first blog…. but it was just personal for my eyes only!  Even though each day was only a few lines long, I wrote super small, making sure all my “important” thoughts fit in. I’m sure I wrote on every nook and cranny on those pages too, and I still wrote off and on in them until I married.

I remember having several of those diary books… the ones that came with a little key to keep prying eyes out. Really! Who would pry in my house – I had no siblings to pester me about reading them.

And what did I do before I married…. Yep…. I did one of my most regrettable things ever – I threw them in the trash! I can still see them laying there in my trash can by my bureau. I’d like to slap myself silly now for doing that… “self – what were you thinking?” I wasn’t! I didn’t want my new husband to happen to read all my silliness, so I threw away all my teenage thoughts, silly boyfriend troubles, loves and hates and whatever else written between those book covers. Knowing my husband as well as I do now, after almost years of marriage, he would never have read them or even want to.


Just think, one of my granddaughters could blog those diaries to all the world one day… if I had kept them. My dream is that someone possibly found and rescued those diaries from the trash, but where are they? I’m sure there are people who collect diaries… Hmm, is there still a chance for me! What’s the odds? Yeah I know, it’s a 500 million shot to one, that they’d ever show up, but a girl can dream… and hope!

I’m sure if I ever had the chance to re-read them, I surely would have a good laugh at myself for being so silly in worrying about “boyfriend” troubles. And knowing what I do now, I would surely have sent that boyfriend packing that gave me trouble… causing me to shed tears over him. I remember telling my daughter, if he’s the right one for you, he won’t make you cry!


Our first dog was part German Shepard and part Bird Dog – and mama named him Butch. She got him when I was really small and we were living in Union Point. While I have no memory or photos of him, I’m told I learned to walk by holding onto his tail. He guarded me in the yard and “no one” came into the yard that he didn’t know, and often even who he did know, approached cautiously unless mama was in the yard also. Besides keeping people out of the yard, he also didn’t let me leave the yard… being one-part bird dog, he’d point you before he bit you; not sure if he actually bit anyone, but that’s what mama told me. He was my first playmate and between him and me, we broke almost all of mama’s little ceramic figurines. I’d pile them into his mouth, and he’d stand there just holding them, well until mama came into the room and yelled his name. That’s when they broke! If she yelled his name, he dropped them on the floor. I guess that’s why mama only had a few to survive; I have only one which survived the years. 

My little “one” figurine that has survived with me for sixty-five years of my lifetime. It was probably either bought in Memphis or in Union Point, where we first lived. This could possibly have been one of my “heirloom posts” but I chose to include it here.

Mama and Daddy had a little terrier dog named Tinkerbelle they’d gotten in Memphis, but I think he died when I was a baby. She believed that someone poisoned him and threw his body in the city septic area below our house.

After moving to Perry, about 1957, someone told mama how chihuahuas were good for children with asthma… guess what? It wasn’t long before I had a chihuahua, and I named him Jeanne’s Teddy Bear. Whether it’s true or not about the asthma part, she always told me how she’d find Teddy wheezing after I went to sleep, instead of me.


My first introduction to structured dancing was going with my parents and watching the country square dancing they did. While I only watched for the most part, I was allowed to participate in the “last call” dance of the evening. To me, that was the highlight of the night!

I remember taking ballroom dance lessons, learning the fox trot, box step and the two-step, and how to hold your partner. When I asked mama, she had no memory of me doing that, so I hope I’m remembering correctly. LOL

As I became a teenager, I loved to just dance, especially all the new dances like the Twist by Chubby Checker, the Pony, and a crazy one called the Mashed Potatoes. I think the Twist was one of the biggest dances that had everyone, old and young alike, getting up on the dance floor to give a try. I know mama always liked to twist if I was playing records and dancing.


Besides driving my parents crazy, let me tell you about when I turned that magic age of 16 and how I got my drivers license. At 15 in Georgia, they had the coveted “learners permit” allowing you to drive with anyone over the age of 21. I drove mostly with my father, and it wasn’t always quiet in the car! He’d yell at me that I wasn’t doing it right, and I’d yell back…  then he’d tell me “do as I say, not as I do.” Several times I pulled over and yelled, “well then I’m not driving with you anymore.”  Eventually, we’d smooth our tempers and be back on the road. I don’t remember driving with mama, she tended to leave it to him.

Drivers Ed:

This was the course in school everyone couldn’t wait to take. The girl’s basketball coach, Coach Brady, taught everyone to drive. There was usually about two or three of us who went out driving at a time. But the best part was, he stopped at 7-11 and let us stock up on candy and drinks, while he bought cigarettes; which was the real reason for the stop! Once all stocked, we were on the road and usually driving toward Warner Robins. Anytime I drove, especially if I was last, we were always late back to school as I never passed any cars. I was afraid to pass no matter how hard he urged me… and I still don’t like to today. I always feel like I’m going to miss seeing that car coming up behind me. The other kids in the car never minded…. who wanted to get back to school!

Drivers License:

Ok, so now I’ve learned to drive… next was the dreaded license test! I guess I studied, although my husband will say today that if I really read my book, I’d know the answers to what he asks me about driving.

Well, the day finally came and Mama took me to get my license. There was no DMV there… you went to the local State Patrol office in town. We walked in and when they asked mama what she needed…  they just smiled and said well have her sign here! I took No written or driving test…. I just signed my name and they handed me my license – I was good to go… and drive! And the funny part of this story is that not only did I take No test, but my mother never did either.

The day my father took mama to get her license in Union Point, they walked into the local police station and the officers were fiddling with the TV…. they wanted to watch the ball game. Well, it was their lucky day…as daddy repaired TV’s for a living. He offered to look at their TV, and shortly… they were watching the game. They then asked what he was there for, and after telling them his wife wanted her license, well you can guess what… she just signed her name and they gave her a license; No written test and no driving test! My husband still shakes his head over the whole thing!

When I moved to CT. and went to visit the dreaded DMV for my license, the young instructor said, “well I guess you should take a test.” Immediately I said, “are you serious, I’ve been driving for 4 years, why should I take a test?” I guess I intimidated him, as he just looked at this long-haired, 19-year-old Southern girl staring at him and said, “OK,”  and soon handed me a CT. license!


No matter how old you are, divorce still hurts. My parents divorced the year I graduated from high school…. I was 17! Although I knew for years that their marriage wasn’t what it should have been, they were still together, and now it was finally over for good. My mother moved home to care for her father, while I remained with my father to finish high school. I was graduating in a few months and no way was I changing schools at the end of my senior year.

I think those months I lived alone with daddy, was when I became very close to him, although it was a rough ride for him at times. He had never been the disciplinary one at home, and I tested him many times. When mama was home, I walked the line, had a curfew, and didn’t dare test her, but daddy was easy to get around. One weekend, I even ran away, packing my suitcase and walking out. I hid out with friends and worried him all weekend, finally returning home on Sunday evening. Why did I do that…. what was I mad over…. I really have no answer, but I was hot-tempered and testing him out I guess.

Most times, wherever I told him where I was…. well I wasn’t! I think he had people in high places that kept an eye out for me and I found that out when he told me that a friend of his in the  GBI paid him a visit. I’ll keep mum on that one!

He always gave me a check to keep in my wallet in case of an emergency…. That was a mistake as I loved to shop. One day I walked into a hangout called The Coffee Shop and there was a blue suede fringe purse that just called out to me; remember I grew up in the “hippy” era. I didn’t have fourteen dollars in my purse, but I did have a check! When Daddy read his bank statement that month, he asked: “so where is this coffee shop you ate at“? He didn’t get mad, just told me to reconsider how I use the next check; one of his most-often sayings to me was “better tighten your belt!


My blue suede “hippy” purse – Even my daughter used it during her teenage years. See daddy, it got lots of use and now it’s vintage!


Why am I adding this, who knows… but it came to mind, so I saved it for last. Desserts were not often in my house when I grew up. Mama was a great cook, but not a baker! I was such an underprivileged child! Mama never baked chocolate chip cookies, not even one time! Poor Me!

We did have many sweets at the holidays though because her clients (she was a beautician) brought cakes, cookies, and candy. That’s where I first tasted Divinity! The only dessert mama ever made was her lemon pie and it’s still a favorite of mine, as well my daughter. I bake many desserts from cakes to pies and cookies, too many to mention, but mama’s lemon pie is still one of my go-to’s that I just have to have every so often. I recently made one at mama’s house while there and she definitely enjoyed it, and I might just have to go make another one now that it’s on my mind. Come on over and sit a spell and I’ll be glad to serve you up a slice! If you’d like to read about foods, just click on my A to Z where I wrote on Southern foods and memories.


Want to read more, then click… 2017: A to Z… All About Me!

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

My blog is at: https://everyonehasafamilystorytotell.wordpress.com/
This entry was posted in 2017: A to Z - All About Me, Daily Writings and funnies..., Family Stories and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 2017 A to Z: Letter D… All About Me

  1. Evelyn Smith says:

    I love your memories stories. So full of mischief. I truly do wish we had known each other as we were growing up but that just wasn’t to be.
    I do look forward to the next one, in whatever category it happens to be.

    Liked by 1 person

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