The Dinner Party

Another in the series of Joan!

Joan came running out of her house as I was getting into my car.  “Hi neighbor, I’m having a dinner party and I want you all to come!  I am going to Japan to teach dance and I’ve rented my house.  I want you to meet the new tenants.”  Could this really be happening?  Maybe this time she was really going?  “They’re a really nice couple, you have to meet them!”

“Ok, I said, when is this party?”  “Tonight, 6:00.  I’ll see you then!”

I didn’t call Tom, I didn’t want to hear his ranting.  He got home around 6pm and I’d just tell him then.  I was headed to Joan’s with Katie and Max when Tom got home.  “Where are you going?” he demanded.  “Joan invited us to a dinner party, she said she’s moving to Japan and has rented her place.  She wants us to meet the new tenants.”

“I don’t for a minute believe she’s going anywhere” he sputtered.    He reluctantly agreed and we headed up the driveway to a once glorious home, now as faded as Joan’s old wedding dress.  Nothing but weeds surrounded the place.

We reached the door which was open and there was a young couple standing outside on the small deck.  We exchanged greetings.

“You must be the new tenants” I said.

“Yes, I’m David and this is Janet.”  David was medium height, sandy colored hair, dressed conservatively in kakis and a blue striped shirt.  His blue eyes were anxious.  Janet looked more relaxed, blond shoulder-length hair, dressed nicely in white Capri’s and a pink summer sweater.  Her smile was friendly.

“I’m Stevie, my husband Tom, Katie and Max.”

“Where’s Joan?” asked Tom.

“I don’t know, there doesn’t seem to be anyone here, although the door was wide open when we arrived, just before you got here,” said Janet.

We all walked inside, Max gripping my hand, and Katie, Tom’s

The tiny kitchen was directly to the right, uninviting.  There were no groceries on the counter and no signs of dinner preparation.  Janet opened a drawer to find silverware in a dirty silverware container.  I wandered into the house where the dining table had nothing on it at all.  No chairs around the table, it looked unused.  I walked back into the kitchen where Tom was asking David and Janet if they’d put a deposit on the rental.

“Yes, I gave her a check for $3000 yesterday” said David, looking a little sick.

“Stop payment on it as soon as you get home” said Tom.  “She is not leaving.”  He told them the stories of what we’d been through with her since we moved in.  “There are no chairs around the dining table and the table is not set” I said.  Everyone went to look at the empty table.

As if on cue, we heard loud cabaret music, the bedroom door burst open and out tap-danced Joan in a top hat and tails, white gloves and fishnet stockings.  With her high heeled dancing shoes and a cane held in both hands, she swung it wildly side to side and then overhead.  She had her hair done in curls which were escaping from the hat framing her chubby face.  Eyebrows painted on in high arches, blue eyeshadow, black eyeliner and false eyelashes accentuated her bright, dancing eyes.  She tapped across the room in front of her stunned audience, not believing what we were seeing.

This picture is not actually Joan but as close as I could find to her outfit!

“Hi everyone!  Did you like my number?”  Joan was grinning from ear to ear, clearly excited about her dramatic entrance and our stunned silence.

“Hi neighbor!  Did you meet my new tenants?  They don’t know that I’m not moving just yet; I’m going to live downstairs in the storage room for a while until I’m ready to go to Japan!”

David and Janet looked horrified and Tom and I exchanged glances.

“We met them Joan; I thought you were having a dinner party” Tom said.

“I am! I am!” she exclaimed as she ran to the kitchen.  “Where’s my chicken?  I know I had chicken!”  She looked in the refrigerator, on the counter, on top of shelves and no chicken.

“It must be in the car!” she exclaimed.  “Neighbor!” she said to me, “come help me look for my chicken in the car.  It must be in there!”

Joan and I walked down to her old Honda Hatchback.  I could see a pile of boxes through the dirty back window.  Joan opened the front door, no chicken.  She came back to the trunk to open it.  I got another shock as her trunk was full of shoes, there were shoes everywhere.  Open shoe boxes strewn all over.

Like the picture only in the trunk of her car!

“Do you like my new shoes neighbor?  I got them all today at Macy’s and Nordstrom’s!  I was there for hours!  “Nice Joan” I said.  The trunk did not hold any chicken.

“David’s deposit is in Joan’s car” I told Tom.  “Her car is full of new shoes strewn all over the place.”

Meanwhile Joan rushed back into the house, looked behind the kitchen door for her chicken which wasn’t there.  She saw 5 year old Max standing there.  “You!” she said, “You took my chicken!”  Max’s lip quivered and he burst into tears.

“That’s it!” yelled Tom “We’re out of here, you’re crazy!”  We grabbed the kids and couldn’t get out of there fast enough.  “You haven’t had any dinner! Joan yelled.  “We don’t want any!” Tom yelled back.  David and Janet followed us out and we never saw them again.

A few hours later there was a knock on our door.  There stood Joan with a plate of chicken.

 

So if you think you have ever attended a bad dinner party, just remember, it could be worse!  I would love to hear about your worst experience with a dinner party.

 

 

Joan’s Junkyard

It was the horn that did it.  It had been going on for about two weeks.  I knew Joan had rounded the corner onto Olive Ave when I heard the honking.  We lived at the very end of the block over a tiny bridge but you could hear it the minute she started down the street.  It was as if she was alerting the entire neighborhood that JOAN HAD RETURNED.

It brought back memories of a very interesting dog we had when we lived in Chicago.  We got him when he was 5 years old, for protection, as we lived in a sketchy neighborhood.  He actually had papers and his name was “Sir Pottamus, Lord of Bartairs.”  Pot for short.    Our brownstone backed up to an alley and when we’d go out back to walk, Pot would look left and howl, then right and howl.  He wanted everyone to know he was out.  Sort of like Joan.

We had lived in our house for less than a month and been working on it nonstop.  Tom and I didn’t even have a bedroom.  We kept moving from one room to the next trying to figure out where we wanted our bedroom.  We had torn out the orange shag carpet in the kitchen and a friend and I were faux painting the plywood floor underneath.  Our appliances had not yet been installed.  It was time for a break and that horn supplied the perfect excuse.  We picked Twain Harte, up in the mountains towards Yosemite, and had packed up the car and the kids when Joan appeared.  She came out onto her Juliette balcony and said

“Hi neighbor, where’re you going?”

“Twain Harte, why?”  Tom said.

“Oh, that’s good.  You deserve a break.  How long will you be gone?”  Joan asked.

“A week, maybe less, why?”  Tom asked again.

“Have fun, don’t worry about a thing here, I’ll watch your house!”  And she disappeared.

As we pulled away, Tom and I gave each other worried looks.  “Well, that made me feel so much better, Joan is going to look after the house while we’re away.”  I said.

Twain Harte is a wonderful place and perfect for kids.  We had a great week and forgot all about Joan, the fact we were carrying two mortgages and our wreck of a house.  A week later we pulled into the driveway we shared with Joan, exhausted but renewed. Then we walked up the steps, along the sidewalk to get to the front door and stopped.

We had a long covered entryway leading to the front door.  It was full of discarded furniture.  A fiberboard cabinet, table, chairs, a desk and even a toilet.  On one side of the house was a narrow deck that was in great disrepair and had no railings.  On it was an old couch and a stove!  We were in shock.  Joan came out onto her Juliette deck at that moment.

“Welcome home neighbor!  You have such a big house I knew you could use some furniture!  I hired that same guy from the biker bar, the  Peso, who took the pictures of me in my wedding dress and he emptied my storage room and moved it over to your house.  I know you’ll put it to good use.  You can thank me later!”  Joan seemed especially excited.

“We don’t want your old furniture!” Tom yelled.  “Get it out of here!”

“That’s no problem neighbor, just get rid of what you don’t want!”  With that she disappeared .

 

 

 

 

 

Joan’s house is on the left in this picture, our house below.  Too close.  The long expanse on our house once had an old deck that had to be removed.  That is where Joan deposited the stove and couch.  You can see her Juliette deck on the front upper part of her house.

We knew we had a problem.  Could we actually live here with Joan as our neighbor?  What would she do next?  Would there be more to come?  Yes as it turned out, a lot more!

Stay tuned for the next Joan story.

The $1000 Round of Golf

I started playing golf because I got a great deal on golf clubs.  When I asked Tom if $220 for an entire set of clubs including the bag was a good deal, he said “Why are you asking me that?  You don’t even play golf.”  So I replied “Well maybe I’ll start if that’s a good deal on clubs.”  He rolled his eyes and said “Why don’t you just get me a set, I actually play golf and need new clubs.”  So I got us both a set.  That was 16 years ago and I’m still playing with those clubs.

Although I like the game of golf I am really just a hacker and even though Tom has been playing his entire life, he is too.  So when we were recently in St. Andrews, Scotland, of course we had to play a round of golf.  We weren’t good enough to get on the Old Course at St. Andrews, you need a handicap that I will never see, but we were good enough to play at Kingsbarns where they don’t check your handicap.  It turns out that Kingsbarns is where the Women’s British Open will be held this year in August, so I was really excited.  When you’re watching that tournament, just think that I actually played the course.

The day of the game arrived. It was cloudy and cold but not raining.  On the way to the course at 6 AM with no breakfast or coffee I sunk into my thoughts for the upcoming day.  “Why am I even playing here? I’m not good enough to justify all this money for one golf game, my handicap is so high, my game is so inconsistent that if I play well one round, I’ll be terrible the next.  Wait, did I play well my last round of golf?  Oh no, I did! That means I’ll be terrible today. I’ve never had a caddie before, he or she will be so depressed. I’m playing with three men, one of whom I’ve not met and is a high school golf coach.  I’m playing with rented clubs. The day has already become a disaster!”  Of course I was expressing these thoughts to Tom who counseled me that we were paying the caddy so he’d be nice and that I needed to think POSITIVE swing thoughts not negative.

We got to the course and Kevin and Tommy were already there.  I gave Kevin a hug as I know him and Tommy seemed like a nice guy.  So we got our clubs and our bucket of balls and went to the practice range where I tried to hit my rented clubs.  Every one I pulled out I couldn’t hit.  Because the first shot I was going to hit would be with a driver my last practice shot was with a driver.  Naturally it dribbled off the tee to about 50 yards.  It was time to go.  When I met my caddie he was not the friendliest so I am sure he drew the short straw among our caddies and got the girl.  In the picture, the guy in the background is my caddie.  Note the folded arms.  Not good body language.

Standing at the first tee, with 3 men and 3 caddies watching, my heart pounding, I closed my eyes and swung the club. It landed in the fairway and went over 100 yards! None of the men had hit into the fairway and I could see my caddie breathe a sigh of relief. There were pot bunkers everywhere and Tom was in most of them all day. To the point where his caddie started complaining about having to rake so much and muttering about charging extra for it. On hole #7, I passed by Tom’s caddie raking the 8th pot bunker Tom had hit into.  He looked up at me longingly, wishing I’m sure, he had drawn the short straw and gotten the girl as I was playing the best round I’d had in years.

I found myself walking next to Tom going to hole #9 and said “Why aren’t you hitting any of your long clubs, the woods?”

“My caddie won’t give me one” he said, pouting.

Laughing, I said “See, negative thoughts do work!”

There were three of us in the same bunker at one point and Tom said “closest to the pin getting out wins and the other two buy the beer.”  Tom’s caddie looked at the other caddies and said” closest to the pin rakes” betting against Tom.  Tom won and his caddie had to rake, much to the delight of us all.  Do any of you readers remember seeing Robin Williams and his take on golf in Scotland?  If you’d like to refresh, here is the link but beware there is profanity:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcnFbCCgTo4

We celebrated our day with dinner at a restaurant where the food turned out to be fabulous.  We were even inspired to try the national dish, haggis. Haggis is everywhere.  You can get a burger with haggis, chicken stuffed with it, appetizers of haggis which ours was.  There are haggis and whiskey bars, odes and monuments to haggis.  Ours came with neeps and tatties.  I recommend that you google haggis.  It was actually pretty good. Skip the neeps.

Does anyone out there have a golf story they’d like to share?

 

What Happened in Scotland is NOT Staying in Scotland

Midnight in Cupar, Scotland. The street lamps are the only lights in the Village.  Everyone was asleep as it should be at midnight.  After renting a car we were on our way to St. Andrews after being up for 34 hours.  Portland to San Francisco to London to Edinburgh  We were two hours on the road when we got lost in Cupar.  Tom rounded a corner on what we thought was the way to the main road when it happened. The worst sound in the world at midnight in a foreign Country. The crunch,  the curb and the tire blew.

It turns out not everyone in Cupar was asleep.

As we got out of the car, a woman walked by with a cigarette dangling out of her mouth.  “That’s bad, you can’t drive on that” she said.  “You’re gonna havta move that car, this road is really busy in the morning and you’ll get a ticket.”

 

In the morning?!   How would we make it til morning?  At that point our marriage seemed really rocky.  We moved the car down the street and lo and behold there was a light.  We bolted out of the car and went into a take out pizza place that was just closing.  The proprietor took pity on us.  Tom tried to call Hertz.  His phone message was “no carrier.”  Same with mine.  The extra money we had given Verizon to have our phones work in Scotland really paid off.  The pizza guy pulled out his phone, dialed the number we gave him for Hertz and handed the phone to Tom.  They were not happy.  The Hertz person said they’d call a tow truck which would be there by 2 AM and that we’d have to come to Edinburgh Airport the next day to get a new car.  The marriage got rockier.

Paul, the cheerful tow truck driver, showed up at 1:30 AM.    He had a big flat bed tow truck which he winched the car up onto.  We got in the cab with Paul who talked all the way to St. Andrews in his Scottish accent which was difficult to understand.

One thing he did say was “Going back to the airport tomorrow is dumb. The Hertz people are nasty there and it’ll take 5 hours.  I’ll drop the car at the Kwik Fit Tire place in St. Andrews,  and you call them in the morning to see if they can either fix the tire or give (i.e. sell) you a new one.”  So he did.  Then telling us that St. Andrews was one of his favorite places he proceeded to give us a tour at 2 AM in the morning.  We saw the Castle, the University, some ruins, his favorite coffee shop and then took us to our hotel at 2:30 where we checked in exhausted.

At 8:30 AM Tom was up calling Kwik Fit.  Because it’s Scotland, it was pouring rain, cold and windy.  At Kwik Fit they told us it would be a few hours so we walked into old St. Andrews, took a tour of the Castle and perused some shops.  It was still raining and cold, and we were soaked so a cafe sounded like the perfect answer.  After Tom decided we should split a panini of tuna, tomato and mozzarella cheese, it arrived at our table.  The mozzarella was not melted on warm tuna with tomatoes, instead it looked like they had dumped a can of tuna between two slices of bread, plopped a few (3) tiny mozzarella balls on top with two tiny slices of tomato. Things were not looking good.  At this point I was very unhappy with Tom’s overall decision-making AND, especially, his driving.  He chose to go to Scotland, he was an inept driver and now he’d selected a bad cafe and a really bad sandwich.  How could I have married this guy?  How can we make it to our next anniversary?  Our future together looked as dark as the weather outside.

Back to Kwik Fit where they hadn’t even looked at the car yet. Finally someone took pity on us. They couldn’t fix the tire but they were able to sell us a brand new one which set us back about $320. At this point my T-Chart evaluation of our marriage showed a long list of negatives and zero positives.

After a few days in St . Andrews we drove on to Inverness.  I was on the edge of my seat, extremely nervous, as the roads were really narrow, mostly curbed or with rocks right up to the edge or hedge rows covering stone walls and we were driving on the left.  “Tom, watch out, you’re going to hit the curb, or a rock or something!”  After about a day of this Tom turned to me and said  “If you know what’s good for you, don’t say another word about my driving or about anything I may be about to hit.”  “Don’t you even want me to warn you if you’re going to hit something?” I asked.  “No.”  After that I tried to focus on the scenery which was wonderful but it was hard.

My favorite Inn was the Corregior overlooking a Loch in Fort William.  It was an old fashioned Inn, full of antiques, wonderful people, cozy, great food and a bar where Tom tasted whiskey with the proprietor. She’s looking a little crazy in the photo so I must have caught her at an awkward moment.  I could have spent hours in their dining room alone which is on the left.

We also saw our first Hairy Coo (Cow) there. Scotland has unusual cows which are celebrated but we hadn’t seen one until we were on the road and coming back to the Inn when we saw them. Luckily there was a place to pull over so we did. I couldn’t get closer but they have long hair and the hair completely covers their eyes. There was a blonde Coo there also.

With memories of the Corregior Inn fresh in our heads, our next stop was Drymen (say Drimmen like the locals do) where we had the worst hotel room so far.  Walking around the small but very picturesque town, we saw a hiking path we followed which we found out later would have led to a Castle had we kept going.  We stopped in a little cafe called Skoosh ( the only one in town), had afternoon tea and crumpets. The most wonderful couple, Denise and Robert, owned the cafe and took us under their wing.  They gave us all sorts of advice, conversation and steered us to a restaurant for dinner that we loved. We would have eaten at the hotel but this place was less money and the food was great!  Proof is in the picture which is pork with Yorkshire pudding on top of it.  Delicious!

Meanwhile the tire light had gone on in the car.  Left front tire, the brand new one.  We were losing air. After Drymen we were headed back to Edinburgh Airport where we were returning the car.  It was about 50 miles away. Between Drymen and Edinburgh is the town of Sterling and 8 miles from Sterling, we stopped in a small gas station to put air in the tire. It was raining of course.  The really nice gas station man looked at our tire and said “You’ll never make it to Edinburgh on this tire.  It has a slit in it and is bubbling.  You might make it to Sterling and there’s a Kwik Fit there where you can  get a new tire.”  You know the rest of this story.  With about 15 miles to Edinburgh, we once again had to buy a new tire.  This time we got a discount.  It was only $270.  Both of us remembered hitting a pothole which must have torn the tire. If you ever see Kwik Fit in Scotland on the stock exchange, buy stock, it’s a sure winner!  Especially if Tom is headed to Scotland.

The end of the trip was the Lake Country in England where the scenery was spectacular.  We took a train from Edinburgh to Penrith where we were renting another car. As Tom got off the train in Penrith, he hustled to get his coat and our bags but I thought he was being hasty so I took my time.  Big mistake.  Who knew I had only 30 seconds to get off the train?  Tom was on the platform with me still on the train when the door locked and we were about to leave the station. Tom was frantically waving to the conductor and with the help of a train attendant on the platform, got the conductor to stop. They let me off but were not happy.  If I had not gotten off that train the next stop was at least 70 miles away…

We had a great time in England’s Lake Country where the weather was great, the B&B’s were fabulous and we had no more drama.

I’m glad to be home!

Can anyone out there top our mishaps with your own travel mishaps?

Stay tuned for our St. Andrews $1000 round of golf.  Will the fun never end?

Is This a Nightmare or is this my Neighbor?

They say silence is golden.  However if you write a blog, not so much. If you are following my blog you will notice a new and hopefully improved look, not to mention a new name. So really, I have my excuses.  All my previous blogs are now in categories which you can access by hovering over the blog heading above.  I hope you like the new look and thanks for sticking with me.

At some point in our lives most of us have experienced the neighbor from hell.  I have been meaning to write these stories for a long time and I hope you enjoy my first one.  I am calling them “The Joan Stories.”

The Wedding Dress

It was a rainy Sunday afternoon at the end of February 1987 that we first saw what was to become our home. Larkspur, CA at that time was a sleepy undiscovered small town in Marin County. My how times have changed! Now it’s one of the most “chi chi” and expensive places to live in the Bay Area.

 

It was no ordinary place we stopped in front of that day with our realtor and two small children.  A Chinese Tea House made a formidable entry, as did the Moon Gate to the right of that. We went through the Gate searching for the front door. No one answered our knock, so our realtor opened the lock box and in we went.  It was dark and a bit spooky. The house was rented to 12 Rock Musicians and even though it was 3 PM, no one was out of bed. We walked into an enormous living room with a huge brick fireplace and ceilings at least 20’ high. There were blue Christmas lights strung up all over the beams which had been painted black. We pulled open the curtains to reveal three sets of sliding doors onto a large veranda. We walked outside and fell in love. We were caught up in the magic of the place. The Teahouse, cypress trees surrounding a tiled reflecting pool, a greenhouse (which turned out to have someone living in it), a stone fireplace next to a hot tub and finally in back on the hillside, a small Chinese gazebo.

Tom and I didn’t say much to each other but went back inside where by this time our realtor had aroused one of the tenants. We went into his bedroom—dark with a mirrored ceiling, peeling grass cloth and kicked in wood paneling along one wall. The bathroom was painted black and dirty dishes were piled in the sink. We backed out of the room and knocked on another door. A dog growled. We never saw that bedroom until we bought the house. The kitchen had orange shag carpeting, orange wallpaper, rusted old appliances and a stuffed Iguana in the refrigerator.

We left, looked at each other and said YES!

We had a lot of work to do before we could move in by June 1st and spent most of our weekends working on the bedrooms, especially the kid’s rooms so those would at least be livable. On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in May, Tom and I were there working in the living room when we heard a voice outside.

“Neighbor, oh neighbor!”

Tom went out onto the deck. Coming up the steps was a woman who looked to be in her mid-50’s with reddish brown hair tied back with a satin feathered headband.  She was wearing an old wedding dress.

“Hi neighbor, I’m Joan and I live in the house right above you.”

Our house had once been a summer estate for a wealthy San Francisco family and the house Joan was talking about had been the Grandparent’s and was indeed right on top of us on the other side.

“Don’t mind me, just go back to what you’re doing. I’ve hired a photographer I met at the Silver Peso (the local biker bar downtown).  I convinced him  to come take pictures of me in my wedding dress. I told him to come here as this is the perfect place for the pictures, you have such a big room, and I won’t be bothering you!”

Joan proceeded to twirl about the place and as she twirled you could see the panel sewn into the back of the dress to make it fit. Sure enough we heard a motorcycle roaring up the street and stopping at the house.  It was the photographer looking a lot like a Hell’s Angel.

“Up here! I’m up here” yelled Joan.

He bounded up the stairs and sure enough had a camera. As Joan twirled and pirouetted in our living room and outside on the veranda, he shot the pictures.

“Oh neighbor, did you know I am going to Japan to teach Japanese businessmen how to dance?  They don’t know how to dance over there and I am going to teach them.”

When Joan was satisfied with the number of pictures he took, she promised to give us some and the two of them swept away.

That was our introduction to Joan. Who was this woman?  Was this a one time thing or the start of something else entirely.

Obviously it was just the beginning as I have several other stories.  Are you willing to tell me about your worst neighbor?

 

Larry Kruppenbacher

“I fell for her Windsor Chairs and she fell for my Samplers.”
Larry and Judy Kruppenbacher  joined our bocce group last year.   I watched as they came to the park where we were going to play and remember thinking  Oh no, surely he is not considering joining our group, he looks like he can barely lift a bocce ball let alone throw it down the court.

As I am in charge of our bocce group and make the teams up weekly, I immediately put Larry and Judy on my opponent’s team.  Well, I was so wrong.  Larry not only could throw that ball down the court, he was darn good at it.  Yes he was frail looking but I only found out why much later in the season.

Our bocce group lives for the happy hour we go to after we play. We often consider just going to happy hour and skipping the bocce altogether.  One particular evening I found myself sitting next to Larry at a restaurant in Lake Oswego where we play.  We were outside on the patio overlooking the lake.  I asked Larry a question and it must have been a good one because he was off and running.  I found myself ignoring everyone else there which never happens and just listening to Larry as his story was so fascinating.

Larry and Judy moved to Lake Oswego, OR from San Jose, CA in 2013.  They moved to  Mary’s Woods which is a continuing care retirement community.  It’s Catholic but if you’re not Catholic they will still let you in.  It’s a very popular place with several buildings consisting of apartments and also townhouses down by the river.

Larry and Judy moved to leave the ever-changing and chaotic Bay  Area environment and escape the high cost of living.  Boy, could I relate.

What fascinated me however was what Larry did at his new home to reinvent himself.   Back in the “old days” Larry was an obsessive antique collector of early Americana and had his own business Cape Cod Country. 

That background came in handy as Larry loved to peruse the shop at Mary’s Woods for the cast offs of his fellow residents.  With his discerning eye he could spot something  of value and he would snap it up for next to nothing.  His first “find” were two sterling silver baby cups for $7.  He took them immediately to an antique shop in Sellwood, OR and sold them for $75.  Feeling very proud of himself, his next coup was a pair of sterling candlesticks for $6.  Off again he went  to Sellwood and sold them for $85.  As he was bragging about the money he made to his wife Judy, she told him he was taking advantage of the Mary’s Woods shop for his own personal gain and did he know that the proceeds from that shop benefited the Resident’s Fund for those who needed help.  Larry was immediately struck by a lightening bolt of Catholic guilt.  Larry then donated his profits to the Residents Fund and a new career was born.  He now culls the donated items for things he believes can bring more money if sold elsewhere.  He has brought in and donated over $7000 to the Residents Fund.  His reputation has grown and he is kept very busy valuing items for Mary’s Woods residents.

Larry has never really found “the big one” in terms of thousands of dollars profit, but has a couple of  success stories to tell.  He once bought an old cast iron eggbeater at a garage sale in San Jose for $10.  Judy did her usual “what are we going to do with that” routine but changed her tune when he sold it for $750.  He sold it to the eggbeater expert who had written two books on eggbeaters.  Because he lived only an hour away, Larry and Judy got to see his 1200+ eggbeater collection.

Another find occurred in Oregon when Larry picked up a painting of Rooster Rock on the Gorge for $1.  It was by Eliza Barchus a renowned Oregon painter of Mt. Hood and Gorge scenes.  He had it restored and sold it for $800 at a local auction.

I asked Larry how he and Judy had met.  This was his answer: ” I fell in love with her Windsor Chairs and she fell in love with my Samplers.”  Larry has the driest wit of anyone I know and he is  quick with a quip.  Judy also is an antique collector and that is how they met.  Judy had us all crying with laughter at one happy hour as she was picking on Larry and for once Larry had nothing to come back with.  I am so happy to know the two of them.

Many happy hours and laughs later, I found out why Larry is so frail looking.  He has Parkinson’s disease.  This only slows him down a bit.  There is another man in our bocce league with Parkinson’s.  Both are good bocce players and you can tell both are former athletes.  Both have great senses of humor and in a competition I would be happy to have either on my team.

.Our dog Larry.  Yes, named after that Larry.