Monday, April 27, 2015


The Hoovervettes at Hearst Castle- March 21, 2015
“How many steps are on that tour?” was the first indicator that we were no longer 16 years old, but other than that…we were ready for any adventure. Nine of us (most from northern California – two socal gals) met in Cayucos, along the central California coast, for three days of memories, meals and moments of hilarity and friendship.
About twenty of us still maintain a primarily “virtual” friendship via Facebook and email that has lasted since high school days at Hoover High School in Glendale, California – class of 1956. I dragged along our senior class Scroll/yearbook and all of us dragged along an assortment of recollections and anecdotes that frequently led to the statement, “I don’t remember that!” Long term memory loss was minimal and resulted in detailed descriptions of a past event by another member of the group or a Google search on a former student. Scandals were modest compared to today’s campus stories (or we were still just too modest to tell them).
Several of the northern Cal contingent stay in closer contact through the support of geography, but we all share a common theme of having been together through a significantly powerful time of our lives. After graduation we went to college, got married, had children, got divorced (about half of us) and had various careers…were homemakers and absorbed a variety of traumatic illnesses, accidents, losses and loves. All the normal stuff. The special bond that keeps us pals is treasured by all of us, difficult to define, but precious and appreciated.
Left to right: Lois (she had good knees and thighs) Sue, Margo, Betty, Evvie, CZ and CindyJeanette and Barb were roaming the castle searching for the wine cellar with 10,000 bottles of vino.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


 I just saw the new movie version of “Cinderella” and during the same week received an email from the young woman I am mentoring in China, at Sias University, who said, "I am seeing a young man who seems to like me a lot. I think he loves me but I’m not sure. Maybe he just wants sex. What do you think? How do I choose a boyfriend?”

I find it fascinating that in this era women are still facing this same dilemma.
As for the movie…my pal Laurie and I both agreed that while the movie was beautifully done and the heroine is not without strength of character (in addition to great beauty and a kind nature) we feared that another entire generation of little girls will spend time and energy hoping that “someday my prince will come” and that dinner (or a dance in the ballroom) doesn’t just lead to a romp in the hay.
As for my young mentee in China, she also faces cultural challenges that are far more demanding, in terms of marriage and having children, than women on this side of the Pacific. Jerrie Ueberle, founder and visionary of the World Academy for the Future of Women at Sias University, alerted me to the fact that “This Chinese New Year has been renamed 催婚假期 (marriage enforcing holiday) and there’s a very good reason for this! For many Chinese parents with an unmarried adult child, spring festival has become the optimum time for parents to remind their sons and daughters of their burning desire to 抱孙子 (coddle a grandchild).”
What can we offer as advice to young women today? My father (born and raised in a South American country unique in its support of women-well in some ways, but not all) encouraged me from my youngest years to be independent, self sufficient and to have my own money so that IF I got married and something happened to my husband, I could still take care of myself and/or my children.
It was many years before I realized how unusual it was for a father of a young girl in the 40s and 50s to get that message. Most of my peers were told that a college education was a waste of time and that they should just be pretty and find husbands! What a shock to find themselves divorced, single and trying to survive on two or three part time jobs while their exes went off to start new families or who just disappeared completely. Even those who had degrees struggled because they had been good “stay at home moms” until the marriage fell apart.
When I asked Jerrie if these issues were part of the curriculum for students at Sias, she responded:
“We are focused on having the women see themselves as whole and complete and not missing anything. Then when they find a 'person of interest' it will be value added; not filling an empty space. But some never get it.”
I love and support the goals of a national organization that has been part of my professional and personal life for 15 years - Girls Inc – whose motto is to “Encourage girls to be strong, smart and bold!” Their mission is to “strengthen the whole girl by providing year round/holistic, compensatory and intentional programming focusing on STEM (science technology, engineering and math), healthy relationships, sound body image and teaching girls to use their voice to advocate for themselves and others.”

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sevilla… It’s not all flamenco and tapas!

 “Sevilla” … It rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? Images of whirling flamenco skirts, serious shoes pounding the wooden floors to the plaintive wail of a gypsy and his guitar…or late night parties filled with handsome men and gorgeous senoritas…sangria and tapas spilling over the tables as the revelers carry

on into the early morning hours. One has to wonder…when do these people actually work? Rose-filled gardens…fountains…and old
Or not…
Our arrival in Sevilla consisted of a terrifying taxi ride through those not so quiet streets that were barely wide enough to contain the car and a very slender pedestrian. My Google map had perfect instructions (which the driver chose to ignore) as he insisted that he knew where we were going and how to get there. My blood pressure rose as we twisted through dozens of ever narrower streets with more leaping pedestrians trying to get out of his way. Ken just laughed as I tried to explain (in my ancient and not so frequently used Espanol) that the Hotel Patio de los Cruces was NOT in the direction in which he was hurtling us forward.
He finally came to an abrupt stop –leaped out of the car-opened the trunk and placed our bags on the 4” curb and pointed down a dark lane. “Alla, senora, el hotel esta alla-no puedo ir al hotel –tienes que andar!” He might even have said “Buena suerte,” but I’m not sure. Desperate to disembark, Ken paid him and he tore off around a corner. I looked up at the street names painted on the buildings…took out the map – and begging for a favor from the virgin, whose image gazed down upon us from the tiles on the corner of the peeling stucco building, and began walking down an even narrower street. My relief was palpable and immense when we turned a corner and entered a sunny plaza with several tall iron crosses placed within a square with a wrought iron fence.
There on my right was our hotel! Fifteen minutes later we were in our tiny room (which looked out onto the plaza) and my granddaughter Alexis arrived to inform us that she had been on one of those streets where we had passed in a flash, and that she had yelled “Grams” and tried to wave us down only to be practically run over by said taxi driver!!!
“Welcome to Sevilla, Grams,” she said. “Glad you could make it!”
“Take me to your tapas…and some sangria,” I replied. And off we went!


  IN MEMORIAM Ken Maloney October 1,1945 to April 30, 2020 AS WAS HIS STYLE He died alone Drama free As was his style At 3 am I woke Sensed ...