Our Aunt Pat

May 19th, 2016

pat

Very few of you will remember Brother’s wife, Pat Gill (now Moon).

Maybe George and Barbara will but since Brother and Pat divorced in 1970, there are few memories.

Pat is the mother of three of our cousins, Debbie Denmark, Jim Gill and Mindy Smith all who live in the Akron, Ohio area.

Pat is brilliant, was the Controller at her father’s company, had a beautiful singing voice, and Brother and Pat on the dance floor were a sight to behold…Fred and Ginger would have been proud!

She was a single mom who raised three children and earned her Accounting degree by going to night school after a long day of work.

She enjoyed her bourbon…first Ancient Ancient Age and then Maker’s Mark.

After retiring early, she moved to Puerto Vallarta Mexico and spent about 10 years there before moving back to Ohio to be with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

She loves her cats and would fly them to Houston for veterinary care when she lived in Puerto Vallarta…yes, she really did!

Pat celebrated her 77th birthday on May 13th and is extremely thankful to be able to celebrate that birthday.

After 77 years of excellent health (not counting the brain aneurysm when she was in her early 20’s…yes she survived a brain aneurysm!), she had a major stroke on September 10th, 2015.

Sure the years of smoking, the daily 5:00 adult beverage and age had something to do with it, but the stroke just came out of the blue.

Her son Jim recalls speaking to her on his daily 5:15 call on his way home from work…all was normal.

At 8:30 that night, he was called by his sister Debbie to get to the hospital quickly because mom just had a major stroke and the outlook was grim.

It was grim but after months of recovery, Pat is now walking, talking, etc.

No longer smoking and no longer enjoying her bourbon, she eats oatmeal every day.

There was no better Euchre partner…with Pat on your team, you were going to win.

Pat was also a Master Bridge player. If you have ever tried to learn bridge, you realize it’s a game for really, really smart people…she was really, really smart.

She loved her daily Jumble, her daily crossword puzzle and always had a stack of ‘puzzle’ books – very difficult puzzle books.

Pat wasn’t a huge sports fan but believe it or not, she loves Tiger Woods.

One of her greatest memories was being within feet of Tiger as he practiced on the third green at The Bridgestone at Firestone Country Club in Akron.

She was also a phenomenal cook…she made the best Caesar Salad with homemade croutons…no one comes close.

Another one of her greatest memories was meeting Michael Symon at his Lola restaurant in Cleveland.

Not just meeting him, but speaking with him as he knelt down beside her to speak with her and then autograph her menu.

Pat was rarely at a loss for words but that was one of those rare occasions.

She will never be the lady she was prior to September 10th, but she is alive, she celebrated her 77th birthday and there are three children who still call her mom.

-James Gill

“Her Legacy”

May 3rd, 2016

Forward
Many thanks to Bernadette for copying the pictures for us and to Carol for sharing some of hers. Thank you to ALL OF YOU for contributing…even those of you that took forever to get it in….past deadline!! As you read the following pages REMEMBER…all the happy times spent together…for in the end all that is left is just that…MEMORIES.
I apologize in advance for any typos, mistakes or errors I made copying your letters.
A lot of poems and sayings you read in here were found in Mom’s belongings. She kept them to maybe read again because they touched her or to share with someone else, so we tried to include those as well. There are lots of little things only the original author will understand: Grant was ADAMANT about getting his “dancing men” in, Viki wanted sunflowers because her and Mom planted some seeds shortly before her death, I collect dragonflies, etc, etc. All put together so lovingly, first by you and then me.
Even though this edition seems like a gift to you, they are ultimately, a gift to Mom. Happy Birthday! We love and miss you so much! Her legacy to us…LOVE. Let’s keep it going…
NOW…get out your glasses if you need them, a box of tissues (you’ll DEFINATELY need them) and your telephone because someone will be calling you soon.
ANN
FTfrontpage

Joanie

Joanie

This past Sunday, May 1 was the fifteenth anniversary of Joan Gill Hartman Karst Donathans (or Mom as we knew her) death. In keeping with the ten year anniversary of FT on-line here is another golden nugget. I believe this was created a year or two after her death and released on her birthday. It is a beautiful piece of work. Many people worked on it but Ann organized, chased people and ultimately put it together. Looking at it now, there some really touching and amazing things in here. So thank you Ann.
With Mothers Day and her birthday coming up this is good timing. I don’t remember much about the events 15 years ago but personally it was a very difficult time for me. I was having panic attacks at work and ultimately lost a job that I truly loved. Beverly then Mom died. Then there was the divorce. Through it all I remained sober.
My memory of standing in the church with everyone and then someone rolled out moms open casket and it was pretty much a blur after that. I remember my sisters openly sobbing and I was having a difficult time trying to cry but the get together we had at Barbs afterwards was pretty awesome.
Mom would have enjoyed all her new grandchildren and great grandchildren and she died way too young, 64. This June 27 she would have been 79 if she survived. That is still a doable age. I could see her on Facebook crying and laughing at all of our posts. I could see her cradling her new GREAT grandchildren and even still cooking and making her kick ass potato salad.
Where do we lose that innocence of being young? So sad how wonderful people just get lost in time. Life is a gift. A blessing.

I am posting Ann’s wonderful Family Ties Special Edition right here. It is 52 pages long so I created two view-able PDF’s. One is 26 pages and the other is 25 pages. Somewhere along the line I lost page 16. Sorry. Some of the photos in here are worth resizing and I’ll be putting them in PTMYT.

Joan_part1
Joan_part2

Fear of dogs and loyalty

April 22nd, 2016

Butch

Butch

It’s funny how nicknames end up sticking with someone. George Costanza was sick of his name and tried to get a nickname, T-Bone and ended up with Coco. Howard Wallawitz ended up with “Fruit Loops” instead of “Rocket Man” I got a nickname when I was too young to remember. There was a neighbors dog that I was really afraid of and his name was “Butch” So in order to traumatize a young toddler (and DYFES didn’t exist at the time) the name Butch was thrown my way just to see my to see my scared reaction to it. So it was “Hey Butch…. ha ha ha … he’s petrified and crying, isn’t that cute?” So after so many “Hey Butches” the name stuck. In some family circles, even to this day, I am still called that.
In one of my many different work environments I was once called “Hank” This nickname also stuck only because Glenn Haley just kept calling me that. We worked together for years in a depressing dark warehouse and went out almost every night in his car with an eight pack of bud nips cruising for chicks. It was the thing to do back then. At the end of every night Glenn would look over at me and say, “Where the hell are all the chicks, Hank?” And I never knew the answer to that question so I would just shrug my lanky shoulders and say “Don know Glen. Don’t know. See you tomorrow morning”.

Fear is nothing to fear
When I read back on a lot of my past posts in this blog, I see a lot of confirmed fear, starting in my youth and continuing on up. What I never really shared is my absolute conquering of fear. One step at a time I have confronted great fears in my life and kicked the living shit out of them. It’s taken 55 years of walking into many rooms full of unknown uncertainties and people and then realizing how stupid I was to have even let fear overcome me like that. Maybe just for survival purposes it seems have I survived fear. Probably only 8% of it is pure heroic bravery. But I will never overcome my fear of dogs, especially German Shepard’s.

Eat Drink and be Merry (you only got one life)
I used to blame a this fear on not really having a father around, and to an extent that might be so. If we can all just realize just how human every one really is. No one belongs on a pedestal. 50 years ago (see last post) my hero father was blindsided by something that really affected him greatly. Haven’t we all at some time or another reached that low depth that my father writes about? But you know what..In 50 years nothing is going to matter. This horrible thing that he wrote about (and I believe it to be infidelity) that caused him to express this drunken slur of words on pain and “dazement” (that isn’t even a freaking word!) means nothing now. Everyone involved with it is dead and “the cross to bear for life” is just buried in time except for on this 50 year old yellowed page in his journal.
I also laugh a little when I read another post by him in the same journal 1966:
“First, cut down on drinking, limit yourself to a few a day. Second, give up entirely the track. You fully realize it is too expensive, too habit forming. Third, cut football games from 7 to 3. This was your plan a few years ago anyway.”

Jaybird

Jaybird

Drinks, “a few a day”? So you drank everyday? No wonder you had stomach and intestinal problems. He doesn’t even mention the smoking. Mom and Dad were at the track all the time. This is what I say about that: you should enjoy life and do whatever it is that makes you happy. Why stop going to the track? Have a few drinks everyday. To each his own.
Seven football games a year. I had almost forgot the NFL was on a 14 game schedule back in 1966 so there were 7 home games. But why cut down on football games? Maybe because the New York Giants were 1-12-1 in 1966? Their worse season ever. That’s a good reason.

Loyalty
Come on Pops be a real fan..….like me! I ended up sleeping in my car for a few months eight years ago because of economic disaters and I still somehow paid for my season tickets and went to the games. Also, at that time the Giants had extorted from me a fee just to have the right to purchase tickets in the newly built stadium. A PSL they called it. Personal Seat License. Come on they said, lets just create a license to buy seats from us. Who do you think you are? Now they are losing season ticket holders and begging them to stay. I was so late with this PSL. ($2,000!) I kept extending the deadline on their stupid demands and might have been the last season ticket holder to have finally finish paying it.

Last season I went to every game and they were horrible. Most times they had the lead and lost it. Most losses were what they call “heartbreakers” but after the game we watched the sun melt into the Jersey sky, cooked marinated steaks and steamed clams, clinked our plastic cups together and said “Fuck it!”

Wait till next year.

My fathers seats were last row of the mezzanine. The seats were so good the players wives sat in the same section.

My fathers seats were last row of the mezzanine. The seats were so good the players wives sat in the same section.

April 20th, 2016

This is a tragic page in this book and like all books it has this one.It is a page of heartbreak, of loss of faith, deep personal pride plunged from highest levels into pits of darkness, of return of dark area in childhood and in summation of deep deep hurt. The most tragic event in my life has been fulfilled. The most dreadest fear realized in respect to human dignity. And without overemphasizing, I can honestly say that this experience has been the most disappointing if not the biggest disallusament of my entire life.
To protect those concerned, the circumstances, the innocent, no mention will remain anonymous in order to protect the people involved and circumstances from embarrassment should ever this writing fall into innocent hands and the episode being embarrassment to all concerned including myself.
The hurt has been unbearable at times and will undoubtedly remain so for one does not forget great disappointment and disallusioned by talking. The grief hangs heavy and for one of the rare times in life I approach tears, dazement and bewildered that it can’t be true. In essence for Gods plan many disappointments are in store for me in lives road but please Lord don’t ever let me reach the point of nervous collapse again in my life.
In solution, and for all of life has a solution if we so desire to look for it, let this be my cross to bear in life. We all have crosses to bear and honestly I feel I’ve had my equal share not to discriminate that God has at all been unjust. He has been more than generous in his gifts and blessings to me. But in truth, I have the most painful cross to carry for the rest of my life. Now it seems heavier than what it should be and there are many days when it will be heavier than it should be. Everytime I think about, I have cheated of lifes finest dignity, my personal pride has been dumped to low ebb in my lifetime. I pray now that I use the above writing and dear Lord that you render me the grace to withstand the weight and the hurt of the cross that you have given me to carry. Amen. (sic)
anger
George Charles Hartman 1966

Jaybird

April 14th, 2016

Robert "Jaybird" Jones with Beverly, Butch and Greg. circa 1963

Robert “Jaybird” Jones with Beverly, Butch and Greg. circa 1963


For most of us that don’t know, we have a cousin in Las Vegas Nevada. He is 61 years old today. When I was growing up we called him Jaybird. He called me Butch. We still use those nicknames and that is a beautiful thing. I know many of you don’t know him but he remembers you. Actually check out this other old blog post is a photo of him and our aunt Gerry. Gerry was our fathers sister and they actually have a brother that is in California. So this is just a simple request to keep Uncle Billy and our cousin Jaybird in your thoughts and prayers.

the inevitable

April 8th, 2016

If there is an empty space in my life I usually try to take a vitamin D or sit out in the sun for an hour and I usually feel better. I’ve practiced, sometimes successfully Transcontinental Meditation but found that I need the perfect space, time and silence for it to work. If that doesn’t help, then I need to do something creative. Ever since I was a little kid I loved and was fascinated with animation. I used to create them in books by drawing one thing at a time on the bottom of a page. Old school stop action animation. My first one was in one of my fathers old Hardy Boy books of a stick figure running and catching a football.

About ten years back before smart phones, I found out that the camera I was carrying around with me all the time had video. That was the beginning of the end for me. My kids were young and I tried to get stuff of them before they grew up. So I had all these little movies and decided to just mish-mash them together just to get them up on YouTube (for all eternity I was hoping) So there I was with my free time on top of a skyscraper in New York City, my job in pre-press, using my free time to put these little things together. They were ridiculous. But what I remembered most about putting them together was just how much fun I had doing it. I mean, I loved graphics but now add some movement and then music and sound effects, I was in heaven. No plot. No rhyme. No reason. Ridiculous.

"Eraser Head" left and "Where Do The Clouds Go" right.

“Eraser Head” left and “Where Do The Clouds Go” right.


The weird kid that I was, when Greg and I were in Westfield and we went to the Music Staff on Elm street to buy music, Greg would load up on Bob Dylan and classic rock and I was buying albums of sound effects. Sometimes I would make the sound effects myself if I couldn’t find them in the Music Staff. Once again, in today’s world, Internet to the rescue. Now I have an endless library of sound and music.

The two photo albums I received from our aunt Carol were in terrible shape. Something about the Florida humidity and weather just kills old photos. I had promised her long ago that I would do my best to save them. She thought it would take me a week but it is an endless job, the results of which have ended up somewhat archived here on Family web site at Photos That Make You Think.
Nobody makes real photo albums anymore.* That might be one of the saddest things to ever happen to this digital society we now live in.
A lot of the old photos on PTMYT needed quite a bit of restoration in Photoshop before I posted them. You’re welcome.
One of my favorite pieces was a great old photo I found of mom in front of 710 Austin street in Westfield. She can’t be more than 19 years old.
I enjoyed this image of my mother so much that she ended up in a movie. Snowball.
retouchedJOAN
I incorporated Adobe Flash, Photoshop and constructed an entire apartment building in Adobe Illustrator with this movie. Getting the “camera” to pan in and out was a great revelation for me. The thing about this “art” as there is with any art is that there were many accidental explosions of brilliance! I was influenced greatly by the graphic novel Watchmen. The movie was brilliant. The recurring symbols and imagery, the smiley face, the doomsday clock were simply genius. The movie, even more so. In this two minute and twenty-five second YouTube video, “Where Do The Clouds Go?” I tried to make it all “cartoon” and that’s why it’s only 2:25. It was a lot of work but still a lot of fun.

The Radiator Woman and my mother in "Snowball"

The Radiator Woman and my mother in “Snowball”


This was a fairy tale land. So much better than Carteret. So much more elegant! This town was full of little nooks of culture and art. You could feel the energy in the air. Instead of traffic lights there were real policemen directing traffic and crossing people at the streets. The endless rows of shops and food. The old A&P. The clean back alley shortcuts. Grandma and grandpa Hartman lived on a third floor apartment right around the corner from Dads store. We went there often for lunch. These were the days, right? When everything seems so pure and innocent and carefree. Everybody is nice to you. Everywhere you go is magic. Everything has character and depth and the places even smell good. It is all burned into my memory. And then what happens? All the adults eventually die and things change. These were the good times and I thought they would last forever.
musicstaffWestfield was my second childhood. We knew the back alleys and mom and pop stores like the back of our hands. It still remains a charming town but has lost it’s innocence as everything does when you grow up. The smell of Woolworth’s during a busy noon time lunch. Tommies. Little Joes luncheonette. Even the smell of our own fabric store, Westfield Sewing Center. Greg sitting in the back room eating his hot dog lunch and reading the back covers of his newly purchased albums. Where is he now???

*another post for another time.

February 12th, 2016

jerryandJaybird

Ten Years After

February 12th, 2016

rememberwhen
It is (‘nt) funny how time flies. How it seems like yesterday I was sitting on top of a building in an office on the outskirts of Times Square NYC and with my down time I began playing around with web graphics.

This playing around and experimenting evolved into a family web site. I was fascinated by how things work on this thing The World Wide Web. I got books, I googled things. At the time there was a free web site hosting on Yahoo called GeoCities. GeoCities had become the laughing stock of the internet. It was just hilariously awful. Before I had begun “Family Ties” I wandered around GeoCities and saw some really bad amateur web design. Everybody and their friends wanted a web page. But I swore mine would be different.
vision
Ok yeah, I tried to be different and hope that I had achieved a little sophistication in what had become a very complicated family web site. I had fun and I learned. I had many problems that I figured out on my own. The page builder that Yahoo provided was horrible. Although I was impressed with their “layer” technology it was the beginning of a nightmare when it came to editing. The real issue was that web technology was growing by the speed of sound almost daily.
There became different codes and languages and software. I spent days learning Flash and trying to create animation. Today Flash is almost obsolete in web development. You have to go to school. Thanks to my many years in the printing business I was able to impersonate some form of design. When I did prepress for all these famous and not so famous designers, I tore apart their work to see how it was constructed digitally and I learned ALOT. I worked with many prepress guys and gals that just saw what we did as work. I saw the ART. I saw the colors and textures. I was inspired and I appreciated good design. I remember getting some artwork by a big design firm in New York to do a wall mural in a Barnes and Noble in Clifton NJ. I opened this thing up on my Mac and it was a hundred layer perfectly orchestrated Photoshop design. I grabbed the girl scanning things on the work station behind me and said, “Will you LOOK at that!?”
“Yeah. nice. Right. Ok. Is it lunch yet?”
And I spent my entire lunch discovering the layers of this wonderful artwork.

So it is the ten year anniversary of Family Ties. I still struggle with it. It has been flattened down to a much meeker version. I never have time for it anymore. I have lost my desire for it. It is like an old girlfriend that I was once very much in love with. Now I don’t know who she is anymore and I don’t care. Yet, I still come here, for the most part .. to blog. To vent. To express.

Because it is the ten year anniversary I want to bring some of the old stuff back. The good and the bad. The “Remember When” page was good. Here it is for you:
REMEMBER WHEN?
I used to think it was something that could always be added on to.

Oh, retreat from the waves

February 3rd, 2016

Oh, retreat from the waves
        endless waves and sand(calculating numbers-problem solving-)
to this delicious solitude&folded in your cool hemisphere sf=original output
divided by current scale
when the earth does sigh and weep
        laborious tide (oh)
i’m tossed out and about, mirrors and flames
rosebuds explode, from the bottom of  Jersey dirtystreets
strings and songs. hanging fellowships| strange sun} eclipsed shade
rest in soft peace sylvieGirl childof the sunlight keeper of
The clouds
          parading past us)slice of summer at the beginning of a
Revolution and evening traffic inches across Garden state asphalt
Farms plowed over cement foundations; plastic trees; fake flowers
dried up vegetables.Rotten sandwich\ my cleverSilence deep and dense
pilotLight_blUeFlame=my true love. Ladder touching the sky
lust trust dust mustThoughTs take root
On the side of the road I met my brother once
drunk as a skunk half in the bag two sheets to the wind geological shocks,
he spat his words into a browN paperbag.Blew it up with hot air
and
popped it.
the warm variety of risk, this poem My best ee C.imitation

the doctors misdiagnosis of bipolarI’m just nuts you dumbasshole

neondusk a reworked poem from 2000
wednesday3february2016

January 22nd, 2016
after the divorce...when you spend a whole day with your kids and then drop them off at their new home. as you watch from the car they stand at the porch and knock until the light goes on. and then you drive away without them. some images are just burned into your memory forever...

after the divorce…when you spend a whole day with your kids and then drop them off at their new home. as you watch from the car they stand at the porch and knock until the light goes on. and then you drive away without them. some images are just burned into your memory forever…