I did something very unusual Monday afternoon. I took a walk around the block, -with my neighbor. I’ll call him MIKE. He’s a public servant who happens to wear blue -and silver. MIKE arrived home at about the same time I was heading out. MIKE works crazy hours- so, we’ve got that in common. Another thing, he and his wife are raising a toddler, an infant, and a dog. I’ve been there, done that- flea & tick spray still in the cab. My kids are now grown and gone. But, they come back! And with their children! 5 of the 7 grands were with me on this day. We were headed out, the kids on bikes, for a ride ’round the block. And that’s when I saw MIKE roll up. He’s cool. But, sometimes I just don’t know. Maybe, it’s his job. Maybe it’s mine. We’ve had our moments- as neighbors will- “Breaking News again, huh, Don? Don’t you ever have any ‘good news?’” OUCH! (Here’s some good news: It’s called a “Good Fence!” ZING! ) Ha ha… yeah. I don’t believe our meeting this time was a coincidence. Considering the Breaking News of the day, I found myself looking for his piece of silver… to see if he had added another color to it – black. Not yet. Back to the task at hand, our children! They were ready to roll and set some new land speed records on this urban course! MIKE planned the same thing with his 3 year old, an adorable little girl, on a custom bike with no pedals- how cute! So, the 8 of us stormed the neighborhood! And while the kids did their thing, we, kinda did ours… two neighbors, two dads, two friends, just watching, and walking and talking. About what? What else? The weather, and our children.
Time to say goodbye to the Rubber Duck who has taken up residence in the water outside the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk. The Hague area of Ghent has been buzzing with activity and people since the 40-foot tall duck arrived on May 17, and the hashtag #chryslerquack has been used countless times as folks shared their selfies with him. So, what is it about that duck? I admit, I’ve visited it each of the three weeks it’s been around. I’ve adjusted my running, bicycling, walking, and driving route just to check him out. When I first spotted him I was amazed at how huge he was. I told someone I could sit and stare at that duck all day. The bright yellow figure just makes me smile, and it makes me smile to see folks young and old- from all different backgrounds- get joy in the visit.
I posted the question on my Facebook page, “What will you miss the most about the duck when it leaves Norfolk?” Here are of some of the answers: “The smiling faces as people walked away”, “The fascination over something so simple as a rubber duck! It’s been wonderful to see how happy this duck has made so many people!”, “Just the simple fact of how cool it is! How often do you get to see a big yellow rubber duck floating in the water! I felt like a little kid, bursting with excitement when I got to see it.”, “How it has brought art and the museum to the attention of those who might not have known we have such an awesome, free place to go.”,”All the selfies with him.”.
I realize a lot of folks don’t feel the same. From the beginning, the naysayers posted comments about it not being real art. It’s there because the Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman brought the duck here as part of the Chrysler Museum’s grand reopening. The duck has made stops around the world, including Sydney, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.
The duck spent some time in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the fall. Someone posted a question on its Facebook page asking where it’s going next. The posted reply is, Rubber Duck at Chrysler : “It’s a surprise! Sorry, I have to keep the secret.”
I ran by the duck Tuesday morning and saw a small group of onlookers, a few media folks, and crews in the water with a deflated yellow blob.
I wonder how many people will track the duck and add its travels to their travel plans. Sure is tempting. For now, we’ll have to savor the memories and the selfies and keep smiling.
World War I had ended; Babe Ruth was just showing the sparks of explosive dominance on the diamond, Mississippi had become the first state in the union to ratify prohibition, and a most remarkable woman was just beginning her long journey of service to God and family.
America was just asserting itself as a world power when my mother entered the picture in 1918. A recent trip to Pittsburgh marked her 96th birthday, and Marie Schaad still had that authoritarian gleam in her eye, which always served as a warning to be on your best behavior–or else. She possesses a narrow sense of right and wrong tempered by tolerance and love. This woman’s life evolved like fine wine over the turbulent decades of the 20th century. The backdrop of her memories could serve any student of history. But modesty is another quality of mom’s DNA. So it’s no suprise that she is a reluctant subject for an interview.
“Everybody’s celebrating my age,” mom told me with an ever-so-slight tone of sarcasm.
I then asked about her earliest memories.
“I don’t remember anything anymore.”
“C’ mon mom, you used to tell me about going to movies with grandma.”
That was the nudge which opened the gate to about 1924.
“The first thing I remember is a clicking sound. You know, movies were silent in those days. That was my first recollection of the movies.”
Some recall traumatic scenes as a child. For my mother, it was a flickering black and white image playing in a dark ornate theater in downtown Pittsburgh.
“I remember one thing that scared the devil out of me. I was about 6. At that time, they had orchestras that accompanied the movies . One (movie) had a railaroad crash, and the music got louder and louder right before two trains collided, and that scared the life out of me. I wouldn’t go to movies for years after that.”
But she also remembers what could have been a real-life gangster flick which played out in her neighborhood during that same decade of jazz and bathtub gin. I wrote about it extensively following a previous conversation. You can read it here.
Movies and entertainment, pop culture, if you will, didn’t do much for mom. Her memories during the Great Depression center around the home, and what it took to get by. Many of you remember stories from grandparents and great-grandparents. I happen to be only one generation removed from that experience. My grandfather went from building homes and supervising huge construction projects, to barely earning enough to put food on the table.
“Grandpap couldn’t get any work. He did landscaping for 25 cents an hour. Uncle John had a secure job working for a paint company. They used to bring us food. I also remember eating a lot of stewed tomatoes with bread in those days. I got a job in a real estate office doing secretarial work: typing and shorthand. It was about $20 a month.”
It was during this segment of the conversation where mom talked briefly about 1930′s race relations and how it pertained to her job.
“We had a rental list–special lists for ‘colored’ people. I would get calls, and the voice on the other end would ask, ’Do you have anything for colored?’ Black people lived in the Hill District, (of Pittsburgh) and that’s the way things were then. It took a lot of years to change that.”
Then there was the scene with my father on December 7th, 1941, which Hollywood couldn’t have written any better.
“We were in a movie Sunday afternoon. We came out of the movie, and the newspaper boy was announcing the fact that we were at war. It affected us because we weren’t married yet. I figured dad would have to go to war. That kept us from getting married. ”
Mom’s patience is another one of her blessed qualities. She and dad dated seven years. He was initally declared 4-F because of his heart, but more men were being drafted in the final months of the war.
“I remember in 1944 that he said. ‘If I’m not in the army by spring, we’re getting married.’
Not the most romantic proposal, but my father was a man of his word. Mom and dad were married 31 years until he died in 1975.
I asked mom, a lifelong devout Catholic, about the assassination of President Kennedy, what it meant to her losing a man who shared her faith.
“I remember Bernie (my older sister) coming up through the yard, and she was crying. I think I cried for three days. It affected me that way.”
That meant something coming from a woman who always keeps her composure, and rarely did I see her shed a tear while growing up. Maybe part of that comes from mom’s generation. Emotions were kept to oneself. Family and work took precedence over leisure and laughter, although mom might be one of the happiest people I know.
She never complained about the daily load of chores that came with the title “housewife” in her day.
“It was everything. The rooms need painted? They were painted when dad came home. I finished the upstairs. I spackled the walls and put the textured paint and had dinner ready. I cut the grass, and made dresses and curtains. I didn’t have a dryer. Grandma gave me her dryer when you were born. I never watched soap operas–never got addicted to them.”
Quite frankly, with a schedule like that, there wasn’t time.
Mom has spent nearly a century on this earth embracing a style of feminine strength and simple dignity. She was never one to put on airs, so it’s no surprise her secret to long life is really not much of a secret at all.
“Don’t smoke. Don’t drink. And don’t get upset over things. I just eat whatever I want to eat, and I don’t eat too much. Housework was my exercise. Cutting the grass and yardwork. I also have steps here too. Steps going down to the cellar, and steps going upstairs.”
So much for gym memberships or zumba classes. Mom has been blessed with physical health. Besides her four pregnancies, she spent just one day in the hospital. But mom does not live by bread alone.
“Faith is number one, I used to go to mass everyday. Now I watch it everyday on TV. My walking is not as good as it used to be, so I resort to television.”
So how did she survive a near century-long trip on earth?
” Lucky I guess.”
My two sisters, brother and I are the lucky ones.
Two reasons why I’ve been smiling while I walked the scenic NOLAND TRAIL in Newport News over the past week. I’ll be smiling again as I hit “trails” all over Hampton Roads in the next five days. ELIAS, my oldest daughter’s February blessing is on the left. And “LIL ROSCOE” (aka- LIAM) is my partner KATIE’s handsome boy, born last July.
These healthy infants have a great opportunity to grow to a ripe old age, and physically do whatever they want, thanks to the MARCH OF DIMES. Wednesday through Sunday, I’ll be thinking of the boys as I pound the pavement with JIMMY RAY of “97-3 THE EAGLE.” We start at the Country Club of Williamsburg, 7am, with the goal of reaching Patrick Henry Mall by about 11. And each day, we’ll take a bite out of the 80+ mile route, inching closer to the goal of the oceanfront. Check the link for each day’s effort.
During that first FOUR HOUR trek with JIMMY RAY, we’ll each have plenty of time to talk (I’ll do a lot of LISTENING) about how to solve every problem in the universe. But when we’re not flapping our gums, the quiet moments will be great for counting our blessings- two of which you see, here.
Their moms knew what to do to help insure their successful births- thanks in large part to the work of the MARCH OF DIMES. In their words: “We help moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies. If something goes wrong, we offer information and comfort to families. We research the problems that threaten our babies and work on preventing them.”
You may know someone who’s waiting for their little blessing right now. You can help them by supporting me and my walking buddy, Jimmy Ray. Better yet, just go right to the source, the March of Dimes. Send them a check -and on the memo line, just write in that name that’s your reason to smile.
Each day, our MARCH FOR BABIES will shine a spotlight on the MARCH OF DIMES and it’s support of research to prevent premature births and defects. Check out the link to the map of our daily route, follow our progress, cheer us on when you see us on the street AND PUH-LEEZE support the MARCH OF DIMES. And to top it all off, join our MARCH FOR BABIES and WALK WITH US this SUNDAY, April 27, 2014, 830am at the VB oceanfront!
UPDATE : Racheal Judy emailed me today and said they broke a record over the weekend. The patient you see in this picture below is Melissa. She is thanking Dr. Tim Johnston, owner of Norge Dental Center, for saving 3 teeth that she would’ve lost in the next 6 months if she hadn’t gotten the proper care.
In the third year of the Dentistry From The Heart program, Judy wrote:
* 257 patients were seen
* over $100,000 of free dental work was provided completely for FREE
* 913 dental services were performed (including exams, cleanings, fillings, etc)
* First patient arrived at 12:10 am to get in line.
* Event was supposed to end at 5:00 pm, but dentists stayed until 8:30 pm to make sure no one was turned away.
Look at these pictures.
What a way to start your new week – with a big healthy smile!
There’s nothing like a clean fresh mouth! Some folks are scared to visit the dentist, but I just love how my teeth feel and look after my appointments. I realize everyone doesn’t have dental benefits or enough money to get the recommended cleanings and exams twice a year- and any other dental work that’s needed. And it can get expensive!
There’s a local group of dentists and volunteers working to make sure anyone who needs, can get dental care. The Norge Dental Center in Williamsburg is hosting its free Dentistry From The Heart event on Saturday, March 22 at its offices on Richmond Road from 8:00 am until 4:00pm. Fillings, extractions, or cleanings will be performed for those 18 and older who can’t get dental care elsewhere. Registration starts at 7:30 am. Patients should arrive early and be dressed for a long wait in line. Also bring chairs, blankets, snacks and water. Patients will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis. Rachael Judy from Norge Dental reached out to me a couple of years ago about this event and she’s been following up ever since. She emailed me this after the clinic last year, “Our very first patient came at 10:20 pm the night before, and slept there to receive care! His name is William and he drove from Gates County, NC. He and a few others camped outside. We served over 200 patients with free dental care! James was our patient who traveled the longest distance……He traveled from New Jersey to receive care. We were able to save a tooth he would’ve lost had he waited much longer.”
Judy said they had over a dozen dentists volunteer their time. They came from their own practices to help their four Norge Dental Center dentists serve more people. For more information, visit their website or call (757) 941-7682.
We’d love to hear from you after your visit. Post your comments and share some pictures with me on Facebook.
It seems we’re all affected by something I call “time creep.” Everything is starting a little earlier these days, and that would include 10 on your side, which has just launched a 4pm newscast. It’s an early appetizer of the days events, and news happening now. I couldn’t resist snapping off a few behind the scenes photos. See you at 4!
By now, many of you know how much I enjoy photography, which walks hand in hand with storytelling. I recently spent a few spare moments in between newscasts capturing the scenes of co-workers undertaking the daily responsibility of being on your side. I hope I captured some of the serious work and light-hearted moments of The Newsroom. See photos here.
UPDATE: The event was a success! What an amazing show of strength and courage by the models- all survivors of various forms of cancer, and support from their families and friends. Organizer Justin Pantophlet tells me they raised $5,293.00! Here are some pictures from Saturday.
It couldn’t have been possible without these sponsors/donors: Murphy’s Irish Pub * Stihl Corporation * Townebank * Bay Disposal * Moore Consultant Services * ESME Boutique* Beach FC Soccer * Dan Ryan’s For Men * Dennis Blackmore @ Creed Realty * Cambria Children’s Boutique * Rico Marcelo Photography * Kazam Bikes * MindTheatre art by Karl Greaves * Andrew Carney Portrait Photography * Lendy’s Café * Bravo’s * Mobile Beats * Tapped Gastropub * Keagan’s Restaurant * Brother’s Pizza * Route 58 Deli
Now, the inspiration behind the event: How cute is this picture? The man you see getting a sweet kiss from his daughter is Steve Golding.
He lost his battle with cancer at the age of 50. His brother in law, Justin Pantophlet, emailed me this info about Steve, “My brother-in-law passed away of lung cancer that metastasized to the brain. He is born and bred from New York City. A true city boy and he would help clean up after 9/11 everyday. As he was not a policeman or firefighter, he was not considered a first responder, but he he did help to clean up everyday. It is believed that the asbestos/smog that he incurred during the cleanup fostered his cancer. Unfortunately he was not eligible for the Zodroga Act. He did charity work for “Rolling Thunder.”
That’s the main reason why Justin became involved in raising cancer awareness. He invited me to emcee a fashion show he organized sponsored by “More Than Boobs” or MTB on Saturday February 22, 2014 from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Lesner Inn in Virginia Beach. Tickets start at $40. The band Borderline Crazy will provide the entertainment.
Just check out the model’s stories and you’ll see why this event is so special to so many people. I think cancer has touched all of our lives- whether it’s a friend or a relative or co-worker who has been diagnosed. My godfather, Sid, fought a tough battle with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer.
I visited him and helped him when he was getting treatment in Chicago and as we took our walk around the cancer ward I saw all different types of people… different ages, sexes, races, sizes… fighting the same fight. Multiple myeloma is the same cancer NBC anchor Tom Brokaw recently announced he’s battling. One of my sorority sisters from college was diagnosed with breast cancer and she has shared stories with me about the process from diagnosis to treatment and the struggles that come along with it especially the cost of treatment and the time needed to heal. Honestly, it seems I hear a new story every few days from people I work with or see in my everyday errands about their diagnosis or a family member’s.
Justin actually said he had no idea the “MTB Fashion Show” would become such a big event. He wrote,
“Never did I think I would be still be involved in doing this to this day. The idea was to have an event where we could support good cause that did not involve running or walking for a cure. While those events serve their purposes and raise a tremendous amount of awareness, I wanted to do something outside of the box. I started the organization over 3 years ago and the reason leading up to the start was because of my personal experiences with my brother-in-law. It started with the first event called “Beer for Boobs Tour” which is now our Cruising for Cancer Tour. This event is still a very popular and fun event that has evolved throughout the years. It was at that first event that I recognized how much people were starved for something different that is fun, entertaining, inspiring and where you can still get involved with participating in a good cause. One our guest stated to me that he was having such a great time celebrating individuals that are survivors and he was all smiles. That same individual is one of our cancer survivor models this year. From there, MTB organized our very first cancer awareness fashion show where we had only 5 models, once which has since passed away. That event had touched so may people by it stories, inspiration, celebration and entertainment that we have continued to host these fashion shows. The idea behind our events quickly became one of entertaining, empowering, celebrating and inspiring of the individual cancer survivors and patients. We do this on the basis on welcoming all cancer survivors. Among our Cruising for Cancer Tour and the cancer awareness fashion show event, we also had our very first karaoke contest in raising cancer awareness in October of 2013″.
These are pictures from last year’s event.
You’ll see my colleague Bruce Rader emceed. You can see more photos in this slideshow and pictures from other events the foundation has sponsored.
I’m honored Justin asked me to emcee the event and I’m looking forward to participating this weekend, hearing more stories, learning more about the disease and how we can all help those who are affected and their families. Hope to see you there! How has cancer touched your life? What are you doing to raise awareness? Please share your stories.
It’s a twice daily event; a meeting of the minds, where we bounce ideas off of each other for stories to occupy slots in the late news. The tone of these 3 pm meetings ranks somewhere between a business conference and a 2-for-1 happy hour (minus the drinks). This meeting takes on special significance, since it marks the final afternoon conference for two talented producers: Laura Mammarella is staying on the late news, with added responsibility. But David Craft is moving to our daytime line-up, as we endure a bit of producer shuffle. Laura has a quiet professional approach to the job, while David projects a booming personality, made bigger by an infectious laugh. Strong story ideas pitched by Lauren Compton and Jason Marks made this affair brief. You see more on our late news. But first, today’s top 5 at 5.
1.) 2 dead on Maersk Alabama. The former Navy SEALs, who worked for Virginia Beach based security firm, were discovered Tuesday on the container ship, which was docked in Port Victoria in Seychelles off the coast of Africa. Art Kohn is working his sources as I write this. The Maersk Alabama was recently featured in the movie “Captain Phillips,” which was based on the story of the ship’s hijacking by pirates off the coast of Somalia in 2009.
2.) Man accused of sexual battery at Norfolk school. Anne McNamara is following a story which requires some serious digging. A female student told police a man inside Bayview Elementary touched her inappropriately. Police have charged him with aggravated sexual battery. More details are coming at 5.
3.) Dodge tolls; pay the price. Andy Fox explains why taking alternate routes to avoid tolls at the tunnels could cost you in a way you may not have considered.
4.) New rules of the game? Anita Blanton has found the Virginia High School League, an organization which regulates high school activities, is considering new regulations on transgendered athletes.
5.) Two Bucks could get you $400 million. The only investment with that kind of yield is a powerball lottery ticket. But such a lucrative payoff comes with odds of winning it all at 1-in-175 million. In other words, you have a better chance of being crushed by a vending machine.
Nicole and I will see you at 5, and yes I will pony up a pair of George Washington portraits for that long shot, and avoid my next trip upstairs for that Diet Coke.
Everyone seems a little more excited since the sun peaked through winter’s grey veil, and temperatures reached 60 plus degrees. The newsroom is a little giddier, a little louder, and a lot busier. In between chatter on who was on Fallon’s Tonight Show premiere, and tutorials from Jane Alverez-Wertz on how to post stories on WAVY.com, our team is working their sources and pulling together the big stories to watch from your community. So, here are my top 5 things to watch during our 90 minutes of news beginning at 5.
1.) Man accused of killing infant daughter. Taking the life of an innocent child perhaps is the most heinous crime one can commit. Outrage is multiplied when you factor in this little girl was just five months old; totally dependent on someone for life, only to have it taken away. Anne McNamara has the difficult task of sifting through the details of a story all of us wish would never have to report.
2.) Murder suspect walks. Andy Fox is once again asking the tough questions stemming from the case of Eric Nixon, an 18 year old accused of murder in the shooting death of a 16 year old at a carnival. Andy broke this story last fall, and now has access to the internal investigation about how this could happen. Andy has some startling revelations in his story: a must see at 6.
3.) ”Fun” in funeral not funny. This may be difficult for many of our viewers with ties to the military. But two pictures posted to social media by a member of the Wisconsin National Guard Funeral Honor Guard are sparking outrage. You’ll see them on WAVY News 10 at 5. One of the captions reads: “We put the ‘fun’ in funeral.” The military is now investigating.
4.) Community fires back on gun violence. This weekend’s shooting just off the campus of Old Dominion University has obviosuly upset those who live in Lambert’s Point. Lauren Compton is with them now at a civic league meeting. She’ll tell us what’s happening at 5:30.
5.) Saturday snow days heating up. We’ve been on this when the snow was still flying Virginia Beach. Tonight, Stephanie Harris and Jason Marks are covering a proposal to drop a plan to make students attend school on two more Saturdays to make up for time lost during our winter storms. Both will have reports during our 90 minutes of news, with Jason staying on the story for our late night news.
The sun looks inviting as morning anchor Don Roberts sits in silhouette finishing up his long day. He gives me his usual “SEE yah” as I work in the friendly chatter of the WAVY newsroom. All of us are thrilled that nature has broken winter’s icy grip, and thus gives Don Slater a break from our ”Top 5 at 5.”