Susie Duncan Sexton's Blog - Posts Tagged "michigan"

Latest "Homeward Angle" column, entitled "Pondering the Poffenberger twirlers." I honor the life of long-time friend Marge Hollenbaugh, from the early days of Marge's baton-twirling tutorials to recent memories of more grown-up joys and occasional heartaches.

Below is the full text if you have trouble reading the scanned copy, which can be found here...

Passing the Baton … by Susie Duncan Sexton

“Live each day as if it will be your last. Remember that you will only find ‘tomorrow’ on the calendars of fools. Forget yesterday’s defeats and ignore the problems of tomorrow… Take the baton, now. Run with it! This is your day! Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.” ~ Og Mandino

Vivid, joyful memories of Nancy and Mary Ann Poffenberger and my sister Sarah, in their 1950s high school days, lock those three girls forever in my awe-struck mind as THE prototype of teenagers having a really great time. All three “valedictorian-salutatorian” material, the trio excelled at whatever got attempted.

While they shared intelligence and spirited outlooks, comparable heights remained a different matter. The probably 5 ‘ tall petite Poffenberger sisters looked up to my 5’7” sister who was smart enough never to entertain the pursuit of copy-cat baton twirling.

I, 5’9” at the tender age of 11, lacked such common sense and begged my dad for twirling lessons. He recruited the youngest 15 year old Poffenberger sister, Margie, as my instructor who met me in the alley as she walked from her Collinwood Avenue house. Off we strolled together headed to West Ward’s wide-open, mildewy basement where she, with great finesse, demonstrated repeatedly the fine art of flip/spinning a gleaming metal rod skyward, barely missing suspended light fixtures and then whisked the “scepter” beneath each leg as she leapt straight up nearly bumping into the ancient, worn ceiling. Next, how about something called “Left Backhand Release Double Knuckle Pop”?? I was to follow her lead.

Picture Mutt & Jeff! Abbott & Costello? The Tin-man & the Scarecrow? Thelma & Louise?

Her patient endurance of my awkward gymnastic attempts -- to be something and someone I was not -- would earn her a fiver from my indulgent folks several Saturdays in a row, no doubt.

I mastered sluggish figure eights with my relatively agile right wrist, then alternating from one hand to the other as creepily slow as molasses, finally attempting to roll the threatening weapon behind and across my bony shoulders, consistently clunking the back of my head. To this day, I maintain some residual ability to repeat successively exactly the same three moves -- only in agonizingly slow motion.

Those three girls, also peppy car-hops at Clarence “Cotton” Gall’s Eighth Wonder of the World drive-in “The Barrel” on Main Street extended, achieved local fame as major players. Yes, MAJORETTES! Perky! Plucky! Sarah and I became pretty proficient at Canasta, Scrabble, croquet and badminton, instead.

Marge, a tad older than I and considerably shorter, disappeared from my life until a quarter of a century ago. We reacquainted ourselves when she served as an exceptional teachers’ aide at Marshall Memorial, while I struggled valiantly as an addled substitute teacher.

We bonded one particular afternoon when I barked at a frisky, third grade, bespectacled boy who was so full of life he simply could not remain seated at his desk: “For heaven’s sake, Shane, sit down!” A horrid, boisterous reversal of initial consonants, involving the letter “s”, roared across the partitioned communal Marshall Memorial set-up, echoing throughout the over-sized room – from class to class to class! Instead, I thundered out the spoonerism: “For heaven’s sake, Sane, ____ down!”

Marge and I became adult friends for life at that precise moment.

We biked. We celebrated births of her grand-children. (Marge perilously approached accidental primitive midwifery when darling Erin entered this world!)

Marge served as a cheerleader for “Don Sexton, Mayor” every time he vied for that position. I drove her to pick up her husband’s truck at an Albion gas station the afternoon Jerry suffered a heart attack on his way to work and was rushed by ambulance to Ft. Wayne. “There for each other” we two…always!
She attended our Roy’s very special one-man summer concert in 1999 at our C.C.H.S. auditorium and became such an instant fan, so startled that absolutely every seat was not occupied, that she immediately decided to write a letter-to-the-editor chastising those not present in the audience! (She also revisited her twirling prowess during our backyard post-gig party that evening. Her age then? 57!)

She and Jerry drove miles to Roy’s once-in-a lifetime performance at Dearborn’s Ford Performing Arts Center for “Side by Side by Sondheim”!

Dropping by Marge’s whenever I walked home from Burnworth Pool, I’d beg for supper cuz I was famished and she’d feed me before I crawled allllll the way to my own house. Marge and I consistently defeated Jerry and Don at card-games. We spent some Christmases and New Year’s Eves together and Thanksgivings also. We compared heart-wrenching accounts of being misunderstood “baby sisters”, totally commiserating…always bursting into laughter instead!

We porch-sat, phone-chatted, bragged about our kids’ successes, and informed each other of local illnesses, births, and deaths. Marge bought a computer long before my brother-in-law Mac gave me one of my sister’s after Sarah died. Marge literally would sprint three blocks to present print-outs to me of wacky animal pictures…and also questionable jokes! I was a captive audience! Marge never ever missed sending us our first Christmas card of the season…for over 20 years.

All of this is just to say that when I found myself at Smith’s Funeral Home hoping to console her remarkable family last month, I recalled our adventures and wished to chat with HER. Marge honestly looked wonderful, only asleep. A fabulous mom, grandmother, wife, daughter and sister who served her community well…but best of all, a genuine, fun, funny, and one-of-a-kind person would be the very best characterization of my dear friend.

Hugging her soul-mate Jerry, I commented that Marge and I degenerated into “zaniness” whenever we got together. Jerry corrected me, “…Both of you behaved just as ‘zanily’ when separate as well!” Laughter in the funeral parlor…I am sure Marge approved!

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Read about movies and nostalgia, animal issues and sociopolitical concerns all discussed in my book Secrets of an Old Typewriter - print and ebook versions available. Also available in both formats at Amazon.com

Meet other like-minded souls at my facebook fan page

Visit my author website at www.susieduncansexton.com

Join a great group of animal advocates Squawk Back: Helping animals when others can't ... Or won't
THE PENNY SEATS theatre company presents “She Loves Me,”
a classic musical about romance, mistaken identity, and old-fashioned social media

Ann Arbor, Michigan – In an internet age consumed by social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Match.com, the idea of two lonely hearts connecting as anonymous pen pals may seem quaint. The Penny Seats theatre company aims to correct that assumption with their summer production of the award-winning musical classic “She Loves Me,” opening July 26 at Ann Arbor’s West Park Band Shell.

“‘She Loves Me’ is about real people, with real flaws and real problems. It's clever and sort of cynical in places, but yet, it has this incredible romantic hopefulness. Audiences will be drawn to the humor and the edginess…but will then hope, in spite of themselves, for the fairy tale ending,” observes returning director Jacqui Robbins. Robbins, The Penny Seats board secretary, adds, “With so many people making internet friends they have yet to meet in daily life and with online dating, there is a revival of this idea that the perfect person is out there if only you write the right letter. That makes this show timely again.”

In this classic musical by a trio of Broadway's best-known creators (Sheldon Harnick, Jerry Bock, and Joe Masteroff), two workplace rivals spend their days bickering and their nights falling in love as secret pen pals, while their quirky coworkers deal with a spate of other problems. Said to have "one of the best scores... in musical theater," the show has enjoyed a well-deserved resurgence in recent years.

The show is based on the play "Parfumerie," by Miklos Laszlo, which was also adapted cinematically three times: "The Shop Around the Corner" with Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan, “In the Good Old Summertime” with Judy Garland and Van Johnson, and “You’ve Got Mail” with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

"We already had a huge change of pace between ‘Goodnight Desdemona’ [The Penny Seats summer offering and inaugural show last year] and ‘What Corbin Knew’ [in the Performance Network’s ‘Mosh Pit’ this winter], and I think we'll get the same sort of energy from the shift to ‘She Loves Me,’” noted Russ Schwartz, a founding member of the group. “The main thing is, we're ready to draw in new people, both in our audience and among our collaborators, and these shifts keep the group exciting for our current community while constantly offering new points of entry."

Added Penny Seats board vice president Matt Cameron, “After two years of existence, The Penny Seats wanted to display their versatility by offering a musical. While The Penny Seats are no strangers to music, a full-fledged musical is a massive undertaking. However, it was very important to us as a company to provide our audience with something new and interesting; an outdoor musical.”

Choreographer and fellow board member Victoria Gilbert affirmed, “Some of our strongest roots as company members originate in musical theatre, song, and dance. This is what we do!”

This summer’s production will mark The Penny Seats second foray in West Park, after last summer’s well-received debut there. Rachel Murphy served as stage manager last year and will be producing this summer, “I am most excited to be coming back to West Park. I really enjoyed the community setting that the park offered. I loved how many people stopped and watched while we rehearsed and were so excited that we were there. I appreciated that so many people could walk to the park and enjoy a picnic meal with a bottle of wine before the show - what a great way to spend a summer evening!” The Penny Seats will partner with What’s Cooking again this year to offer picnic dinners for pre-order.

For Rachel and her husband Sean, The Penny Seats are a family affair. Sean, like Rachel is also a board member. He echoed, “I'm excited to be returning to West Park! Last year, I joined The Penny Seats as the set builder and stage hand for my first ever theater production…West Park is a beautiful venue, and it’s great to see people outdoors, enjoying live theater. This summer will be my first musical, so I'm really curious to see what that's like from behind the scenes. I know it's going to be fun!”

Beyond the beautiful venue and the camaraderie of performing live outdoor theatre, the group is excited to be presenting a classic Broadway show.

“Such clever lyrics and lilting melodies! Songs like ‘Vanilla Ice Cream,’ ‘Twelve Days to Christmas,’ ‘A Trip to the Library,’ and the title tune are such a pleasure and have found life as standards in their own right through live cabaret and recordings by artists like Lena Horne and Barbara Cook [a cast member of the original New York production],” commented board chair Roy Sexton, who will be playing “Georg Nowack,” one of the lonely hearts around whom the show’s story revolves. “Georg is just this great everyman character to whom anyone can relate. He is dedicated to his work and is only capable of connecting with his true love through written letters. He is completely befuddled when he is around Amalia face-to-face…in fact, they can’t stand each other in real life!”

Penny Seats president Lauren London, who will play fellow “lonely heart” Amalia Balash in the production, added, “The comedy that comes from this tension is just priceless. I think audiences will have a ball!”

“The dream of The Penny Seats would not be complete for me without including some top-notch Broadway musicals in the mix…and not just any musicals; ones that are clever and fun and agile and touching,” London concluded. “‘She Loves Me’ is all of these. The show has an incredible book and score by three of the best in the business, and I think experiencing it outdoors on a summer evening will create a particularly idyllic and inviting atmosphere. I can't wait!”

SHOW DATES: Performances will be at the West Park Band Shell July 26-28, August 2-4, and August 9-11, all at 7:00pm.

“She Loves Me” premiered on Broadway in 1963, and subsequently had productions in the West End in 1964 and award-winning revivals on each side of the Atlantic in the 1990s, as well as regional productions. Jack Cassidy won a best supporting actor Tony for the original, Hal Prince-directed production. Boyd Gaines won a best actor Tony for the 90s revival.

LOCATION: The West Park Band Shell at Ann Arbor’s West Park, between Miller and West Huron

TICKETS: Tickets are $10 (age 12 and younger admitted for $7) online at pennyseats.org and at the gate. For more information, visit or call 734-276-2832.


CAST:

Ellington Berg

Arpad

Ann Arbor, MI


Matt Cameron

Waiter

Ann Arbor/Plymouth, MI


Jenny Fernandez

Chorus

Farmington Hills, MI


John Henderson

Chorus

Van Buren/Canton, MI


Ellen Butler Lawson

Chorus

Ann Arbor, MI


Lauren London

Amalia

Ann Arbor, MI/Washington, DC


Drex Morton

Maraczek

Canton/Highland, MI


Laura Sagolla

Chorus

Ann Arbor, MI


Russ Schwartz

Kodaly

Ann Arbor, MI/Washington, DC


Roy Sexton

Georg

Saline, MI/Columbia City, IN


Cathy Skutch

Ritter

Plymouth/Canton, MI & Toledo, OH


Brent Stansfield

Sipos

Ann Arbor, MI



CREW:


Bridget Bly

Costumes

Ann Arbor, MI


Victoria Gilbert

Choreography

Ypsilanti, MI/Burlington, ON


Steve Hankes

Set Construction

Ann Arbor, MI


Barbara Kramer

Assistant Producer

Ann Arbor, MI


Zach London

Sound

Ann Arbor, MI/Milwaukee, WI


Rachel Murphy

Producer

Ann Arbor, MI


Sean Murphy

Set Design

Ann Arbor/Traverse City, MI


Nick Oliverio

Stage Manager

Ann Arbor/Saline, MI


Jacqui Robbins

Director, Producer

Ann Arbor, MI/Greenwich, CT


Chris Whittaker

Music Director

Harrisburg, PA; Baltimore, MD; Lansing/Ypsilanti, MI


ABOUT THE PENNY SEATS: Founded in 2010, we’re performers and players, minimalists and penny-pinchers. We think theatre should be fun and stirring, not stuffy or repetitive. We believe going to a show should not break the bank. And we find Michigan summer evenings beautiful. Thus, we produce dramas and comedies, musicals and original adaptations, classics and works by up-and-coming playwrights. We also provide cabaret shows, acting classes, and wacky improv evenings. And you can see any of our shows for the same price as a movie ticket.

FOR MORE INFORMATION about The Penny Seats call at 734-276-2832 or Visit: www.pennyseats.org.


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Read about movies and nostalgia, animal issues and sociopolitical concerns all discussed in my book Secrets of an Old Typewriter - print and ebook versions available. Also available in both formats at Amazon.com

Meet other like-minded souls at my facebook fan page

Visit my author website at www.susieduncansexton.com

Join a great group of animal advocates Squawk Back: Helping animals when others can't ... Or won't
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Published on June 03, 2012 00:00 • 482 views • Tags: 1963, 1964, 7-00-pm, 734-276-2832, 90s-revival, a-trip-to-the-library, amalia-balash, ann-arbor, arpad, assistant-producer, august-2-4, august-9-11, baltimore, barbara-cook, barbara-kramer, best-actor-tony, best-supporting-actor, boyd-gaines, brent-stansfield, bridget-bly, broadway, brown-paper-tickets, burlington, cabaret, canton, choreography, chris-whittaker, classes, columbia-city, comedies, connecticut, costumes, dc, director, dramas, drex-morton, drexel-morton, ellen-butler-lawson, ellington-berg, facebook, farmington-hills, georg-nowack, greenwich, hal-prince, harrisburg, hartland, highland, improv, in-the-good-old-summertime, indiana, jack-cassidy, jacqui-robbins, jenny-fernandez, jerry-bock, jimmy-stewart, joe-masteroff, john-henderson, judy-garland, july-26, july-26-28, kodaly, lansing, lauren-london, lena-horne, lonely-hearts, maraczek, margaret-sullavan, maryland, match-com, matt-cameron, michigan, miklos-laszlo, miller, milwaukee, minimalists, movie-ticket, musical, musicals, nick-oliverio, ontario, original-adaptations, outdoor-theatre, parfumerie, pennsylvania, penny-pinchers, penny-seats, pennyseats-org, performance-network, plymouth, pre-order-dinner, producer, rachel-murphy, rev-drexel-morton, reverend, roy-sexton, russ-schwartz, saline, sean-murphy, secrets-of-an-old-typewriter, set-construction, set-design, she-loves-me, sheldon-harnick, sipos, sound, stage-manager, steve-hankes, susie-duncan-sexton, the-shop-around-the-corner, tom-hanks-meg-ryan, tony, twelve-days-to-christmas, twitter, van-buren, van-johnson, vanilla-ice-cream, victoria-gilbert, waiter, washington, west-band-shell, west-end, west-huron, what-corbin-knew, what-s-cooking, www-pennyseats-org, you-ve-got-mail, ypsilanti, zach-london
Enjoy this op-ed piece written by Penny Seats president Lauren M. London, who will be playing Amalia Balash in the production this summer of She Loves Me, alongside my son Roy Sexton, who will be playing Georg. (The show opens July 26 - click the words "Penny Seats" above to order tickets.) You can read the full version by clicking here...

Below is an excerpt:

"Ann Arbor is more than a 'friendly' Midwestern town; its inhabitants can't stay away from each other. We hold festivals, dance in the streets, run in races, play music, go to shows, publicize lectures, publish books, watch football in the country's largest stadium, eat outside whenever possible and, once a year, we watch life-sized papier maché puppets parade down Main Street....The Penny Seats, one of Ann Arbor's newest theaters, began life two years ago. Honestly, our beginning was not without some trepidation about the sheer number of choices that already exist here. Would we be welcome? Would there be an audience? We needn't have worried...."

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Read about movies and nostalgia, animal issues and sociopolitical concerns all discussed in my book Secrets of an Old Typewriter - print and ebook versions available. Also available in both formats at Amazon.com

Meet other like-minded souls at my facebook fan page

Visit my author website at www.susieduncansexton.com

Join a great group of animal advocates Squawk Back: Helping animals when others can't ... Or won't
[View the scanned version and accompanying photo album by clicking here].

Hopelessly immersed in the recent 13 installment fifth season of the AMC late Sunday evening series “Mad Men”, I weekly revisited the quirky 60s on my dates with dapper, dashing advertising executive “Don Draper” and the gang! And, baby, that cast has got it right! How do I know? I lived, loved, laughed and came of age during that precise decade -- to the maximum!!

Outside of giddily graduating and happily exiting from high school (yay!), getting “pinned” and then engaged during my college career, and marrying husband Don in 1968, the zaniest fun I ever experienced during that decade occurred in the beachy metropolis of Warsaw, Indiana, at an innovative theater–in-the-round…a heady Hollywood Babylonish, episodic adventure for a naive teenager. First, the audition -- my vocal solo earnestly delivered across the living room of that colorful mogul Major Herbert Petrie -- met with approval. I earned a spot as an apprentice!

No longer would I nag Mom and Pop about my mission in life (while leaning forward upon skinned-up elbows and propping a determined chin upon the back of the front seat and swiveling an eager face from one parent to the other) on half hour moon-lit drives home departing the original canvas, Chautauqua-inspired tent-in-a-field productions of “The King and I” and “Plain and Fancy” in 1956. I actually had landed by 1962, successfully catapulting from spectator to center stage! The acting bug seduced another starry-eyed victim. As a 16 year old, I appeared in several musicals in a newly constructed lodge-type theater-in-the-round which had become the next home for the Wagon Wheel Experience well on its way to national renown.

Truthfully, I spent a huge quantity of time hammering nails into wood, assembling “flats”, and slopping paint onto one-dimensional back-drops while crawling around an outback chicken coop doubling as an impromptu classroom-setting for a crash course I snidely referred to as an “Introduction to Stagecraft 101”. However, such rigorous labor assured my choral participation as just another one of the townspeople, singing contralto, in imaginary River City, Iowa and twice in a fictitious New York City. Performing before audiences often including Columbia City Rotary or Kiwanis or Jaycee Clubs or friends and family chauffeured by my convertible-driving brother-in-law, high-school-ism ceased holding any allure for me whatsoever. Although only 25 miles from my own house and its bustling, pleasantly intrusive, seasonal re-modeling Reiff Brothers crew, I imagined myself as distanced (from reality) as Stratford-Upon-Avon itself and fantasized performing the works of Will Shakespeare -- totally hooked….in a good way!

Thus, blissfully adrift in baseball legend/evangelistic preacher Billy Sunday's territory in neighboring Kosciusko County far away from "home sweet home", Susie -- the virginal ingénue and "Marjorie Morningstar" wannabe -- hob-nobbed with Northwestern University co-eds and frat boys, many succeeding eventually as Broadway and television situation comedy stars and starlets. Notably, the MOST enchanting, exciting member of our troupe stood 6’3” and cut a striking figure as flirtatious, athletic, uncommonly handsome and outrageously hilarious. We called this friendly guy “Mac”, short for McLean Stevenson, who hailed from Normal, Illinois. During his second cousin Adlai Stevenson’s bids for the White House, my affable fellow thespian served as press secretary!

Mac, formerly employed as Northwestern's assistant athletic director in Evanston, Illinois, accomplished his first ever professional theatrical stint just up the road as “The Music Man” in 1962, according to "Wikipedia" -- AND according to ME as well! I can vouch for that fun bit of showbiz trivia! Awe-struck, I sang and danced alongside the hunk as he portrayed Professor Harold Hill, conducting a kids' band filled with "Seventy-Six Trombones"!

This down-to-earth, “casual as an old shoe” fellow portrayed Doris Day’s magazine-editor-boss in her 1969-1971 television show, and in 1972 through 1975 -- co-starring with Alan Alda and Wayne Rogers -- his popularity soared as Lt. Colonel Henry Blake on the Korean War TV sitcom “Mash”. Furthermore, Stevenson substituted for Johnny Carson, while guest hosting the "Tonight Show", a grand total of 58 times -- garnering a wide array of global fans!

Since Ms. Day had stolen my very young heart in her 50s Warner Brothers/MGM musicals, I delighted in viewing her exchange of dialogue each weekly broadcast opposite Mac and considered that my childhood “Pillow Talk” idol was now only disconnected from me by “Six Degrees of Separation”, the maybe preposterous theory that a string of five intermediary human beings link each of us to some other person somewhere on this vast planet! Now, let’s review then. My mom married my dad who voted for Adlai in 1952 and 1956 and who also, in 1962, introduced me to Major Petrie who cast me in a couple of musicals with “Mac” who chased the star of “Calamity Jane” (one of my favorite films) around an office desk on a television show – Hellooooo, Doris! "Que Sera, Sera!"

I survived another decade in “show business” before settling down as a humdrum participant in sometimes dreary real life. However, in late July and early August, our son Roy Sexton will star as Georg Nowack in 1963’s stunning Broadway musical “She Loves Me” reprising a role which James Stewart, Van Johnson, Tom Hanks, and Daniel Massey once tackled. The show opens July 26 and runs three weekends - more info can be found at www.pennyseats.org. So, what possibly might provide more fun that treading the boards myself? No doubt about it, I anticipate -- with glee -- sitting comfortably with an Ann Arbor crowd applauding someone I dearly love who sings on a par with Mario Lanza or Hugh Jackman and whose talent far exceeds my own. Nothing finer, believe me!

* Title's cadence and number of syllables equals that of "MAD DOGS AND ENGLISHMEN GO OUT IN THE MIDDAY SUN!" Thanks, Noel Coward! ;D

NOTE: "In the Good Old Summertime": From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia...

"In the Good Old Summertime" is a 1949 musical film directed by Robert Z. Leonard. It starred Judy Garland, Van Johnson and S.Z. Sakall.

The film is a musical adaptation of the 1940 film, "The Shop Around the Corner", directed by Ernst Lubitsch, and starring James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan, and written by Miklós László based on his play "Parfumerie". For "In the Good Old Summertime", the locale has been changed from 1930s Budapest to turn-of-the-century Chicago, but the plot remains the same.


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Read about movies and nostalgia, animal issues and sociopolitical concerns all discussed in my book Secrets of an Old Typewriter - print and ebook versions available. Also available in both formats at Amazon.com

Meet other like-minded souls at my facebook fan page

Visit my author website at www.susieduncansexton.com

Join a great group of animal advocates Squawk Back: Helping animals when others can't ... Or won't
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Published on July 12, 2012 04:53 • 235 views • Tags: 1960s, 1968, adlai-stevenson, alan-alda, amalia-balash, amc, ann-arbor, ann-arbor-news, ann-arbor-observer, ann-arbor-summer-fest, ann-arbor-summer-festival, annarbor-com, arts, billy-sunday, bock, brent-stansfield, broadway, brown-paper-tickets, budapest, calamity-jane, cathy-skutch, chicago, chris-whittaker, colonel-henry-blake, columbia-city-rotary, disney, don-draper, don-sexton, doris-day, drex-morton, drexel-morton, edna-duncan, ellen-butler-lawson, ellington-berg, ernst-lubitsch, festifools, georg-nowack, golden-age, harnick, harold-hill, hartland, herbert-petrie, heritage-newspapers, hollywood-babylon, home-sweet-home, illinois, indiana, iowa, jacqui-robbins, jaycees, jenny-fernandez, jerry-harnick, joe-masteroff, johnny-carson, jon-hamm, king-and-i, kiwanis, korean-war, kosciusko-county, lauren-london, lauren-m-london, m-a-s-h, mad-men, major-petrie, marjorie-morningstar, mash, matt-cameron, mclean-stevenson, mgm, michigan, midwestern, music-man, musicals, new-york-city, noel-coward, normal, northwestern, penny-seats, pillow-talk, pinned, plain-and-fancy, press-secretary, que-sera-sera, rachel-green-murphy, reiff, reiff-brothers, rev-drexel-morton, reverend, river-city, roald-dahl, robert-z-leonard, roy-duncan, roy-sexton, rufus-wainwright, russ-schwartz, sean-murphy, secrets-of-an-old-typewriter, seventy-six-trombones, she-loves-me, sheldon-bock, show-business, squawk-back, stratford-upon-avon, susie-duncan-sexton, television, the-avengers, the-penny-seats, theater, theatre, tonight-show, top-of-the-park, victoria-gilbert, wagon-wheel, warner-brothers, warsaw, wayne-rogers, west-park, white-house, wikipedia, william-shakespeare, www-pennyseats-org, zach-london
i sorta believe that i get underestimated every day...and before i die, all that i wish is, in real time, for a handful of sincere apologies from a handful of folks who have blown me off far too often and tried to demean my interests and my beliefs mostly because i am a female.

the prejudice against our gender is undeniable.

the biases against women as "thinkers" is undeniable.

i can hardly wait until we are considered persons...women will be kinder to each other and men will know they must accept us as people. what a day that will be. and i shall sit straight up in my casket when certain folks MAY come to view the body, those who did not give me the time of day when it mattered. they had better stay home! ;D

and i could list them right here right now.

ain't life grand? i think we gotta enjoy it while we are here and not wait for heaven. sure of that! ♥!! this is as close to heaven as we get...real time matters.

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that being said, I am fortunate to have some wonderful, kind souls in my life whose support means the world to me...here are some comments on my most recent "homeward angle" column (you can read it by clicking here) which just thrilled my soul!

Lisa Reiff-Claypool: "Susie Sexton is one confident, talented, intelligent, and classy lady. I'm proud to call her my friend."

Barb Nicholson: "As always, I enjoy Susie's column. This one was especially fun because I always enjoyed MacLean Stevenson’s antics on MASH and it was neat to read how your mom worked with him in the Music Man. Must have been fun time!"

Bob Kellogg: "Enjoyed Susie's article very much! Didn't know she'd been active in the theater. And, have to mention that I played one of the school board (Baritone in the quartet) When the Greensboro community theater produced 'The Music Man' several years ago. It was great fun. Probably my favorite musical."

Kat Kelly-Heinzelman: "Thank you, Roy and Miss Susie....Love you both and I miss you both too. LOL...Roy, it is almost time for Miss Susie and I to take that vacation up at your house...are you ready for us?"

Laura Reiff Underwood: "Love it! Thanks for sharing this. Susie is an excellent writer. I might be partial because she usually finds a way to include animal & animal rights :)"

Susan Henley: "The life lesson I learned recently is to live as if you are in your 'some days.' Some day I'll go to Italy, some day I'll learn how to oil paint or whatever you have been putting off......do it now or at least plan to do it soon. Life is short and you never know when your time will be over. Your time is now, this week, this day, this minute - - explore it! Thanks, Susie, for getting us thinking!!"

Susan Alcott Jardine: "Keep on with the wonderful columns, Susie. xoxo"

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postscript...

oh, since birth almost i have observed the kinkiest sexuality all about...the MAD MEN series sets the stage for all of us looking away while adultery roars or sneaks about between the traditional man/woman couplings...i am so non-hetero at ...this point in time from a lifetime of playboy activities among school-mates and others even closer to myself that i am amazed that so many have managed to get elected to office and to be honored in other ways and to move onto 2nd and 3rd marriages and behave as if children can be born out of wed-LOCK and that is referred to these days as "family"...how confusing it has all been.

nothing has shocked me since i was 2 and 1/2 years old...but because of my own life experiences i considered becoming a nun...seriously. looking away during the clinton escapades led to an epidemic of oral sex experimentation among kids, mind you. the first time i ever heard of such an idiotic concept was the "69" moronic rock slop popular when i was in college! women parade about as skimpily clad as possible, enhancing their body parts and for what reason? victims and victimizers and the most sexed up culture in the history of mankind...america should be really proud of this mess.

as to pretty boy john edwards and his long-suffering wife...another example of the "mister" being acceptable as a candidate for public office while the dame becomes lady macbeth...she had the more brilliant mind but she stood behind mr. wonderful and he took himself as seriously if not more so than his loving overweight originally sweet and intelligent wife ever did.

women are never categorized as "thinkers"...people are programmed to dismiss females with other means of categorization, all demeaning...we are the hugest minority who must be silenced one way or another. i tried that quiet, shy stint for most of my life...and i found that being a coward is not my style...i am a braver person than i ever imagined i would be...and sex is the last thing on my mind. it is only an appetite and a dangerous one at that...and has screwed all of us up royally! ;D

(oh, and another sure way to get elected is to claim god wants you to run, that you extol "family" -- ha!, man on woman sex and plenty of it, and to drive while intoxicated...no problem...you're at the statehouse in a shot! hypocrisy wins every time!)

...and as for run-on sentences (those occur when a conjunction is used and a comma gets left out), my uncle william faulkner and i love them...it's our style...but i did need to set off the skimpily clad women...with a period before i discussed them? pardon the pun! ;D


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Read about movies and nostalgia, animal issues and sociopolitical concerns all discussed in my book Secrets of an Old Typewriter - print and ebook versions available. Also available in both formats at Amazon.com

Meet other like-minded souls at my facebook fan page

Visit my author website at www.susieduncansexton.com

Join a great group of animal advocates Squawk Back: Helping animals when others can't ... Or won't
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Published on July 13, 2012 06:39 • 323 views • Tags: 69, adlai-stevenson, adultery, alan-alda, amalia-balash, amc, ann-arbor, ann-arbor-news, ann-arbor-observer, ann-arbor-summer-fest, ann-arbor-summer-festival, annarbor-com, arts, barb-nicholson, billy-sunday, bob-kellogg, bock, broadway, brown-paper-tickets, budapest, calamity-jane, chicago, colonel-henry-blake, columbia-city, columbia-city-rotary, disney, don-draper, don-sexton, doris-day, edna-duncan, elizabeth-edwards, equality, ernst-lubitsch, female, festifools, georg-nowack, golden-age, greensboro, harnick, harold-hill, hartland, herbert-petrie, heritage-newspapers, heterosexuality, hollywood-babylon, home-sweet-home, homeward-angle, hugh-hefner, illinois, indiana, iowa, jaycees, jerry-harnick, joe-masteroff, john-edwards, johnny-carson, jon-edwards, jon-hamm, kat-kelly-heinzelman, king-and-i, kiwanis, korean-war, kosciusko-county, lady-macbeth, laura-reiff-underwood, lisa-reiff-claypool, m-a-s-h, mad-men, major-petrie, marjorie-morningstar, mash, mclean-stevenson, mgm, michigan, midwestern, music-man, musicals, new-york-city, noel-coward, normal, northwestern, oral-sex, penny-seats, pillow-talk, pinned, plain-and-fancy, playboy, post-and-mail, press-secretary, que-sera-sera, reiff, reiff-brothers, reverend, river-city, roald-dahl, robert-z-leonard, roy-duncan, roy-sexton, rufus-wainwright, run-on-sentences, secrets-of-an-old-typewriter, seventy-six-trombones, sex, sexuality, she-loves-me, sheldon-bock, show-business, squawk-back, stratford-upon-avon, susan-henley, susie-duncan-sexton, television, the-avengers, the-penny-seats, theater, theatre, tonight-show, top-of-the-park, wagon-wheel, warner-brothers, warsaw, wayne-rogers, wedlock, west-park, white-house, wikipedia, william-faulkner, william-shakespeare, women, women-s-rights, www-pennyseats-org
My essay "Lessons Learned in Kindergarten...Twice" has been published in InD'tale Magazine This is really quite neat! You you can read it at the this link - the story starts on page 24 - you advance the pages through the arrows at the bottom of the screen after you click this link. You can also download a PDF or print. And the essay can also be found here.

Here's an excerpt: "Little did I realize, during those junior high days, that I would be so impacted by my experiences that someday I would attend a teachers’ college. Under Mrs. Sheehan’s expertly professional tutelage, I observed firsthand that patience, discipline, organizational skills, and regimentation assure a successful learning situation. On the sly, though, I vowed that should I assume the valiant role of educator, whether in a classroom or the world at large, I earnestly would try to avoid categorizing individuals and instead appreciate diversity. Additionally, I pledged that I’d neither cater to students whose parents might be self-important squeaky wheels possessing a sense of entitlement, nor, finally, would I polish leaves of rubber tree plants ever again!"

And I LOVE this feedback...

From my pal New York radio host and man-about-town Colin Lively: "I love this ... Susie is very brave to take such a stance for common sense, which has gone with the wind. I am speechless at what i see and hear in these times.."

From former Blue Bell employee and Wabash College alum Bob Kellogg: "That is a very nice story, a great reflection on the Kindergarten days. Susie is an excellent story teller."

From Michigander and longtime healthcare marketing employee Barb Nicholson: "Susie writes so beautifully!! Always a pleasure to read her columns."

From another Michigander and accomplished executive assistant Jan Tansel: "I love how Susie writes. It’s so fun to read."

honestly at my core i am shy (don't laugh!) and so this speaking up is NOT what i thought i would "brave up" and one day do...but i do , don't i? ;D it ain't easy always...but i am happy to do so! ♥!!! truly, thanks for building my confidence and boosting my morale! you won't be sorry cuz i have a really good heart! as do all of you!

_______________________

Read about movies and nostalgia, animal issues and sociopolitical concerns all discussed in my book Secrets of an Old Typewriter - print and ebook versions available. Also available in both formats at Amazon.com

Meet other like-minded souls at my facebook fan page

Visit my author website at www.susieduncansexton.com

Join a great group of animal advocates Squawk Back: Helping animals when others can't ... Or won't
Catch me and fellow author Danny Kemp (author of The Desolate Garden), entertainer and radio personality Judy Stadt, and our incomparable host Colin on the Colin Lively Show - listen at this link.

Colin writes: "This show is full of summer fun. We have another exciting installment of Sheepshead Bay Boulevard, week eight already! Colin, joined by Judy Stadt, Susie Sexton and The Kemps, bring us live radio theatre. If you’ve missed any of the episodes, you MUST listen to the archives and get caught up. Summer Movies- What are your favorites so far? The subject matter runs from...Magic Mike to Abe Lincoln as a vampire hunter. I don’t remember that in my history lessons. There’s the usual sequel-mania, Spiderman, MIB III, Batman. Storybooks on steroids-Snow White and the Huntsmen. Coming up in a few weeks, two movies that hopefully will be good: Sparkle, Whitney Houston’s last work, and Hope Springs with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones."

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loving this feedback...

Thanks for the following kind words I received on yesterday's Homeward Angle column "NOVEL Ideas Lead to Royal(-ty) Pain." Read by clicking here:

Tressa Marie: "Thanks so much, Roy! As always, your Mom is just amazing!!... I love and feel honored when your Mom mentions me in her blogs!! So very nice and like I said, I am honored!! Much respect and gratitude to your Mom for all she does each day for our animal friends! Just an amazing woman! An inspiration to many! Thanks so much for sharing this with me, Roy ! Please give your wonderful Mom my warmest regards, respect and hugs!"

Terrie Holden: "Hi, thank you, great article as always xxx"

From Kat Kelly-Heinzelman: "Thank you, Susie - great article - love to read your stuff. Thanks, Roy, for tagging me in this article. Love you both. ♥"

From Paul Clifford Schrade: "Many thanks! Being with such distinguished people. Illuminating article!"

From Danny Kemp: "What a lovely thing to share!"

From Vicki Floren Blanche: "great article..very much proud of you.....and i sure need some writing lessons..my my......you have such rich vocabulary and your content is always 120% ...yes up there...i enjoy reading...yours truly......me...xoxo"

From Carol Bowman-Henderson: "Your mother is wonderful, and so are you, Roy ♥ I shared on my wall - God bless ♥"

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Thought you all might enjoy this piece! Wonderful op-ed piece by She Loves Me's very own "Ladislav Sipos" Brent Stansfield! All about the experience coming back to the theatre after a 20-plus-year sabbatical, and how fortunate for the Penny Seats that he decided to make his return with them! If you haven't had a chance to see Brent in this show, he is a fun/funny delight...here is an excerpt (read the rest at the link):

"This summer I am acting for the first time in 23 years and it has taught me something important about myself. Acting used to be stressful and scary: most things are stressful and scary in high school. But theater was the stressful, scary activity I chose. My school required us to engage in an athletic activity each term but allowed participation in a play instead. Most kids chose sports but I preferred theater because while both involved insecurity and fear, theater mixed these with serious themes: passion, character, soul, motivation. I remember motivation being particularly important. We thought a lot about motivation."

_______________________

Read about movies and nostalgia, animal issues and sociopolitical concerns all discussed in my book Secrets of an Old Typewriter - print and ebook versions available. Also available in both formats at Amazon.com

Meet other like-minded souls at my facebook fan page

Visit my author website at www.susieduncansexton.com

Join a great group of animal advocates Squawk Back: Helping animals when others can't ... Or won't
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Published on August 03, 2012 08:06 • 349 views • Tags: 1950s, 1960s, 3rd-district, abe-lincoln-vampire-hunter, agriculture, alligators, amalia-balash, amazing-spider-man, american-experience, and-hi-ho, andy-warhol, animal-activism, animal-rescue, animal-rights, animals, ann-arbor, ann-arbor-news, ann-arbor-observer, ann-arbor-summer-fest, ann-arbor-summer-festival, annarbor-com, armchair-psychoanalysts, arts, athletes, batman, beef-commodities, beverley-holden, birth-control-pills, bloggers, bock, brent-stansfield, broadway, brown-paper-tickets, buck, buffet, bushy-headed-stranger, cafeteria, carol-bowman-henderson, cathy-skutch, charlie-rose, chiaroscuro, chicken, chris-whittaker, colin-lively, columbia-city, congress, congressman, congressman-stutzman, corfu, crayola, crayons, creepy-beverly-hills-mansion, critics, curly, dame-mae-whitty, dandelion-wine, danny-kemp, dark-knight-rises, david-letterman, david-ross, de-regulation, democrats, desolate-garden, disney, don-sexton, drex-morton, drexel-morton, edward-levine, egg-products-inspection-act, eggs, elderbull, elephants, ellen-butler-lawson, ellington-berg, erich-von-stroheim, everest, facebook, family-focus-folks, fannie-flagg, fans-of-susie-duncan-sexton, farm, farming, festifools, fifteen-minutes-of-fame, first-lady, fitness, flint, flower-power, fort-wayne-journal-gazette, fried-green-tomatoes, fundraising, gazelles, georg-nowack, gloria-swanson, gorillas, great-american-novel, greek, grill, guy-kibbee, h-r-3798, harnick, harry-potter, hartland, health, heritage-newspapers, hillary-clinton, hippies, holocaust, homeward-angle, hope-springs, house-of-representatives, howdy-doody, hr-3798, ike, in03msima-mail-house-gov, indiana, industry, ipad, jacqui-robbins, jenny-fernandez, jerry-harnick, jfk, joe-gillis, joe-masteroff, john-staggs, jon-stewart, judy-stadt, kamini-christina-merner, kat-kelly-heinzelman, kelly-huddleston, kurt-vonnegut, ladislav-sipos, lana-turner, larry, lauren-bacall, lauren-london, lauren-m-london, legislation, lemurs, lipstick, lobby, lobbying, lobbyist, lunch-and-judy, lunt-and-fontanne, madeleine-fisher-kern, marlin-stutzman, martin-scorcese, matt-cameron, mayor, meijer, men-in-black, meryl-streep, michigan, midwestern, moe, monkeys, mt-everest, mythological-concepts, nancy-hartman, national-rifle-association, nature, nora-redmond, norma-desmond, nostalgia, nra, ocelots, open-books, opportunistic-politicians, pac, paranormal-situations, paro-babu, paul-clifford-schrade, peewee-league, penny-seats, politicians, politicos, post-and-mail, poultry, prayer-warriors, presidential-election, protesters, pudgy-baby-giraffes, quentin-tarantino, rachel-green-murphy, ray-bradbury, reality-show-show-offs, recipes, regulation, representative, representative-stutzman, republican, republicans, restaurant, rev-drexel-morton, reverend, revolutionaries, rhett-and-scarlett, roald-dahl, roy-sexton, rufus-wainwright, russ-schwartz, schwab-s-drug-store, scripture, sean-murphy, secrets-of-an-old-typewriter, shannon-basner, she-loves-me, sheepshead-bay, sheldon-bock, singers, smorgasbord, snow-white-and-the-huntsman, social-network, space-exploration, sparkle, special-interest-groups, spider-man, squawk-back, stephen-colbert, steven-spielberg, steverino-madison-avenue, stutzman, summer-movies, sunset-boulevard, super-heroes, susie-duncan-sexton, susie-sexton, tangi-rogers-goeglin, target, terrie-holden, terrorism, the-avengers, the-colin-lively-show, the-golden-age-of-television, the-penny-seats, theater, theatre, third-district, three-stooges, tommy-lee-jones, toni-albanese, top-hat-cafe, top-of-the-park, tressa-marie, trojan-horse, tweeters, twilight, vampires, various-activists, vegan, veganism, vegetarian, vegetarianism, vicki-floren-blanche, victoria-gilbert, wal-mart, wallabies, walter-mitty, washington-d-c, west-park, what-makes-sammy-run, whitney-houston, wizards, www-pennyseats-org, www-stutzman-house-gov, www-susieduncansexton-com, yellow-journalists, zach-london, zebras
"You are who you are meant to be. Dance as if no one's watching. Love as if it's all you know. Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today." ~ James Dean

[View scanned copy of column and photos here...]

Quirky dame that I am, I admit to never swooning over Elvis Presley…with one exception. His rendition of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" ranks as powerfully stunning! Instead, I wore out my sister Sarah's 1958 double LP, "Belafonte at Carnegie Hall", which she purchased at the Indiana University Bookstore prior to her spring break. "Oh, come, Mister tally man, tally me banana! Daylight come and me wan' go home…" Calypso style. I giddily sat three rows away from the handsomest gentleman in creation when Harry staged his concert at a Detroit Opera House 10 years ago. A smoothly exquisite performer! Fast forward to the recent present with me and my own particularly idolized spirits of Cal Trask/Jett Rink/Jim Stark all of us seated in folding chairs around a rickety card table nestling in the front yard of the James Dean Gallery in Jimmy's hometown of Fairmount, Indiana!

Picture a stack of soft-bound issues of "Secrets of an Old Typewriter -- Stories of a Smart and Sassy Small-town Girl" somewhat blocking our view of an impressive flock of passers-by anxious to enjoy the downtown mid-way rides, parade, craft booths, dance contest, Jimmy Dean Look-a-Like competition, and lemonade and cotton candy and elephant ear confections. Representative of the dreamscape of mankind, -- ranging from townsfolk as well as school chums of the legendary native son to toddlers in strollers or perched on their mamas' hips, miniature doggies peeking from shoulder-bags and pocketbooks, baby boomers, Generation X-ers, teenagers, infants OR white poodles in baby carriages, celebrities, authors, and musicians of every ethnicity imaginable and from around the globe--, humanity eagerly, reverently congregates annually to celebrate the amazing life of an iconic resident who died in 1955 at the age of 24.

The James Dean Festival…commemorates yet another anniversary since the boy wonder abandoned all of us star-struck fans still earthbound on that sad date of September 30th with our hearts broken and our eyes cast heavenward, wishing he would return and star in further films rivaling his three cinematic classics -- "East of Eden", "Giant", and "Rebel Without a Cause" -- released within one magic year. These movies offer mesmerizing, truthful, impacting, instructive stories sharing themes of forgiveness, coming of age, redemption, and the human need for inclusion. In our 21st century, this Hoosier figure continues to magnetize crowds with his amazing talent, devotion to craft, and poignant portrayals of credible characters with whom we can both empathize and identify.

Tooling down Highway 9 South, I quickly find myself only two counties from my Whitley County house. While lingering on the lawns and side-walks of Grant County, I have delighted in chatting with Texan/stunt man Bob Hinkle who served as Jimmy's dialect and lasso trick coach on the set of "Giant", Dean's high school speech and drama instructor Adeline Mart Nall, famous Hollywood sculptor/painter Kenneth Kendall, and I probably brushed right by George Stevens, Jr. and maybe Martin Sheen who often frequented Fairmount the final week of each September. I count as forever friends, from this year of 2012: novelist-poet Ted B. Guevara from the Philippines; Fan Club originators Sandra Weinhardt and her sis from Livonia, Michigan; Linda Levine and Kirk Shield from South Bend, Indiana; Professor Del Rae and his Hungarian wife from Akron, Ohio; author/Rock 'n Roll expert gorgeous Pamela Des Barres; a history buff/electrical engineer who drove from Alabama -- and a passel of Dean's "8th" cousins once and twice removed also from Akron --the Hausknecht family who share a common ancestry with Jesse James as well. Jesse and Jimmy and the Hausknechts! Who knew?

Supportive friend Lucy Langohr Grant, currently a resident of North Carolina, recently wrote to me, "Have fun with your writing projects -- turning 'pillars' into real, accessible people!" Speaking of that genre of gracious folks, I wish to thank Columbia City Library's Ray Ranier, South Whitley-Cleveland Township Library's staff of Renae and LeAnn and Darci and Virginia (whose mother-in-law once owned the house where my family rented an upstairs apartment when the Duncans first landed in town and which later Jim and Connie Rohrbach inhabited for many years --small world!), Whitley County Historical Museum's Dani Tippman and assistants, and the Churubusco Library for facilitating my appearances and book signings during October and November. A special bonus involved Deb Lowrance interviewing me, of all people, as a contributor to her astounding 42 part Whitley County Oral History series --we filled two tapes! South Whitley's (windy) Souper Stompin' Saturday I shall never forget not only because several readers added my memoirs of local history to their personal libraries -- but also, two "intellectual" llamas, a half dozen ponies, and a couple of sheep expressed an animated interest in digesting my bound recollections as well.

Dean's genius reached an entire generation which included my two sisters…and spoke to me a tad when I viewed "Giant" as a nine year old, squirming in my Columbia Theater seat about fifth row back. I genuinely discovered the psyche and depth of this young man when I reached middle-age, via my favorite of his films, "East of Eden". Simultaneously, I also became fast friends with David Loehr, originally from Massachusetts, who established the James Dean Gallery with his photographer pal Lenny Prussack. Fairmount boasts two museums, the other being the Fairmount Historical Museum -- many of Dean's high school friends hang out there--to this very day! Marcus Winslow --who resides in the perfectly preserved farmhouse where the freshly, tragically motherless Jimmy arrived at age nine to be raised by his (paternal) Aunt Hortense and Uncle Marcus Winslow (the parents of Marcus) -- speaks so lovingly and proudly of his older cousin's global influence and his impact upon a continual stream of America's youth since the early 50s: "When 'Giant' premiered in 1955, Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor received top billing, but today my cousin's name, even though he is featured in just 35 minutes of a three and one half hour movie with intermission, appears above theirs on marquees and posters. Jimmy genuinely wished to leave his mark, and he certainly did just that."

"Jimmy gave expression to the discontent, the unhappy, the suppressed, the latchkey kids, the spiritually starved. Jimmy up on the screen and hundreds of like-minded in the darkness, sprawled in their seats chewing gum and eating popcorn. The identification worked for both boys and girls. For the girls he was an ideal figure of the courageous yet sensitive friend. And the boys felt the way (novelist/artist) John Dos Passos had described : '…they still lined up… before the mirrors in the restroom… to look at themselves and see James Dean…' " ~ Axel Arens, writer and journalist

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thanks for these comments on the above column...

Tara Hullinger: "Thanks for sharing it with me, Roy!"

Neil J. Simon: "'Jimmy genuinely wished to leave his mark, and he certainly did just that.' He did on Susie and many others. She is great with words and images!"

Tressa Marie: "One of my favorite quotes! A quote everyone should strive to live by. Love the article! Great work! Thank you so much for sharing this with me. Much respect, love and appreciation to you!"

Drex Morton: "My son, Joe, aspiring actor is reading a bio. of James Dean right now. I'll invite him to read your reflections...Susie is a treasure!"

Barb Nicholson: "Roy, I just love getting these from you. Great way to start the weekend! I enjoy reading your mom’s columns. They always give me a warm feeling. Photos are terrific! Easy to see your mom loves animals! Have a great weekend!"

Myrna Bailey: "Good job, Susie!"

Christopher Jordan: "What a wonderful story!!!"

Mary Shaull: "I just reread the amazing James Dean column. Great work. Great alliterative use. Impressive! The Belafonte part intrigued me too. I Adored Harry! I have an old 78 record that I cannot play, as I have no turntable, but I will keep it always. My favorites were Try to Remember and Scarlet Ribbons. I saw him in Birmingham, MI many years ago. When he sang Try to Remember, there was a huge fellow just off to the side of the stage, in the shadows. When the word, 'Follow' was sung by Harry, the other man echoed the word in a pure high tenor/falsetto, that to this day causes chills of emotion to travel through my body. I couldn't hold back the tears. Pure, pure beauty. I feel nearly the same thing with Scarlet Ribbons. We were lucky to have known him when. East of Eden hit me with a powerful agony. It was almost more than I could bear. I think I identified with James...Thank you, Roy, for sharing Mom's essay. She's a remarkable writer. Loved the pictures too. Now I feel I know you, having seen the photos. Lovely woman, awesome hair!!!"

Paul Clifford Schrade: "Susie is a true historian of the America we loved so dearly and took for granted. It never occurred to us then that someday that America we loved so much might start slipping away from us..but Susie held on grimly and rode out the storm and now we can thank her for it! We can be kids again and live it all over again and America is not dead. America may never return to the gallant lady she was...but if Susie has her way about it,she will!!"

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Read about movies and nostalgia, animal issues and sociopolitical concerns all discussed in my book Secrets of an Old Typewriter - print and ebook versions available (click the title to order from publisher Open Books' website). Also available in both formats at Amazon.com, or download from iTunes

Meet other like-minded souls at my facebook fan page

Visit my author website at www.susieduncansexton.com

Join a great group of animal advocates Squawk Back: Helping animals when others can't ... Or won't
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Published on October 25, 2012 09:53 • 540 views • Tags: 1955, 1958, adeline-mart-nall, akron, axel-arens, banana, barb-nicholson, battle-hymn-of-the-republic, belafonte-at-carnegie-hall, bob-hinkle, cal-trask, calypso, christopher-jordan, churubusco-library, columbia-city, dani-tippman, darci, david-loehr, deb-lowrance, del-rae, detroit-opera-house, drex-morton, duncans, east-of-eden, edna-duncan, elizabeth-taylor, elvis-presley, fairmount, fairmount-historical-museum, gen-x, george-stevens-jr, giant, grant-county, harry-belafonte, hausknecht, highway-9, hollywood, hoosier, hortense-winslow, hungary, indiana, james-dean-gallery, jesse-james, jett-rink, jim-and-connie-rohrbach, jim-stark, john-dos-passos, kenneth-kendall, kirk-shield, leann, lenny-prussack, linda-levine, livonia, llama, llamas, lucy-langohr-grant, marcus-winslow, martin-sheen, mary-shaull, massachusetts, michigan, mister-tally-man, myrna-bailey, neil-j-simon, north-carolina, ohio, open-books, oral-history, pamela-des-barres, paul-clifford-schrade, peabody-library, philippines, post-and-mail, professor, ray-ranier, rebel-without-a-cause, renae, rock-hudson, roy-duncan, sandra-weinhardt, sarah-duncan-mcbride, secrets-of-an-old-typewriter, shirley-duncan-jagger, souper-stompin-saturday, south-bend, south-whitley, stunt-man, susie-duncan-sexton, tara-hullinger, ted-b-guevara, teenager, texas, tressa-marie, viriginia, whitley-county-historical-museum, www-susieduncansexton-com
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS! View photos and original column by clicking here...

Huge pink rollers in hair, barefoot, wiping my hands on a tired t-shirt, I responded to the door-bell. Son Roy stood shivering in the brisk November afternoon breeze with his duffel bag in one gloved hand and his laptop snuggled close to his chest.

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Within 20 minutes, both of us seated around the tidied up kitchen table near an electrical outlet, we set up a tiny makeshift studio for another "skyping" operation -- not the first time! Earphones now attached to my hastily coiffured head, I smoothed my rumpled V-necked sweater newly purchased for this occasion. Noteworthy German-born Thomas Janak, holistic healer/animal activist now living near Birmingham in the U.K., commenced his crisply intelligent interviewing of Roy's mom. Within a few hours, our fun friend Keith Kleespie joined our family to listen to the results, as if we'd gathered around an old-timey radio to listen to FDR's Fireside Chats! [Click here to listen...]

Day two of our Thanksgiving get-together: Picture the Sextons, on that mandatory day of gratitude, traipsing about Thorncreek Township petting goats, feeding left-overs to kittens, observing chickens strutting about the premises, and all of us conversing with Bob Wight's terrific kids --Zach, Sam, and Erin -- and his San Francisco based brother who works in Silicon Valley and their pop who divides his time between Vermont and Florida! Off to The Guest House in Ft. Wayne for dessert prior to a rather grudging viewing of "The Life of Pi"… 3-D version no less! Our immediate review? An annoyingly indecipherable film! Beautiful, yet puzzling and odd. "Lincoln" and "Skyfall" behind us now…"Pi" had beckoned as our third choice, and we felt we had wasted our money until the next day when, upon collective review, its powerful message leaped into our psyches not unlike fierce Bengal Tiger "Richard Parker" pouncing almost literally onto our laps!

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On Friday, November 23rd at 2:00 p.m., a most meaningful Thanksgiving experience began to take shape. Seated in a Columbia City United Methodist church pew, between Pam Thompson and Don Sexton, I focused upon larger-than-life, happy slides projected onto the chancel wall. My very special C.C.J.H.S. United States/World history teacher Mr. Bob Berry, who died on October 18, 2012, smiled at us, a twinkle in his eyes. Captions such as "Let my work speak for me" and "I just called to say 'I love you!' " brought that very special gentleman to life, his presence felt by each of us in attendance. Meeting Bob for the first time 50 years ago when I was 16, I recalled my delight in the late eighties and nineties that our son Roy also would receive instruction from this lively, kind, fair-minded, authentic, and intuitive scholar whom our town must always count as one of our superior educators.

First, perpetually friendly, retired social studies educator Jim Thompson eulogized Robert Lee Berry with accounts of shared academic experiences -- throughout many years as a colleague -- and antics outside the classroom setting as well. What apt images the speaker created! "Each individual in my department will behave as a professional at all times, and the gentlemen are expected to wear ties," boomed Jim quoting chairman Bob while pointing to his own red tie from his momentary station at the pulpit.

Next, Roy Sexton struck a serious chord with his vivid description of his esteemed professor: "Mr. Berry celebrated our talents, believing us while believing IN us, treated us as adults, and never undercut us. He changed my life and prepared me for college and two graduate degrees. No one was as challenging, but I also realized that as hard as I was working, he was working harder in dogged preparation. And he taught me the most important thing -- be loyal, stand up for what is right, and have the back of those you respect and admire." A quotation from the Shakespeare play "As You Like It", concerning how the past sweetens the present, seemed to conclude Roy's presentation. However, Roy had recently met with his teacher one last time when Mr. Berry accompanied Don and myself to Michigan to enjoy Roy's portrayal of Curly in the musical comedy "Oklahoma". An unexpected, crystal-clear, acappella rendition of "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin' ", dedicated to the supportive spirit of Robert L. Berry, unleashed a few tears.

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Beautiful Liz Berry Schatzlein, former WANE-TV news anchor, followed with her poignant recollection of a high point in her father's life -- and hers as well. As a young child, she watched breathlessly as her daddy participated in a basketball game with his C.C.J.H.S. faculty teammates versus a squad of WOWO hoopsters. Achingly close to the final buzzer, Mr. B. attempted one of his signature long shots while it seemed "the entire town boo-ed his effort from bleacher seats only to turn on a dime and cheer loudly when the ball sank almost magically…nothing but net!" All of us in attendance at his remarkable and uplifting memorial service joyously sang in chorus our "Eagle Fight Song"!

Buoyed by this exceptional moment in time spent reminiscing about one of Columbia City's finest citizens ever, several of us chatted for a while longer in the foyer. Keith Kleespie, whom Liz lovingly introduced as her "manager" -- during her reign as Miss Northeast Indiana -- to her son Derek, and Roy and I drove to Northside Grill, ordered some delicious sandwiches, then stumbled upon Santa's first ever "starry starry" nighttime arrival into Columbia City! Across Van Buren Street we rushed to the tiny red "Kris Kringle" house on the courthouse lawn, to scratch reindeer behind their ears, to wave at St. Nick himself, to enjoy laughing with witty Tony Winebrenner and his talented wife Jill, and to recall with Jayne Mullendore Oliver the golfing escapades of a couple of special fellows we both knew quite well, named Stanley "Mully" Mullendore and Roy "Governor" Duncan, our dads!

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Holiday break time concluded, our son backed his car from our driveway onto Line Street to head for his own home, immediately after participating in an interview for Deb Lowrance's Whitley County series of oral history recollections. Don and I turned to re-enter our house. A final Thanksgiving memory in the making awaited us. Friend Laura Gater requested assistance to retrieve her ragdoll cat who had leapt from Laura's rolled down window in the Lake City Bank parking lot! Armed with flashlights and Nine Lives canned cat food, chivalrous pet enthusiast Don drove to aid in searching for "Tuki" -- over hill, dale and the harsh concrete pavement of busy highways. Two hours later, the wayward feline surfaced, huddled and cuddled under the van's back seat…never having escaped her vehicle after all?

Yuletide season now upon us, stay tuned for an account of "Home for the Holidays--Part Two", no doubt about it! From Mr. Berry's memorial service pamphlet -- entitled "Each Life Has A Story": "Today's little moments become tomorrow's precious memories."

Epitaph: "The best teachers teach from the heart."

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thanks for this wonderful feedback!

Liz Berry-Schatzlein: "Wherever dad is right now, he's smiling about this column. It would please him so much to know he was remembered fondly, by students and people he so admired....So very, very touching. Dad would be so proud!!"

Carol Baker: "Roy, your mom is awesome. Great tribute to a valued teacher. I remember my greatest teachers fondly - and like yours, they were the ones who challenged me....What a nice tribute to a teacher. The ones I most valued were the ones who challenged me - and that has served me well to this day.""

Angie Choe-Smith: "Cute pics! Loved the article…and the quote…'… be loyal, stand up for what is right, and have the back of those you respect and admire.'"

Caroline Gersch: "These pics are so cuh-yoot!"

Blanche Ritter: "Thank you - I love reading her stuff."

Deb Lowrance: "Have a Joyous Christmas, Roy and family!"

David Rat: "I love Susie!"

Kat Kelly-Heinzelman: "Have a very Merry Christmas, Susie and Roy and your family also....love you guys !!!!"

Debra Chinworth Brock: "My dad and one sister live in Columbia City! ... Don Lewis and Ron and Rita Longenbaugh."

Drex Morton: "Brava, Susie...thanks for a moment that will become a precious memory..."

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Read about movies and nostalgia, animal issues and sociopolitical concerns all discussed in my book Secrets of an Old Typewriter - print and ebook versions available (click the title to order from publisher Open Books' website). Also available in both formats at Amazon.com, or download from iTunes

Meet other like-minded souls at my facebook fan page

Visit my author website at www.susieduncansexton.com

Join a great group of animal advocates Squawk Back: Helping animals when others can't ... Or won't

Secrets of an Old Typewriter: Stories from a Smart and Sassy Small Town Girl
"I love people and animals -- though not necessarily in that order," Doris Day once said. "I've never met an animal I didn't like, and I can't say the same thing about people."

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i can barely even look at people some days...too many self-centered, clueless turds...i try to be nice...but the older i get the less nice i am...i say what i think...and then flip/slip back into my reclusive life. it is a miracle that I found kindred spirits...thank goodness for that! i love facebook for that...though there are a few facebook pages i sometimes look at to renew my venomous ire toward the shallow human race. plenty of material there!

From columnist Lewis Richmond: "Finally, since emptiness seems so difficult to understand, why did the Buddha teach it at all? It is because of his profound insight into why we suffer. Ultimately we suffer because we grasp after things thinking they are fixed, substantial, real and capable of being possessed by ego. It is only when we can see through this illusion and open ourselves, in Ari Goldfield's words, 'to the reality of flux and fluidity that is ultimately ungraspable and inconceivable' that we can relax into clarity, compassion and courage. That lofty goal is what makes the effort to understand emptiness so worthwhile." (Read more here.)

Carol Baker: "True enough - but when I learned to think like my dog... I came to appreciate life's simple pleasures and leave yesterday to yesterday. Barney Dog taught me that there are few things in life that can't be improved by a nap."


BTW, animals ARE buddhists, right, carol? obviously you and i think alike! then I am lucky indeed!

(note: cows and apes don't need animal protein...inadvertently protein happens! we b fine...)

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Steve Randomsurname: "Buddhist philosophy and thought have been a huge source of inspiration and comfort to me over the years. It represents incredibly advanced psychological insight considering the era in which it is from.

"Suffering comes from attachment and craving; and is released by letting go. Ego and delusion cause us to hold on to things which are best let go. We can see many examples of how we do this in our everyday lives, both in our craving for things and how this results in suffering, and how much better we can feel when we let go of something we've been holding onto too tightly."


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From columnist Ann Brenoff: "Years ago, I had a boss who insisted I take the day off when I had to put my 15-year-old dog to sleep. My boss' act of kindness allowed me to grieve in peace and relieved my stress over missing work for a reason that a non-dog owner might not get. It translated into a mountain of gratitude for her kindness and for years after, I never said no to anything she ever asked of me. The bosses who get that you have a life outside the office are the bosses we love the most and work the hardest to please." (Read more here.)

Diane Shenkman Baumgarten: "Dear Susie, what a kind and compassionate person; if only we could all treat one another like that, or just animals, that would be enough for me."

Bob Wannberg: "Sing it Susie! You're right on key!"

Kathy Bostwick: "Wonderful article, Susie, and, yes, life happens, and most of us working people don't like what happens but it is sure a lot easier when your boss is understanding....the world needs more kindness and you are starting a wonderful new trend, Susie....Smiling is good - it makes people wonder what you've been up too!"


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Doris' love for animals has never waned: "I couldn't be without them. I couldn't. They are so true, and I love that." ~ Doris Day

Thanks, Tressa! Tressa Marie: "Thank you so much, Susie...MY ANGEL <3 <3 I will share this in two groups. So very very sad what is happening to this beautiful, majestic, lovely souls. Thank you for all you do each and every day for the innocent voiceless. A true guardian angel <3 <3 Love and respect always <3 <3"

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postscript...

horsemeat scandal? hey all meat was somebody's mother...or somebody's calf...or piglet...or lamb...what is the difference? cannibalism is cannibalism! eat more greens...more salads...your heart will benefit physically and emotionally...i am watching the slaughter of horses on CNN at a slaughter "camp"...hell on earth. hell on earth. evil. a bolt to the head...hanging upside down... decapitated...slaughtered, starved...purely profit-driven! stop the world, i wanna get off! 'livestock"? what kind of word is that anyway?

"Now, more than 35 percent of Americans are obese, and almost 70 percent are overweight. This is not an accident but the result of careful marketing and money in politics." (just read this during one of my speed-reading ventures...sounds about right...especially the "careful marketing and money in politics"--lord, yes!)

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Secrets of an Old Typewriter  Stories from a Smart and Sassy Small Town Girl by Susie Duncan Sexton

Read about movies and nostalgia, animal issues and sociopolitical concerns all discussed in my book Secrets of an Old Typewriter - print and ebook versions available (click the title to order from publisher Open Books' website). Also available in both formats at Amazon.com, or download from iTunes

Meet other like-minded souls at my facebook fan page

Visit my author website at www.susieduncansexton.com

Join a great group of animal advocates Squawk Back: Helping animals when others can't ... Or won't

Secrets of an Old Typewriter: Stories from a Smart and Sassy Small Town Girl

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