17 May 2020
Welcome to Sunday Stealing. This feature originated and published
on WTIT: The Blog. Here we will steal all types of questions from every corner
of the blogosphere. Our promise to you is that we will work hard to find the
most interesting and intelligent questions. (Past hosts include: Our first -
Judd Corizan, Mr. L, Kwizgiver and Bud) Cheers to all of us thieves!
Ty and Logan
1. Where did your name
My parents planned to name me "Barbara," after my aunt, but then decided
having two Barbaras in the family would be confusing, so they gave me her middle
2. Where were you born?
3. What as your house
like, growing up
We lived in a 2-bedroom flat that overlooked Coit Tower.
4. What was
your childhood bedroom like?
I shared it with my sister. It was originally a dining room. We had two
beds separated by a desk. The walls were decorated with boxes that had
story book dolls in them that we were not allowed to touch.
There was also a
very small closet that my cousin locked me in once--it was terrifying (I had
claustrophobia). Oh yeah--and there were snakes under the bed.
5. Did you
travel as a child? Where?
I remember going on the train to Los Angeles once, when I was very small (maybe
before I was 4) and my mother, sister and I spent a weekend in So. California at
Disneyland in 1956. In the summer we went to a resort in the Napa area.
My father died at 72 without ever having been on an airplane.
about your grandparents
My father's parents were in vaudeville when they met. He was the
singer in a barbershop quartet, she was a chorus girl, but she was apparently
ashamed about that because they never ever talked about it and I only heard my
grandfather sing once...while she rolled her eyes in disgust. They lived
in an apartment almost their entire married life, only leaving when my
grandfather had to go into the convalescent home where he died. Though his
"career" was parking cars in downtown San Francisco, they never owned a car and
we drove them everywhere, even to Mass every Sunday. She was very
overbearing and I didn't like her much, though she adored me. My
grandfather was very quiet and I really didn't know him well.
parents lived on an acre of land in Inverness, where he raised chickens and
various crops, like corn. We didn't see them much because my father didn't
like to drive to Inverness, so I didn't spend much time with them, but my
grandmother was soft and huggy and I loved her. He had both of his legs
amputated before he died -- I don't remember why. I don't remember much about
him except when he took me to see a bunch of newly hatched chicks. I was
kind of afraid of him because he was so gruff. He had lost all his teeth
when he was a young man, but didn't like to wear dentures and could even eat
corn on the cob with his gums--and he put sugar on his tomatoes. They had 11
children, and lost one at age 4, when she drowned (long before my mother was
7. Who taught
you how to drive?
My father. He was a good teacher and taught me more than the DMV expected
me to know (he taught me how to parallel park, in our stick shift car, on the
steepest hills in San Francisco...the DMV never even had me drive up a hill when
I went to take my test!)
8. When did
you first leave home?
At 18, when I moved across the bay to go to UC Berkeley. I never moved
9. What did
your parents do for work?
My father was a railway mail clerk, working the mail on the train from San
Francisco to Los Angeles. My mother worked for the Bank of America, and
retired as an executive.
inspired you as you matured?
I was always inspired by my mother, and by my typing teacher, Sister Anne, who
remained a good friend until her death.
11. What was
the best part of your 20s?
Getting married and having five children.
12. What as
the best part of your 30s?
Becoming involved with the Lamplighters Musical Theater group.
13. Where is
the most fascinating place you’ve visited
Hard to know; we have visited so many places, but our first river cruise, in
Russia, was fascinating because we saw so many different things. My
favorite place was Kizhi island, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the church
14. What is
your favorite family story?
I liked the stories my mother told of her years on a ranch in Valley Springs.
It still makes me smile to think of the "can pile." My grandfather had a
big pile of cans and whenever his kids wanted to do something, they had to move
all the cans from one side of the yard to the other. She never understood
why until she was an adult, when he confessed it was just a way to keep them all
busy doing something.
15. What was
your most memorable birthday?
The kids threw me a wonderful birthday for my 70th birthday.
18. What was
your favorite food as a child?
My father made the best potato salad ever...I have never found one like it, and
even I can't recreate it. My mother learned how to make great enchiladas
from a neighbor that were everyone's favorites. Probably my favorite food
was fried chicken with shoestring potatoes. I loved her chocolate cream
roll, with real whipped cream in it and a bittersweet chocolate frosting.
I watch cooks on Great British Baking Show trying to recreate a cake roll
and wonder why they have so much trouble, when I remember my mother doing it so