Archives for 2016

Bacon and Piggy Banks

Our family moved back and forth between the towns of Vallejo and Watsonville. In 1940, Dad was working for Union Ice Company. He was a top ice-refrigerator salesman, then became a manager and foreman of the ice delivery crew. He occasionally took Larry with him on … [Read more...]

Pass the Potatoes

At the dinner table, Ma–my grandmother Barbara Clemens–put only one item on her plate at a time, which was an enormous bother. When the rest of the family raised their forks to take a bite, it would be time to please pass her the platter of meat… the plate of potatoes… the basket of bread. It … [Read more...]

A Higher Possibility

Forty Principles, Tools, and Aphorisms  Consciousness is that which recognizes itself. The universe is not oppositional—only our minds are. Everything changes. Everything happens in cycles. Everything contributes. Everything contains within itself the seed of its apparent … [Read more...]

Money, ’tis better to have it than not

Money isn’t my issue this time around, not that it’s always been abundant. I’ve saved it, spent it, lost it, found it, stolen it (I was seven), borrowed, gambled, lent, collected, stashed, donated, and shared it. I’ve frittered it away and hoarded it close. I’ve been foolish and wise, thoughtless … [Read more...]

Sonoma Sun #3: Shopping Queen

Many of us have too much stuff, and with the holidays upon us, more creeps into our space. My dilemma is shopping locally, versus not shopping at all. I have young grandchildren, and as much as I like to buy them presents, I refrain and give them money (so they can buy their own stuff), take them on … [Read more...]

I Sir, Am Not a Bum

Arden was the wanderer in the family, a vagabond of sorts. He traveled the country by hitchhiking and rail, seeing every state except Oklahoma through his dark glasses. Even on the road he was immaculately dressed, favoring light colored slacks and shirts, his shoes always shined. Story has it that … [Read more...]

Sonoma Sun #2: My impending demise

Posted on November 10, 2016, by Catherine Sevenau ~ “Oma, there’s dead people under those rocks, you know.” I glance over to see what Satchel is talking about. My four-year-old grandson is commenting from his car seat about the small cemetery to our left on East Napa Street. “I know, … [Read more...]

An 8” x 10” Color Glossy

June 16, 1956, Upland, California ~ The first time my parents saw each other after their divorce was at Larry and Marian’s wedding. I have an 8” x 10” glossy reminder of the occasion: the respective parents are flanking the bride and groom, Marian’s parents to her right, smiling big and happy, … [Read more...]

A Chicken Story

It's been four years since Kim left. She didn't want to leave and I didn't want her to go, so we left it at that... “Will you leave me something in your will? No one's ever left me anything—mainly because most in my family didn’t have much to leave anyone, so just once," I said, "I’d like to … [Read more...]

Butterfly Kisses

1955, San Jose, California ~ Reading was good company and I read whatever was in front of me. I read all four sides of the milk carton, Cheerios box, and C&H container. I read the editor’s notes, publication dates, and fine print in the front of True Detective, Reader’s … [Read more...]

Zane Gray and Nancy Drew

Audio: click arrow to play ~ I wondered if Mom moved a lot on purpose, holding out for the day I wouldn’t find my way home. Moving all the time made me anxious, especially with not having a good sense of direction. I got around on my own, and as soon as I figured out how to get back and forth … [Read more...]

Sonoma Sun #1: How did I get here?

Posted on October 14, 2016, by Catherine Sevenau ~ In 1943, my father exchanged his iceman’s uniform for a suit and tie. Union Ice Company was having financial difficulties, and Dad had enough sense to get out of the cold. Offered a management position with Sprouse Reitz, he had the option of … [Read more...]

How Did I Get Here?

In 1943, my father exchanged his iceman’s uniform for a suit and tie. Union Ice Company was having financial difficulties, and Dad had enough sense to get out of the cold. Offered a management position with Sprouse Reitz, he had the option of running a five-and-dime in Sonora or Sonoma. What a … [Read more...]

Final Migration

Elizabeth Ann “Liz/Betty” (Clemens) Duchi 1939 - 2004 My sister Liz knew everything about everything—and what she didn’t know—she made up. Her library was lined with books from architecture, antique lamps and art nouveau to tomes on history, the human body and Henry VIII. She also had every … [Read more...]

To Raise a Mother’s Eyebrows

March 1935 • Watsonville, California (excerpt from a family memoir) My oldest sister Carleen was born in Watsonville in 1935. Mom's sister Verda and her family lived close by, and the two families spent every weekend together.  On Saturday nights they played cards or had dinner at the Chinese … [Read more...]

Labor Pains

Lordy, I swear it was easier giving birth to my children than birthing a book. To share my pain: Last September (2013) a whisper inside told me to record an audio of some passages from a family memoir I wrote ten years ago. After one editor, an illustrator, a book cover/website designer, a voice … [Read more...]

“It’ll Be Fun!” she says

“You know what we need to do?” she says. “Let’s take Deb to the coast for oysters. It’ll be fun!” she says. We'll take the scenic back road; the drive is beautiful,” she says. I love the coast and I love oysters so I agree it’s a grand idea. However, I have a brain lapse and forget about the … [Read more...]

Heathens and Hellions

Sonora, California 1948 Dad left their guidance to the Church, Mom left it to the winds. Their children ran through the house like heathens and hellions, and not only did they have the run of the house, they had the run of the town. Most summer days the three older ones spent their time exploring … [Read more...]

A Family, an Old House, a Small Town

Everyone in Sonora, a community of about 3,000 people, knew our family. We lived there from 1942 until the early '50s; my father was active in the Catholic Church, local politics, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Lions, Elks, and Rotary clubs. Lean and on the lanky side, he wore … [Read more...]

No Room for Cowards

Another example of how our early incident forms our character and defines who we become in the world. The following story, including the pictures, is taken from on-line news sources: In a recent interview with CBS, Scott Pelley asked Hillary Clinton to tell a story about her mother from her … [Read more...]

Princess Imelda

Big Sur, California. Camping is everything I remember, which is a lot of work, kind of grubby, and not particularly comfortable. Other then Satchel having poison oak from stem to stern from his camping trip the week before, and Princess Imelda having a meltdown because she had to wear her tennis … [Read more...]

Determining Our Life’s Path

“It is not an original revelation that some who have weathered great challenges when they were young created great things as adults.” The Gift of Fear, by Gavin de Becker There is the young boy who, out of simple curiosity, took a match to the small white dingle balls, then hid the bedroom … [Read more...]

How Hard Could It Be?

At the Leadership Sonoma retreat I facilitated with Michael Naumer in 2000, I worked with Sharon on her "incident." Her unusual refrain of, "How hard could it be?" stuck with me for the last 16 years. Her "incident," flavored with spunk and determination, appeared repeatedly throughout her life. … [Read more...]

An “Incident” Revealed

In my last blog I wrote about my "incident" and how "unpacking" it helped me embrace what happened to me as a child. Having worked with it for years, I've developed an antennae for ferreting out people's defining moment. It's not like I'm on the look-out for it; when you spend enough time with … [Read more...]

A Defining Moment

The story of our life is not our life. It's simply our story. It is my belief that our way of being is subconsciously based on a defining moment that impacted us in our childhood. If we had the ability to take that moment, delaminate from it, and view it from a distance, we could see that what … [Read more...]