I Use Newspapers.com For Research

Do you remember the days of researching newspaper archives using microfiche? It wasn’t all that long ago that scouring newspapers was a painful process. I remember having to pull film reels from drawers at the library, with a window of dates in mind. The searching took ages. It never failed I'd get the machine with a light about to die, and then I’d have to maneuver wheel-to-roll through film and scan….scan….scan for articles related to my topic. If I lucked out I found something, which meant dropping a quarter and getting an almost-impossible-to-read print.

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Your First Concert Memory. Does It Loom Large In Your Family History?

What was the first live concert you attended? This is a common reminiscence with people of all ages. As a recently minted member of AARP, I chuckle when I hear some, as in, “My first concert was Blues Traveler waaaay back in 2005!” My first concert story is a seemingly harmless Sonny and Cher show in 1972, but what I wouldn’t give for a photo of us at the show, and our tickets under glass.

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What's Your Toy Story From Childhood?

Do you have a special memory of a favorite toy when you were a kid? I had a Gumby in the 1960s, that bendable green man. He was my reliable friend and had a huge following, even his own Gumby Show. He became famous again in the 1980s on Saturday Night Live with Eddie Murphy’s hilarious Gumby skits. Gumby was an important part of my personal history, but at the tender age of 7, I watched as it was hurled into the North Sea. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

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Barf Wars: What Personal Record Are You Proudest Of?

There is a great Seinfeld episode that includes a funny bit about a record Jerry is proud of: not throwing up in 13 years. Yes, a non-vomit streak. In episode 73, “The Masseuse,” Jerry claims he has not retched since June 29th, 1980, over 13 years prior. George and Elaine agree that it’s an impressive feat. (I should say before we go on: like the Godfather films, you can learn all of life’s lessons from Seinfeld. Over a decade they redefined all the important issues of life.

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What Are Your Comfort Food Movies?

I saw Casablanca again this week, and I enjoyed it as much as ever. I’ve seen it in theatres, outside venues and at home at least 20 times over 45 years. The first time I saw it was at the Varsity Theatre when I was 11, back in 1972. It’s still the perfect movie with its stellar cast, world-stage story and impeccable script. That script includes the most classic lines—according to the American Film Institute’s (AFI) listing of the most famous movie quotes—with six of the top 100 most memorable movie quotes. But, that list doesn’t even include my favorite line: Captain Renault assuring Nazi Major Heinrich Strasser that, “Realizing the importance of the case, my men are rounding up twice the usual number of suspects.”

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What Is Your Best Birthday Memory?

We grew up poor for the most part – everything was second-hand and hand-me-downs, discounted to the final bin under the best of circumstances. Usually we “shopped” at the Salvation Army store. Raising nine kids on a professor’s salary in the 1960s was not a simple thing, and with so many mouths, dinners were certainly a simple fare.  But there was one thing we all could count on every year: the birthday dinner. It was the definitive expression of the big day – to get exactly the meal we wanted. I embraced it wholeheartedly.  

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The Delicious Story #1, Interview with Sara Middleton Downing In Chile

What choices in life have you made that stretched you beyond your comfort zone? It’s hard to break from routine but when we do doors open to new opportunity. This FIRST episode of The Delicious Story is both an enchanting look at one woman’s adventure, and her reflections on how memorable meals have added flavor to her life.  

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What Is Your Favorite Season?

As the November weather takes its turn towards winter, I already miss autumn. I love the temps cooling off  and all the colors fall brings; it’s the most popular season in the nation, with 29% preferring it (except those 18-34-year old’s, who prefer summer). I guess it’s largely nostalgia for me, because fall reminds me of good times and the promise of the holiday season to come. In college, the Drake campus provided an annual symphony reds, purples and stunning oranges with its hundreds of trees. I love the fall colors of Iowa.

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Is It Too Early For the Christmas Tree? 'Tis The Season!

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and around here that means that it’s officially the Christmas season. Number one on the list: the Christmas tree is up, decorated, and shining brightly. I know what many of you are thinking – too early! I don’t think so. Thanksgiving is a perfect time to get the party started, even put a few presents under the tree.

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The Delicious Story #2, Man About Eating, OIiver Borzo

What does a Mom do to get face-time with her busy, grown son? Interview him for a podcast, of course. Please join me at The Delicious Story as Oliver Borzo and I take a tour of some of the eateries he has encountered as he travels for work across the United States. First we’ll head to Savanah, Georgia for some homestyle cooking (which he certainly never got from me). Then, we’ll sample a Pennsylvania-style “meat-esk” dish called Scrapple, and finish up on the East Coast talking pizzas unique to communities there. Did I mention Oliver is funny? Yep. Plus, Oliver does wax poetic when it comes to food, talks about eating and traveling with a dose of laughs. Is he nice to his Momma? You decide.

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