With each new holiday comes new insights that last a lifetime

The Strength of Life

The giant steel door cracked open and began to press on my back. A pungent smell, vastly resembling death, wafted overhead while cold, damp air seeped from the dark cavern within. As my rail thin body was forced to lunge forward, I saw my life flash through my mind. For a brief second, I thought this is it. This is the end. I was sure I was going to die.

It was a hot and muggy day in June 2002. I was in Los Angeles […]

Peeking, A Christmas Tradition

An earthquake-like tremor shook the floor as the sound of my pounding bare feet pummeled the hallway. Fearing the turbulent explosion I knew was about to detonate, I ducked behind the three-foot tall dollhouse and shielded my ears from the shrapnel of angry words that were about to spew.

“Jackie! How could you?” My mother screamed.

Peeking through the window of my new Barbie Dream House, I wasn’t sure what frightened me more— the punishment I was about to receive on that 1968 Christmas morning, or […]

Hairspray, the Perfect Christmas Glue

Walking into the closet-sized room, a sticky, gooey mist-fogged the area making it almost impossible to see. The smell of acrid chemicals permeated throughout and my eyes burned causing them to water profusely. Oh my God! I began to worry. Where are my daughters? Are they still alive in this hazardous waste zone?


“Lauren, are you in here?” I cried out in a panic, ready to call 911.


“Mom, I’m right here.”


“What about Michelle and Jenni?”


“Mom!” they all cried in unison. “What is wrong with you?”


Moving […]

Display of Affection

My mother watched as I sprayed my Farah Fawcett curls with an extra dose of liquid glue. I was just finishing my three-hour glamor preparation for the sophomore dance when she opened her crimson painted lips. I prepared myself to hear the usual, “Oh, honey! You look precious.” Instead, she said something quite different.

“Jackie, when you’re at the mixer tonight, remember – no groping.”


“No physical displays of affection!”

Turning quickly to confront her, the layers of thick shag locks whipped my face nearly knocking my eyesight […]

A Christmas Story

To the dismay of my four, young adult children, every holiday season I answered their question with the same motherly line. “All I want for Christmas is happy children.”

“God, Mom! There has to be something you want,” the voice of reason, Jenni, sighed, “Why do you make this so difficult?”

Thinking of their annual plea, I had to agree. Sure, a nice purse or a pretty piece of jewelry would be lovely.  But, truth be told, all I ever desired, from the moment they were […]

Why Believe in Santa

With two corkscrew ponytails bouncing wildly at the sides of my six-year-old freckled face, I stormed into the house in a hissy fit. Even as a first grader, I hated lies, and this one was a doozy.

“Mom!” I screamed, indignantly. “Do you know what that stupid Larry told me?”

Wiping the wisps of baby-fine hair that had become dislodged as a result of my furry, she looked at my innocent baby face, and said calmly, “no, tell me.”

Being the granddaughter of silent movie actors […]