Doris Dear once again shows us that she is the Greatest American Housewife”

BroadwayWorld.com

Hello World.

Winter Time! 

The holidays have passed us by and we are now in the deep throws of winter. I adore this time of year, it makes me want to snuggle under a chenille blanket and sip a hot coco with marshmallows just like Taffy would make for me. Life on Beach Road was always busy even when the snow was deep outside and the temperatures were chilly. I remember the snow always being waist high and Duke out there shoving a path to the car and building a snowman with me. Taffy, of course, was always ready with that carrot nose and hat to top him off! 

It was comfort time inside with Taffy and Duke and even the rumpus room calmed down a bit! This was the time of year to stay inside and enjoy life as a family. We lived a good life and I thought we were very “fancy”… I mean after all WE had one of the first color TV’s in the neighborhood! People would drop by to see this new marvel where everyone looked orange and green. We had our finger on the latest technology. It even had a remote control that was called “The Space Commander”. This was amazing… and you could “shut off the sound of long annoying commercials”! 

I loved TV. We would sit as a family and watch so many programs together through the years. It was “family time” and we all loved it. Occasionally Taffy would make that marvel of the new age dinner… the “TV Dinner”. Gosh I loved those. Once Taffy brought home the “Polynesian Style” dinner, and I thought I was in Hawaii! I remember it came with a small “tea cake” which I wasn’t sure what that was, but how I enjoyed it! We even had special fiberglass aqua TV trays! There we would sit in front of the TV eating our fancy dinner. Taffy and Duke would have a Mai Tai to match and we would watch “Hawaiian Eye” on the TV. Robert Conrad and Connie Stevens starred in the show and I loved them in it. They both made a record album together where Connie sang the title song…it was played often in the rumpus room! I even read the ‘Hawaiian Eye” comic books! Nothing like a spy thriller in comic form in a Tiki setting! We were also big board game players, sorry, clue, monopoly and all the usual ones. Taffy would set the game up on the dining room table after dinner and we would play until bed time. We would enjoy a dish of ice cream...I liked the “Abbotts Neapolitan” one. It was 3 layers with three different flavors, chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. Taffy would pour “Bosco” chocolate syrup over it (god I loved that) and add a dollop of whipped cream to finish. How I loved all those wintery family nights. 

Of course, the “Bible of the American housewife”, Better Homes and Gardens, was always at hand and chock-a-block full of ideas to get ready for the coming months. We would soon be celebrating Valentine’s Day followed by St Patrick’s Day, Easter and of course Mother’s Day in May. That meant we had a lot of crafting and decorating to get ready for! There was never a shortage of ideas and Taffy always wanted something new to make and do. 

So, as I snuggle up in my blanket today and sip that hot coco, I remember all those marvy times I had growing up and lift my marshmallow topped hot coco to Taffy and Duke. Stay Warm 

Hugs and Love 

Doris Dear

Merry Christmas from Doris Dear! 

As we approach Christmas Eve, I am transported to the many celebrations I have had throughout my life. I am a very lucky girl you know, I have been able to live a life full of amazing moments. I have a wonderful family and had truly one of the best mothers and fathers I could have imagined. 

The holidays were always full of parties, music and food. Taffy & Duke loved celebrating the holidays with friends and family. It started right after Thanksgiving with finding the perfect tree and setting it up in the picture window. Taffy would get all the ornaments out of the closet and carefully place each one in the perfect spot. Each one represented something special. My diaper pin was one she loved to show me. She would tell me about what it was like having me in her arms and watching me grow up. She taught me so much. Each day is in honor of her and Duke. 

She would then bring out the German tinsel that she saved year after year. Real tinsel… made from lead that you would have to hang one piece at a time. It was heavy and didn’t float like todays plastic tinsel. It hung “heavy”. It was beautiful when Taffy was done. Then she would sprinkle the tree with mica snow! Ah the smell of pine, mica snow and Pall Mall cigarettes always meant Christmas was close! 

Taffy of course took a ceramics class with the girls and made a white Christmas tree with little pink birds on each point. I still have that tree today and it is always proudly displayed in my home. The rumpus room was of course fully decorated with pine boughs and a holly wreath. The wreath was made of plastic and had white edges on each leaf. I loved those shiny plastic decorations and Taffy loved the “miracle plastics” that modernized the housewives life! Taffy said holly meant that “friends were welcome”! She was right. Friends were always welcome in the Rumpus Room. Many nights were full of friends sipping the holiday favorite “Tom & Jerry”. It was an old-fashioned drink that they all loved. It is a concoction of brandy, rum and spices all whipped up into yummy holiday cheer! We even had a special Tom and Jerry bowl that Taffy carefully unpacked each year and proudly displayed. 

Of course every year we put on our Christmas aprons and made spritz cookies! A delicious butter cookie dough (that I loved munching on when mom wasn’t looking). We would dye batches red, green or leave plain. We had a metal “gun” that would push out the cookies in different shapes like trees, wreaths, stars and more. Then we would decorate them with colored sugars and little silver sugar balls. I loved those days in the kitchen with mom. Once when she was out shopping, I decided to surprise here with a homemade batch of cookies. I whipped up the dough which was totally wrong and ended up eating the entire bowl of cookie dough myself!!! 

Christmas eve was reserved for family only. We would get all dressed up and Taffy would cook up a wonderful dinner. There were lots of hors d’oeuvres. Something was always molded… usually a new recipe she would find in Better Homes and Gardens. Followed by a scrumptious dinner made up of many courses. Usually a ham was the center piece of it all. Glazed carefully during cooking with a pineapple glaze that glistened in the candlelight on the table. Afterward was a delicious dessert. Taffy’s favorite was lemon galosh! It was made with lemon pudding, lady fingers and whipped cream. Gosh that “Galosh” was delicious! 

With our tummies full and a smile on our face, we would head into the family room. There was paneling on one wall (real wood Taffy would say!), and a mix of “new colonial” and mid century modern. Shag carpeting was wall to wall with plenty of Christmas decor everywhere. Duke would disappear into the bedroom to change into his Christmas outfit, which was a red nightshirt and matching cap. Then we would all gather around the tree and sing Christmas carols with Duke holding the Christmas candle. It ended with us lighting the Christmas candle, smiles on our faces and ready for Santa to visit. We always had a good laugh. Cookies and a glass of milk were placed on a plate and off to bed we went. 

Duke loved creating that perfect Christmas for us. In the middle of the night he would throw bricks on the roof of the house so I would think it was reindeer! He wore a Santa outfit and made prints in the snow to the front door. He had jingle bells he would ring and a lot of ho ho hoing! I would peer out the window trying to get a glimpse of Santa but all I usually got was Dad’s well-placed Santa hat going by my window. 

Christmas day was always exciting. Checking to see if Santa ate the cookies we made and drank the milk (he always did), followed by opening presents. Taffy and Duke always showered me with gifts. The latest toys, and a stocking full of chocolate and always a tangerine! During the depression money was scarce and giving an orange or tangerine was a very special gift and Taffy said it was important to always remember those tough times and celebrate that they made it through and live a good life now rich with many people and things. A big yummy breakfast with Dukes homemade biscuits, scrambled eggs and crisp bacon was always the menu which I loved. No one made better biscuits that Duke. Then afterward we would get dressed and do our yearly trek to see Grandparents and cousins. Those were full holidays that I truly cherish each and every year.

So as I hang my diaper pin on my tree, I remember all the marvy times I had in the past and how truly blessed I am to have the life and friends I have now. So to all of you who have been a part of my life I say a very big THANK YOU… and 

MERRY CHRISTMAS! 

Hugs and love 

Doris Dear 

Want to give yourself a gift? Go to my Zazzle Store:  The Rumpus Room Store

Let's Talk Turkey! 

Ahh November. When the air chills, temperatures drop and hot cocoa is a daily norm! I love this time of year, and so did Taffy and Duke, especially at Thanksgiving. 

Of course it all starts with the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens. Full of ideas for decorating and recipes for some yummy new things to try for dinner. The decorating changed year to year, but there was always one thing Taffy had to have out and that was her Gurley pilgrim and turkey candles! Duke had bought them on his way home from work when they were first married and they always had a place of prominence on Taffy’s corner hutch. I loved those little candles. There was a pilgrim boy and girl and a turkey. They were never burned! Oh no, Taffy said they were very special and were for display only. It was almost ceremonial how she would unpack each one, wrapped in tissue paper and then placed in its spot. Once in place Taffy just sat there at the dining room table and smiled at them, Dukes love reflected in her eyes. It always made me so happy to see how much they loved each other. 

Taffy especially loved any new ideas on how to cook the perfect turkey. One year it was inside a bag, another year butter under the skin, then it was high heat. Taffy loved “food science”! She often would walk through the Food Fair trying to decide on what to make. There were some dishes that were always present. We always had fresh made cranberry sauce made from whole cranberries. Never the gel in the can type. I still make them the same way, just like mom taught me. Her other specialty was her creamed white baby onions. How I absolutely adored those! She was truly an expert at making a béchamel sauce and then adding in the white peeled onions and slowly simmering them until that sweet onion flavor permeated the sauce. Mom made the gravy from the giblets. I never really knew what “giblets” were but boy they tasted good! Taffy would go downstairs and get her American Meat Grinder with the green handle and attach it to the counter. After boiling the giblets she would grind those up, sauté them and then put them back in the roasting pan full of the cooked bits and fat from the turkey roasting. A little milk and flour and that gravy was all set. The stuffing was all Duke though. A week before he would go out and buy “a good white loaf” as he would say, and cut it up into cubs and put them in the big black speckled enamel oval roasting pan and leave them downstairs in the rumpus room to get stale. Then he would spend all day chopping celery, onions, sage and garlic and sautéing that until it was soft and then add stock and boil it all down to a rich broth. He would mix that with the stale bread cubs and then stuff the turkey with that. He said that making stuffing outside the turkey was dreadful and that was NOT “stuffing” that was “dressing”! Dukes favorite part was making biscuits. He used his moms cast iron skillet to make what he called “the perfect baking powder biscuit”. They were truly delicious with a slightly salty crust perfectly browned and ready for butter and a quick swipe through the thick giblet gravy. 

Of course Thanksgiving was also about family… cousins, aunts and friends. Often times we would have dinner over our cousins house with what seemed like a hundred people! Everyone dressed up and brought their favorite dishes. I would sit in the living room and listen to all the giggling and laughter as the Manhattan’s and Whiskey Sours were poured. Of course a thick layer of smoke filled the air since everyone smoked A LOT! Later in the evening they all drank something called a “Stinger”. I’m still not sure what that was made with, but the volume level would get louder and louder until finally all the pies, either home-made or brought from Delicious Orchids in NJ, were served. Delicious Orchids became a regular excursion in November. It is located in Colts Neck, NJ and has been around since the 50’s. We would motor down to buy some yummy pies and of course get some apple cider and doughnuts to feast on the way home! 

By the end of the night everyone was full, all the cousins were tired and we would pile back into Taffy’s yellow mustang convertible and motor home, full, happy and glad we have a big extended family to share the season with. 

This Thanksgiving, enjoy your family and loved ones, and try to reach out to those who might be alone or without someone. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

Hugs and love 

Doris Dear

This Devil Wears a Parka! 

October was always a fun, busy time in the Dear household! The cooler temperatures brought out the sweaters and light coats, as the leaves turned brilliant hues of yellow, gold and orange. Taffy and Duke both loved decorating for the holidays and Halloween was no exception! 

We couldn't wait to rush over to the Richmondtown “Old Home Day”. Richmondtown is a authentic original town and farm museum complex featuring treasures dating back to the 1600’s. A wonderful historic site on Staten Island full of colonial buildings manned by locals dressed in period garb. Old Home Day, which Taffy was a committee member of, was always a big highlight of the season. This is where we purchased our pumpkins from a large field full of all shapes and sizes as we sipped the fresh pressed apple cider the colonial men would make as you waited. I loved this day, watching women make homemade bees wax candles as we sampled home baked goodies. 

When we arrived back home, it was straight to the kitchen table to start designing and carving our wonderful orange pumpkins. Taffy designed great faces each year and was a master carver back when the only thing we had was a sharp knife and Dukes hacksaw! I remember the year he decided to pull out the electric drill to make the eyes and we all laughed and wondered why we hadn’t thought of that before! Of course a candle was placed inside and in the evening we set them out on the front stoop to light the way for goblins and ghouls. We also had lots of cardboard Halloween decorations that Taffy loved to hang up. I especially loved a certain pumpkin that was dressed in a sort of jester like costume. I loved changing his arm and leg positions each day as if he was doing a dance. This year,

Taffy also bought me my paper mâché pumpkin to collect my sugary goodies. Oh how I loved that container. It still decorates my shelf along with my other máché Halloween collections each year. Taffy would buy an assortment of little Halloween bags to fill with candy for the trick or treaters on Halloween night. How I loved those little bags with the bright orange and black graphics of ghosts, devils and black cats on them. Taffy, Duke and I would fill each bag with precisely the same amount of candy in each, and then fill the large green bowl with them. I remember it like it was yesterday. 

School was out and I was finally old enough to have a “real” Halloween costume. Mom would take me to Whitman’s Candy Store in Great Kills Village! I marveled at the Ben Cooper Costumes in those really cool boxes with the cellophane windows that showed the mask hidden inside. I wanted to be a Devil. Mom said yes and I grabbed it quickly before she could change her mind. When we got home I had to put it on right away. It was one of those fake satin one-piece jumpers with a printed design on the chest and ties in the back to fit all sizes. The mask was frightening. His face was red with an evil grin and horns sticking out of the top of his head. 

As the month continued on, the anticipation of the “that day” would almost make me go crazy. I would read my new "Girls" magazine to get some ideas for parties of the season. I couldn’t wait to become a devil and collect candy from the neighbors doorways! Some of my friends graduated up to wear the costume of the grown up kids… the “Hobo” outfit. Black top hat, flannel shirt, baggy pants from their father, oversized shoes and an old cigar. Then they burned a cork and rubbed the black all over their faces. A pillowcase would be for the candy and the requisite sock full of flour to fight the evil ones! I remember watching “Meet Me in St Louis” and the scene where the kids all go out for Halloween and make a huge barn fire in the middle of the street! Imagine if they did that now! Then little Margaret O’Brian throws flour in the face of the neighbor and is celebrated as being brave. I dreamed of having that same kind of night with my friends (well, minus the burning furniture!!!).I was so excited to show off my wonderful devil costume to all my friends. It fit perfectly and I loved how when you spoke behind that plastic mask you could hear yourself echo a little bit. It also had a certain smell about it that was comforting for some odd reason. Taffy and Duke took pictures and then it was time to depart. The bell rang and all my friends were ready. Just as I was about to head out the door, Taffy decided it is way too cold out and maked me put a coat on over my costume and a wool hat on my head. UGH! OH NOOOOOOOO! I was so upset. I argued with her, but Taffy always won. With my head hung low and frown under my mask, I went out into the spooky cold night. This Devil Wears a Parka tonight!!!!”. The fall leaves were crunchy under my feet and the wind was howling slightly, a perfect spooky night! Despite the coat… which I immediately took off and wrapped around my waist, and the hat which I stuffed into my pumpkin, it was a wonderful Halloween with friends and a pumpkin full of yummy gooey delights. 

I still love to dress up in costumes. I have moved on a bit from the ones in the box, but nothing is more fun than stepping outside my “normal” self and being a Superhero or anything else that fits my fancy! 

So as Halloween month is upon us once again and I adjust my Batgirl mask, I take a deep breath and step out the door. I strut my purple boots down the pavement with my partner and friends at my side. The wind blows through my hair and I think to myself… I bet mom would have told me to wear a parka and a hat! 

Hugs and love


 

Just some Joe! 

Fall … shopping for notebooks, pencils, fountain pens (6th grade gave us ink!), binders, a lunch box (I always favored the sci-fi TV show versions) and coffee. Yes… coffee…! I know, not the usual on the list for a young girl heading out to start school in the fall, but let me explain.  

My father, Duke, was my idol. He was handsome, strong physically and mentally, and the best father a girl could wish for. Family was everything to him. Whether it was his daughter, his wife or his extended family of brothers and in-laws, Duke was always there for everyone. When his brothers left this earth before him, he sat by their side, bathed them, helped out the families and never wavered from his support. He adored his mother (she was a strong willed woman, but that could be a story for another time!!!) and his father was someone he always felt he needed to prove his worth to. Duke was a father most people dream about. Oh yes, he had his faults, he was human, but he always tried to do what was right, and succeeded... most of the time.  

Duke went to the University of Miami. He was a sportsman and played football and basketball for them. It always amazed me he did so well in sports since he was only 5’7, but he made up for any lack of height with expertise. He never finished college, but instead signed up for the Navy. He was a doctors assistant on a Naval ship, but never got deployed. After the war, Duke worked for Bell Telephone Company in Brooklyn, hanging lines for the company. His father, POP, who had a seat on the Stock Exchange until he was well into his 80’s, told him to “buy as much stock as they will let you” when he started the job. He followed his dad's advice and that gave my parents some financial freedom later in life. Duke believed in the plight of the working man in NYC. He was vocal and loud, but always got noticed being so handsome and well spoken. He was a leader and eventually became Vice President of his union. I remember the day he received his “Diners Club” card. He came home beaming from ear to ear. We went out to “The Riviera Chateau” for dinner that night to celebrate! It was the fanciest restaurant on Staten Island! Duke in his green skinny suit, Florsheim Imperials and short hair, looked like something right out of the “Mad Men” TV show. I got to enjoy my first ever “Chicken Kiev” that night and felt like I was the most important girl in the room. You could see how proud Duke was to be able to take his family to something so “fancy”.  

Duke worked hard but always made sure his family had everything. Each morning he would wake up to his clock radio at 6am. He would hop in the shower and I knew it was time to wake up when I smelled the British Sterling after shave that Duke loved. I would slip on my pink quilted robe and matching slippers and paddle my way out to the kitchen and wait for him. Mom would still be in bed, this was a time for just father and daughter. Duke would grab the can of Savarin coffee and he would let me use the can opener to pop it open. I remember that rush of air as the vacuum seal was released. The smell of those rich dark brown grounds was like heaven to me. Duke taught me how to fill the Blue Cornflower percolator with grounds and water and set it on the gas flame. He knew just how much to let it perk. Then he would set up his white coffee cup and saucer, pour himself a cup of joe, get me a Flintstones glass of orange juice, light up a Pall Mall cigarette and sit at the table together. This was our time. Just me and dad. Together. We would talk about how well we slept, what I had planned that day and he would always end with how much he loved me. There I was, sitting at the table with my idol, my dad, and he was all mine at that moment. I didn’t have to share him with anyone else. Duke never seemed stressed or unhappy. Later as an adult, I realized that he went through some tough times. The phone company went on a long strike and he went to work at the Drakes Snack factory in Brooklyn to earn money. I never knew. All I knew was that he arrived home many nights with a box full of yummy Ring Dings, Yodels and Funny Bones! Duke did whatever it took to give his family everything. 

We lost Duke in 2000 to colon cancer. He never gave in to it. He was determined to not allow the cancer to stop him. He would play golf and tennis several times a week no matter what. I was spending time with him in the hospital one day, when he grabbed me and told me he was proud of me and all I achieved in life. Then he slid into a deep sleep he never woke from.  

I miss my dad. He was “The Perfect American Father” in my eyes. So as I grind my Arabica beans in my automatic expresso maker, the smell of those grinding beans is rich and deep. Somehow, though, it can’t compare to The Savarin Coffee and the rush of vacuum packed air that filled my nostrils each morning in our little kitchen on Beach Road standing besides the first man I ever loved. 

NEVER forget  

Hugs & Love

Doris Dear

Supermarket Sweep! 

 

I absolutely adored going to the supermarket with mom. It was a time when “Supermarket” really meant SUPER!!! It was much more than just food, it was a place to catch up on the gossip of the day and show off to the neighbors. 

Mom would get all dressed up. Full skirt, starched blouse with a stand up collar, perfectly coiffed hair and always a beautiful pump to set the whole outfit to perfection. I, of course, would be dressed in a miniature version of mom and I had to have a purse to match it… Taffy taught me well! Off we would motor to the Food Fair, park the car and stroll in graciously as if the only thing on our minds were a roast for this evenings dinner! 

Like clockwork we would slowly make our way through the aisles. Taffy loved the latest technology in food. When frozen dinners hit the market, we of course were the first to try them. From meatloaf to sweet and sour chicken...it was all contained in one easy to serve foil tray. Fried Chicken seemed to be a popular entrée, and I loved it! “What a miracle” Taffy would exclaim! Of course always having her finger on the pulse of things, Taffy quickly had fiberglass folding TV dinner trays with brass legs ready for the 3 courses contained in that aluminum foil tray! As we sat in front of the TV watching The Flintstones, we dug into  our dinner.  Of course our trays had eagles on them since Taffy was currently into the “colonial” craze that was sweeping the interior decorating world! 

As we rounded the corner to the meat department Taffy would always wave a hello to the butcher, Joe, who was always there to carve a scrumptious roast for us. This was the perfect place for the gals to gather. Butchering took some time, so all the wives could catch up on the latest. The gals would tell tales of happenings and gossip from the neighborhood and brag about how well their husbands were doing at work. They giggled a lot through their kidskin gloves and told each other they were “terrible”! One by one they would get their roasts from Joe and make their way to a new isle for shopping while the others would continue until their time was up. 

I was always excited when we turned the corner to the cereal isle! It was like going on a safari full of pots of gold, lions, kilted men and … CLOWNS!!! There they were, leering at me... SUGAR SMACKS!… I shuddered in fear. Those clown faces, several different ones, stairing off those boxes of sweetness. I always asked mom to speed up as we passed them! Thank god for “Big Otis” nearby to keep me safe. Big Otis selling “the brawniest, brightest oat cereal of them all!” Who knew “bears” were a thing back then. Unfortunately, it didn’t really sound very delicious. Then I saw it… something I had to have. Something that would satisfy this little gals sci-fi dreams of a brighter tomorrow… SUGAR JETS! Sugar coated puffs that could make me fly! Since sugar was the second ingredient, it was no wonder I had all that extra energy the box said I would have!!! Even better was that it said it was "fun for snacks".  It was even recommended by Betty Crocker herself! How could a housewife in training ask for anything better than that! 

We would continue through the isles, checking for new products to bring home and try. Mom said the boil in a bag veggies were really a life saver. Creamed corn in a bag… what next… a nuclear oven!? The one new product Taffy never liked were those “potato flakes” in a box. She said it was fake and nothing could beat good potato’s peeled at home, boiled until fork tender and then mashed with good butter, whole milk and salt. She would buy a bag of “good ones” and they would be kept on the cellar stairs because it was dark and cool and would keep them from sprouting. 

We sailed through the registers with ease and Taffy never missed an opportunity to say hi to the checker and ask her if she had heard any new gossip! The handsome “bag boy” filled our brown paper bags with the days purchases and then escorted us to the car and placed them in the back seat. I always thought those boys were so good looking in their creased trousers, white starched shirts and long white aprons. A quick ride home and Taffy was ready to start the evenings dinner. Of course, Taffy, like clockwork, prided herself on making a roast beef dinner every month. Slices of onion, tooth picked on top of the roast, a heavy helping of salt and pepper for added flavor and even a shake or two of Accent. Accent was a marvel and seemed so exotic. Taffy said it was what gave “oriental” food its yummy flavor. Next was the big pot for boiling the potato’s and a smaller one for the creamed corn in a bag. Taffy never slowed down. Things always went smoothly in the kitchen. Taffy’s household was a prime example of the perfectly run home. Duke walked in the door at 6pm sharp. Taffy had a whiskey sour ready for him as we all sat down to a marvelous dinner. Duke beamed as he dug into his favorite meal. After finishing up, it was time for Taffy and Duke to enjoy a cup of coffee and a Pall Mall cigarette before heading into the living room to watch some TV. Duke knew that Taffy’s dinners were always full of flavor and perfect! Thank god she had the Supermarket! 

Hugs and love 

Doris Dear

Summer on the Island! 

What a wonderful start of summer I had. Just like Taffy and Duke, I motored out to the island and enjoyed ten fun filled, sun soaked days at the beach, chasing waves and digging up sand crabs just like we did growing up. 

Taffy and Duke loved the beach. They looked forward to escaping to the sandy shores of Long Beach Island each summer. We would load up the car and motor down the Garden State Parkway in our new Mustang convertible with the top down and Taffy in a big hat and colorful scarf. 

Inevitably we would get there just as our stomachs told us it was time for lunch. We would pull into "Wida’s" and order up our first lobster of the season! Oh how I was fascinated by those huge claws and dripping butter. Duke would crack those shells and Taffy would show me how a lady removes the meat! She was so delicate and managed to get every last bit out. Of course Taffy and Duke sipped a cold frothy beer and I enjoyed my sugary Shirley Temple. 

Then it was back into the car to arrive at our rented house on the beach. Walls covered in Knotty Pine with the smell of salt and the grind of sand under our feet. How I loved these vacations! 

Mornings always started with Duke making us bacon and eggs with freshly made donuts he would get each morning at "Marvel's Supermarket".

That was followed by a set up on the beach with large colorful umbrellas with long fringe, blankets, towels, baby oil and lots of cigarettes!

I of course had my latest chapter of "The Happy Hollisters" with me ready to read. How I loved the adventures of this happy family. This years pick was "The Happy Hollisters at Sea Gull Beach". 

Mom and I would collect shells and she would teach me how to make necklaces and beaded ankle bracelets to give to the lifeguards sitting watch over us! Always the fashion plates, Taffy would hit the beach in only the latest fashions. This summer it was a “Catalina Sun Struck” polka dot bikini and Duke in his short shorts. They would always turn heads! What a truly beautiful couple. Taffy had her hair cut in a pixie style that summer (all the rage) and bleached white! She looked like something right out of vogue. Mom and Dad would set up the cribbage board and play for hours laughing and telling stories with friends that would drop by the blankets. It always seemed everyone waited for Taffy and Duke to arrive. 

Early evenings would be a something I really looked forward to. We would hop in the car and drive over to Bay Village to walk around the shops and of course drop by to see the "Lucy Evelyn Schooner". It seemed so big to me back then. It was a shipwreck of sorts with a small museum inside. Sometimes we would get there at the right time and hear the “Wharf Rats” perform. Of course near by was the "Country Kettle Fudge" shop where Taffy would get a large helping of dark gooey chocolate fudge and a small piece of vanilla fudge for me.John Maschal the  That shop smelled so good with all that boiling sugar! A quick stop at the trampolines where we would all laugh bouncing up and down like monkeys and a quick wave at the Robot in front of "Hartman Go-Carts", then homeward ho! Taffy always brought our own sheets and they were crisp and comforting that first night. Waves crashing on the shore lulled me to sleep each night, box fans humming in the background, as Taffy and Duke would welcome friends in and serve up whiskey sours and cigarettes! 

It always made me a little sad leaving. But our last night was always spent at a “fancy” dinner at “Howard’s”, sitting in large oak chairs eating French fried lobster tails with drawn butter. Even with my sunburnt lip, it never stopped me from chowing down! 

 

I treasure my summers with Taffy and Duke and now I still carry that same cribbage board with me to the beach and move my little wooden pegs around just like Taffy and Duke taught me! 

Have a wonderful fab summer!


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Today, May 10, 2017 

Mothers 

Taffy was beautiful. At an early age she stood apart from the rest. Her picture at 16 years old shows a movie star face. A slight smile that warms a heart. She was destined to be a star. She became a model, walking the runways of French designers and salon modeling for many of the wealthy "swans" of NYC. She drove a yellow Pontiac convertible. Everyone on Staten Island knew Taffy. 

Then she met Duke. Life changed. He made all her dreams come true. So much so she gave it all up to become a housewife and mother. It was everything she ever wanted. They were a beautiful couple. She was never happier than being a mother and raising her family. She never looked back. Taffy had a life full of love, friends and family. 

I remember when she taught me to make sugar cookies and how to color white sugar to decorate them. She taught me knitting, needlework, cooking, crafting and most importantly how to be the perfect Housewife.  

Taffy was never embarrassed about just being a housewife. To her, it meant she had the greatest job of all. She was strong willed and she fiercely protected her family. She would never give in when it came to protecting her family. She had rules and laws changed to make sure her children and others were protected. She was everything! 

I used to watch her rule a room. She was always the life of the party. Her smile was infectious. When she and Duke danced the lindy her face lit up and their smiles said it all. Taffy was like no other. 

As we come into the second Sunday of May otherwise known as "Mothers Day" I salute you Taffy. I salute everything you did to give me the life I have now. One that is full and rewarding on so many levels. I would be nothing without all you gave up and did for me.  

Want to hear more about Taffy? Come see me at Feinstein's/54 Below this Friday, May 12th at 9:30pm and my "Mothers Day Special: Like Mother Like Daughter" click here for tickets: INFO AND TICKETS and use code DORISDEAR35 for 35% off a main dining room seat! 

Hugs and love 

Doris Dear

Today, April 3, 2017 

Well my Dear's, it seems that spring has sprung finally and the sun is shining bright through my windows looking out on the Hudson River. All of my houseplants have started to spring into growth and the basil seeds have been sown in the hydroponics! Technology is simply wonderful isn't it! Those little seeds will grow enough basil for me to make it through yet another long winter... thank god for pesto! 

Things really have changed haven't they? Taffy, my mother, lived for her magazines to show up in the mail box to find out what was new and great. She poured over those pages and got new ideas each month. Now it seems you go to this thing called "Google Search" and the world of information is at your fingertips. It seems though that so much of that information isn't especially accurate. When it comes to food recipes especially things seem wrong! No one has time tested the recipes or spent much time in the kitchen trying it out.

I spent years on TV preparing food and I wrote all my own recipes. They were tested over and over and made sure they were correct by me and my staff. It seems that this just isn't the case much anymore. What would taffy have done without her "Better Homes and Gardens"? She would not have had that great grapefruit jello mold recipe to share with us all. A yummy concoction of grapefruit slices, crab, shrimp and red jello! Oh my DEAR'S, it was delish... and healthy too (or so they said).

Of course this time of year is time for my time tested and yummy RED VELVET CAKE! This is one of my most popular recipes. I love this cake and it makes a great presentation if you spend just a little bit of time decorating this frosty beauty. Traditionally, red velvet cake is iced with a French-style butter roux icing (also called ermine icing), which is very light and fluffy, but time-consuming to prepare. Cream cheese frosting has become the most popular these days. 

Interested in making your own? Try my recipe published here:

Doris Dear's favorite Red Velvet Cake

Happy baking DEARS!

Love

Doris Dear
 

Today, March 6th, 2017 

Good day all my DEARS

The sun is shining high in the sky and slowly spring is trying to take over New York City. Yesterday was the 2nd anniversary of my mother, Taffy's, passing. Taffy influenced me deeply and in so many ways. If you have seen any of my shows, you would have heard all the stories and advice that she passed along to me. So today, I would like to pass on a few tidbits of classic Housewife moments to you.

"Make a home a place of peace and order where your husband can relax in body and spirit."

"Never complain if he doesn't take you out. Try instead to understand his world better."

"When he arrives home, let him talk, this is NOT your time."

"Never greet him with complaints. Your problems are minor compared to his!"

 

 
Until next time... have a wonderful day!

Love 

Doris Dear

Summary

Stories from the Perfect American Housewife!