The happy thing. Part 1.

Dear friends,

Remember yesterday when I said I had a million-bazillion things running through my head — some happy, some tearful, some funny, and so on? Well, here’s one of the happy things:

Bloggers Karen and Wendy over at After the Kids Leave gave me a big ol’ shout-out on their blog. They think I’m awesome (awesome?) and said I remind them “of the importance of being happy for what life has given us.”

Here’s the deal. They are way cooler than me and THEY HAVE 507 FOLLOWERS. (I have 41.) So I’m, like, wow. Thank you, Karen and Wendy. It’s pretty neato-bandito to know somebody besides my family and hometown friends are reading.

Their recognition involves paying it forward, which I’m happy to do. But first, I’m supposed to tell you 7 things about myself. The way I blather on and on  — well, I just can’t imagine there’s anything you don’t already know about me (especially any reader who followed me over from my old blog). But I’ll jump in because lord knows I can talk about myself.

  1. I used to be a clown. Really.  The kind with a painted face, funny wig and costume who performed with other clowns doing things like tumbling, pantomime, and silly skits. Say what you want, but I contend that juggling and entertaining finicky audiences of all ages was the best training ever for a working mother, wife and executive.
  2. The best decision I ever made was marrying Mr. Mom. If I would have turned left instead of right back in 1988, my life would be totally different. I’m grateful every single day for our abiding partnership.
  3. The best compliment I ever got (Carole are you reading?) is that I’m always game. Carole is a dear friend who once told me the thing she likes most about me is that I’m always up for whatever wacky adventure she wants to pursue. Need a partner in crime? Need a Mikey to take the first bite? Call Joan. (Also, see point number 1.)
  4. Mr. Mom would tell you the thing he was attracted to most when we were dating is that I can keep a confidence. I know. That’s an unexpected thing to hear about a woman who now blogs (blabs) to the world, but back then, I was as tight-lipped as a Soviet spy. Case in point: (PSSSST — I’M REVEALING STATE SECRETS NOW) When Mr. Mom met me, I was going to college and living with my father, who was a bookie. Much later when Mr. Mom put two-and-two together and realized I hadn’t said a word to him about my father and none of my friends knew either, he decided I was a woman he could trust.
  5. Ready for a bombshell? I used to belong to a religious cult. At least that’s what some people called it. To me, it was a post-college phase that didn’t last long but scared the bejesus out of my family. I wrote an essay about it. Maybe I’ll share it someday. (This revelation is further evidence of point number 3.)
  6. If I could remake my life and be anybody or anything, I envision myself as a revolutionary, a la Emma Goldman or Margaret Sanger or Noam Chomsky or Che Guevara or Cesar Chavez or Ralph Nadar or Crystal Lee Sutton (“Norma Rae”). I once said my epitaph would be “She was a free spirit struggling to transcend the constraints of a conventional life,” but maybe that’s just the romantic in me.
  7. Maybe the thing I like most about myself is my determination. “The Mountain” notwithstanding, I’ve got the fortitude of a marathoner. I’ve never thought I had enough intellect or talent to win anything, but play the perseverance game and I’ll come out on top every time. I watched a mother with no education, scarce resources and three alcoholic husbands set her jaw and endure hardship every day of her life, so I’ve never doubted for one second I could outlast the SOBs. (Holy cow, I might just have drummed up the mustard to beat those Unfriendlys!)

So that’s it. Tomorrow, I’ll spread the love to blogs I adore. Please come back. Learning about those folks is far more entertaining than hearing about me.

With gratitude {for two new readers who inspired me to contemplate my life, which is always a welcome exercise in thanksgiving},

Joan, who never really aspired to be a clown, per se, but joined the troupe her freshman year of high school to be near a senior boy she was sweet on and ended up performing for four years straight


  1. You’re so welcome, Joan! And we think you’re all that much more awesome now.
    Karen & Wendy

  2. The fact that your high school had a CLOWN TROUPE is just amazing to me. And that there were so many people in it! Way better than cheerleading or something. In my opinion.

  3. I wanted to go on record with a guess as to which clown is “our” blogger-queen but honestly am stuck between two options. Maybe you’ll clarify? Going with my first impulse I’m guessing you are the clown in the front row – matching outfits with sailor collars – the one on the right with your foot over the “W”?

    So how did I do?

  4. Good eye, Deb! The girl to my right is my best friend. She was “Spuddy” and I was “Spry” and we were quite the clowning duo.

    • Also, the best part of our costumes weren’t visible for this photo. But we had knee-length smocks with hula hoops in the hems. We wore them in parades, but removed them for our tumbling acts. Our mothers collaborated to make the costumes for us. Such sweet memories!

  5. Linda Patton says:

    The photo brings back such sweet memories. Wouldn’t it be fun to know where they are and what they are doing. I am glad you see value in that experience. I thought it was an exercise in giving of oneself for others.

  6. I would concur that you are Perseverence Joan, but talent and intellect anchor two-thirds of the trinity.

  7. Hey, Joan! I’m a follower and I’m not your family and I’m not from your hometown! I love your blog.

  8. I never wanted to be a clown (they scare me) but Mr. What’s his name (science teacher) taught me how to juggle my freshman year. Who knew that little trick would fascinate so many people.

  9. What a blast from the past….love it. We had some fun times with the gang. I think I finally threw away my raggedy ann outfit. Teddy

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