Happy May Day! Thank God Its Monday, once again. Thus, I wish a #HappyMonday to everyone, as well. I always look forward to Mondays because they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you.
Friday is celebrating, among other things, National Cartoonists Day! Within Mom’s many talents – as a writer, food reviewer, recipe developer, newsletter and book publisher, marketer, and so on – she was also a cartoonist.
In the 1960s and 1970s, before Mom started her copycat recipe business, she drew a series of cartoon panels, which she entitled Full House – As Kept By Gloria Pitzer. They were first published in a couple of local Michigan newspapers, The Roseville Community Enterprise (Roseville, MI) and The Richmond Review (Richmond, MI).
Along with the cartoon panels, Mom also designed her own journalistic columns, mailing out samples to over 300 newspapers. Within a year, she was writing two different columns (“No Laughing Matter” and “Minding the Hearth”), regularly, for 60 papers. Other columns she wrote were titled Pitzer’s Patter, Cookbook Corner, and Food For Thought.
According to UrbanDictionary.com, Food-For-Thought is “Learning new information that you never thought was important to think about. It enables you to have a greater intelligence in every aspect of life while feeding your mind.” Similarly, at Merriam-Webster.com, Food-for-Thought is “something that should be thought about or considered carefully.”
FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 75)
THE CARTOONS (aka: Family Talents)
I DIDN’T ‘DRAW’. I doodled. The rest of my family could draw. My uncle, Earl Klein, is a celebrated artist in Southern California, who has spent most of his professional life with Walt Disney, Hanna-Barbera and other wonderful studios.
His own company, Animation Inc., produced the milk commercials for TV that included, ‘Daddy, there’s a cow in the bedroom!’ Another of Uncle Earl’s commercials was the Faygo commercial, ‘Which way did he go… Which way did he go… He went for FAYGO!’
He even did the Cocoa Wheats commercial with the cuckoo clock. One of my mother’s other brothers, Herb Klein, was also an artist and had his own advertising agency in Detroit for many years.
My [two] younger sisters are both accomplished artists. Paul and I are glad to see even our children are blessed with this artistic gift, as our son, Michael, has gone through the Pasadena Arts Center to become [an] art director for many fine advertising agencies over the years…
Our daughter, Laura… Is just as talented as her brother, but she has had not a smidgen of special training. Her illustrations are currently [at] the ‘Center for Creative Arts’ here in St. Clair and also at the ‘Mortonville Shoppe’ across from the old Morton Salt Company plant in Marysville.
My doodles can hardly fall into a class with either of our children, but they are fun to do and also pleased the family over the years.
Mom didn’t just doodle – she was an illustrator and cartoonist. Like the chicken-and-egg analogy – I’m not sure which came first, as some of my copies of Mom’s cartoons and columns are not dated but they match in subject matter.
Either way, they were both usually inspired by things that happened in/to our family, which Mom thought would be of interest to other working homemakers like herself. “Write what you know” is a commonly known quote from Mark Twain.
Mom’s columns, although in hard copy publications, were much like the web pages or website blogs we have today. In both, the writers express their own opinions, while circulating information (and maybe entertaining the readers), on a regular basis.
Except, obviously back then, they were only typed and printed in hard-copy, through newspapers and magazines. Nowadays, instead, they are electronically posted on the internet. In my own blog posts, I also like to write about various subject matters, just as Mom did, those of which I hope will be of interest to people like us..
There was never a dull moment in our household. As a young, working wife and mother of five kids, Mom found her hectic, yet laughable, family life to be the best subject about which to comedically write AND draw. She was so creative and funny – she could see humor in almost anything.
My mom had a way of taking our family’s everyday life events and turning them into some great “fishing stories”. Speaking of which, that reminds me of a cartoon Mom drew (below) in 1971, based on my love for fishing and my brothers’ irritation of it.
FROM MY OWN MEMORIES…
As seen in…
Some of my favorite early childhood memories are of fishing with my dad and two brothers. My brothers didn’t very much care for me tagging along, but Dad was happy with my enthusiastic interest in fishing… especially, I think, because I liked to find the worms with which for him to bait our hooks.
We were living in the Algonac-Pearl Beach area (of Michigan), on the beautiful St. Clair River (part of the St. Lawrence Seaway), across from the North Channel (west of Harsens Island) that flows into Lake St. Clair. We fished off the end of our dock often, for whatever was in season – bass, perch, walleye, whitefish, trout, etc.
One day, when I was about 6 or 7 years old, [I was] fishing with my dad and brother, Mike. My line caught something that I just couldn’t pull in by myself. Dad came over to help me. I was very excited that I had caught something, and it was apparently BIG because I couldn’t reel it in by myself!
After a couple minutes of struggling, even with Dad’s help, we finally got it pulled up to the surface of the water, only to find it was an old shoe filled with mud! Dad helped me to [bait and] cast my line out again and I patiently waited for a real bite.
Then, I got a rather strong pull on my line and Dad had to help me reel it in again – this time it was an old coffee can filled with mud! My brother, Mike, got the biggest kick out of that and roared with laughter! [I was determined to not let him discourage me.]
Dad set me back up with a new worm on my hook, to try again on the other side of the dock, hoping I wouldn’t catch another shoe or can of mud. Within MINUTES I had hooked something big and heavy again! Mike teased me that it was another can of mud.
But, as Dad helped me, again, to get the object to the surface, we both saw that it was a HUGE catfish! [It] broke my line as soon as we got it up on the edge of the dock. It flopped back into the water and swam away quickly. So, I do have a [fishing] story about ‘the one that got away’ – but it was real!
Mom was artistically gifted, not just as a cartoonist and writer, but also as a publisher, marketer, illustrator, crafter, homemaker, cook… and the list goes on. She combined all of it together, with a clever and satirical wit. All of these ingredients were uniquely blended to form Mom’s own special recipe for success – as the Secret Recipes DetectiveTM!
Speaking of which, it was during the course of publishing her cartoons and “food-for-thought” columns that Mom discovered a unique, undiscovered niche in the food and recipes industries for which her readers craved – she called it “copycat cookery”. At that time, there was nothing else like it!
Even though the newspapers’ editors and their food industry advertisers didn’t like it and tried to stop her, Mom felt all the more compelled to follow her own path. She faithfully trusted in the direction to which she believed Fate was leading her.
Inspired by some of Mom’s stories and cartoons, I wrote the above parody of our family, from The Brady Bunch theme song: That’s the Way we all Became the Brady Bunch, by songwriters, Frank DeVol and Sherwood Schwartz (© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC).
In honor of TODAY, being the start of May and National Egg Month, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Bagel Factory [Style] Challah (aka: Egg Bread); as seen in one of her first self-published cookbooks… The Secret Restaurant Recipes Book (National Homemakers Newsletter, Pearl Beach, MI; Jan. 1977, p. 31).
P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…
May celebrates, among other things… American Cheese Month, Better Speech and Language Month, National Asparagus Month, National Barbecue Month, National Get Caught Reading Month, National Hamburger Month, National Inventor’s Month, National Photography Month, National Salad Month, National Salsa Month, National Strawberry Month, and National Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!
May 4th is… National Star Wars Day, National Weather Observers Day, National Orange Juice Day, National Candied Orange Peel Day, and National Bird Day! Plus, as the first Thursday in May (for 2023), it’s also… National Day of Reason!
May 6th is… National Nurses Day, National Beverage Day, and National Crepe Suzette Day! Plus, as the 1st Saturday in May (for 2023), it’s also… Kentucky Derby Day, National Fitness Day, National Scrapbook Day, National Homebrew Day, Join Hands Day, National Start Seeing Monarchs Day, and National Play Outside Day (which is also the 1st Saturday of EVERY month)!
Additionally, as the start of the first full week in May (7th-13th of 2023), it’s also… National Small Business Week, National Wildflower Week, National Screen-Free Week, National Public Service Recognition Week, and National Pet Week [which is the 1st Sunday through 2nd Monday of May (7th-15th of 2023)]!
…18 down and 34 to go!