Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Happiness Happens With Family Fun

Thank God Its Monday again and, as such, Happy Monday to one and all! I really look forward to Mondays because they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!




Hand-in-hand with Happiness Happens Month, August is also Family Fun Month – because, obviously, happiness happens when you’re having family fun. August is the most popular month for so many enjoyable summer events. as well as going on one last vacation before the kids go back to school.

Some of my happiest childhood memories are of the fun, summer activities we did as a family like fishing, swimming and boating; plus, our family vacations to Cedar Point (Sandusky, OH), Sea World (Aurora, OH), Tahquamenon Falls and Soo Locks (U.P. of MI), Niagara Falls (Ontario, Canada), Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island (MI).


Mackinac Island, Michigan is a very nostalgic place – the summer vacations that I spent there with my family, as I was growing up, are among my most memorable ones. Especially when we just happened to be staying at the Grand Hotel when the filming of “Somewhere in Time” was going on.

We had seen Christopher Reeves from a distance a couple of times, but we actually got to meet and talk to Christopher Plummer and Jane Seymour between scenes! I remember a couple of other family fun vacations, going to see some of our relatives who live in other states.

We had a family fun vacation visiting some of Dad’s side of the family in West Virginia, where there was a family fun reunion, as well. Another year, we went to see some relatives from Mom’s side of the family, in the Los Angeles area – and had additional family fun, visiting Universal Studios and Disneyland (Mom made a copycat version of their fudge, too).

I aspired to make happiness happen with family fun and wonderful summertime memories for my own children, when they were growing up. We often went camping, as well as to backyard barbeques, beaches, water parks, community carnivals, state fairs, art and car shows, outdoor movies and concerts, the zoo, and so on. Happiness happens with family fun!

One summer, we drove through Chicago on our way to Wisconsin, where we visited a friend of mine in Madison and another in Green Bay – seeing things we’d never seen before. Then we drove through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to go home. Along the way, we stopped to visit Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island.

I loved sharing my summer childhood memories with my own kids, first hand, while creating family fun memories for them, as well. We also went to big amusement parks like Cedar Point (OH), Boblo Island (Ontario), and Kings Island (OH). One time, we drove through Niagara Falls (Ontario) and stopped for a day of sightseeing, on our way to “upstate” New York.


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s National Home News (National Home News, St. Clair, MI; Vol. 5, No. 9; September 1978, p. 11)

AT HOME – A Back-To-School Barometer For Veteran Mom’s

SOME MOTHERS ARE GIFTED at retaining certain pieces of information that they can tell you in the second week of June the exact date, time and hour of the day in September when school opens again.

Others rely on newspaper headlines, the calendar, their neighbors, but the best of all barometer for deciding when it’s time for the kids to go back to school is a series of events in the lives of mothers who know that the family that plays together gets on each other’s nerves… After a while!

You know it’s time for the kids to go back to school when you’re 13-year-old passes up a phone call from a boy to voluntarily wash the dishes because she’s bored. You know it’s time for the kids to get back to school, when the sound of a child licking a postage stamp gives his mother in the next room a tension headache.

When the city declares your backyard a dangerous intersection because of excessive mini-bike traffic through your flowerbeds, you know it’s time for the kids to go back to school. When you’re 16-year-old prefers to take out the garbage to lifting weights because he doesn’t have anything else to do, the vacation has out-lived its original purpose.

You know it’s time for the kids to go back to school when your own mother calls to apologize for not having had the children at her house for a few days but mentions something about Christmas vacation being just around the corner.

You know it’s time when the words to a record album your teenager has been playing all summer begin to make sense to you. It’s time for the kids to go back to school when you read in the paper that the teachers in your area still haven’t settled their contract with the school board.

You know it’s time when even the neighborhood kids start to call you ‘Mother’ and you discover you like it. It’s time when you find six of them even walking AROUND your newly planted bushes rather than THROUGH them.

Most mothers can tell when it’s time for the kids to go back to school when they see Christmas merchandise being marked down on the counters of their favorite store and all the Halloween favors have already been sold, and it isn’t even Labor Day yet!

Mothers can tell when it’s time by the number of Kool-Aid stains on the living room rug that begin to take on the interesting arrangement of a free-form art exhibit.

You know it’s time for the schools to open when the 15-year-old, who wouldn’t wear shoes all summer, suddenly takes an advance on his allowance to get himself six peers of socks and a haircut without being told to.

It’s time when a mother has made so much lemonade and spread so much mustard on sandwiches, that she can’t see the color yellow without feeling sexually attracted to a school bus! It’s time for the kids to return to their little red schoolhouse and their little reading books when they start leaving the house WITHOUT slamming the screen door!

You know the time is right if you have a high school senior, who for three years enjoyed every chance he had to get OUT of school but develops a sudden nervous rash when he hears school might not open if the teachers strike. In fact, show me a mother right now who isn’t glad to see the kids go back to school and I’ll show you a TEACHER!

Even after Mom and Dad became “empty nesters”, they continued to make happiness happen with their own version of family fun getaways (as families can be only two people). Mom loved to write about these trips and share her stories with her family of readers. Joining the Good Sam [RV] Club was among their happiest experiences.

It was a great source of wonderful friendships and memories for both of them. Mom kept scrap books of photos and special keepsakes from their many fun trips with Good Sam’s Michigan and Ohio chapters. They especially looked forward to Good Sam’s big “Samboree” events!

Sometimes Mom would give lectures at these events, regarding her copycat and short-cut cookery concepts, such as those published in her Mostly 4-Ingredients cookbook. She often wrote about her and Dad’s fun trips in her newsletters – from the new restaurant dishes they tried to the beautiful sights they saw and to all the great people they met.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 100)


FRIENDS ARE A TREASURE and, when we count our blessings, we count our friends twice! It’s not possible to have a full and happy life without others to share with, to help when help is needed, to be helped when help is offered…

Since our camping experiences with the national RV organization, Good Sam, we have truly adopted their slogan… ‘In Good Sam there are no strangers – only friends you haven’t met yet!’ How very true.

What would we have done had we not been blessed with meeting Irv and Helen Henze [or] Helen and Chuck Mogg? How much we miss Chuck since he passed away. Friends are those people who know everything there is to know about you, but like you anyhow!

NEEDLESS TO SAY, I can’t wait until we can begin our ‘motor-home camping’ again with our Good Sam friends. It’s our weekend vacation pleasure, May through October. Becoming part of the Good Sam organization is the best thing that has ever happened to us, where we could both enjoy mutual friendships and activities. Wonderful, caring people, who constantly remind us that ‘there are no strangers in Good Sam – only friends we haven’t met, yet!’ – Gloria Pitzer [As seen in… “GOOD SAM – CARING AND CAMPING”, from Gloria Pitzer’s Secret RecipesTM Newsletter (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May-June 1987, 126th issue, p. 3)]

TO THE GOOD SAM RV CLUB (MI & OH Branches): Thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet with and talk to people from all over the country, relative to their recipe interests and food needs… Since our camping experiences with… Good Sam, [Paul and I] have truly adopted their slogan, ‘In Good Sam, there are no strangers – only friends we haven’t met yet!’ – Gloria Pitzer (1989)


Memories are made, families have fun (even when there’s only two of you), and happiness definitely happens in August! But we’re getting closer and closer to the Labor Day Weekend, which is the unofficial end of summer – just as Memorial Weekend is the unofficial start. Merchants are already gearing up for the fall and winter holidays.

Stores are loading their shelves and racks with candy and decorations for Halloween and the fall harvest season. Are you ready for fall and Halloween, yet? That’s okay… Neither am I. Let’s continue enjoying August’s Family Fun Month a little longer. We still have a couple weeks before Labor Day arrives!


Once again, in honor of August, being National Sandwich Month, here are TWO of Mom’s copycat recipes for Beef Feeder [aka: Sign of the Beefcarver] Style Beef Roast & Rye Rolls; from her self-published cookbook, Eating Out at Home (National Home News, St. Clair, MI; September 1978, p. 22).



P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…


The month of August observes, among other things… National Dog Month, Get Ready For Kindergarten MonthInternational Peace Month, National Back to School Month, National Brownies at Brunch Month, National Catfish Month, National Goat Cheese Month, National Golf Month, National Panini Month, and Romance Awareness Month!

Today is also… National Spumoni Day and National Senior Citizens Day!

Tomorrow is… National Be An Angel Day, National Bao Day, Never Bean Better Day, and National Pecan Torte Day!

Wednesday, August 23rd, is… National Ride The Wind Day, National Sponge Cake Day, and National Cuban Sandwich Day!

Thursday, August 24th, is… National Maryland Day, National Peach Pie Day, and National Waffle Day!

Friday, August 25th, is… National Park Service Founders Day, National Whiskey Sour Day, National Kiss and Make Up Day, National Secondhand Wardrobe Day, and National Banana Split Day! Plus, it’s the start of… Be Kind to Humankind Week (always the 25th to 31st)!

Saturday, August 26th, is… National Dog Day, National Women’s Equality Day, and National Cherry Popsicle Day!

Sunday, August 27th, is… National Pots De Creme Day and National Just Because Day!


…34 down and 18 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Unforgettable Family Fun

Thank God It’s Monday and, as such, #HappyMonday! I personally look forward to all Mondays because they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!



We’re in the final stretch of August’s National Family Fun Month observance (for 2022) and quickly approaching Labor Day weekend – the unofficial end of summer. Kids are starting to return to school – some this week and some next week. From some of Mom’s syndicated columns, about spending the summers with us kids at home and underfoot, you’d think it was totally unbearable. In fact, she and Dad made our summers unforgettably FUN!

We lived on the beautiful banks of the St. Clair River. We had a dock from which we fished and swam, as well as a small, family-sized, Chris-Craft boat, in which we’d cruise up and down the river throughout the summer months. By the way, Chris-Craft started their boat-making empire in Algonac in the late 19th century.

I remember Mom taking us kids to the Algonac Lion’s Club Field, in town, where we enjoyed youth activities and crafts. Afterwards, we’d go next door to the community pool, with money we got for swimming, plus a little extra for a drink and snack at the concession stand. I always thought those were FUN days – at least they were for me.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Dad was involved with the Pearl Beach Lion’s Club, near our house. The Lions aren’t a fraternal or political group like many other “clubs”. Nor were they a “social” organization but they did host a lot of family and community events and activities throughout the year, every year – and still do.

According to Dad, the Lion’s Club is simply an organization of people who care about their neighborhoods and get together to do things they can’t do alone. They’re always willing and able to give their time, energy, and resources in service to their community and others. Back when Dad was a member, only men were allowed to join. Since 1987, women have been allowed to join, too.

Below is a picture of me, my siblings, and 2 neighbor-boys, standing in front of the Algonac Lions Club trolley that was in all of our local parades. I think this was from Labor Day weekend, 1970, and we got to ride on the trolley, with Dad, during the parade.


We had many family fun summer vacations, as I was growing up. My personal favorites were the trips we took “up north”.  We went all over “the-tip-of-the-mitt” and into the U.P. I remember looking for Petoskey stones on the beaches along Lake Michigan, climbing among the rocks at Tahquamenon Falls, and seeing the ships go through the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie.

Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island were the best places of all. It offers an amazing experience that takes you on a journey through time, to Michigan’s earliest known history of settlers, with two big forts to tour, as well other terrific sights – there’s no way to pack it all into one day.

In fact, just last month, Michigan’s Mackinac Island [Was] Named ‘Best Island In The Continental US (; 07/13/2022). Michiganders have always known that Mackinac is quite a treasure, nestled in the north end of Lake Huron. Now the whole country is in on our secret!

Mom has duplicated many treats and dishes from the local restaurants and shops there, as well as from the luxurious Grand Hotel’s dining room. I’m only half-way through creating a “Master Index” list of all Mom’s copycat recipes from all of her books. As of right now, there are over a dozen recipes listed from this area. I want to eventually add all of her newsletters to the “Master Index”, too, but I’m missing a lot of them.

Going to Cedar Point, in Sandusky (Ohio), was another highlight of our summers, with a ton of unforgettable family fun; going on all the rides and eating ridiculous amounts of junk food. Sometimes we’d also spend the night at The Breakers hotel, next door, on the beach.

Mom often duplicated some of our favorite carnival treats at home to bring back those memories. So far, six are listed in the “Master Index” that I mentioned above. Maybe that’s why I fell in love with the television show, “Carnival Eats”, hosted by Noah Cappe, when it came out in 2014.

Mom really enjoyed watching it with me, too. We both thought it was a really fun and innovative way to do food reviews of those sinful culinary noshes, in which we allow ourselves to indulge, at least once in a great while.

We also went often to Toronto and Niagara Falls, in Ontario, Canada. Every year we went, it seemed like both beautiful towns kept growing bigger and bigger with more exciting things to see and do; plus, even more great places to enjoy a snack or meal.

Mom always found new treats from the fudge shops and bakeries, plus dishes from the local delis and restaurants, to imitate when we went home. So far, there are almost a dozen listed in the “Master Index”, from these two areas but I know she has more from these towns, as well.

A couple of times, we drove to West Virginia for a family reunion and to visit our relatives from Dad’s side of the family. Both of his parents were from neighboring counties in West Virginia. Mom’s story (below), Vacation Returns (OR The Last Resort), is a spoof of one of those road trips and what it was like to travel that long with five children in tow.

Eons before cell phones, tablets, and other such data/electronic devices, Mom kept us all entertained on road trips the old fashioned way – with travel games like “20 Questions” and “I Spy”; plus, various versions of “Trivia”, “Story Chain”, “The Name Game”, and “The License Plate Game”.

An online survey of Americans, conducted in 2016, by the National Recreation And Park Association, found that the three most typically preferred summer fun activities (among all the different age groups) were walking/hiking, going to the beach, and having a picnic/barbeque. That sounds about right, still today!

Michigan has 3,288 miles of beautiful, fresh water coastline, surrounding most of the state. That’s a lot of beaches – and there are even more beaches along the state’s many in-land lakes and rivers, as well. It’s no wonder that going to the beach, swimming, and other water-related activities are the preferred fun activities, on hot summer days, among most (if not all) Michiganders.


Like I wrote in beginning, it’s the last days of August’s National Family Fun Month celebration. While we’re quickly approaching Labor Day weekend, families everywhere are trying to squeeze in one last “summer blast” before the kids settle back into their usual school routines.

How do you celebrate the end of summer – a weekend vacation, a day at the beach, or a barbeque in the backyard? Mom liked to celebrate right at home, whenever my siblings and I went back to school, saying that’s when her vacation began.


In honor of TODAY, being National Chop Suey Day, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for “Chop Suey Buns, Like Ann Page’s” and her “Mackinac-Style Fruit Bars” variation (with a repeat of her “Thin Vanilla Icing”, for either or both); as seen in her self-published cookbook… The Joy Of NOT Cooking – Any More Than You Have To (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1983, p. 182). I also shared these recipes in April 2021, with Kathy Keene on WHBY’s “Good-Neighbor” show.



P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…


August’s observances include: National Dog Month, Happiness Happens Month, International Peace Month, National Brownies at Brunch Month, National Catfish Month, National Goat Cheese Month, National Golf Month, National Panini Month, National Sandwich Month, and Romance Awareness Month!

Today is also… National Lemon Juice Day!

Tomorrow is… National Toasted Marshmallow Day and National Beach Day!

Wednesday, August 31st is… National South Carolina Day and National Trail Mix Day!

Thursday kicks off September, which observes (among other things)… National Better Breakfast Month, National Little League Month, National Americana Month, National Blueberry Popsicle Month, National Chicken Month, National Courtesy Month, National Honey Month, National Italian Cheese Month, National Library Card Sign Up Month, National Mushroom Month, National Potato Month, National Rice Month, National Sewing Month, National Self-Improvement Month, and National Whole Grains Month!

Thursday, September 1st is also… National Chicken Boy’s Day and National No Rhyme (Nor Reason) Day!

September 2nd is… National Blueberry Popsicle Day! Plus, as the first Friday in September (for 2022) it’s also… National Lazy Mom’s Day, National Food Bank Day, National College Colors Day, and National Chianti Day!

September 3rd is… National Welsh Rarebit Day and U.S. Bowling League Day! Plus, as the first Saturday in September (for 2022), it’s also… National Tailgating Day! Additionally, the first Saturday of EVERY MONTH is also… National Play Outside Day! Plus, according to, the first Saturday in September is… International Bacon Day!

Sunday, September 4th is… unofficially Labor Day Eve (2022), as well as National Spice Blend Day, National Wildlife Day, National Newspaper Carrier Day, and National Macadamia Nut Day! Plus, as the start of the first FULL week in September (2022), it’s also… National Waffle Week!


…35 down and 17 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – De-Stress With Happiness

Happy Monday and happy August! As always, #TGIM – I continually look forward to Mondays because they are my #52Chances each year, in which I have to share my memories of Mom!

Stress and anxiety often accompany any kind of lifestyle changes. We’ve been going through these kinds of times for centuries – the names and places may have changed but the feelings of stress and anxiety remain the same. These days, some of the new lifestyle changes we’re dealing with include staying home as much as possible, extreme sanitizing practices, wearing masks in public, and social distancing – just to name a few.

Now it’s August and the pandemic is still rearing its ugly head in many “hot spots” due to people crowding and not properly wearing PPE, if at all. In addition, a lot of people are worried about sending kids back to “brick-and-mortar” schools before/after Labor Day. Some are trying to push online learning and home-schooling. But not every parent is cut-out to be a teacher and online learning is not easy, let alone available, for everyone.

Stress is just another word for worrying – only more severe – in how it affects us, both physically and emotionally. Unfortunately, the trying times that we’ve been facing, especially this year, are not going away anytime soon. Many experts are telling the media that it will likely get worse before we see it really start to get better.

Sadly, life doesn’t always go the way we want and, from time to time, when we start getting comfortable with how life is going, we forget that nothing in life is guaranteed to any of us. I recently read a really great article, “When It Seems Like Things Are Falling Apart, They’re Really Just Falling Into Place”, by Paul Hudson (Sep. 23, 2014) at The timeless advice and reasoning in this almost-6-year-old article, about dealing with stress and creating your own happiness, sounds like it could have been written for our current pandemic situation. I highly recommend the read!



Writing and cooking were among Mom’s top stress-relievers. Being the Secret Recipes Detective for 40 years, one was more apt to find Mom in the kitchen, creating an imitation of a popular restaurant dish or at her desk writing about the latest imitation she developed.

However, Mom also loved to write random bits of, what she called, “Food for Thought”. Almost half of what she published in all of her cookbooks and newsletters was devoted to “Food for Thought”, as she felt it was important to have a proper balance between good thoughts for the soul and good food for the table!

Mom’s other favorite stress relievers included reading “motivational”, “inspirational”, and “positive thinking” books; as well as crocheting and laughing at her favorite comedians like George Burns and Carol Burnett. As the old adage says, “laughter is the best medicine.” Mom always added to that, “you can’t smile on the outside without feeling good on the inside.”

When dealing with the stress of operating a family-run, cottage-style, dining room table business that was booming faster than expected, Mom also enjoyed listening to music and going for a walk along the St. Clair River or taking a long drive with Dad, beside the Lake Huron shoreline. There are countless techniques for managing stress these days. Yoga, dancing, bread-making, meditation, and exercise are just a few examples.

Like Mom, when I’m under stress, I also enjoy writing, cooking, listening to music (different music, though), going for walks, and/or taking a shoreline road trip with my husband to lift myself out of the rut. What kinds of things help you to de-stress and be happy? Use the hash tags (above) to share, what works for you, on social media.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 96-97)


If you have ever seen one million letters, you know how we felt when we tried to handle the overwhelming response. It was exhausting! Our home, which was both, our office and our sanctuary, too, became like a factory; with [extra] people helping us to process the mail, eventually having to return thousands of orders to the customers with our deepest regrets that we could not, in all fairness to them, delay their order.

The onslaught of mail forced us to do this. We were all working from seven in the morning to one or two the next morning, just to open the mail. We burned up two electric letter openers! Our phone bill was lost in the mail and when we forgot about our utilities having to be paid every month, our phone was dead one day when I picked it up.

From then on, our utilities were phoned in to us by the company so that we could keep them paid without having to sort through thousands of letters, looking for the bills. There were trays of mail stacked three and four deep in our living room, bedrooms, the basement, too.

At one point, I lay my head down on my desk and cried, reading the angry letters that were coming from probably very nice folks who thought we were trying to do something illegal, because they had not received their free recipes. They probably had not sent us their self-addressed, stamped envelope, either, which we have always required for the service.

As soon as we realized what the mail was doing to us, we tried to get Donahue’s people to stop the continued scheduled showing of our appearance. But that show remained on their repeat circuit for almost a year, playing in the Panama Canal zone, Greenland, Iceland, Australia and hundreds of small town stations across the states.

Most of the letters received from them still asked for the free recipes that were included with the order blank for a self-addressed stamped envelope to us. The offer would have been good for us if it had only been shown that once – the day on which we appeared on the show, but for nearly a year afterward the requests came and the complaints came and the threats to report us to postal authorities for not sending those free recipes, tore us apart emotionally and physically!

We had put so much money into returning the orders we could not fill in every postage stamp that we put on envelopes that requested free recipes also came out of our pocket, so it was an experience of mixed blessings. It cost us so much more than we had anticipated.

We talked about making a move to California in the fall of 1981. I really wanted to move out there to be closer to my sister, Hazel. Our son, Michael, was also living in Pasadena where he was attending the art center. It seemed like a wonderful opportunity for us to leave… St. Clair and begin a new life in Los Angeles…

I remembered what Dick Syatt, one of our radio friends, had told me about finally getting everything you ever wanted, when he said, ‘Hell is God, giving you what you thought you wanted.’ Sometimes we need to have something, lose it and get it back again before we can really appreciate what we have. I had that chance and I am so glad for it. It was a time to learn and to grow. – Gloria Pitzer

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press, January 2018, 1st Printing; p. 299)


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 67)


Unfortunately, were waiting for that golden day, that one lovely moment in which we feel everything is finally grand – everything is finally just the way we have always wanted it to be! Everything we’ve been working for and moving toward has been attained. We can relax! We’ve lost the weight we wanted to lose. The house is finally in ‘company is coming’ order. The bills are all paid. The bank account is adequate. Our children are living productive, useful lives.

Everything will be wonderful – and then, and probably only then, do we feel we have the right to be happy! Until we achieve that perfect moment, that ideal existence, however, we’re looking forever ahead to it, not even seeing the opportunities – small as they might be – to be happy, now, with what we already have, with who we are [and] with what we’re already doing.

Paul & Gloria Pitzer – 2012, Niagara Falls, Ontario

Everyone, at one time or another, seems to go through such trying times; carrying burdens we can’t seem to shake, with no one to help us make the load seem lighter. And in doing so, we end up making our mishaps more important than our smallest achievements. How easily we waste the time we have now, entertaining false pride as if it were the honored guest at our table of regrets. We try to avoid being natural, being ourselves, because it is usually less than we think we should be, or what others expect us to be.

So we look toward the moment when we’re sure everything will fall into its proper place. We finally have the time to call a relative we’ve been meaning to visit. Will write that newsy letter to the friend we somehow lost touch with. We’ll take that cake to the neighbor we haven’t had the chance to call on but meant to. But we can’t do those things now – not while were working out important problems and have so many things to worry about. Worrying takes time!

I’m nearly convinced that there is no such perfection toward which to work and for which to wait. Waiting seems an idol waste [of time] when there are so many things I want to do that have been pushed aside because obligations and commitments came first. Instead of looking ahead two years from now, days from now, hours from now, I look to the next moment. Human beings are not immortal, but some of us put off the wonders of living, as if we had forever to realize them.

For each moment that I didn’t enjoy as much as I could have, I’d like to be ready just in case I have a second chance at having them again. I would like to have all of our children with us around the dinner table once more, and really enjoy it, to make up for all of those times that I took their being there for granted. That would be a perfect moment, a perfect day!


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May-Jun. 1988, p. 1)


I finally met someone who agrees with me that it is not a compliment to be called a ‘survivor’ – when one has apparently been able to meet the challenges of life and keep on going. Surviving is too much like wading around in a puddle of old problems or troubles.

Instead, I’d rather be considered a ‘pilgrim’ – going forward, pressing on. And, if I were told that I could no longer give others hope, I don’t think I would ever enjoy living again, but would probably just exist instead!


In honor of August being, among other things, National Brownies At Brunch Month; here are two of Mom’s famous copycat recipes… Hostess-Style Brownies & Fudge Frosting, as seen in her cookbook, The Original 200 Plus Recipes Book (Secret Recipes, Marysville, MI; June 1997, pages 14 & 53). How’s that for some chocolate-covered happiness? Happy baking!

P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…

Find some time to enjoy the many national celebrations going on today, this week, and all month long…


For International Clown Week, this week, here is one of Mom’s “Food for Thought” articles; about a small businesses that disappeared…

#FamilyFunMonth &


…31 down, 21 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Family Fun

Happy Monday, again! August has arrived and, among other things, it’s Family Fun Month!

In my last couple of blog entries, I have been reminiscing about some of my childhood memories of our family vacations; brought to mind, while reading through my copies of Mom’s old, 1970s articles from her No Laughing Matter syndicated columns. I’ve come across some more of Mom’s memories related to those which I recently shared. So, since this is Family Fun Month, I want to share more of those “family fun” times with you today.

Below is a couple of summertime stories that Mom wrote for her syndicated column, No Laughing Matter; they’re titled, respectively, How to Travel with Your Kids (And Live to Tell About It!) and How I Spent my Summer Vacation. As before, I can neither find the exact dates of when Mom wrote these articles, nor when/where they were published. However, again, the descriptions of us on vacation on the Ohio and Pennsylvania turnpikes are from that long summer vacation we took in 1971, to see our relatives, in West Virginia, from Dad’s side of the family.

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer



(And Live to Tell About It!)

By Gloria Pitzer

I have nothing against traveling with our kids – as long as we can go in separate cars. A current poll, taken among the mothers of the Sears Sandbox symposium shows 10 to 1 in favor of going around Harsens Island on a skateboard, as opposed to traveling anywhere by car with their kids – even to the mailbox at the end of the [200-foot long] driveway.

For one thing, any trip is going to be automatically rated ‘X’ when, before you can get out of your own driveway, you must first settle which child is going to sit next to a window and which child won’t. Before the trip is scarcely underway, we can always depend upon the child who rolls the window down, because they need some air, to be sitting next to the child who wants the window up because they’re cold.

The Sunday supplement ads for vacation-minded families, who want matching luggage, are a waste of time. Who wants matching luggage, when it should, by all rights, be packed in a U-Haul truck and immediately be disorganized the minute you unlock the motel room [or cabin] door… because this is usually the exact moment I have to find a clean shirt and slacks for the one who spilled their Dairy Queen [treat] all over themselves. If I told him once, I told him a hundred times: ‘let me hold the shake for you while you drive, Honey!’

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

The real trouble with packing, I feel, is that you usually end up taking all the wrong kind of clothes. When you leave home in the middle of a driving snow and the skies are icy grey and bleak, it doesn’t occur to you that 450 miles south you’ll be shedding the snow jackets and galoshes; wishing you had brought those shorts and tennis shoes, after all.

It is completely ridiculous to allow any child to pack their own suitcase. Chances are, they will try to convince you that one change of underwear is going to be adequate for a 10-day vacation – and that’s when I visualize myself spending all of my time sitting out the duration of our trip, watching my enzymes and bleach race their way to the dirt and grime in some out-of-the-way, ‘coin-op’ laundry [facility].

Some of the motel rooms we’ve stayed in, have been pretty nice; but, then, there are some others that left us feeling we could have had the same conveniences, for which we were paying $50 per day, for free had we stayed at home. If [I] can’t wash 6 days [worth of] dirty underwear in the wash basin, [we] can’t stay there!

The Pitzer Kids – Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

Not one of the lovely travel brochures I read showed ‘the happy family’, as they pull up to the Pennsylvania turnpike gate without realizing that the baby ate the toll card along the way. I can say, with all honesty, that we intimately know every public restroom on the Ohio and Pennsylvania turnpikes… not to mention, 3 plazas in West Virginia and several in Niagara Falls. Another thing about traveling with the kids is that, invariably, the best restaurant is always just around the bend, after you’ve [already] stopped at the worst [one].

We are further engaged in the constant inquiries of the children who will, at annoying intervals, in the perfect unison of an acapella choir ask: ‘When are we going to get there?’ The remainder of the trip is spent… painfully telling them that I never wanted to read the roadmap for [Daddy] in the first place; and how was I to know that he wanted Exit 7, not 11! And how do you explain to the service station attendant that you were foolish enough to let your wife read the map and now you’re lost? I’ll be darned if I know – but, before we take another trip with the kids, we’ll have a bumper sticker on our car that reads: ‘Approach with caution – driver under the influence of children!

Photo by Gloria Pitzer (1970-ish)


How I Spent my Summer Vacation

(And Other Fond Memories of Days Gone By)

By Gloria Pitzer

I see the neighborhood kids are in the spirit of summer… and it makes me remember, quite fondly, those days during which our own five youngsters were home and very much underfoot. Although, some of the memories are pleasantly enjoyed today, in the absence of our offspring, some of those by-gone days were not all pretzels and beer!

I recall really trying to enjoy summer vacation, even though I had the feeling I was just a first grade version of ‘See Mother Run’. Most of the vacation weeks (and I use the reference loosely), were spent wandering through aspirin lectures, asking perfect strangers: ‘How many more days until school opens?’

Cartoon written and illustrated by Gloria Pitzer

As I [remember], we stopped spending vacations with the children; considering how, one summer, we spent 2 weeks on the turnpike… and lived to tell about it… there honestly were positive virtues to the 9am to 3pm [school] schedules, which left us mothers 5 days a week, from September through June, during which we were not answering dumb questions.

For one thing, it was none of the kids’ business why I looked pale and plump in a bathing suit. I knew, the minute I walked into Chubby Chicks’ Swimwear Boutique, summer (for me) would mean running under the lawn sprinkler in very dark glasses and a body shirt, cleverly created out of a porch awning by some shut-in from General Hospital!

Cartoon written and illustrated by Gloria Pitzer

Actually, it was my husband’s idea, out of consideration for the neighbors, that he only let me sit on the patio in my bathing suit after dark. He also claimed that I discouraged mosquitos. This is the same man who would stand on the porch, whenever I sang in the shower, so the neighbors could see that he was not beating me!

The same man, mind you, who would come home from (and I quote him exactly) ‘an exhausting day of fishing’ and ask, seriously – when was I planning to clean off the top of the refrigerator, did I write to his mother, did I have fun at the Book Mobile with 5 kids and would it be alright if we ‘ate out’ that, by his definition, was hot dogs in the backyard over a fire in the grill that I would have to make.

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

He just didn’t understand why I spent my summer vacation counting the days ‘til school opened again! But, then, he never had to find band aids for braless Barbie dolls and G.I. Joe [‘action figures’], who got sucked into the vacuum cleaner hose periodically.

My lovable, better half never had to wander through a vast wasteland of Pop Tart wrappers and Mr. Misty cups; while 7 neighborhood kids motorbiked their way through the yard, the flower beds and into the center of a National Noise Abatement Program, sympathetically excused by 3 probation officers who did not have to live next door to them!

Cartoon written and illustrated by Gloria Pitzer

Summer vacation, as some laughingly refer to those 10 weeks [mid-June to September], is NOT a vacation; but, more like an endurance test – during which, those families who stayed together, got on each other’s nerves! It was enough to leave a mother looking like a wire service photo that, by all rights, should have been printed under the caption: ‘NEVER MIND SENDING HER KIDS TO CAMP – HELP SEND THIS MOTHER AWAY!’

It’s mothers that need the vacation – not the kids! Ten weeks of kids at home and Mother could develop a personality of a dental drill with a voice to match! But, as I recall, telling the 5 kids one day, everything would be alright as soon as Daddy got home.

And the questions I had to answer all by myself – questions like: ‘How many more days until school starts?’, ‘Can I have a popsicle?’, ‘Can I have my allowance?’, ‘How come you’re always yelling at me?’, ‘Have you seen my tennis shoes?’, ‘Why doesn’t anybody like me?’… and those were just the questions my HUSBAND asked! Compared to all those [questions] that the kids would ask me during the day, I could [better] take those which my husband posed to me. He meant well. But, he never did understand that a mother’s vacation doesn’t start until school does!

Cartoon written and illustrated by Gloria Pitzer

Mom always had a very satirical sense of humor – not just in her writings and in her drawings, but in life in general. I always admired how much Mom took on, all by herself. She almost always worked from home, doing jobs for which she was paid money; and then the other, harder work at home for which she only got perks – like hugs and kisses and love. Mom wore many hats while simultaneously raising a husband and five kids, as well as an array of pets! I struggled to do the same with having only three kids, instead of five! If you consider the whole birthing process, to begin with, mothers know better than anyone – like the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, said – “that which does not kill you, makes you stronger.”



In honor of today, also, being National Waffle Day; I want to give you a copy of one of Mom’s “free offer” recipes for pancakes, as I couldn’t find a waffle one among them.

In order to be made properly, waffles require a waffle iron that creates a distinct pattern and crispy exterior. Waffles contain more fat than pancakes; because of the greater amount of oil used in making them, the raw batter is thinner when making waffles than when making pancakes. Thus, to create waffles from the following recipe, increase the amount of oil and post your creations on social media with #NationalWaffleDay!

Recipe developed by Gloria Pitzer



12-oz can of 7-Up (or Sprite – diet or regular)

2 eggs

2 TB sugar (or an equal sugar substitute)

2 TB oil

3 C Bisquick


Put it all into a blender on high speed, using an on-off pulse to agitate for 2 minutes or until smooth. Let batter stand for 10 minutes before using it. Allow ¼ cup of batter for a 6-inch round pancake prepared on a hot, lightly greased griddle. Makes 16 pancakes. The batter freezes well, to use within 3 months.