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That time I wanted to pass myself off as Joyce Carol Oates #TBT

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I submitted my first piece of writing when I was seventeen, a story about my first job, working at the employee cafeteria at General Telephone where my mother was a dispatcher. Rolling the 20# white bond backed by a sheet of thin blue carbon paper into my Smith Corona, I typed it out slowly, carefully, on a piece of erasable paper—and mailed it off to Cosmopolitan along with a cover letter. Not just to any editor at Cosmo, by the way, I sent it directly to Helen Gurley Brown. 

The piece itself, meant to be comical, was full of clumsy attempts at self-effacing humor.  I strived for a similar tone in the cover letter I addressed to Brown, completely clueless that the high powered editor in chief wasn’t the one reading unsolicited manuscripts. After I signed off I added the following PS. I could have said I was Joyce Carol Oates. What I thought that would accomplish I can’t imagine. That an unsatisfactory submission would get published because of a lame joke? 

No surprise, in the SASE I’d …

My favorite Veteran: A British Officer and a Gentleman


This is the man that stole my mother's heart. A pretty dashing example of "the greatest generation" in his prime. My mother brought a friend along on their first date because he had a reputation for being a cad - that's "player" in today's lingo - and she was trying to put him off. Rather than being put off, my dad charmed the friend as well sealing the deal. He was always a dazzling dancer and he probably rattled off some compliments in one of the four languages he was fluent in — besides English: French, Italian, Spanish and Arabic. He might even have wooed her in Swahili; self-taught, he had learned a smattering of that language, as well. In any case it worked. The next time he asked my mum out, they went solo. And the rest, as they say, is history. My family's history!

My dad, Edward Good, part of the Greatest Generation, was born in Preston, Lancashire, in the north of England on July 28, 1915. He served with the British Armed Forces in World War II. At one point he oversaw the command of an Italian prisoner of war camp in North Africa. He sent this picture to my mum in 1941. Years later, because I loved the photo of my handsome father so much, he made me a copy and inked over my mother's name with mine. Thinking of him today, Veteran's Day, 2014. He passed away in January, 1992. I'm so grateful he met my then husband-to-be and that we had one last special Christmas together before he died; my biggest disappointment is that he never met our son. The adoration, I think, would have been mutual and oh the stories my father could have told him.

Remembering all the vets with affection and admiration. My father, thank God, did not have to give his lives for us, but he would have. Thinking today, not only of my father, but of those who did.

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