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Your LifeStory Episode 6

Leah Rubin

"This is wonderful, Marcia."

Karen C.

"Thanks for so many nice comments. What great publicity for my books."

Elizabeth C.

"Wow, Thanks Marcia, Inspires me."

Gary S.

This Blog* and My Memoir Workbook are meant to encourage, inspire and motivate you to write your unique story. Don’t keep your memories hidden or secret any longer.

Marcia Rosen, Author of 11 books, including My Memoir Workbook, has presented Memoir Writing Programs and Encouraging the Writer Within You Presentations for over 16 years, from New York to California and New Mexico!

My Newest Book, "Murder at the Zoo" is now available

A LifeStory Memory

Each Blog shares a portion of someone else’s LifeStory that we hope will entertain and inspire you to write and share your own.

Submit yours with your name and email to:

July 15, 2023


Part One:

Most of us have at least one childhood memory of the bullies on the playground. They were the ones “in charge”— the popular ones who decided who was in and who was out. Popularized by the play, Mean Girls, they were every ‘regular’ girl’s nightmare. It was an age when “fitting in” meant so much. What we all wanted was to be liked for who and what we were.

When we reach our seventies, we have the time to pursue hobbies or pastimes that bring us pleasure, nourish our health, and keep us active in this journey we call life. We still, of course, want to be liked for who and what we are. We look for people of similar heritage, background, age, etc., with whom to have fun.

Since I was never the one on the playground picked for sports, I first chose academic pursuits. For fun, however, I always looked to Mahj Jongg. I learned the game at twelve with the daughters of the mothers in my neighborhood who gathered weekly to get out of the house and play. It has been a source of entertainment, friendship, and fun throughout the years.

We moved to Tucson in the spring of 2017 to be near our daughter and her husband. For the first time, I found it very hard to make friends. Instead, I started my own copyediting and proofreading business at the age of sixty-seven. But I missed that “female connection” and looked for Mahj Jongg. I heard about a small tournament and signed up. It was all business, with no chance to socialize, but I learned of an open group that met weekly for whomever showed up. It was far away, but at least I had somewhere to play. I tried to make friends, but women there only wanted to play and were already set in their own groups and neighborhoods, unwilling to make a spot for newcomers.

Then I met whom I shall call Lady A. She lived within fifteen minutes of me, and held two or three games weekly at her home, often needing a substitute. And she liked me! The amazing thing was that she was in possession of an electric Mahj Jongg table—a beautiful piece of oriental furniture, as well as a marvelous feat of engineering—that somehow managed to hold enough tiles for two games, mixing and racking the tiles needed for one hand. Now I was playing two or three times a week and my social life was set. Joyously, this went on for several months. Life was good. Then, all of a sudden, and out of the blue, it wasn’t.

After a few weeks, I called Lady A and asked if anything was wrong. Her response: “I don’t do conflict.” I wracked my brain then and still have no idea what I did.

Bits and Pieces of Your Life

Write 100 words or less about a funny situation, a strange or unique happening, or a “meet cute” story you experienced.

Months later, I would attend a small tournament and found myself carpooling with Lady S (Lady A’s friend), who refused to either look at or speak to me. When the two of us were assigned to the same 4-person card table, she refused to look at me. Talk about awkward! I learned from Lady J (a friend of the other two) that because Lady A was upset with me, Lady S was upset with me, as well. It turns out that she knows what I did but won’t tell me because she was told of my “transgression” in confidence! What? Loyalty to a rude and mean person? Visions of the various playgrounds of the thirteen schools I attended before college came rushing to my head. The playground had gotten smaller and was now filled with seventy to eighty-somethings, still acting like mean girls!

Leah Rubin, Editor

Writing Your LifeStory Hints, Tips, and Advice

Find your LifeStory. Look through any journals or even a diary you might have written over the years. You could look through old newspapers about specific dates or events and google search your family history. Again, it’s important to remind yourself of people and places, you experienced, what you liked and didn’t like, and why.

New Special Feature

Stories About the Fabric of Life

by Elizabeth Cooke


Mamie was the most gentle of people and deferential. We became fast friends at Vassar, both majoring in Dramatic Production. We traveled together – often The most important of all our adventures was our sharing an apartment in Paris, in the early 1950s. Oh, those salad days – of the rue de Rivoli and Ponts crossing the Seine, the café life and the jazz bites – all for our delight. We attended The Sorbonne and The Cordon Bleu and lapped up the patisseries and macaroons at LaDuree.

But our arrival in The City of Light was an event unto itself! Mamie’s father had presented his daughter – for her time ‘abroad’ - the latest, largest, whitest, newest Oldsmobile. Mr. Semmes was more than affluent, with a large house in Grosse Pointe (outside of Detroit) on Lake Clair, on the southwestern shore.

The Oldsmobile was a glistening representation of American expertise. It was the first item to be loaded into the hold of the ship, France’s “Liberte”, which floated Mamie and me to the port of Le Havre, as we ate caviar for breakfast all the way. As the Oldsmobile was first ON the ship, it was the LAST to disembark. Mamie and I stood in a lot outside the heaving open doors of “Liberte”s hold. It was growing dark and chilly and we had no idea of the route to Paris, but finally, the spectacle of that shiny automobile arrived with many a sneer from the French sailors.

In the lot, there were two men in dark overcoats, awaiting their rather old and dark small car to appear from the hold. It came out first: then the Oldsmobile. The taller, rather imposing of the two men approached Mamie and announced he was Brazilian and inquired in a strange French accent that as it was a way to Paris, did we know the route. Of course, we did not. He suggested that he and his companion drive the two vehicles. He haltingly explained that the Oldsmobile would be fair game for truckers and less ‘fortunate’ car owners and that we would be safer split up. Also, he suggested chicken dinner in Rouen.

It was nearly midnight before we arrived at ‘The Meurice Hotel’ in Paris where Mamie said we had confirmed reservations. The Meurice never heard of us. And the hotel was packed. Our two escorts were furious. But nonetheless, they drove rapidly up Avenue Hoche in silence to another elegant hotel at which we were able to get a double room.

He looked very stern. ”Tell them,” he said to the woman in French, “they should not be allowed out of the house! They could have been raped, robbed, and left for dead in a ditch. Have them leave immediately,” and turning to me, he shook his finger and almost yelled, “Leave ‘Le Royal Monceau’ and never return!” and he turned on his heel and left in a rush. “Goodness he was angry,” Mamie murmured. “Who does he think he is!” I remarked.

“Get your things together and ready to go,” the woman said. As she left, fast-paced, she said over her shoulder, “There is no bill.” And then, “By the way, he owns ‘Le Royal Monceau. I looked at Mamie. “Now what?“Oh,” she said. “I found our confirmation papers, but they are for ‘The Crillon Hotel’ not ‘The Meurice.”

* * *

“In your 20s, you feel invincible.”

“Well, we certainly did! How idiotic, stupid, and dangerous,” and we laughed.

Many years later when Mamie was visiting me in Remsenburg, we reminisced...oh, about so many things. But most of all, we recalled with such humor and disbelief our arrival in Paris in 1950 at the wrong hotel, at midnight, with two rather menacing-looking men driving,


“We were oblivious.”

“I’m glad we were.”

“We were awfully lucky.”

“I hate to think of the possibilities.

Mamie and I looked at each other and together in one voice said, “Don’t!

This feature will continue for several more months with many personal stories like Mamie.., Author of “A Letter”

Following is part of my LifeStory:

My Gangster Father and Me (Excerpt )


Generosity was there in how my father helped his family when they needed it, how he gave to the homeless, how he never denied my mother or me whatever he could afford…even though what he could afford changed at times. At one point he lost his business, lost a lot of money, and I recall how for a time he was lost in despair. He found his way out with ingenuity and rebuilt his financial life. He often said to me, “Sugar Plum, never be a quitter and remember it is very important to be respected.”

My father’s generosity impacted me and my entire life. It is about much more than money. It is about the generosity of heart and spirit, of time and energy, of encouragement and motivation, of sharing ideas and ideals, and, in business, sharing resources and connections. I strongly believe life can be changed by generosity, and hopes and dreams can be fulfilled by a generosity that shows kindness and thoughtfulness.

My father was not sophisticated, or even very learned, but he had a natural instinct about what life was about and how to enjoy and explore its pleasures and possibilities. I learned this more by observing his actions than explanations. I do believe if I had been born a son instead of a daughter, he would have taught me how to be more aggressive, maybe to have a little bit of the killer instinct he felt necessary for business success. Still, I found my own way and my own style, which often worked for my own successful career.

Through it all, my father’s generosity to his family and friends was constant. This generosity is part of my memory, part of who I am, and plays a large part in my life choices. I still hear my father’s voice in my head…and in my heart. Sharing the truths of one’s life can certainly be emotional!

For more stories about me and my gangster father, check out the book The Gourmet Gangster.

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22 jul 2023
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I've had quite a few people thank me for this blog and saying it's "excellent," and I am most appreciative. Guest and comments welcome. Marcia Rosen

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Charlene Dietz
Charlene Dietz
15 jul 2023

Leah, your story about "mean girls" probably finds a spot in each of our hearts. I can't imagine anyone believing you could do anything mean. However, I only know you as a cooperative and knowledgeable editor. My take on "mean" people has changed over the years. I used to stew and fuss about what-happened. What did I do wrong? Why would they take what I said the way they did? Then I learned that some people thrive on perceived slights. Yikes! I'm not a tip-toe through polite language person. If someone perceives incorrectly, and since I know I never intend harm, it's their problem--not mine. Just imagine they don't exist any longer and find your new group. Life's too excit…

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21 jul 2023
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Charlene, thanks for such a great comment. I'm like you and I now make it a point to keep mean/nasty people out of my life. 😀

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