Memoir: The Piano

Fulfilling a noteworthy dream…

Hitting a few sour notes while fine tuning a wrinkle in time when I had a fling with a Kimball upright—sounds risqué, doesn’t it? Its spittin’ image is preserved in the photo accompanying my Memoir.  As of 1969, Kimball was one of the largest piano makers in the world. By 1996 Kimball International stopped producing pianos in the United States.

I acquired mine in the 80s when I hit my stride in the world, even on a teacher’s salary. In my early thirties, under the impression I looked like Jacklyn Smith in her role as Charlie’s Angels Kelly Garrett because so many people told me I did, and behaving accordingly—I tooled around in my Fiat X1/9 two-seater mid-engine sports car and hobnobbed. Besotted with the secluded mansions along Ocean Drive in Narragansett, I fantasized about purchasing any one of them with a “for sale” sign out front.

Not forthcoming any time soon, renting a seasonal cabana at the Dunes Club, a historic, highly elite, private beach club on Boston Neck Road seemed a viable alternative. Each “changing room” measures four feet high by four feet deep by two feet wide. Non-residential fee is $600, with a 15-20 year wait!

Dissuaded, I purchased a Kimball instead! It just so happened one of the teachers with whom I shared an open-space classroom had been taking piano lessons. She inspired me to attain one of my own unfulfilled dreams.

This expensive albatross situated along an inside wall in my living room beckoned me to tickle its ivory. And, so I signed up for weekly lessons in classical music training which required discipline to master scales and simplified compositions. I took great pride when flawlessly playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.  Practice makes perfect!

As lessons grew more demanding and life took its own course, it became apparent I no longer had the time to hit the high notes. After several years of standing upright with its fallboard folded over the keys, I bequeathed my beloved piano to a family member. Nevertheless, I still have an ear for Moonlight Sonata which Beethoven wrote in his early thirties.

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Memoir: My Summer Place

Post-graduation sentiment for “Be True to Your School” and let the colors fly fading, barely 18 that summer of 1969, a coveted driver’s license under my seatbelt, the beach was the place to go.

So let’s get back together and do it again. Hey now, hey now!

Back when a gallon of regular gas cost $.35, I made the nearly hour long drive to and from Scarborough on practically a daily basis, happily motoring in my high school grad-gifted, 1966, blue Chevy II Nova Coupe with baby moon, silver hubcaps.

She purrs like a kitten till the lake pipes roar and if that ain’t enough to make you flip your lid, there’s one more thing– I got the pink slip daddy!

Fully loaded, with no option for air conditioning at the time, the roar of the wind from the open windows competed with the blare from my radio station. Set on either WICE or WPRO AM, my trigger finger frenetically jabbed buttons until I settled on a song. As far as I was concerned, The Beach Boys ruled the airwaves.

During the Sixties, before Interstate 95 paved its way in asphalt, the tires clicked like castanets as your wheels rolled over concrete all the way along the two-lane stretches on Rtes. 4, 2, and 1 to Scarborough’s beach access road.

Get around round round I get around, I’m a real cool head. Wah wa woo!

Though the high tide of inflation has escalated fees so that a Rhode Island resident’s season pass now costs beaucoup bucks–in 1969 it was only $1 for me to enter my summer place. Scarborough, infamous for attracting hordes of teens for its surf, and a long boardwalk conducive to babe watching, it was the summer place to be seen. Often jam-packed, you sprinted on the sun-scorched sand to find a patch of ground to lay your towel and plump your canvas beach bag which served as a pillow. Chances are, Sixties chicks spent a good part of the day baking in the sun to work on a tan. I perfected the art of bronzing by rubbing Johnson’s Baby Oil on my person from head to toe so my skin would soak up the rays. Quite contrary to all the precautions we are advised to heed today to avoid sunburn, a precursor to skin cancer, the toasted look was in.

East Coast girls may have been hip, but let’s face it, the West Coast has the sunshine, and according to the Beach Boys—California girls are the cutest in the world. Hence, a bikini string of Sixties movies sunbathed us in the theme from a summer place. Surfer dudes, beach bunnies, and rock n’ roll became an integral part of low-budget fare for drive-ins. California, here I come! Teen idol, Frankie Avalon, and Mickey Mouse Club Mouseketeer, Annette Funicello kicked up sand in Muscle Beach Party (1964), Bikini Beach (1964), Beach Blanket Bingo (1965), How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965).

After all, beach bumming allowed us to live life unencumbered by responsibilities—except to pursue the dream of catching the perfect wave.

Before Sally Field reprised the role of Gidget in ABC’s 30 minute sitcom (1965-1966), Sandra Dee was America’s original, iconic, and budding young lady in a print bikini, determined to fit in with California’s surfboarding set as a means to win over Moondoggie.

The beach was my summer place to go for idling the days away prior to hitting the books. At eighteen, busy doin’ nothin’, the summer of ’69 felt like an endless summer. I’d yet to begin my freshman year at Rhode Island College and form a close-knit bond with those who comprised Division 10. The good times were about to roll with every spaghetti-by-the-pound run to Tweet Balzano’s in Bristol when it was just a glorified chicken coop. Putting snow tires on my coupe seemed light years away.

For now, living in the moment, it’s time for me to rub on more baby oil and find a good song on the transistor radio.

T-shirts, cut-offs, and a pair of thongs, we’ve been having fun all summer long. Won’t be long ‘til summer time is through.

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Review for ‘An Enlightening Quiche’

July 7, 2017

Written by author, Aliya DalRae and posted on Goodreads:

I know what classic literature is. I can’t say I read a lot of it, but that’s not for lack of understanding. I simply get distracted by the Janet Evanovichs and J.R. Wards of the world. Not to say the authors I read don’t write incredible books – I LOVE them. And if I have a choice between “War & Peace” and the latest Black Dagger Brotherhood book…I think you get the picture.

When I picked up “An Enlightening Quiche,” I knew right away I was in for a challenge. There were no vampires. Not a single one. And there were big words that only a true wordsmith would dare to pen. Oh, but the story within! Once I accepted the fact that this was no ordinary book, I buckled down and prepared myself for a true literary experience.

Pasco has taken Contemporary Women’s Fiction into a whole new stratosphere, lifting it up to a standard that mere mortals dare not seek. Her characters are deep and troubled, and yet relatable in that they are just like the rest of us. Looking for answers. Looking for love. And when the worst happens, they rise above, just as we hope we would do in similar situations.

I can’t help but draw comparisons to J.K. Rowling’s “Casual Vacancy,” arguably, one of the best books I have ever read. (It didn’t have vampires in it either. Or wizards, for that matter. Just saying.) It’s a book that so many people dismissed, because they didn’t have the patience to read through the setup. Similarly, in “An Enlightening Quiche,” the setup is EVERYTHING, because once things start to happen – and believe me, Things Happen! – you will be thumbing through the beginning, looking for that reference, that hidden gem of a clue, that seemed unimportant at the time, but turns out to be oh, so vital!

Up past 1:00 am as the book neared its end, I have to say, I was awed. If you haven’t read “An Enlightening Quiche” yet, do yourself a favor. Pick up a copy. It is classic literature at its finest. Oh – and pass me “War & Peace,” why don’t ya?

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Blog – Eva’s Byte # 116: Knock, Knock…

Who’s there?


I hear you knocking—please, come in!

Though Opportunity may knock but once, to my surprise and delight, it knocked three times for me this week!

In real time:

July 1st – I discovered that I’m a semifinalist along with so many other impressive authors for this month’s “Golden Box Books Quill Award”.  A shout out to fellow Indie Fabs: Aliya Dal Rae, JB Richards, and Lyra Shanti whose books are also represented.  If you’re inclined to vote for my Contemporary Women’s Fiction novel—An Enlightening Quiche is number 8.

All you have to do is click on the link and enter a number as a comment. That said, you can vote for more than one entry, but you can vote only once.  I placed my votes for these books which I’ve read and reviewed: #1 (Sweet Vengeance); #9 (Shiva XIV); #21 (Miriamne, the Magdala).


July 2nd – Taken by surprise because I never submitted a book review request, my novel received a wonderful review from esteemed author/blogger/reviewer Roy Murry:

July 5th – My exclusive book interview on “The Authors Show” went live for the third time since it aired originally! Packed into this 15-minute, fast-paced segment, I delve into what I deem is the single most important idea in An Enlightening Quiche —letting go of the past! I hope you’ll lend me your ear:

May Opportunity knock more than once for every Indie author who has a story to tell and sell!

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Memoir: A Dazzling Fourth!

Firing it up!

 “The Times They Are a Changing” (Bob Dylan)–just one of the many protest or patriotic songs drummed up during the Sixties in response to the Vietnam War. Though times indeed have changed, we Americans salute our country’s 241st birthday, commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

Just whether or not you can legally toss a “salute” in celebration depends on state laws governing the use of trippin’ on psychedelic consumer fireworks.

Growing up during the Sixties, my family’s celebration of the Fourth involved the tradition of my father firing up the grill by liberally squirting lighter fluid over charcoal briquettes before tossing in a lighted match. When the pyrotechnic flames settled, he proceeded to barbecue our burgers and hot dogs to charred perfection. When it grew dark enough, my sister and I ran around the yard with sparklers as though they were magic wands eliciting shooting stars.

Dylan’s “changing times” in 1964 led a parade of other patriotic and/or protest songs in an explosive era:

“Mr. Lonely” (1964, Bobby Vinton)

“Eve of Destruction” (1965, Barry McGuire)

“Coming Home Soldier” (1966, Bobby Vinton)

“Universal Soldier” (1966, Buffy Sainte-Marie)

“Ballad of the Green Berets” (1966, Sergeant Barry Sadler)

“Give Peace a Chance” (1969, John Lennon)

Though freedom of fireworks may have fizzled in the here and now, there are concerts, parades with firework finales, and professional firework displays to bedazzle. Since it was established in 1785, Rhode Island’s Bristol Annual Fourth of July Parade has grown each year to become one of the longest July 4th parades in the country with over ten divisions consisting of marching bands, floats, and performers.

If these festivities aren’t bang enough, you can always watch “Nathan’s Famous 4th of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest” on television. You can bet your buns, champion and contestants alike are sure to emit some unabashed explosive belches.

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Blog – Eva’s Byte #10: My Declaration for the Fourth

Originally published July 4, 2015…

On the Fourth of July, aka Independence Day, Americans commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. A benchmark document of historical significance defining the spirit of our country, it basically stated in many words that the thirteen original colonies formally severed ties with Great Britain in response to acts of tyranny. Here we are 240 years later honoring this patriotic event as a symbol of freedom attained by sacrifices and struggles ongoing since the birth of our nation.

How do Americans “collectively” celebrate Independence Day? Picnics, barbecues, fireworks, and parades.

While I’d like to think the Fourth puts a détente to political squabbling between the Left and the Right with a focus on bands marching straight forward in a parade—you’ll never find me at one. It’s a darn shame too because I live along the parade route leading to Bristol’s Annual Fourth of July Celebration stepping off at the corner of Chestnut St. and Hope St. Established in 1785, it is the oldest, continuous celebration in the United States replete with a 2.5 mile military, civic, and fireman’s parade. Needless to say, it’s the pinnacle of patriotic assemblies.

Bear in mind that on the night before, streets are closed to traffic and parking bans are in effect which mandate the multitude of attendees walk a great distance to join the ground swell of onlookers for an obstructed view of marching bands and floats. Therefore, I choose to exercise my freedom by declaring my independence to sever ties with parades, staying away from the purple haze of musket fire.

On board with barbecues because the collective collaboration involves a manageable number of relatives and friends, I’ve declined this year’s annual invitation to the family barbecue at a cousin’s summer home in Matunuck by the sea. Lower gas prices and favorable weather forecast a massive migration of the Rhode Island populace to our south shore beaches. The hour long commute stalled by bottleneck traffic has fired up my declaration of independence to forego the trek.

As much as I am in awe of the rocket’s red glare and bombs bursting in air from those spectacular, star-spangled fireworks, I declare my independence to stay away from the maddening crowds. From an historical perspective, leaving the scene by car requires a road traffic controller, making for an explosive situation!

I do declare, this year you’re apt to find me asserting my independence on the Fourth off the beaten path. I’ll be at Gregg’s Restaurant. Shunning the politically correct healthy choices, I’ll be sinking my teeth into a good ‘ol American Texas burger—8 oz. Angus patty topped with melted cheddar, bacon, onion ring, smothered in barbecue sauce with a side of fries.

Won’t you join me? On second thought …

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Review of An Enlightening Quiche

July 2, 2017

Augusta and Lindsay come from two different worlds. Augusta born and bred in Beauchemin, a small Rhode Island town, and Lindsay, a historian, who resides in Boston, Massachusetts, cross paths because of Beauchemin’s French Canadian historical past.

They tell their stories in alternating chapters in somewhat of a soliloquy style with discourses and bantering monologs about past lovers, friends, family, and the people of Beauchemin’s. Augusta is an administrator in the town’s main factory. Lindsay changes residence hired to investigate into the historical value of it.

Their storytelling was somewhat lengthy at times but entertaining and insightful into the town’s array of characters whom Augusta knew personally, a few biblically. Lindsay, in her research, finds a new home from the chaotic Boston lifestyle. Both stories converge on Augusta’s childhood friend Estelle’s prominent family that owns the factory and a young child’s life-changing tragedy.

The bedroom tales, a disaster in a child’s life, a Quiche Contest, and Estelle and Augusta’s hidden past, Ms. Pasco details with comedy, drama, and enlightenment into the past of relocated hard working Canucks. Her writing is intelligent and easy to digest after getting into the rhythm of her sometimes-elongated sentences.

This Quiche was humanizing from a woman’s point of view.

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Blog – Eva’s Byte #115: The Beach Read

T-shirts, cut-offs, a pair of thongs—and a book to read on the beach! We’ll be having fun all summer long…

(My twist on the lyrics to “All Summer Long” by the Beach Boys; 1964)

An Indie author who writes Contemporary Women’s Fiction, I’m sensitive about the coined phrase “beach read” for its implications in pegging a novel such as mine a “quick and easy read”.

Channeling Joe Pesci playing the role of Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas—“Quick and easy, how? What’s quick and easy about my book?”

Citing a phrase from the pre-publication review by Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review:

“Now, one normally expects that mention of a food-garnished women’s book will make for light, breezy beach reading; but An Enlightening Quiche is anything but vapid, offering hard-hitting insights and reflections from its very first chapter.”

Hence, I avoid labeling my book “Chick Lit” which has potential to conjure visions of cocktail glasses, designer handbags, and high heels typical of the breezy, beach read.

Fine and dandy, if you prefer a light literary jaunt.

I prefer to classify my book as “Lit with Grit” because it embraces realism and portrays women over forty who grapple with, confront, and overcome their personal dilemmas to become empowered in making profound life changes for the better. My novel is descriptive, introspective, and explores the gamut of inner conflicts: convention vs. rebellion; fate vs. free will; loyalty vs. betrayal; unbridled love vs. sacrifice; death–inevitable or tragic?

Under my umbrella, I believe that a book in any genre constitutes a beach read as long as it’s a page-turner you can get lost in while basking in the sunshine on the sand. So, besides toting beach towels and a blanket, suntan lotion, bottled water, and snacks—what book did you pack?

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Memoir: The “Come Across”

Since the recent installation of a new computer hard drive, I’m still deleting documents no longer relevant, and sorting others in folders. An Indie author who composes weekly blogs pertaining to “the life I’ve chosen” –perverting a Hyman Roth quote from ‘Godfather II’—I disclosed how diligence and persistence are daily requirements in striving for public visibility .

“Eva’s Byte #114: The Loop” – “In a loop, out of the loop, and back in the loop on social media after the spin I was in!

Alas, a silver lining in my cloud!

Like poking around in an attic, rummaging through long-forgotten items stored inside a trunk for safekeeping, I come across a document titled, “Rumbles”—a collection of jagged thoughts prompted by the unforeseen. Compiled in 2010, these random rumbles represent shorts I’d submitted to an online magazine whose readership catered to women over fifty.  Suffice it to say, the magazine is now defunct.

Nevertheless, I salvaged one of these rumbles which has withstood the test of time for personal relevance:


Pajamarama is all about seceding from society and hanging around in your favorite PJs all day, or for as long as feasibly possible within the cozy confines of home. Adding ambience of magnitude, a rainy day is an ideal prerequisite for self-imposed exile. By no means, should pajamarama be associated with wallowing in self-pity, regardless of one’s extenuating circumstances.

Then, as now—seven years after I penned this rumble—I’ve yet to spend the better part of a day lounging in my pajamas. Still, I can dream…

For starters, I’d ignore the internal clock which awakens me by five every morning to jump out of bed, turn on the computer, and start my exercise routine. Instead, I roll over to catch more shuteye.  Then, sufficiently rested, I get up to grab something to eat.

In the spirit of pajamarama, rather than prepare a healthy breakfast, I grab a few cookies to suffice for my breakfast in bed. I prop myself against two fluffed pillows and proceed to solve crossword puzzles. Perhaps, I’ll snooze.

A little more ambitious by noontime, I do not hesitate over whether to fix myself a sandwich or treat myself to ice cream. My bowl of Moosehead Lake Fudge accompanies me to the sofa in the living room. I plop on the couch and work the remote as I settle back to take in a Lifetime channel movie.

Bang the drum ever so slowly in sync with lethargy!

Normally thriving on work, I totally understand why I’ve never practiced pajamarama. After all, I don’t have to wear pajamas to enjoy my just desserts!

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Memoir: Dances with Quahogs

Quahog may be the fictional community where the Griffins of the comedic animated television show Family Guy reside, but to native Rhode Islanders, the quahog is taken far more seriously. Quahogs are a type of clam found along the Atlantic Coast.  Historically, beads made from the shell called “wampum” were used by Native Americans as decorative trading items, and served as money for the European settlers.  The shell of the northern quahog is the official shell for the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.  Inhale that from your peace pipe!

In fact, Rhode Island-based cartoonist, Don Bosquet, has made more than a lucrative living paying homage to the quahog. His cartoons are regularly published in The Providence Journal, he’s written a cookbook, and has his own greeting card collection.

Bull raking the wampum playing the shell game, alright!

Well, this writer has done more than a prominent cartoonist to illustrate her love for quahogs with her own Ocean State surreal serial, “Dances with Quahogs,” gingerly stepping over quahog beds, and mucking it up in the Sixties.

Friends of ours had a summer home in Wickford Cove, necessitating we visit during low tide and wait out the tide before leaving because the dirt road winding to their home would disappear.  No matter to me because I spent many an adolescent Sixties summer day digging for quahogs, prime time during low tide.  Not the most glamorous of pastimes, I’d slip into a pair of old laceless sneakers for the trek onto the stones and into the muckety-muck, dancing with quahogs.

My girlfriend wielded a quahog rake, in essence, a curved pitchfork, to dig.  Not me– I couldn’t be bothered sifting rocks from quahogs or cherrystones (small quahogs) which had to be thrown back in lieu of paying a fine if you were caught by the patrols.  I used my bare hand to scrape the cove floor, wrench free a mud-covered treasure, rinse, and examine it for quahog verity before depositing my find inside a bucket of salt water so it wouldn’t dehydrate.

What do you do with these quahogs?

My grandfather was known to pull one out of the water, slice open the bi-valve shell with his pocketknife, and slurp the quahog inside–sort of Rhode Island sushi.  I liked mine straight from a boiling pot which rendered the shells open for you to pick out the quahog, dip in butter, pop into your mouth, chew, and swallow without thinking of the organs you mashed down on.  Once kitchen ready, my mother also threw a bunch of quahogs from the pot into her homemade spaghetti sauce which added a robust flavor.  Ironically, my sister, the adventurous daredevil in the family, didn’t have the stomach for any of this.

In Rhode Island’s flailing economy, I propose to “raise the bar” with our official shell.  If worms or scorpions are traditionally added to bottles of Mezcal before distribution, why not a quahog martini?  A squirt of lemon or a shot of Tabasco not only adds integrity to the quahog, but assures its state legacy will be preserved without necessarily “dancing with quahogs”.

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