Love Those Hobos

My husband, Don (Tarpman) and I (Connecticut Tootsie) just returned from the 112th National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa.  As always, it was an adventure, and a grand time visiting with old friends.  A special thanks to the wonderful citizens of Britt, and the hobo family.  There is so much to learn at the Hobo Museum, as the hobos are a part of our American history.  Britt is the perfect example of small-town USA with a great big heart. Also had the opportunity to visit a Toastmaster club in Mason City.

Over the Rainbow

rainbowThese past months have been quite busy.  I’ve dipped my toes in the Caribbean Sea, the Northern Atlantic Ocean, Pyramid Lake in Paradox, NY, and visited Toastmaster clubs in Maine and St. Lucia.  I’ve zipped through the treetops of St Lucia, walked her volcanic ground, sampled chocolate at a cocoa plantation, and toured the coastline of the island in a catamaran.  Ive met more of my young readers, taught women looking to write for young readers, brainstormed with fellow authors, done some speaking, storytelling, served as a panel moderator, and penned thoughts on paper for another book.  It has been an over-the-rainbow experience, a gift of time with family, friends, and many new friends. Thank you all.  Life is beautiful.

On the Road Again


Look out, Maine…here I come!

As I prepare to leave for the Toastmaster District 53 Spring 2012 Conference in Bloomfield, Connecticut, I want to express my appreciation to the District 53 team for their hard work and dedication.  This will be fun, educational, and entertaining.

Public speaking is something I enjoy, and Toastmasters taught me how to do just that.  On top of membership in clubs that are professional and personable, I find the camaraderie among Toastmasters to be bountiful.  In fact, I have set a goal to speak at a Toastmaster club in every state of the continental United States.  To date, I have tackled 25 clubs in Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts.  I accomplished a great deal, but without going very far.  Next in line…Maine.

Thank you, Indiana

I just returned from Indiana. Hospitality was grand.  While perusing the contents of an antique shop in Logansport, I found a train whistle to add to my collection.  Stamped on it are the words, Iron Horse Festival.  Logansport once hosted the Iron Horse Festival, which was visited by some of the most beloved hobos of all time, including Steamtrain Maury Graham.  Many thanks to Iron Horse Brad and his wife, Merry, also Grace and Richard for a grand time.

A quick aside…my collection consists of many wooden train whistles, and others made from rail spikes and an old organ pipe.

Wonder of Wonders


Sunset at the Grand Canyon

From sea to shining sea, this country belongs to you and me.  I have been fortunate enough to travel to Europe, Asia, and Australia, all the while absorbing the joy of many wondrous sights.  Yet, tears filled my eyes at my first glimpse of the Grand Canyon.  Thank you Don, Risa, and Keith, for sharing such a wonderful time.  God bless the U.S.A.

Happy Birthday, “Charlie!”


My Dad, Dapper as Ever!

Still young at heart and the man who taught me courage, Dad will be 94 years young in two days.  As many of my readers know, Dad is portrayed as the character, Charlie, in my book, A Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt.  As you can see from this recent photo, Dad is still full of the ol’ spunk!  More so, he is a man of indomitable spirit, who has dedicated his life to his family, the Yankee Shoe Repair, and the home he loves best, Johnstown, Pennsylvania.  Happy birthday, Dad, I love you with all my heart.

Thoughts on Veterans, Pearl Harbor, and Dad



I recently had the opportunity to meet two female veterans who proudly served in WWII.  They were dynamic, quick-witted, and I smile each time I think of them.  Today, for the first time ever, I realize that I have never asked my 93.5 year-old father, Carmel C. Coco, what it was like on December 7, 1941, when it was announced that Pearl Harbor was bombed.  Dad was 23 at the time.  His own father, my Grandfather Michael Coco, served in WWI, the Great War, and the war to end all wars.  Thank goodness for Dad’s sharp memory and his quick wit.  I intend to record his account of that fateful day as well as his recall of how Grandfather Coco reacted to the news.  God bless our American Veterans more.

Visiting Boston Toastmasters


My Home Away from Home

How wonderful it is to visit other Toastmaster clubs.  I am spending a great deal of time in Boston these days, and to date, visited both the DEP Toastmasters and Copley Toastmasters.  After a one-mile walk to the Copley Toastmasters Club, I attended their meeting in the Parish House of the historic Trinity Church.  Though not affiliated with the church, the club’s meeting place is a true gift.  I was able to take time to tour the church after the meeting.  Thank you, DEP Toastmasters and Copley Toastmasters, for your warm hospitality.


A good jump-out-at-you, “Boo!” always makes me chuckle.  However, Mother Nature pulled a good one on us in Ridgefield, CT.  With 20 inches of snow on our deck, we are waiting to hear carolers singing, “Jingle Bells,” instead of the doorbell ringing followed by, “Trick or Treat!”  No electricity for two days, no school, and Mother Nature is the only one in a costume all in white.  I’m still trying to decide if this is a trick or a rare treat.  While Mother Nature decides what to do, take a look at a real Halloween treat, one that keeps me smilin’ because after all these years of marriage his smile still jumps out a me…it is Mr. De Young dressed as a sailor.

don-as-baby-2No wonder I fell in love with him!

2011 National Hobo Convention


Citizens of Britt Preparing Hobo Stew

My sincere thanks to the citizens of Britt, Iowa for their fine hospitality. The 111th National Hobo Convention was one of the best I have attended since 2003. The hobo stew was especially delicious this year. As seen in the photo, it takes a great deal of time and effort to feed a town and the hungry hobos! Thanks to all who worked so hard and dedicated time away from family to make the event a success for both Britt and the hobo family. As always, Linda and staff at the Hobo Museum, Mary Jo and staff at Mary Jo’s Hobo House Restaurant, and the Hobo Foundation…thank you. See you all down the road.