Sunday, November 18, 2007

Seven Ways I'm Weird (7)

The delightful and glorious Claudia at On a Limb with Claudia has tagged me with a meme that requires me to tell you seven random or weird facts about myself.

1. When I was ten, I was a Quiz Kid on a show that was broadcast from Rockefeller Plaza in NYC. Every contestant was an "expert" on something. My specialties were grand opera and dogs.

My favorite part was sliding in the lobby on shiny floors which had giant black and white checkerboard squares while my mother begged me to act like a lady. Then I would go upstairs and answer questions.

2. In high school, I hated sit ups and my gym partner, Terri, was terrified of heights so we quietly changed places halfway through our exercises. Terri did her sit ups and then mine while I climbed the ropes for both of us.

The gym teacher never noticed.

3. I lived in an unheated house in Vermont for a year with my daughter, two ponies, a wolf, a dog, a cat and a rabbit. I made a wood stove out of a galvanized garbage can and chopped wood every morning. When the pipes froze in late September, my daughter and I visited a hot tub in Montpelier every day so we could shower, then hauled a dozen plastic gallon jugs with a rope harness three miles up the mountain to our house by foot because our car couldn't navigate the ice.

When we left Vermont, I pulled a loaded two-horse trailer with an old Plymouth Duster to Florida, camped in the Ocala National Forest through two hurricanes, then continued to Western North Carolina, where we lived for several years.

4. At 16, my best friend and I tried to cross Long Island Sound in a rowboat. About halfway to Connecticut, she lost her oar and we were unable to row with only one. A Coast Guard helicopter found us drifting long after dark and sent a boat to rescue us.

5. In my late teens, I regularly bought Ebony Magazine and took it on the subway, hoping to pass for Black. I always felt vaguely uncomfortable being White, as if there had been a mistake which I didn't know how to rectify.

6. When I was 17, I was home alone when a young woman knocked on the door. She said that she was from an orphanage and the orphan who sold the most magazine subscriptions would get a scholarship and a chance at a better life. I sat her at our kitchen table and gave her a veritable feast of everything in the refrigerator, and ordered a dozen magazine subscriptions in my parents' names.

A week later, her picture was in the paper. She and her male accomplice had murdered another young woman in my town and burglarized her home. She was not a 17 year old orphan but a 28 year old serial killer, and I have always wondered if the meal I gave her saved my life.

7. I once stole something. It was a Peruvian wall hanging, which adorns the wall behind my computer now. I hid it for years because I was convinced that the police were looking for me, and it made me so sick to my soul that I never stole anything again.

When my ex-husband happened upon it years later, I told him that I had gotten it "for a very good price."

I have done this meme before as variously ten,nine and eight weird things about myself. I did them at different times and there is some repetition, but I think this one is all new stuff.

I'm betting that after this, there is nothing left that anyone wants to know about me.

I am not going to assign this to anyone specific as there have been so many versions of it in the blogosphere, but if you yearn to do it, please, please do. And let me know!


storyteller said...

Ohmygosh! I can't believe I've finally caught up to the present with Google Reader and am the first to comment on today's post. What a surprise :-)

You have led an interesting life my dear and I, for one, find what you write captivating. I'm so glad you were rescued by the Coast Guard, saved from "sit-ups" by your gym partner, and survived the serial killer. Food often works wonders in any situation.

At this point, nothing you write about your life is likely to surprise me, but I'll happily read it all ... and (having read your Blurts at Lucy's which mirror my own, hers and most everyone elses), I'd like to encourage you to go ahead and submit something for publication immediately, if not sooner. I suspect you have a long & lucrative career as an author ahead. I'll buy your books!

Please don't invite strangers peddling anything at the door inside your home.
Hugs and blessings,

RED MOJO said...

Wow. That's really putting yourself out there. I don't see how you can have any fear at all after the life you've lead. Publishing your writing seems so simple compared to some of this other stuff, including sharing this! I love to read your stories. I'm with storyteller. You have it what it takes!

thailandchani said...

You really could write a book! :)

Anonymous said...

I would pay $14.95 for a collection of those weird memoirs of yours. Would you please write it?

If those are weird things, my friend, you are wonderfully weird. You have a strange and wonderful pull for strange and wonderful things to happen to you.

Hope you are feeling better.

Ian Lidster said...

There's lots I still want to know about you.

Gym teachers never notice 'anything'. That's why they're gym teachers.

I won't tell anybody about the Peruvian wall hanging, though the spirits of the Incas are pissed, I understand.

As for your well-fed serial killer chick. That was genuinely chilling.

And, I am so old that I remember Quiz Kids on TV. Maybe I even saw you. Maybe I developed a huge crush on you and had no way of knowing we'd link up at a later date in this manner.

Or not.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I think I could sit through a whole winter listening to the story of your life. It's been quite a life. Glad it did not end pre-maturely with that serial killer. Creepy.

the individual voice said...

What a great collection of tales to start my morning. You are quite an excellent tale-teller. As my mother used to say, each was better than the other.

Open Grove Claudia said...

Well done! I love this! I'm amazed at your resourcefulness to survive the cold and a serial killer. Why did you steal the rug? That seems a bit out of character.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Isn't it great walking on fresh snow?

"Blurts at Lucy's"- I'm confused. Do I know Lucy by another name? Which blog do you mean?

Thanks for all the encouragement. It's greatly valued.


It was just life. These memes force me to remember incidents that are not in the forefront of my present existence, but which contributed to it and should be acknowledged, so for that, I like them.


Truth is stranger than fiction. ;)


Only $14.95? I'll have my people call your people.


My show was on the radio. (Remember radio?)

The TV Quiz Kids broadcast from Chicago. Joel Kupperman was on the show for years. I still remember him.

You are welcome to develop a huge crush on me now, however.

I've never thought the Inca spirits were pissed because it went to someone who really treasured it.


Ok, you bring the nuts, I'll bring the stories, and we'll meet in a hollowed out tree.


My mother used to say that, too. I think there was a Mother's Manual of cliches for all occasions.

But I thank you, and your mother.


I've wondered why, too. I was deeply unhappy at the time, and I think it was a challenge, a kind of risk-taking to re-sensitize myself.

But as stated, I still have it, and I still love it. Maybe it also reminds me that my dark side is woven into me along with the qualities I like more.

Anonymous said...

What amazing stories you have. Do you ever sit with your kids and go over all of lifes craziness? I'm certain they would find it all as fascinating if not more than I do. You are a very cool individual.

storyteller said...

H in SF
Sorry about the earlier reference to Blurts at Lucy's. Methinks I had a "senior moment" (these things happen) :-0

Snow? It's cool and overcast here at the beach in So Cal ... but no snow (well hardly ever, though I do remember a couple of days we DID get hail and it looked like "snow" for an hour or two).

Sorry you're still sick. Drink tea with honey and have more chicken soup. Vitamin C helps me ... so does Zicam.

Remember ... I'm waiting to buy your first book ... so let 'er rip! (not RIP) You do seem to live a "charmed life".

Molly said...

Even though it's creepy that you plied that serial killer with food, I think the fact that you accepted her for who she claimed to be and were so hospitable, helped keep you from becoming her next victim. Still ,it makes me shudder....

seventh sister said...

I hope you are feeling better anda that none of these very interesting things are really fever powered halucinations. Although if they are, you can still claim them.

I do not know how anyone survives winters in Vermont with heat much less without it. No wonder you went to Florida.

Kevin said...

#6. WOW! No...WOWEE!!!!


heartinsanfrancisco said...


I find that I'm really more interested in my kids' lives and ongoing adventures.

They continue to amaze me as they outshine me in every way.


It never snows in San Francisco either, but I have enough memories of snow to carry me through.


I fed her because she was very thin and claimed that they didn't feel her enough at the orphanage.

I was also very thin, but far more naive.


They are not hallucinations, but what fun it would be to have some.

I was looking for "the right place" and thought I would know it when I saw it. Meanwhile, I kept driving until we ended up in Florida. We only stayed a week or so before driving up to NC, where we settled for several years.


I have very hard-working guardian angels.

Rebecca said...

wow - you certainly have enough material for an exciting memoir!
I can't believe you fed a serial killer - it'd be nice to think your own generosity saved you!

CresceNet said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tanya Brown said...

This is what a meme should be, darn it! Bring on the weird stuff I say, not the butterflies and the puppy dogs!

I'm glad the serial killer didn't nail you. It just goes to show that everybody appreciates a touch of hospitality now and then.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


My belief that kindness saved my life has a kind of fable quality to it, doesn't it?

Who knows? Maybe she just wasn't into killing anyone that day.


But what about us butterflies and puppy dogs?

Mariposa Speaks said...

Wow! Everyday I come here and read and I can't get enough! I'ts just fun, delightful and very informative...I always learn from you and makes me appreciate the person you are. This post reflects a part of you that I have always and had been wanting to become... :P

I wish I did that in my gym class before...let somebody do sit-ups for me while I do something else for

Since I did my post for today already...I will try this tomorrow... ;)

meno said...

You lead a colorful and exciting life. Each of these things makes me admire your strength, and initiative.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Great! I look forward to reading it.

I'm sure everyone needed to know about my life of crime. :)


Initiative, like cheating at phys-ed and stealing?

It was kind of hard to select only seven things to confess when there are so many more.

WNG said...

If it wasn't a complete waste of time I would be so jealous of the experiences you've had. Sorry I haven't been around for a couple of days, but let me tell you that catching up with your blog is sooo much fun!I hope you're feeling better!

Big Momma Pimpalishisness said...

You have had such an interesting life. You cracked me up with the "bought Ebony magazine, hoping to pass as black." I could understand. :)-

Crankster said...

Hearts, you amaze me. What incredible stories! And I'm amazed that you had the fortitude to stay in the Vermont house through the winter.

You are my hero.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Yeah, meeting serial killers up close and personal. I can see why you'd be jealous.

I haven't been visiting anywhere either because I don't feel well. I WILL catch up with you soon.

Big Momma,

You are the only person who has commented on that one. Thank you. It's great to know someone actually understands that I wasn't joking.


I didn't have much choice, and it WAS very beautiful. Neither my daughter nor I even had a cold that year -- germs could not survive in that climate.

I used to refer to our state as "Varmint," but it remains one of the loveliest places I know.

Josie said...

Wow! Hearts, you just get more interesting all the time. And we're all glad that you fed that 28 year-old serial killer, and are still here to tell us about it. :-)

Franki said...

So close the Thaksgiving, today I'm thankful you weren't eaten by a serial killer.

baffle said...

These 7 items are amazing, not weird!
Tales of a real survivor (even stealing, for you seem to have survived the guilt).

Bring the rest of the memoirs on!
Your public awaits you, dahling!

TaraDharma said...

Between your serial killer story and POP's pet sitter story, i'm thinking: no more strangers in my house! I'm bolting the doors!

You must be one tough cookie after these life experiences. We do what we need to, but don't you suprise yourself when you think, "God, I actually lived in Vermont in a house with no heat! With my kids!"?

Thank you for stopping by. We're practically neighhbors. I love the 90 mi. drive up to SF.

Angela said...

What an amazing post. What an amazing life!

The part about the serial killer was intense.

I second Story Teller's compliment about your ability to captivate readers. You really need to be published and rewarded for your talent.

Dan said...

You are so weird. :)

Happy Thanksgiving!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I'm glad, too. She was really skinny.


Are you suggesting that I'm a turkey?


I still feel some guilt over stealing something, and its presence is a reminder of the constant need to monitor my thoughts and actions.

Thank you for coming by.


I don't think that hardship necessarily makes us tough. Sometimes it can have the opposite effect, a tenderness toward others who may be struggling in ways that are not evident.

I appreciate your visit from one of my favorite areas, and your words.


I would love to be published. I didn't dare to imagine it for so long, but maybe it's an idea whose time has come.

Thank you so much.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Oh, good. Weirdness was the game plan.

Are you ever going to post again?

Happy Thanksgiving to you, Laura and Lulu.

Liz said...

All very weird things but I think the Ebony magazine one is probably the weirdest! Weird in a very cool, weird way. I wonder what people thought too. My husband just came home with the one with Michael Jackson on the cover. Or, what's left of him anyway.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, Heart!

thethinker said...

I love your list. I can't even think of one story from my own life that is half as interesting as any of the things you've listed here.

Number six gives me the chills. So glad that you're still here.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


"or what's left of him..." Loud guffaws from here.

If only they could have fixed his brain instead of everything else.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, Liz!

And you know, passing is passing, no matter who does it. :)


I'm glad to be here, too.

I guess it's official then -- I"m the Queen of Weird.

Happy T-Day, Julia!

Jocelyn said...

If this is what's finally come out, after three incarnations of this meme, then I'm all for Eleven Unsual Things About Susan next.

Wow. What stuff. Especially the serial killer thing. *shudder*

I would love to see a younger you answering questions about opera.

That's a good thought to take me to bed tonight.

RED MOJO said...

I wanted to let you know, I had so much fun reading yours, that I did this meme, although mine I fear, is not nearly as entertaining! I am every bit as weird as you, but in less interesting ways!

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Thanks for the (not so) weird insights into who you are. It was a neat read.

May the joys and blessings of Thanksgiving be with you and yours.

Irrelephant said...

But you're such a GOOD weird!

Happy Thanksgiving, dear!

furiousBall said...

Wow, this is fascinating. The serial killer, the crossing of the Sound, you lived with a wolf! You should write a journal and publish it on the internet or something... oh wait.

The CEO said...

The Vermont story is incredible. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Flip.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Pfffshaw, eleven is nothing.

Actually, my life reads a bit like a SOAP opera, but with real emotions.


I read yours and was fascinated. You are both courageous and multi-talented.


Thank you so much and I wish you the same.


Good weird. Oh, well then, that's different.

Happy Thanksgiving!


I lived with a gray wolf for 13 years and finally lost her to cancer. She was like the other side of my soul and I still miss her.


I've grown wussified now and could never live under such conditions again. Or want to.

TK Kerouac said...

Great blog, love your thumbnail.

Angela said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Heart! Just wanted to pop in a wish you a lovely one! xoxoxo

Palm Springs Savant said...

fun post. new visitor to your blog. I'll be back. stop by and say hi sometime.

seventh sister said...

I don't think I could do this meme. How could I pick only 7? Hope you and Flip are happy and well.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I haven't seen you in ages. Thanks for coming back.

I noticed that they've republished your cousin Jack's "On The Road," which is currently in the new arrivals section of the bookstore.


It was lovely. I hope yours was, too.


I followed your link home and found...dinosaurs! You really know how to lure a lady.

Thanks for your visit.


I'm sure you could think of something.

Love to Stephen, too.

jali said...

You are such an interesting person, I would gladly buy your book - even hawk it on my blog.
C'mon - we're all waiting.

Odat said...

No. 5 cracked me up! ;-)
You've had some great experiences and thank goodness you're in our lives to tell them....
and hey, I want my rug back!!!!

CS said...

My, what an interesting set of experiences. And I'm thinking the meal you gave that woman may have saved your life, but Yikes! She shouldn't have been in your house.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Now there's an offer I can't refuse.

Thank you!!


Oh, no. It was YOUR rug?

I'm so ashamed.


You're right, but in those days, we were less suspicious of strangers.

I am not Star Jones said...

I did my seven!
check it out.

jameil1922 said...

the floating in the sound is fabulous, i gave you and terri mental high fives with a "nice", froze for you & daughter in vermont, shock & awe over the serial killer!! that's insane!! but my fave is def. the ebony mags. did you pick up anything interesting? i guess you'd have to email me.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I don't know when you commented to this but I'll go back and see if I read yours. I"m guessing I did.


You mean like guys? :) !!