Welcome to the website woven for wordaholics, logolepts, and verbivores. Carnivores eat meat; herbivores eat plants and vegetables; verbivores devour words. If you are heels over head (as well as head over heels) in love with words, tarry here a while to graze or, perhaps, feast on the English language. Ours is the only language in which you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway and your nose can run and your feet can smell.


Next Saturday, November 2, at the Convention Center, the Union-Tribune will host its 10th annual Successful Aging Expo, its biggest ever. Free and worth every penny, the Expo will feature an aggregation of exhibitors, all-day entertainment and expert speakers on topics of importance to those of us who are full of years. For details, please have a look at the special section in tomorrow’s paper.

At 12 noon, in Room 7, I’ll be presenting “Fascinating Facts About Our Presidents” and hanging out at my booth from 9 am till 4 pm. I’d love to meet you at the Expo.

Such an event summons up precious memories of days gone by:

Do you remember when all electrical gadgets worked with simply a single “on” and “off” switch?

Do you remember when you dialed telephone numbers with a word prefix (mine was Allegheny-5491)? Do you remember the joy of finding a quarter in the coin-return slot of a pay phone and the satisfaction of hanging up by slamming down the phone on its cradle? Violently poking “End Call” just isn’t the same thing. And what could be more ecstatic than the joy of finding a quarter in the coin-return slot of a pay phone?

Do you remember when you would drive into a gas station and get your windshield cleaned, oil checked and gas pumped for free without asking? And you didn’t pay for air for your tires, and you got trading stamps to boot?

Those were the days, my friend. We thought they’d never end.

Do you remember when the family would gather around the kitchen table to read the Sunday comics — The Katzenjammer Kids, Dick Tracy, Mutt and Jeff, Bringing Up Father, Barney Google and Snuffy Smith and Li’l Abner (with shmoos)?

Do you remember “Red rover, red rover,” “olly olly oxen free,” “double-dog dare,” “eenie-meenie-miney-moe,” “one potato, two potato, three potato, four,” “red light, green light!”, “Duck duck! Goose!”, “Simon says, ‘Take one giant step'” and “Mother, may I?”

Do you remember when the family would gather around the radio to listen to The Shadow, Jack Armstrong, All-American Boy; The Fred Allen Show; Fibber McGee and Molly; Amos and Andy, The Breakfast Club, Captain Midnight and Buck Rogers? Ah, those radio commercials: “That’s my dog Tige! He lives in a shoe. I’m Buster Brown; Look for me in there, too!” “More bounce to the ounce” and “Call for Philip Morris!”

Or when the family would gather around the sixinch blackandwhite TV set (a Philco, Admiral, Motorola or Zenith that took forever to warm up) to watch Arthur Godfrey and His Friends, Howdy Doody, Leave It to Beaver, Ozzie and Harriet, Beanie and Cecil, Your Show of Shows, Your Hit Parade, I Love Lucy, My Three Sons, Kukla, Fran and Ollie, The Goldbergs, the original Twilight Zone and Uncle Milty on Texaco Star Theater?

Those were the days of test patterns, rabbit ears on the TV set, outdoor antennas, television stations that went off at midnight, when the National Anthem played and the white dot on the screen that grew smaller and smaller when you turned off your television. Because remote controls did not exist, we actually had to get up and walk a whole nine feet through shag carpet to the TV to turn it on and off and to change channels and volume. And that television was the only one in the home.

Those were the days when we watched TV in a dark room, with the big magnifier clamped to the TV screen, sometimes with blue, pink and green bands running across to add color to the sky, the people and the grass. While we watched, we ate TV dinners placed on TV trays. And, of course. “Shhhh. No talking” while watching television! Talking would be as impolite as yakking in a movie theater.

Do you remember? Do you remember? Then, dearie, you’re as old as I.


On Wednesday, November 6, I’ll be speaking at the Rancho Santa Fe Senior Center (858 756 3041), starting at 2 pm, and on Saturday, November 9, at the Scripps Mira Mar Library (858 538 8158), starting at 2:30 pm. At both places, I’ll be celebrating books and libraries.

Admission is free. I’d love to meet you at one of those venues.