Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Life with Fred and Lucy-part two-Security


The last time I posted about life with Fred and Lucy, I promised to tell you how we managed the security for our grocery store. If you think the C.I.A. was good at spying on people, then you should have known Fred. My father and mother were both OCD, especially about being robbed.
                  Our Grocery Store at 15th and Porter Streets

The grocery store was a family business and everyone was put to work. Along with the canned foods, dairy products and luncheon meats, my parents sold penny candies, loose potato chips and loose pretzel sticks. This was in the early fifties and you  were given a small paper bag to fill with candy, chips or pretzels.
Most people were honest, but every once in a while a group of strangers (kids from another neighborhood) would come in and steal the candy. They would do this every few days and this drove my father bat shit crazy.
You didn’t make a lot of money owning a store and the profits were earned a penny at a time. What did Fred do? My sister Jane, me and, my three cousins, Anthony, Jerry and Michael became Fred's front line of defense.
Acting every bit like General George Patton, my father prepared his own version of the Battle of the Bulge. The only difference was the bulge we would be fighting was the stuffed pockets of the teenaged boys stealing our candy. It was a brilliant plan! My father installed a buzzer that would buzz on all three floors: 2nd, 1rst, and basement. No matter where his workers were, we would hear that stinking buzzer.

                                                    I hated that buzzer!
Anyway, when he pressed the buzzer, we kids would drop whatever we were doing and run to our secret observation points: I hid behind the pasta shelf, peeking through the boxes where I could grab hold of the thief’s hand in mid-theft. Jane had the potato bin where she was in charge of tossing potato grenades at the enemy; 
Cousin Anthony stood at the door to prevent the hoodlums' escape while cousins Jerry and Michael stood in front of the penny candy display. It was a success!! Word spread throughout the neighborhood, and soon ,the teenaged thieves stopped raiding the store. My father’s ‘Battle of the Candy Bulge’ was so successful, that the other neighborhood grocery stores adopted the buzzer weapon.
My mother never had to resort to the buzzer, because all the neighborhood kids were afraid of her. She had a wicked stare.
Next episode: How we became secret agents

Monday, October 28, 2013

Holy Macaroni!! I'm in a Contest for Best Blogger.

My friends and family always tell me how funny and interesting my blogs are, but they have to be

nice to me; I'm friends with ghosts and zombies. But when someone from England contacts you and

tells you that you've been entered into a contest with nine other bloggers, then that makes me feel

good about the stories that I write for Gilbertcuriosities and as contributing staff for Biff Bam Pop!

The Contest starts NOW, and I'm very excited. And, even if I lose to a worthy fellow blogger, that

is perfectly fine, because I made into the contest. Not bad for an old granny.

So please do Steampunk, ghost hunting, zombie fighting Granny a big favor, dear; vote for me.

Click on this site  http://www.skelat.com/the-top-ten.html#ixzz2j3VG8pPK follow the instructions

and click on my picture.

             I'm sure you don't want my zombie clone to come around to remind you, right?


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Grimm Returns with a New Season of Horror


I couldn’t wait for Grimm to return, especially with last season’s cliff hanger where Nick (David Giuntoli) was poisoned by the voodoo priest, Baron Samedi (Reg E Cathey) and thrown into a coffin to be taken out of the country to Austria per order of Eric Renard (James Frain), the corrupt half-brother of Captain Renard (Sasha Roiz).
This season opened with Nick being loaded onto a private jet, while his friends the zombies. No not the Walking Dead type of zombies, but people under the control of Baron Samedi’s green spit. Yes the Baron is a monster and one of many that Nick must fight having inherited the job from a long line of Grimms.
Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell), Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) and Rosalee (Bree Turner) are busy fighting back the people who were changed (at least mentally) by the Baron into a raving mindless mob.

Luckily Rosalie concocted a large batch of anti- poison and is able to save the box car full of “zombies”
But, when the Captain, Hank ( Russell Hornsby), Monroe and Juliette finally figure out how Nick will be taken from them, they’re too late to stop the jet, and off it goes into the wild blue yonder. Baron Samedi is feeling pretty good with the successful kidnapping until Nick breaks his way out of the coffin.
Nick doesn’t react the same way to the Baron’s green spit and is able to ignore the Baron’s futile attempts at mind control. They struggle and the plane crashes before it gets very far. The show ends with Nick stumbling away from the crash site and into a biker bar, where he proceeds to tear the place apart.  By the time his friends reach the bar, Nick is gone. While this is going on, Adalind, (Claire Coffee) is having her own problems with Stefania(Shohreh Aghadashloo) and Frau Pech (Mary McDonald-Lewis), but in the end, she gets her mojo back.
I don’t know if I can survive until next Friday to find out what happens to Nick!!! I love this show, and as far as I’m concerned, this is how you do a good supernatural cop show. Watch Grimm on Friday nights at 9 p.m. on NBC followed by Dracula starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Life with Lucy and Fred


                                                    Lucy and Fred
I’ve been posting old photos of my family for the past month or so. The pictures, some taken before 1956, are of my family’s grocery store that was located on 15th and Porter Street in South Philadelphia.
My father learned all about running a store from his father, who had a grocery store at 17th and Moore.  My father had been working as a trolley driver with the PTC, and I loved riding on the trolley. I especially enjoyed the times my father would clang the bell at each street corner. But, my father wanted to own his own business and one day, he took me to check out a property that was for sale. 

          Dad cleaning the ham before selling it. Uncle Pat in the background
This was a family business, and back in those days, the government looked the other way about children working, especially if it was a family business. Not only was I helping out in the store at the age of eight, but so were my sister Jane and my cousins, Jerry and Anthony. As soon as my brother Mike and baby sister Lucy were old enough, they also joined the work force.  Growing up in the family business was an education. We not only worked long hours, seven days a week, but we had to keep up our grades in school.
          The Maratea kids take a break from the store and visit Atlantic City
It was a learning experience that I wouldn’t trade for all the money in the world. I learned so many things. I could slice luncheon meat without losing my fingers and I could do my homework sitting on the edge of the onion bin without falling in.

Working in that store is what made me so people friendly, open minded and compassionate, today. My father would often give credit to people who didn’t have enough money for food, saying to them, “Pay me when you have it.” And bless their hearts, every one of them did pay their bill, once they were back on their feet.
                                              Dad, Mom and me

Now, let me tell you about Lucy and Fred. My father was a hard worker, very strict, but he was also a practical joker. One year, he had my Aunt Louise believing that he had a pigeon coup on the roof of our two story building. Why, you ask? He needed an excuse for her husband to join the secret card game. My father had a bum leg and he told Aunt Louise that Uncle Jack would need to climb the ladder and feed the pigeons. After several months,  Aunt Louise found out about the card game and she went ballistic. But no one ever stayed angry with my father for too long. He was too funny.
My mother Lucy was a diva who was stuck in South Philly. She was into women's liberation before the first bra was ever burnt. But, like Lucy Ricardo, my mother was also a disaster waiting to happen. Her driving skills were horrid and, our neighbors would call their children home whenever my mom  would head for her car. As a frequent passenger in the car, I didn't blame them.
The picture at the top of the blog shows the most common expression my parents wore when dealing with their four overly active children. We were bad. My father often held his hand over his heart, yelling, “What the hell are you goofballs doing now?”

We feared my mother more that we did our dad. My mom was able to throw a shoe at us and that sucker could turn corners. She never missed her target (us). If I’m not mistaken, even the heat seeking missiles that the military uses today, couldn't match my mother’s record of direct hits.
Next week, I’ll tell you how we protected ourselves from thieves

Steampunk Granny needs your Votes!!



                                  I won't beg, nag, or torture my friends to vote for me.
                                           But I might send my zombie clone after you.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Gilded Festival


Hey, my little zombie snacks. Check out this site. My friends at Dorian's Parlor are pulling together one hell of a great Steampunk Event. You don't want to miss this!!!!!

Greetings Ladies and Gents! We have been busily working our way into preparing for the first ever Gilded Festival, and as a result it is with great pleasure that we announce the first round of Programming Listings! There you shall find a great many a thing, including child-friendly panels, contests, how-to, and special events! Please go here to take a peek at all the glorious things we have in store for you!
And speaking of special events, we are especially excited to announce two special events… within the grand event that is The Gilded Fest!

We are happy to announce that The Gilded Festival is now rolling out Performer and Guest announcements! We already have a grand lineup;
Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer
Divine Hand Ensemble
Psyche Corporation
Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys

Adam Smith a.k.a. Phineas Phlensing, Esq.
Countessa Lenora
Steampunk Boba Fett (John F. Strangeway)
Triell Freschi

…and we will be adding even more as we get closer to the big event!
We are equally happy to remind you that tickets for The Gilded Festival are on sale now! There are various choices, including children and family tickets, so please be sure to look over the options before you buy. You have until September 15th, 2013 to take advantage of the low ticket prices. After that date, ticket pricing goes up. You can visit our TicketLeap page to get your tickets now.

Hotel Rooms Also, hotel room reservations for The Gilded Festival are still available! But be sure to book your room sooner than later, as we highly anticipate our entire block to fill up quickly! Hotel room prices start at $89.00 (USD/per night). You can visit our DoubleTree Hotel registration site to make your reservation now. Alternatively, you may also call the hotel to reserve your room. If so please be sure to tell them your are booking for the Gilded Festival, and the reservation code is SKE.

Good Luck, ReRe


My daughter is going for surgery today. It’s the third surgery on her shoulder since that horrible accident on the quad that her and her husband were in. My daughter’s shoulder is not cooperating. It’s a long story and I won’t bore you with the details, but I want her to get better.
If you have a moment, say a little prayer for her that this time her shoulder heals. She needs all her strength, especially running after the three desperados (Jimmy, Nathan and Joshua) my grandsons.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

MIdnight Ghost Hunting

Okay, my little ghostly friends and zombie snacks. I've been on Grim Philly's tours and they are amazingly fun and you have to go and see for yourself. Tell them Steampunk Granny sent you.
Midnight Ghost Hunting!

15% OFF!!

This Friday October 25th

11:00 pm to 1:00 am

From 104 Chestnut St. Olde City Phila, Pa 19106

(Mexican Post Tavern)


Join Grim Philly and renowned author, psychic, and ghost hunting expert: Laurie Hull McCabe this Friday night at 11:00 pm for our special edition of Halloween Midnight Ghost Hunting!

Enter Promotional Code: "Ghost" and receive an additional 15% off the regular ticket price when you purchase from: http://grimphilly.tix.com

Check http://www.grimphilly.com/tours/ for additional information and to purchase tickets for this year's Halloween Midnight Ghost Hunting!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Super D and Super G go to Market

Where in the world was the South Jersey Writers Group on October 19th? We were at the Autumn Authors Fair at the Landis Marketplace in Vineland, N.J.


Yep! Super D and Super G packed up the car with copies of Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey and several copies of What to Expect When You’re Dead by John Farquhar, and off we went  with map in hand and GPS plugged into the lighter.

A Novel Idea Chapter Two Bookstore is located inside the Landis Marketplace at 631 East Landis Ave. in Vineland N.J. 08360.
                         Mistress Rae and one of her creepy dolls: mistressrae13.etsy.com
We were joined by two other members, Bob Cook and Amy Hollinger. Most of the authors attending were dressed for Halloween and giving out treats to the little ones who accompanied their parents at the different author’s tables. We sold a lot of books and lots of tote bags.
                                       Authors Kristin Battestella Snouffer and Laura Kaighn


                                                     Author Ava Jordanna Easterby

The Landis Marketplace features different shops and foods; yummy Amish foods; wholesome Amish foods; organic foods; even pastries. Donuts are organic, right? But who cares, they were good.
If you get the chance, drive on over to the Landis Marketplace and when you’re done shopping, stop at A Novel Idea Chapter Two and say hello to the proprietor, Linda.

                                           Mention that Steampunk Granny sent you.

Shades of Poe 6 Rooms, 6 Spirits, 6 Tales of Woe


If you like Edgar Allan Poe, then you're going to love this review!

This past Friday, my friends and I headed over to Collingswood to the Historic Collings-Knight Homestead to watch Shades of Poe, a vignette of six Edgar Allan Poe stories presented by Fractured Mirror Productions, conceived, compiled, directed and designed by Patty Verzella. The house is located at 500 Collings Ave. on the corner of Collings Avenue and Browning Road, across from the park.

I had no idea what to expect, but when the event began, I was knocked off my seat; the show was better than imagined, and I highly recommend that you go see it.

After arriving at the house, the three of us were led into the small parlor which was furnished with furniture from the Victorian Era. After all the guests arrived, we were greeted by Poe (Jonathan Elliot Coarsey) himself who read a poem  from "Ulalume" before introducing the first act. Each act was presented in a different part of the house and told by six different spirits beginning with: The Raven performed by Brock Vickers; Ligeia performed by Tyler Christie; The Tell-Tale Heart performed by David Hutchison; The Imp of the Perverse performed by Tess Kunick; Berenice performed by Casey Williams-Ficarra and ending in the basement with the Cask Of Amontillado performed by Michael DeFlorio as Montresor and Tom Geigel as Fortunato. The final poem read by Poe was "Spirits of the Dead".

I don’t know about the other guests, but I felt like I was plopped right smack into Poe’s imagination and I absolutely loved it. The actors and actresses were so intense in the telling of their tales that I swear I saw the dead Ligeia rise from her bed.

The Collings-Knight House offers a new show each month. Check out their website, http://www.collingsknighthouse.org/ make your reservations and tell them Steampunk Granny sent you. 


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Ghosts of Charleston

In between fighting a sinus infection, ear infection and a broken tooth, my ghost hunting friends and I actually got in some good research. While we were at Wilmington North Carolina, we visited the battleship USS North Carolina.
It wasn’t until we got to the section of the ship that houses the engines, that I experienced that familiar unsettling in my stomach (it’s my “tell” that a spirit is nearby). Whenever this happens, I block out all other noises and concentrate of the spirit, but all I could sense was that the very young sailor in front of me, had died on the ship and the engine room was his scheduled work area. One of my friends, who entered a few minutes behind me, also sensed the young man, but we weren’t able to ask or record our “interview” as a large group had now entered the room. I picked up the sense that although this young man was confused on how he had died, he was proud of being in the Navy and a part of this ship’s crew.

Once we had reached Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, we headed into Charleston and the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, but although there were stories of pirates being held there, we picked up no sensations of spirits in the building that day. Doesn’t mean the place isn’t haunted, but I sensed nothing during that visit. We were told about a woman and her husband who were hanged because of some rather nasty dealings. Her name was Lavinia Fisher a serial killer.
The Prison
My friends and I were under the impression that Lavinia and John Fisher were held at the Provost Dungeon, and so, when we went to the prison, we went there not knowing that this is where she was actually hung.
 While waiting for our guide to take us into the building, Rita who often has an experience where she's either touched by or sees a spirit (experiences that she is not at all comfortable with), commented to the guide that she saw someone climbing up the stairway. The stairway was visible through one of the prison windows; this was not witnessed by anyone else in our group. The guide assured us that no one was in there, but Rita argued that she saw someone in a white dress climbing the stairway. Brushing off her insistence that she saw something, the guide led us into the building. Jean and I, who normally sense if spirits are near us, didn’t feel a thing until we walked up the steps and into a large holding area.
There was something in this room and it wasn’t happy, but I wasn’t able to tell if it was male or female, at first because I was concentrating on the anger of the spirit. Suddenly, a black shape moved beside me, blocking off my line of vision to another person that was standing next to me. The anger I felt, was strong and I began to say the protection prayers while holding on tightly to my rosary beads in my coat pocket. When it moved passed me, I began to edge backwards towards Rita and Jean. “Something evil is in here,” I warned both of them under my breath.
“Someone is a dress just passed by me and headed in your direction,” Jean replied.
“It’s the woman, from the stairway,” Rita added. 
Before we could take pictures or get our equipment set up, the spirit was gone. We asked our guide if he knew anything about the female ghost that all three of us had encountered and that is when he told us that Lavinia was hung at this prison. Now, all the clues fell into place. We had encountered Lavinia, herself. The guide then mentioned that there was an investigative team in the prison a while back and since they left, the staff has been experiencing more sightings. This sometimes happens if an investigation is done improperly and the investigative team has taunted or angered the spirits.
My next experience was at a cemetery behind the St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Charleston. We were walking through the cemetery with our cameras at the ready and our equipment on. I had walked away from my friends because I could sense that a spirit was nearby, then I heard someone call my name. Spirits don’t usually call out my name, so I was freaking nervous and curious as to why this was happening, now. I thought I saw something moving and took a picture. Who was it? What did they want? How did they know my name? I don’t know! 
But here is the photo with an orb. It's positioned right in front of the tombstone. This is one of the best orb pictures that I’ve ever taken. It almost looks solid. I called out to my friends, but they were unable to get a good shot.
I don’t have to be in a cemetery or actively looking for ghost, but I can sense them when they’re around and recently a friend asked me to check out her house; the house was haunted by the former owner; kind soul who was watching over the little family now living there. The wall between the living and dead is only a heartbeat away. Sometimes, after a soul has passed over, if that person really loved their home, they may come back to visit. Here is a closer shot of that orb.
Have you’ve ever encountered something from the other side. Would you like to share your story with me? contact me at mariegilb@comcast.net