This episode is dedicated to Jackie Gearing Kobialko, Stephanie Hess & the Porch Wine Ladies of NE 47th Ct.  You made me feel like I had lived there all my life. Raise a glass for me, I miss you every single day. 


Ok, so I really can’t banish my parents from My Kingdom.  I mean, I could, but what would really be the point?  I’m sure they didn’t wake up one morning, turn to each other and say, “You know what would really be funny? Let’s tell our 58 year old daughter we are moving to Florida and ask her to move there too, and then, when she does….”

Instead, I let their call go to voicemail to be answered at another time at some point in the future.  Like next week.  Or next month. Or next year. Maybe.

Because I just needed to be happy again and it was way too soon for me to look back at the whole Florida debacle and laugh.

But I did need something to make me laugh, so I turned off Gordon Ramsay and Kitchen Nightmares and turned on The Dick Van Dyke Show.


I love that show.  I love all of the characters on that show.  I love Mary Tyler Moore in her capri pants and the way they always managed to have Sally and Buddy do some kind of song and dance.  I love the way that Dick Van Dyke always seemed happy, even when he was mad at Laura or Jerry, his next door neighbor.  I adore Millie and I loved the episodes with his brother, Jerry Van Dyke playing his banjo. I love that the show is in black and white.  I love that each season is about 30 episodes.  Thirty. Three O.   And they ran 5 seasons.  That’s a lot of shows.  Some of the shows I like better than others, but all of them made me happy to watch.

And sitting in the Tiny Trailer counting the days until I moved into what turned out to be the Little House From Hell, that’s all I wanted.  Something that would make me happy.

So I now had 5 things in my Universe that Pleased The Crown.  To recap:

  1. My horse.
  2. My 3 dogs.
  3. The Dick Van Dyke Show.

And if you added up all the characters in that show that made me happy, I actually had about 10 more things to think about that made me happy – not counting the guest stars.

So things were getting better.

Then I started adding my friends in in Los Angeles, which brought the count up and my friends I had made during my almost-a-year in Florida, and even though the thought of those Florida friends made me a little sad, I realized I was happier for having met them and for now having them a part of my life, even though they were still in Florida and I was not.

So now there were about  50 more things to think about that made me happy, and the thought of having those 50 more things made me even happier.

Even though I still cried every single day.

And then the biggest thought hit me.

Even though I had seemingly lost a future in Florida that I thought would have made me so very. very happy, I now had before me an enormous blank slate to do with what I pleased. To do…  To…

Uh oh.

It was the biggest, most terrifying thought I had ever had.

I mean, I was almost sixty.   Six O. How the hell do you start over from there?  Where do you go?  What do you do and who would hire you to do whatever that was?

But I realized that that wasn’t a happy thought.  That was a terrifying thought. And by my own decree, by my own Order of The Crown, all thoughts that were not happy were to be banished from my head.

Royal Seal of Queen Susan of The Tiny Trailer

So really, the first head to roll, was my own.

I banished that thought and looked for another, more pleasing thought.

And because I was in a sort of limbo – not out of the Tiny Trailer, with the dead flies and the chemical toilet and not into what would become The Little House From Hell  I would move into on August 19th, I wondered and imagined what my life would look like – could look like – now that I actually had the time to look at it that way.

Famous Last Words

What if, for the rest of my life, I would only do the things that made me happy.  What if, for the rest of my life, I would only do the things I thought would be fun?

That would be some life.  That would be a great life.  The would be the greatest life I ever had.  So I decided that for my 60th Birthday, that would be the gift I would give to myself.  The absolute best life I could find.

And I had about 3 months to find it.

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