Sister Leslie as emcee/hostess


Rebecca Jade, Leslie Green - May 2018
Rebecca Jade, Leslie Green – May 2018

As noted, my sisters and I have been talking on ZOOM almost every week for… what, maybe a year? You would think we would run out of topics to talk about. You’d be wrong.

It’s an odd thing. We’re still hashing out the weird stuff about our parents. The fact that they died in 2000 (Dad) and 2011 (Mom) hasn’t buried the issues. If anything, their passing has given us permission to address the stuff we wouldn’t have dared discuss with them or even fully acknowledge the issues.

In some ways, the three of us had very different lanes growing up. Marcia, as the youngest, was the rebellious “don’t BS me” child who Leslie and I couldn’t imagine being. I was the bookish, somewhat insular one.

Leslie, by contrast, was the child most likely to try to please others. When visitors, friends of my parents, came over to see my parents, Marcia could bail as the youngest. I would come out of my room to say hello then go back to my books/baseball cards/music, which was more interesting to me than people who didn’t ostensibly come to see me anyway.

Leslie was wired differently. She would talk to my parents’ friends a lot more than I did. It seemed that she was like an emcee. This made adults like her more, which was not MY concern.

In some ways, it served her in good stead. She was a very personable performer. Her first job, while in high school, was to be a hostess at the Perkins Pancake House on Main Street, near Glenwood Avenue, in Binghamton. She worked in the hotel industry in a function, not unlike a concierge. And even her other jobs involve communicating well with others.


Three years ago, as I noted more than once, Leslie was in a bicycle accident and almost died. She’s a lot better, though not 100%. There are still some issues with her eyes, her mouth, and a few other aspects. But she’s mostly OK.

I noted that I had seen the movie Summer of Soul recently. It reminded me that three years ago, less than a month before the accident, she was singing duets on a cruise ship with Larry Graham, the bass player for Sly and the Family Stone. Now that’s the kind of situation that being a talented and personable type will gain you.

Happy birthday, Leslie.


Hostess: the mostess, for a few

I boycotted Hostess from about 1970 until the Vietnam war was over in 1975.

For me, the issue of the Hostess Brands snack food line apparently going under – I can’t believe that someone won’t buy this venerable line – isn’t the loss of Ding Dongs. It’s that, apparently, the company had “manipulated” its executives’ pay–sending its former chief executive’s salary, in particular, skyrocketing- in the months leading up to its Chapter 11 filing, in an effort to dodge the Bankruptcy Code’s compensation requirements.

Yet the stories I hear on the nightly news talk about the failure of the company to come to an agreement with the unions. Implicit in that is if it weren’t for the greedy unions, we’d still have our Twinkies. Maybe, just maybe, it was the unions who were offered a bad deal, and are now getting a bad rap.

I have a peculiar history with Hostess. During the Vietnam war, the product line was owned by ITT, and ITT built stuff that helped the war machine. So I boycotted Hostess from about 1970 until the war was over in 1975. Truth is, I never much liked Wonder Bread all that much, and after I started eating whole-grain breads, Wonder Bread was inedible. I liked Twinkies, though. Finally, after a half dozen years, I tried a Twinkie again; I thought it was AWFUL, pure sugar. Had my taste buds changed, or did my previous political antipathy make it taste bad? But I still liked the fruit pies when I tried them again, though I preferred the ones by Drake, which had a fun commercial to boot.

Mark Evanier made some interesting points. “They came out with ‘100 calorie’ packs of their Twinkies and cupcakes… but the experiment caused me to swear off their products for good. The size of a Twinkie that got the calories down to that acceptable number was so small as to be unsatisfying and it made me more acutely aware of how many were in the full-sized version.” Other brands did the same thing, and I had the same reaction. As for Wonder Bread, “by the time they did offer a ‘whole grain white,’ it felt insincere on their part.” Absolutely!

I’m not planning on buying up some Hostess products. Despite the cliche, they WON’T last forever like styrofoam.


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