Hoarders of Memories

In 2017, I started packing and cleaning it was almost one year before we planned to move. We were ready to say goodbye to the house with the lovely trees and not-so-lovely Fall leaves on the grass. Our endless seasonal battle. Goodbye to a house that was too big for two adults and 2 dogs. Time to downsize or better phrased “Rightsize.” This is a story of keeping our beloved things or the tale: Hoarders of Memories.

Where is this Stuff Coming From?

Twelve months after I started slowly, leisurely packing, you would never know the effort because there was still so much stuff. I secretly wondered if cosmic energy was quickly replenishing my treasures each night. Our friends would sneer and say you and Mitch just can’t throw anything out, and you genuinely have “that much stuff!”

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Courage: Aunt Carol’s Story

I received the news that Aunt Carol died peacefully early Saturday morning. The date was January 22, 2022; she was 94. Her story of courage and triumph throughout her life will inspire you; she inspired me. Although Aunt Carol said we cannot choose the path our lives take, I believe she did choose her way. She chose strength and hope rather than the road of despair brought on by the tragedy of losing her young daughter Debbie-Jo in 1959 and her eldest daughter Kathy in 2021 (z”l).


I grew up living next door (I used to think the words were next store) to my dad’s sister, Aunt Carol, Uncle Milt, and cousins Kathy, Lisa and Lori. The subURBAN myth in my young mind was that our grandparents didn’t want to drive all over Long Island to visit each week. Two houses went up for sale and, my family and my aunt’s family grabbed the deal. My childhood memory also recalls that grandpa gave a sizeable down payment on both houses in Westbury, NY; he always liked to get his way!

Paths our Lives Take
Grandpa Leo (z”l) (Aunt Carol’s and my Dad’s, Dad), Vickie (left), Cousins Lisa (center), and Lori
Paths our Lives Take
Cousins Kathy, Lori and Lisa with me (second to the left)

A lifetime of memories with my aunt flood my mind, from traveling to Florida with them as a kid (when I liked the bumpy plane rides) to sharing holiday tables and the joy of family. One such piece of advice from the early 1970s was “Don’t sit in the sun because it will give you wrinkles!” Excellent advice that I ignored and later found that life and the sun gave me wrinkles. I also think she told me not to smoke because it will stunt my growth – it was an easier time back then. If only smoking caused a case of shortness.

Below is an inspiring passage demonstrating courage after loss, that Aunt Carol wrote many years ago.  

Aunt Carol’s Story – In Her Words.

We cannot choose the path that our lives take. We can only learn to deal with the adversities and to enjoy the pleasure that life does bring. Debbie-Jo Sirota was born on March 2, 1955. She was a very peaceful child. She was born 3 weeks early and surprised everyone. As an infant, she loved to sleep, and I felt guilty waking her up for her feedings. She loved to eat as all my girls did. She loved her older sister Kathie and always followed her around.

On September 18, 1959, we suffered the accidental loss of Debbie-Jo: she was run over by an ice cream truck. Kathie was with her when this happened and witnessed the accident firsthand. If we chose to dwell on this horrible tragedy, we would have sacrificed Kathie’s life as well. I tried to believe that G-d had a master plan and that if I had faith and courage, we would all pull through this ordeal and be able to function as a family as normally as possible.

Ten months later, we experienced a miracle when I gave birth to twin daughters, Lori and Lisa. They were 6 weeks premature and very sick. I believe Debbie-Jo helped pull them through their difficult health issues and helped shape them into the outstanding human beings that they are. 

You never forget a loved one that is gone: you find a new place for her. I cannot imagine a life without my children and grandchildren. It is humbling to think that 5 out of my 7 grandchildren would not have been born had this tragedy not happened. I can say that I try to enjoy every day, be thankful for what I have, and not dwell on what I no longer have. “ (Five great-grandchildren were born after this was written)


Aunt Carol struggled with increasing illness over the final years. But her final gift to her family was her last week of life. Her daughter, Lisa, a physician whom I have spoken of in previous blogs didn’t leave her side. Other close family members were also at Carol’s bedside. Lisa is the rock for the entire family and demonstrated her compassionate, empathetic skilled medical talent with both her parents. Lisa documented the transformation of her mother’s last week of life. The change in Aunt Carol’s skin, her peaceful face, and the acceptance of love and care. I was able to see this transformation through photos without Lisa saying a word. Aunt Carol let family members and her devoted assistant Barbara know, that she was OK. It was her time.

May Your Memory be a Blessing

We celebrated Aunt Carol’s life on Wednesday, thanks to the genius of Zoom, I was able to attend. The eulogies and outpour of love were extraordinary. Grandchildren sharing the unique relationship they had – each felt special and truly beloved by their grandmother. Aunt Carol and my Uncle Milt (both of beloved memory), and married almost 70 years, cherished family above all else. This is a lesson that I have taken to heart.

Paths our Lives Take
Glamour Shot of Aunt Carol and Uncle Milt

Especially touching for me was the eulogy given by Carol’s baby brother – my 91-year-old father.

Paths our Lives Take
Aunt Carol and Her Baby Brother Monroe and Me and My Baby Brother, Keith


Aunt Carol had the courage to continue life. She taught health and physical education for 35 years and continued to live a healthy, active life into her 90s. She was my substitute gym teacher at Salisbury Elementary School.  I remember one day in the gym working on the rings that were attached to large ropes.  I was the only one who was able to do a flip and my classmates insisted it was because my aunt was the teacher and not my incredible skill! Really!

Mourners from all across the country spoke of Carol’s impact on their lives and the community.   Carol and her husband Milt devoted their time and resources to JAFCO. and other meaningful charities. Carol’s  grandson Jeff wrote, “Thousands and thousands of lives were improved (if not saved) because of *their work with JAFCO.”   They received the  Lifetime Achievement Award for their contributions. Aunt Carol and Uncle Milt chose a path of philanthropy, community engagement, leadership, and family. They choose life – We can all learn a lot from their story.

 I will never forget you, Aunt Carol; I just found a new place for you in my heart.  


You can purchase my book Raising Jess A Story of Hope on this site or through Amazon and other retail outlets.

Nursing Jess & A Heart-to-Heart-

I read a memoir called Raising a Rare Girl and, the author, Heather Lanier spoke about the difficulty she experienced nursing her infant daughter. The author later discovered her daughter, like our daughter,  had a rare chromosome deletion.  Memories of my experience nursing Jessica rushed back in waves. I understood what it was like to nurse an infant with disabilities,  the frustration of needing-wanting to naturally nourish my firstborn child, and the inability to do so without intervention. What was I doing wrong?  Why wasn’t it working?

When Jessica was born, we didn’t know that she had a diagnosis.  She was our teeny first baby. She came home from the hospital weighing less than five pounds, yet she was born near her due date. We called her peanut at the time.

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A Year Later- Covid, Covid Everywhere- A POSITIVE Story

It’s A Year Later, and Covid is still rampant in our family. And I feel like a Covid-Magnet. This is the fourth time I have had direct exposure in 6 weeks. Is it me? Covid, Covid Everywhere, A Positive Story!

Two family members were infected for the second time. The younger one recovered from a mild case about 3-months ago, and his current Covid infection is different and more challenging.

The irony is on a lot of our friend’s lips. The family who supposedly did everything to stay safe is now working on the second round of Covid cases.

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From Autism to Rare Disease: One Family’s Journey to an Unexpected Diagnosis

By: Jo Ashline

(I hope Jo’s important story about her son’s diagnosis from Autism to a Rare Disease will enlighten you as it did me. -Vickie)

He had just turned two when he was diagnosed with Autism.

It was 2004, and Autism was rarely discussed in the pediatrician’s office. Still, Andrew’s missed milestones had begun piling up. His doctor was no longer able to ignore what was right in front of him: A child unable to speak or play with his toys or point to airplanes in the sky. A child who had lost what few vowels and consonants he had managed to string together before his first birthday.

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RV Arrogance-Part 2- (Wo)Man Makes Travel Plans…

When Mitch and I met, we talked about traveling across the country. This trip was conceived over 42 years ago. It’s not like we discussed it each week for 42 years, tweaking our plans to perfection while charting our journey. But it was in the back of our minds….one day we will…

Man Makes Plans….

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RV Arrogance

I’m not sure if this is an actual term, but there is a definite level of RV Arrogance in our KanVan RV.  It appears that Mitch is the Captain, and I am the ..Er….Hmmm… passenger of the Captain.

As I am writing this, we have traveled from Buffalo to Asheville, Alpharetta, and Alabama to Mississippi to Louisiana to Texas, and I think I have clocked 4-5 hours behind the wheel. Not even enough to get a KanVan license if there were one to achieve.

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In My Shoes

I hate to fly. It scares me. The last time I was on a plane was 632 days ago. Flying during Covid adds to the stress. It’s possible that I love the RV because I don’t need to get on a plane. But sometimes you must down the alcohol (which you can’t do on Southwest anymore – so I need to pregame!) and enter the aircraft right foot first. I was headed to the In My Shoes event!

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Meet KanVan -Rolling with the Rubin’s

The day we received our truck camper, I wrote a blog called Camper Envy and Size Matters.  We were owners for less than one day, and already I was lusting for the RV -TV, bathroom, and shower.


The truck camper introduced us to this way of life for less than one year, four exciting trips. We (more me) knew we needed to move on if we ( more I ) would travel long distances. We loved our little Northstar truck camper and became extremely Covid-Creative (hmm, should I add that word to the Urban Dictionary? Is it already there?) But Mitch and I decided to say goodbye to the camper and hello to indoor plumbing! Meet KanVan our new RV Winnebago EKKO.

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Our  Most Bizarre Car Story

It’s coming up on our 42nd anniversary! Do you remember last year? We have gone through many cars, but one car stands out as the Most Bizarre Car Story.

Mitch and I  met at the University of Miami (the Florida one).  I was in the lobby of our dorm with my roommate Tami, when a friend I knew from Long Island introduced me to a  long-haired dude named Mitch from Buffalo.  Tami and I said a quick “Hi” and fled to the elevator.

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Can I Interest You in Some WATER?

Drinking enough WATER has become a full-time job. Who knew how hard it would be to keep up with the recommended daily intake?

As per Mayo Clinic and other sources, the recommended amounts are:

· About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men

· About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women

When I read the statistics above, I decided to buy a giant jug on amazon – little did I know, it was a men’s jug – not that they advertised it as such, but the container was 128 oz. 

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Never Forget 1 5 9 3 6 0

Gail and I are connected; her people know my people. And we keep finding more links – Through our 6 degrees of separation, I have kept up with Gail’s story. Several weeks ago, I received a text from a friend about an unbelievable occurrence that happened to Gail. I think this is one you will Never Forget.

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Happy 90 1/2, Dad

It was Dad’s first time flying without Mom. First time flying since the virus. Dad told me he felt like an old man. Happy 90 1/2 Birthday, Dad!

Before I could say, “You’re not old!” Even though I sometimes feel old at 63, Dad went on to explain. As soon as he got on the line for security at the airport, the young guard asked him if he had any metal parts in his body. Dad proudly said, “No.” The security officer looked him over and then explained to Dad what he meant by metal parts in the body. As if Dad didn’t understand the question rather than the security person not understanding the answer. After Dad explained that he did have metal parts again, the security guard “yes’d” him and still put him through the x-ray machine for Tin Men.

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Raising Jess: A Story of Hope

Four years in the making, my Memoir Raising Jess a Story of Hope is finally available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble . Thank you to everyone for all the love, hope, support, and encouragement. Especially my (late) mother, who told/nagged/motivated me to write a book for 20 years.


Currently, the book is available in paperback ($16.95) and hardcover ($31.95) on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I will resend links when the E-Book is ready on Amazon, Barnes, Google play, and Itunes.

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Mitch and I watch a show ALONE,  together. Yes, that is a confusing sentence.  What I mean is that Mitch and I are together, and we watch the History channel series, ALONE

We started the series during COVID.  We both enjoy the show, enjoy watching it together, and talking about the episodes.  Mitch will frequently turn to me and say, “I Love that you like this show! But why do you like it?”  It’s a fair question.

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Dear Noa, A Nana Lesson about Special Needs and Love

Dear Noa, This is a lesson about Special Needs and Love.

You were born in September of 2019 before we knew that a Pandemic was looming just around the bend. What a strange time to be an infant.  It took a long time for you to meet Aunty Jess. Aunty Jess is different from anybody you have encountered.

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My Award-Winning Vegetarian Chili Recipe

Each year, before Covid, in the small resort town of Ellicottville, NY, a Texas Chili Party rounded out the summer festivities. Every participant brought their award-worthy chili creation. You may think Texas Chili includes a lot of meat, and for the most part, it does. But I am a vegetarian and decided to enter the contest with a Vegetarian Chili. 

It was a risk, but what the heck? What is the worst that could happen?

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Finding my Niche – Who Am I?

I am 63 ½ years old. However, this is not a confession; I have admitted my age many times. It is a fact that I am cool with (Now, I sound my age), especially when considering the alternative. 

The blog, which I started writing in March 2020, created many learning opportunities. This is a teacher’s excellent way of saying; I knew nothing and had A LOT to learn. I have acquired many new tricks. Dissimilar to an older dog, because I think the new stuff is sinking in but do not ask me to sit and stay, that’s a skill that will always elude me. 



There are so many components to writing Vickie’s Views blog. And I now know enough to overwhelm me with how much I DON’T KNOW! First of all, I am struggling with figuring out my Niche or specialization.

For my purposes, a Niche answers the question: What is your Blog about? Why am I even thinking Niche? Because YOAST (another new word) says, I need one. Who am I? Gee, I hope my Niche is not “complaining!  

Finding my Niche - Who Am I?

While I am at it, I have also learned SEO – yep, that stands for Search Engine Optimization. My blog website has an emoji guide that ranges from, “You really suck” to “YAY! You figured it out!” As an overachiever or a person obsessed with green smiley emojis, I fiddle around with all the SEO suggestions. Satisfaction is achieved when I receive the silly green smiley emoji that basically says, “Good job, Vickie.”



Writing gives me a great reason to jump out of bed before 6 AM each morning. I call it my work, although there is no money, and at this point, I have spent more than I hope to recoup.

But then something started happening. People, besides my immediate family, started to read the blog. And I am not paying anyone to read!

Does Anyone Have a Spare Niche?

Readers motivate me to keep writing. Yet, If I continue to write, I need to learn about maintaining a website, managing three-plus social media accounts, and Pinterest (or is Pinterest considered another social media account?). SEO and ABCDE and all other new acronyms. Alt Text for photos, keywords, long keywords, google trends, constant contact stats, google analytics. AND MY NICHE!

Finding my Niche - Who Am I?

My son, Alex, who went to school for this, probably thinks, yeah, so what? Or perhaps he’s thinking, “ that’s all you know?” 


But as in life, this is a process. I need to be patient, not a high-ranking skill of mine. Raising Jess, my book is coming out very soon, and I will need to create my elevator speech. So, if we happen to be in an elevator together and you ask me what my book is about, I will be able to tell you enough to capture your interest before the elevator door opens on the next floor.  Right now, my elevator speech starts on the ground and ends at the top of the empire state building. And then we may need to walk around the viewing area a bit until I finish. So, I need to work on shortening that a bit.

What I do know is that at 63 years old, I am learning a new industry. Enrolling in online seminars and reading other blogs, and gathering too much information. I am an old dog learning new tricks.

Finding my Niche - Who Am I?

When my Mom was first diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment, which ultimately led to full-blown Alzheimer’s, the doctor said, “ it’s important to keep learning something new.”  That advice resonated with newly retired me, and the result, if you got this far in the post is Vickie’s Views.

I still do not have a niche, but I am working on it…all suggestions welcome…



Three Glorious Moments-at the Baseball Field

Back in the last century, in the 1990s, we spent our days at Lou Gehrig Baseball Little League. Coach Mitch, also known as husband and dad, was our son Alex’s Coach for 11 years. Our adventures started in T-Ball when Alex was five. It is now 2021, and yesterday we celebrated Three Glorious Moments at the baseball field.

In hindsight, I remember those days fondly. I loved taking Jess and Carly to watch Alex play and Mitch coach. I say I loved it, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. Getting myself and Jessica and her equipment anywhere on time was always a struggle. I was (am) abysmal with time management and organization, and well, you get the picture. Just can’t seem to get the timing right. Admittedly, I always blamed Jess (sorry, Jess), but when Jess moved into her own home, my time mismanagement sadly remained.

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No More Masks? I Have Four-Questions????

My sister-in-law was the first to text me about the new CDC guidelines “Did you hear that vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks?” How did No More Masks miss my vigilant Covid news antenna? And now what?

First Off- Are We as a Community Really OK with No Masks?

I think it will be harder for me to stop using the mask than it was to start using it. It’s all happening too fast! For example, our state received guidance this week about attending baseball games with face covering, and only a day or two later, I can walk into the market bare-faced? I was just started embracing the new normal

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Three Generational Views of the New Normal

Who are You? View One

“Who are You?” looks keep happening to me.  I think my hair color must be confusing folks to the point of blank stares after I greet them hello in my masked Covid costume.  Some of the looks belong to people I have known for over thirty years!  Three views of the New Normal from a 60-something-year-old, an 18-month old and a 90-year old.

New Normal View 1

I was walking in Wegman’s the other day. Mask and sunglasses rounded off my shopping attire. I moved aside for a lady before we collided.  At the same time, I ran into a person who did not recognize me.  “It’s Vickie Rubin!”  “Oh, hi,” she says in reply.  Meanwhile, the lady I almost ran into screams from the next aisle, “Vickie Rubin!   It’s Ray!”

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Taking the Risk to Tell A Funny Story

 I am taking the risk to tell a Funny Story from last year. I wrote this unpublished blog in April 2020.  My unsalaried volunteer editor, Mitch, said, “Don’t post it! – you will sound like the dishwasher is your biggest problem.”  I just wanted to tell, what I thought, was a funny story. But my opinionated editor won, and  I let the blog sit for a WHOLE YEAR!

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Why Did We say “Goodbye Truck Camper” and What’s Next?

Mitch researched online for three months.  We knew about Truck Campers, but we bought you sight unseen with zero truck camping experience. And now it is time to say Goodbye, Truck Camper – and Hello to What’s Next.

We were together for a total of 24 days on four occasions. We traveled as far as Arkansas and Florida and many places in between.  If it were not for Covid, I would not have given you a second glance.  But there you were, our transport to Florida without flying!

Why We Said Goodbye Truck Camper

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How Buffalo Vickie turned into Florida Vickie after Getting Vaccinated

Mitch and I drove to Florida the last week of February 2021; our destination was Key Largo. No camper this time, just the truck, us, and our Italian Greyhound, Daniel. This visit would be our third year in Key Largo. We rent the same beautiful house each year. But, 2021 would be slightly different, and I am ready to publicly reveal the changes when Buffalo Vickie (germaphobe) turned into Florida Vickie after getting vaccinated.

How Buffalo Vickie turned into Florida Vickie after Getting Vaccinated
Daniel meeting a new friend.
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