Posted in Blogging, costumes, fashion, historical clothing, roundup, writing101

Costume Exhibition Roundup

There is an Australian TV show that I absolutely love. It is Miss Phyrne Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Her costumes are incredible and worthy to be worn even today. I am half a world away so I could not go to the exhibition but through the miracle of the internet, it was brought to me through a blog. Miss Fisher’s Costume Exhibition Here is a sneak peek of what you will see.


   Of course Miss Fisher isn’t the only one that gets to wear fabulous costumes. The characters of Downton Abbey get to wear equally fabulous clothing. I was lucky enough to go to this exhibition but if you didn’t get a chance to see it, you can go to Costumes of Downton Abbey to see some photos. Costumes really do help the actors to get into character. I can’t imagine the Dowager having quite the same air of superiority without the right costumes.


This is the blog/website for the costume designer for Starz’s series Outlander. Use this link to see photos and blog posts about her design process. The costumes truly feel authentic. Terry Dresbach which takes the storytelling process to a higher level.

outlander-costume-displayAnd if you are brave enough to try your own hand at making costumes or just want to know more about fashion through the centuries check out this blog. The American Duchess and have fun dreaming.


Posted in Blogging, Blogging101, choices, daughters, divorce, Dreaming, Experience, Faith, family, forgiveness, friends, friendship, God, help, love, mistakes, Moving, New life, people, questions, sons, Uncategorized, values, Writing, writing101

A Map as my Muse

Start in Kingsville, Texas on a long ago October 1st


Then 18 months later move to Oklahoma City to be near your mother’s family.

   Then a couple months after you turn 8, move to an entirely different place and suffer culture shock in the Twin Cities of Minnesota.
Learn to speak with a new accent and use different slang, learn to love snow but you stay there for a short time and when you are 11 and  finally fit in, you move to Denver,CO.

While you live there you go to 5 schools in 3 years and live a middle class life right smack in the center of the wealthy. It’s the first time you understand that some people have opportunities you’ll never have. You really never get settled. Then halfway through 9th grade at the age of 14 you move further west to Las Vegas, NV.

Now the above photo doesn’t represent what Las Vegas looked like when I moved there. It was a town of just 300,000 and not 2 million. You live a fairly normal life despite what people had predicted. You learn The Strip is the adult equivalent of Walt Disney World and if you lived in Orlando you wouldn’t go every weekend. You live here 8.5 years, go to high school, graduate college and then marry a man you barely know because you feel in your heart this will never be home. So you marry and move to Cedar Falls/Waterloo, IA.

You are surprised that you suffer from homesickness since Las Vegas never really felt like home. You have culture shock again. You adjust to the sub-zero temperatures after having lived in the desert. You’re disappointed that your new husband is totally so self-focused he doesn’t hear the sadness in your voice. You wonder if you made a mistake but you won’t admit it or accept failure. Then you get a job, get pregnant, and five days after you have your baby you move to Davenport, IA for your husband’s new job.

It’s known as the quad cities because two Iowa cities meet two Illinois cities at the shore of the grand Mississippi River. You know no one. Your husband travels and then leaves and goes to Texas for a new job a mere 8 months later. Alone you pack up and drive with your 11 month old to Irving, TX. 

You remember the awe you felt when you saw the Cowboy stadium. You remember the hope you had in your heart that here your husband would be more in tune with you and connect on a deeper emotional level. 1 year later you buy your first home in Lewisville, TX. Then 5 years later you buyer a bigger home for your expanded family of 4.

Again your heart is full of hope that now things will change. Life is full with love for your children, your friends but there is still a misconnect with your husband. You ignore the signs. You try to fix it. And you wonder where it is that you belong. Are you a misfit like your husband seems to believe? Is there a place for you? Would your husband ever love only you and be faithful? You are here for 28 years and build a life then your husband’s secrets become too much to bear and he leaves you. He doesn’t want to change or stop drinking or give up erotic massage parlors and prostitutes and porn and peeping tom activities. He finds a younger woman and pretends that his family doesn’t exist. Your daughters are grown. You are left alone and forced to start again. But where do you go? Where do you belong? You go to Austin, TX with no idea if this is the place but you try to find the hope for happiness that was lost so long ago.

Will Austin be the bridge to my future? Is there happiness on the other side? I don’t know. I’m still on the journey.

Posted in Blogging, friendship, New life, people, Writing

Mine your own Material

I have started so many blogs and inevitably let them fall to the wayside. I shouldn’t do that. At one time I had acquired over 1,000 followers. Now I realize it’s not 50,000 or enough to sell advertising on my blog, but to think 1,000 people might be interested in what I have to say shocked me. Then one day my depression took over and I stopped writing. I am going to expand on one of my favorite posts.


     Have you made a new friend lately? There is so much attention being given to our need for a good solid support system of people whether they be family or friends. Over and over it is being emphasized that we live longer and happier lives when we have those people in our lives. But what happens if your support system falls apart. Maybe you got divorced. Maybe you moved to a new city. Maybe you go a new job. Maybe you left for school. Maybe your financial situation or health situation changed and you could no longer join in all the same things you used to do. We are a transient society. Three-fourths of all American move on average of every five years. I am sure some of those moves don’t completely turn your life upside down but my guess it most of them do.

Since to my divorce I have been forced to face a hard reality and the worst part is I already knew this truth because I moved a total of 4 times in 6 years. That meant 8 schools in those 6 years. So I had just forgotten how difficult it is to make a friend. People don’t seek out new friends. Most of us make friends through reoccurring meetings of either work, school, church etc but we don’t actively seek to make friends.

Initially that seems okay and in general it is unless you are the new person or the person with a life altering transition which removes you from your comfort zone. It is then you realize how much on the outside you are. What do I mean? While there are a few super friendly types, most of us wait for the other person to ask us to join them. We don’t try to include ourselves for fear of being pushy or not being wanted or not fitting in.

The people who are already in a circle friendship are unaware that they are excluding anyone because they are preoccupied with their own sense of comfort and staying in that comfort zone. They have forgotten what it’s like to be new or facing a new life challenge.

It’s difficult making friends. I am not sure it’s easy for anyone and it’s certainly not easy for someone who is shy or insecure or hurting. As the world hustles along and people are busy interacting, they fail to recognize those around them in need of friendship.

Many of you will be thinking, these people should just come along or ask to join in but when you are on the outside looking in, it’s not easy. You fear being rejected and not wanted, so it’s easier just to stay alone.

How simple it would be if each of us just tried to make one new friend. To speak to one new person a day and ask one new person to join us for lunch or a drink each week. The best friend you might ever have could be out there and because we tend to look only forward with blinders on, we miss so many people who could add dimension and meaning and joy to our lives.

Posted in Blogging101, books, novels, Writing, writing101

Another Writing Link

As I keep researching for help with writing, I come across sites that have suggestions on ways to help you write. They all offer something a little different and I thought this one was interesting.

Snowflake Writing Method

Posted in Blogging, Blogging101, choices, divorce, Dreaming, Experience, God, help, mistakes, Moving, New life, questions, Uncategorized, Writing, writing101


If I needed any confirmation that age discrimination is happening, I got it today. I’ve been searching for three long years for a job, any kind of job. I’ve applied to be an apartment leasing agent multiple times and never even got an interview. I’m definitely qualified.

So I walk into my apartment complex office today and I see a new face, a very young pretty face. She didn’t even know how to take care of my request!! I can’t do anything about my age. I’m two days away from my 56th birthday and this totally sucks. How am I supposed to move on from my old life when NO ONE will take a chance on me and give me a job?

Posted in Blogging, Blogging101, Writing, writing lessons, writing101

Writer’s Resource

While researching one of my favorite characters, Miss Phyrne Fisher, I came across the website for the company that publishes the books. Allen and Unwin which is located in Australia. They have all sort of posts about how to write, improve your writing, getting ideas etc. I thought I would share the link to the Getting Started page. I hope you find some helpful information there.

Getting Started

Posted in Blogging, daughters, divorce, forgiveness, mistakes, sons, values, Writing

You can’t hide


     You can’t hide. I thought you could. I spent 30 years thinking I was doing a good job of hiding my unhappiness. Tonight at dinner I found out no one was fooled. My daughter told me she knew that I had been unhappy for years. She shared memories of finding me crying and lying on the floor. She has memories of me telling her it was selfish to want breakfast in bed on her birthday. She says she knew I was hurting. She just didn’t know why and as a kid, you aren’t there to save your mom. I know we all remember different things and I know she has some good memories. But I also don’t doubt her unhappy memories because she was right, I was extremely unhappy.

     It made me really sad. I had to fight to hold the tears back. Crying in the middle of the cafe would not be a good idea. She grew frustrated with me because I had asked her to be honest and when she was, I got upset. I wasn’t upset with her honesty. I was upset with myself. I had spent all of those years working and putting so much energy into hiding my unhappiness when I should have spent all of that energy on getting out of my marriage and making a life for my girls and me separate from my their dad.

    She pointed out, rightfully so, that many, many times I was superficial. I valued all the wrong things. I had let my husband’s values supersede my own values. How had that happened? In my effort to keep him happy, I abandoned what I knew to be true. And in doing so, I hurt my daughters. I only hope they can forgive me.

   We all know that you do the best you can as a parent and some of us are lucky enough to make smaller mistakes than others. My daughters are wonderful people and I am so proud of them. They have their values in the right place. They remind me to love myself and that they love me. Learning tonight I wasted all those years trying to hide behind a mask has taught me just to be myself. Happy or sad, don’t hide it. Just be happy with who you are.

Posted in choices, Dreaming, Experience, Faith, friends, God, help, Moving, New life, questions

How do you know?


   For all of you bloggers and readers out there, how did you know you were living where you belonged? If your place of residence was not your choice but the choice of your partner or company, how did you go about making it feel like home? If made the choice to move, how did you decide where to go? I moved quite a few times between the ages of 9 and 14 every time my father received a business promotion. As a child, of course you don’t have a choice, you go where ever your parents take you. Then I married and moved again to my ex-husband’s home state followed by a move to Texas when he was hired at AA. I lived in the Dallas area for 30 years and recently relocated to Austin.

   I feel unsettled. I never chose Texas as a home but as long as I was married, it’s where I belonged. Now that I am divorced, I have a choice where to live. I moved to Austin to be closer to a daughter, but she and her husband have their own lives. And I don’t anticipate that they will permanently reside in Temple, TX which means in less than four years, there is a good chance they will be relocating. So where do I go? How do I decide? My finances are limited so an apartment on 5th Avenue in NYC is not an option nor is an oceanfront property in Seattle.

  So I am asking you to send me either places to consider or questions I should ask myself before I move. In my life I have lived where it get extremely hot and extremely cold, so any type of weather is fine. I just can’t go somewhere that has mostly cloudy as the general forecast. I have some time to decide and plan, so let me hear from you.

Posted in Blogging, Dreaming, Experience, Faith, family, friends, God, Hiding, love, New life, Uncategorized, Writing

Why don’t I listen?

Our assignment in writing 101 was to look back at our posts and stats. Clearly the letter I wrote to myself was the most popular. As I reread the post I am slapped in the face with an ugly fact, as good as the advice is, I don’t take it. I need it. I definitely need to take my own advice but I am fighting an internal war.

Little battles are raging and I can’t seem to find the energy and focus I need to not only win a few battles but to ultimately win the war. I have to completely rethink who I am and what my life meant and what it will mean. It’s like I have spent 30 years looking into a warped mirror so the reflection I saw wasn’t the real me. It was the warped image controlled by my ex-husband that I saw. I saw only what the narcissist wanted me to see.

Now it’s imprinted on my brain. All those warped messages are carved deeply into the recesses of my mind. Can the damage be undone? I am not sure. Websites about narcissistic abuse have helped but finding a counselor that understand the seriousness of the damage done by a narcissist isn’t easy. I only have health insurance through the end of the year so if I don’t find someone soon that can help me see my reflection as it truly is, I have no idea what I will do.

So fellow bloggers, keep me in your prayers. I haven’t found a job and I am weary of the search. I am weary period.

Posted in Blogging, book, friends, games, Writing, writing101

First Wednesdays

Okay fellow bloggers. Would there be one or two of you that would be interested in giving me your opinion on a “book” I have started? It would be considered chick lit. Just a heads up if you are a guy out there and decide to read it. I am going to post it here and would love to know what your think. It is just a start and I’ve never tried to tell a story in 70,000 to 80,000 words. I am only up to 5400 words so I now understand how difficult it will be to actually weave an interesting story. Be honest but please don’t be cruel. Thanks a bunch.

She tried to get him to stir, but he didn’t move except for the occasional stretch, he stayed in a most inconvenient place. Delilah hated to disturb him because he so rarely would curl up in her lap and stay there, she just wanted to enjoy the moment. Despite wanting to stay where she was, planted on the couch with her cat, Stache, she knew she had to get up and get going. Delilah had chosen the name Stache for her grey and white cat because he had half a white mustache on his face. Like most cats he was independent, so having him lie so quietly in her lap was peaceful and reassuring. Reassuring how? It reassured Delilah that at least one of God’s creatures loved her. Because these past few years, okay let’s just face facts, her entire married life had been nothing but a sad excuse for a life. She had resigned herself to stay and find joy wherever possible, but her ex-husband decided he wanted something, someone different. More precisely someone younger and ignorant of all the horrible things he had done. He even wrote off his own daughters so he didn’t have to face any of the awful truths about himself.  Delilah knows he hasn’t stopped any of his behavior. He is doing the same thing behind his new girlfriend’s back, that he had done behind her own back. She was relieved she no longer lived with such a dishonest and disgusting man, but she missed the financial security he provided. It sadden her though to think she stayed all of those years subjecting herself to the hurt and humiliation so she could stay home with her daughters. You see Delilah refers to them as her daughters because even though he was their father, they wanted nothing to do with him. And he quickly walked away when given the opportunity. When we learned the truth we had no choice but to walk away from Delilah. We didn’t have any other choice. You’ll understand once I tell the story. Okay, where was I? That’s right, Delilah is on the couch with her cat curled up in her lap wanting to stay put and that is where I begin.

What can I say about Delilah? Have you ever known a person that despite the obvious evidence could not or would not accept certain positive truths about herself? She was always willing to accept what would be considered negative truths, but we all had tried to convince her of her positive attributes. (Okay not all of us but most of us). She was kind, so very kind and thoughtful. If you were sick or needed help with your kids, Delilah was always the first one to volunteer to help. She was compassionate. When one of our group suffered a loss or had surgery, she was the one to organize meals, transportation to and from the doctor if necessary. Delilah was fun. We all looked to her to do the planning of parties and social events. Even though over the years she had tried to hand off the responsibility, none of us would ever take it. Her parties were the talk of the town. Always coming up with some creative theme or twist, no one ever wanted to be left off the guest list. She was a devoted mother, supporting her daughters in their efforts to achieve their dreams. Unlike the rest of us who impressed upon our children the need to be reasonable and practical when selecting a career, she told her girls to shoot for the stars. And she was beautiful but never ever seemed convinced that she was even the least bit attractive. Maybe that was one of the things that endeared her to some of us, her humility. And then of course, last but not least, she was smart. If any of us needed to know something, we just picked up the phone and called her. If she didn’t know the answer off the top of her head, she would find it for us. Delilah had saved me countless hours of internet research. She was better than Google most of the time. Her intelligence had its limits or maybe she chose not to know certain things to protect herself.

I don’t think any of us really knew what was happening in her marriage. We all like to keep secrets right? None of us want our dirty laundry made public. So we were surprised when we learned the truth about her husband and what she had been enduring for years. I will tell you upfront, it was not physical abuse. You can scratch that off your list. Now that he had left her, she was no longer part of our group. Considering what we learned we just didn’t feel we had any option other than to pretend we didn’t know her. We didn’t want to exclude her, but she moved thirty minutes away to a small apartment. Her divorce was a very real reminder that none of us had a perfect marriage and there probably were many more dirty secrets. And of course there is the economics of the matter. Delilah could no longer socialize at the same places or travel, or spend money freely. She had to watch every penny. So after thirteen years of meeting the first Wednesday of the month, forming what should have been strong bonds, it was all undone. Undone by one woman who deserved our support but only got a cold shoulder.

It all began with an invitation. Candace Ackerman had decided to start a neighborhood bunco group. She would call it the Glenwood Bunco Group. Bunco was a mindless dice game designed to give women a reason to get out of the house once a month without her husband or children. Twelve women were needed to play and she had carefully chosen the women. Candace was known as a queen bee. She always had been. The unexpected, later in life child of older parents who spoiled her, Candace became a cheerleader, popular and all the things a teenage girl dreams of being. Unfortunately Candace had failed to develop any sense of kindness, thoughtfulness or genuineness. Queen bees seem to always be able to trade of the superficial. Her blond hair, girl next door looks and smile hid the real woman behind the façade. But for the Glenwood Bunco Group she couldn’t slack and invite just anyone in. She had carefully gone over the list and sent invitations just to the women she thought would meet her standards. Not all of them lived in the Glenwood subdivision. Some of the women she knew from her husband’s years in the military. It just happened that they all had settled in a suburb north of Dallas, Feather Hills.

As I share this story, I will do my best to be honest and tell you exactly how things actually happened. However, after twenty years not all of the facts can be remembered perfectly, but I will do my best. I was one of the elect eleven, one of the women whom Candace had invited to join her group. When I received the invitation, I had no idea what bunco was but I did know it was an opportunity to get out of the house. I wouldn’t know until the first evening any details of how to play or what exactly was involved. When I arrived that first Wednesday, over twenty years ago, I was young and excited. Having just moved into my dream home, it felt like I had hit the lottery being invited to join a group with neighborhood women. Seriously it was sad, but I felt like that fifteen year old girl who had just received an invitation to the most important party of the year.

Candace’s house was beautiful, not like mine which sat mostly empty. This new house was almost triple the size of our first home, so it was going to take some time to purchase furniture and make it a home. I couldn’t help but wonder how at 32, the same age I was, that she had clearly acquired what appeared to be the furnishings of someone much more established. I would end up learning her husband was quite a bit older than she was and they had started a family when she was just 20. I wasn’t even married when I was 20. Okay, I digress. We were all there. We were twelve women living in the same general area. Our ages ranged from 30-40 and we all had children. Oddly almost all of us had daughters. There were just a few members that had a son and only two that had just boys. Our husbands were all professionals, with at least half of them being pilots for one of the three major airlines based in Dallas. A couple of the women worked full-time or had part-time jobs. The rest of us were magazine examples of the north Dallas suburban stay-at-home mom. We weren’t among the super wealthy, but we all lived very comfortable lives.

I knew Denice Garner, Claudia Davis, Julie Conner, Kim Pahlavi, and Chloe English. I didn’t know Delilah Eastman, Lisa Parker, Courtney Grayson, Doris Harmon, or Billie Sue Brooks. Of course there was Candace Ackerman and then me, Daniella Peterson. We were the twelve and for the next twenty years, we would meet once a month on the first Wednesday of the month. From time to time we would have a substitute when a regular member couldn’t make it, but considering how long we played, it is surprising none of us knew what truly was going on in each other’s lives. The rules of the game were simple. Three tables with four players, three dice on each table, a pencil and index card for each player and appropriate snacks for the evening were required. Designed to not be stagnate, players moved to a new table when they won and stayed at the same table when they lost, each round having a new partner. Glenwood had several bunco groups but they were all loosely formed and none of them had stayed together the length of time our group did. Maybe that’s because we played for prizes and not money or the fact we knew women were on a waiting list to join our group if one of us left. Each member contributed $5.00 a month to cover the cost of the prizes. There were prizes for most wins, most buncos, most losses and door prize. We were only allowed to win the door prize once in twelve months assuring each member of taking home a prize once. Once a year we signed up to host the group at our home and over time, it became a competition. It was no longer an evening of chit-chat, simple snacks and beverages. It eventually became hors d’oeuvres, wine and some over the top dessert. Which was funny since most of us were always pretending to be watching our weight, so the hostess would have gone to great trouble fixing fabulous food for the rest of us to just pick at small pieces.

I’m sure my view of what happened is skewed. It’s like when the police take statements from accident witnesses and no one tells exactly the same story. So in deference to presenting an honest account, I will let each of the members tell the story from their own point of view and then I will give you mine. Of course I will begin with Candace.

Candace Ackerman

Daniella asked me to describe our years in the Glenwood Bunco Group and make my own conclusion about why things ended the way they did. It seemed only natural for me to organize a group. Marrying young and moving around with the military, this was a common way for wives of new officers to be integrated into the base life. Now that Kent was no longer in the military and we had settled our family in Feather Hills, I decided I wanted a social outlet. You know something other than my church activities. My three children kept me busy and so did church, but I still needed something just for me. I had carefully chosen the women to invite because I wanted all of us to have something in common, live fairly close by and I only wanted a “certain” type of woman. Not that I judge, mind you, but this was a nice suburb and we had certain standards to keep. So I made sure each of the women had a certain financial status and were attractive. Silly you might think. She’s 32 years old. Those standards went away once girls graduated high school, but I can tell you honestly they don’t. Just take some time to look around and you’ll see that people of similar attractiveness hang out with people of similar attractiveness. So I couldn’t have overweight and unattractive women in the group. A few of the women I had met while we were still in the military and just happened to all settle in the Dallas area. Who knew we would end up within five miles of each other? They were the first ones on my list, Lisa Parker, Bille Sue Brooks and Courtney Grayson. That put my list at four. I needed eight more women to actually have a group. I had met Delilah Eastman when we were building our house. She was friendly, her husband flew for a competitor and she was attractive. Maybe prettier than I would have normally chosen because I have always preferred not to have any competition but I had to start somewhere. She gave me a list of names of women she knew from the neighborhood. As it turned out I had met some of them at the school open house. So I sent invitations to Delilah Eastman, Denice Garner, Claudia Davis, Julie Conner, Kim Pahlavi, and Chloe English. I met Jill Connors and Doris Harmon through carpool to a nearby Mother’s Day Out program. I wouldn’t know until we had met a few times exactly how we would mesh but I was pretty confident everyone would be happy and have fun.

I set our organizational meeting to be the first Wednesday of March 1992. Everyone had called and accepted my invitations. My friends from military life would already know how to play the game but we would need to teach the other women. Looking at myself in the mirror I was reminded why I had such a blessed life. I went to church. I believed in God. I looked good. My hair was blond. I had managed to keep my school girl figure even after three kids. My parents had paid for braces and I recently had my teeth whitened. I lived a charmed life and tonight would give me the first of many opportunities to share my perfect life.

Time seemed to fly by those first few years. Every now and then we’d have a substitute but by and large, it was the original twelve each first Wednesday. I never shared anything too personal with the group. I saved those conversations for my nearest and dearest friends, Lisa and Courtney. They were my confidants. So when the rumors started swirling the first time, I went directly to them. Over the years different rumors would begin about someone in the group but it never took too long for the gossip to die down. It never stopped, but no one discussed the rumors openly. In the end it was our inability to talk openly about our problems and struggles that caused the turmoil, strife and ultimately the breakup of the group.

Delilah was always so nice. She never seemed to be in a bad mood and she was always the one organizing things for us in addition to bunco. I didn’t join in very often because as the leader of the group, I couldn’t appear to be too available. And then of course, I had the Bible study I led at church and my kids to keep me busy. My faith is very important to me and I always make sure everyone knows from the moment they meet me that I am a conservative Christian. Everyone liked Delilah, at least I think everyone liked Delilah. If anyone said anything about her it was in reference to her looks and how she failed to see how pretty she was. She never reached out to me so I don’t know why anyone wants to hear what I have to say about what happened. But I will give it my best shot.

The doorbell began to ring around 6:45 pm. I had asked Lisa and Courtney to come a little early to help me finish setting up. I always had like them. Lisa, petite, cute and as southern as they come was always eager to help. Courtney, a Midwestern girl, who always seemed to keep herself slightly detached was an attractive brunette but had a serious profile problem. I never mentioned it to her, but there certainly was no way she didn’t know. We had bonded when our husbands were all stationed in West Texas and then Courtney and I found ourselves stationed in Germany. They were also so good to defer to me but when it came to bunco I knew that Lisa would take the reins when it came to teaching the game and running the evening. Knowing she would take control, I would have the opportunity to get to know the other women better.

“Come on in.” Several of the women had arrived at the same time. Seeing so few cars, I decided some of them had walked.

“I am so glad you decided to join us. We are going to have fun and a chance to relax away from our husbands and children.” Now I wasn’t insinuating that we needed the break, but let’s face it, don’t we all need a break now and then? The first in the door was Denise Garner. Tall, thick black hair, fair skin, she clearly was pretty. Next came Claudia Davis. Not too tall, busty with short dirty blond hair, she was average in the looks department but I had it on good authority that she was a miracle worker in the yard. And with a blank patch of grass in the front and back, I could use her help. Julie Connor was also with this group. We carpooled together. She was the youngest of the group at just 29 years old, worked part-time as a nurse and had a killer body. A beach girl from the south, she had sun kissed skin and shoulder length hair that had the shine I envied. Delilah Eastman and Daniella Peterson were coming up the walkway. Even in the darkness of the night you could tell there was something different about Delilah. I knew some people believed each of us had our own aura but as a Christian, I never believed it. But if I was going to, that would have been the night. I swear she had a glow that surrounded her. Not too tall, thick wavy hair, dark blond, blue eyes and a lovely figure she was the perfect type of member. One of those women that other women wanted to be. I just hope I hadn’t made a mistake inviting her to join us. For some reason, I was feeling uneasy. Daniella was great. A tall, strawberry blond, who had her curls tied up off her neck, you could see the smattering of freckles as she came to the door. Her eyes were somewhere between green and blue. I wasn’t sure if Delilah and Daniella were close friends.

“Come on in ladies. Help yourself to a drink and get acquainted. We are just waiting for the final ladies to arrive.” I sounded friendly, kind, exactly as I had intended.  A few minutes later I heard a car drive up and a door slam. The last of the women had arrived. At my door stood Kim Pahlavi, the oldest of the group at 40. Her hair was somewhere between blond and gray. Slim, very busty to the point I wondered if she had purchased them, she was married to a foreigner. I wasn’t sure where he was from but I wasn’t thrilled to learn that piece of information. I needed to make a mental note that next time I invite someone to join my group to do a little more research. The bell rang again and the last three women arrived. Chloe English a beautiful blond with three kids and just a few years old than me was with Billie Sue Brooks. They didn’t know each other but had arrived at the same time. Billie Sue was my friend from my husband’s military life. She was the quintessential southern girl, always bubbly, energetic, strong accent and we both had been cheerleaders in high school. Doris Harmon was another carpool mom. I hadn’t intended on including her because frankly she didn’t quite meet my standards but Jill had mentioned it to her and I really had no other choice. It wasn’t that Doris was unattractive, she just wasn’t attractive enough and she had that natural Colorado manner which didn’t blend well with my more formal style.

“Ladies, now that we are all here. Lisa will get up started by explaining the rules and she’ll get us going on our first game. Help yourself to a beverage. There are snacks on the table.”

From what I could tell, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and continued to enjoy themselves over the years. When I heard the first rumor, I tried to ignore it but my curiosity was peaked and I didn’t like not knowing what was going on. We never openly discussed rumors, not at bunco anyway. We waited until we were with our closest friends.

Doris had managed to attach herself to me. She reminded me of one of those girls in high school that would do just about anything to be part of the in group. I didn’t like it but then I realized it had advantages. She was more than happy to share with me anything she heard without reservation. And she never told anyone else what she knew, so she was my own private source. When Doris came to me after we had been playing about a year with the first rumor, I was shocked. I don’t know why because it wouldn’t have been the first time I had heard something like this. It was just the first time it had hit so close to home. We all had noticed Billie Sue had dropped weight. She was slim to begin with and didn’t need to drop anymore weight but after a year of playing clearly there was something amiss. Doris told me she had heard Billie Sue was anorexic. That scared me because I suffer from anorexia off and on myself. I hid it well and never shared that information with anyone. I didn’t say anything to Billie Sue. I just watched to see if she got worse. That was the first time a rumor floated around our group. I never knew until years later that Delilah had approached Billie Sue and helped her find a counselor to deal with the problem.  I am still not even sure that Billie Sue was anorexic. That was the thing about Delilah. She was always sticking her nose in where it didn’t belong. I know helping Billie Sue was a good thing, but Billie Sue would have figured it out on her own. Delilah didn’t need to run to her rescue. There were two more rumors that followed. I need a break for now. I will let someone else tell their side of the story.

Lisa Parker

I am a Texas girl through and through. My friendship with Candace came about because her husband was stationed in my hometown in West Texas. I liked her from the minute we met. I knew she was one of those women that had been a queen bee in high school. I recognized that quality because I had always been part of my high school’s queen bee’s hive. So when I found out both of us were in Feather Hills and she wanted me to join her Glenwood Bunco group, I was thrilled. I knew Courtney and Billie Sue from those days, but I didn’t know the other women Candace had invited. If she stayed true to form, it would be a group of very attractive, upper middle class, suburban mothers and when they began to arrive, I knew Candace hadn’t changed a bit.

I was in charge of the game. It just came naturally to me. So after introductions were made that first night, I went about my job of teaching everyone to play. Now bunco rules vary from group to group. In reality you really just make the rules up, so our game wasn’t exactly like the other Glenwood Bunco groups. We had a slightly more aggressive and exciting way of playing. If someone at your table rolled three sixes, everyone at the table would try and grab the dice. So over the years there were quite a few scratches and a lot of yelling Bunco at the top of our lungs. It always made me feel like a kid when a bunco was rolled. There was an excitement and energy among the women at those times.

I liked all of the women but then again I get along with just about everyone but most people aren’t like me. And over the next twenty years it would be made clear that we were not a group of twelve women that stood as one. There was a divide that would grow over time. It wasn’t evident at first, but once the first rumor started the crack began to grow. I had noticed that Billie Sue had become increasingly thin over that first year but as southern women we knew how important it was to keep our figure. It never occurred to me it could be something more serious like anorexia. And I didn’t know until after it was all over that Delilah had intervened and got her help. But ladies, being thin is important and since Billie Sue conquered her anorexia, she had put on a few too many pounds. I wouldn’t say she was heavy, she just wasn’t thin anymore. Billie Sue had always been fit, so I would say she went back to being fit. Candace told me about Billie Sue. She told me in confidence. I liked the fact she confided in me and no one else. I knew I was special and her dearest friend. Candace had made it clear she didn’t approve of Delilah’s meddling. She also seemed to enjoy the fact that Billie Sue was suffering but I overlooked that fact and decided I was imagining things. I always believed Candace without question. Hindsight is 20/20 so maybe I should have asked a few more questions.

Three rumors in twenty years isn’t bad. I knew groups who had a new rumor every month they played and usually they turned out to be false. So we were better than those groups. Of course rumors being what they are, weren’t supposed to carry much weight. But do you know anyone who doesn’t listen and give some thought and weight to the rumors they hear? We all must or those gossip magazines wouldn’t even exist. These rumors however were among us and not the rich and famous. I just knew that no matter what ended up being true, I would stand on the side of Candace. Nothing could make me cross that line of loyalty.

Because we played once a month, always the first Wednesday, most of women started buying prizes in a theme. So if you had bunco in July, the hostess might have prizes that consisted of beach towels, summer music Cds, sunblock, a fun cup etc. It actually made it easier to find things for prizes since we only had $60 to spend and limits on each prize. Some members were more creative and better shoppers than others, so if you were to win one of those months you felt lucky. I had noticed that Doris had become the fourth in our group of three. Originally it was me, Candace and Courtney but now whenever we did something outside of bunco, Doris was always there. She never said very much but clearly was grateful for being included. That was fine with me. I didn’t care one way or the other. I knew I was Candace’s best friend. I know you want me to tell you about all of the rumors and the eventual fall out, but I think for now someone else should have a go.

Courtney Grayson

When Candace told me she was starting a bunco group in her new neighborhood, I wasn’t sure I wanted to join. I had seen her methods before while we were in the military and I didn’t know if I was up for what I thought was juvenile behavior. Sometimes when we were together, I would swear it was high school all over again. I had been in the popular crowd at school and knew how girls could be. Women were the same, but I liked Candace and we had a history together. Stationed in Germany as young brides and mothers, we depended on each other. That formed a bond between us that couldn’t be broken. That and a secret I carried for her. I knew she would never trust anyone else with the truth and she trusted me to never tell anyone. There were no surprises that night. The women were exactly what I expected. They were all attractive, lived close by and we were all fairly close in age. People sometimes accuse me of being detached but personally for me it’s the easiest way to deal with a group of people I didn’t know well. Don’t get too close and you don’t have to worry about being hurt or sharing information you wished you had kept to yourself. I learned in high school if you didn’t want someone to know something, then you kept it to yourself.

Candace had always made it clear I was her best friend. I knew she was close to Lisa but I also knew that Lisa didn’t know Candace’s secret. The three of us did lots of things together and since this group started we had added a fourth, Doris. I didn’t mind because Doris was a people pleaser, easy going and eager to fit in. I would never tell her the things Candace said behind her back. I am not cruel. Billie Sue and I had met several years ago when our husbands were based in West Texas. Her bubbly, southern persona was a little too much for me. I always stood on the side of seriousness and had been accused of being unfriendly. Oh well, I let that stuff roll off my back. So when the first rumor started circulating, I ignored it. I didn’t care one way or the other if Billie Sue had a problem. It wasn’t my problem and I wasn’t getting involved. Had I known that people believe rumors and made choices based on what were probably untruths, I might had checked out if Billie Sue was really anorexic but since I didn’t care, I just believed what I heard.

Twenty years is a long time to meet with the same people. Heck, some marriages don’t even last that long. So when you consider that twelve women managed to meet once a month for twenty years and there were only three rumors that made the rounds, I would say we had done well. I enjoyed getting out once a month. I was one of the few women that had a son and daughter. Most everyone had just girls. I think that is why I sort of enjoyed having Doris in our foursome. She had two boys and we could connect discussing boy issues. Candace had a son and two girls but her son was so much younger than mine that she hadn’t experienced some of the issues I had.

Do I regret what happened? Do I regret allowing the division to grow among the women; my answer is maybe. I figured it was bound to happen sooner or later. I just thought it would be years sooner than it was. And had it had happened sooner, I don’t think the fallout would have been so serious.