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Welcome to This Awful/Awesome Life! My name is Frances Joyce. I am the publisher and editor of this magazine. We'll be exploring different topics each month to inform, entertain and inspire you. Meet new authors, sharpen your brain and pick up a few tips on life, love, entertaining and business. Enjoy and please share!

Family Stories by Gail Neustadt

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We all have stories from our past, some funny, some sad, some worth passing on and others well … better off forgotten. Nevertheless, each family has its own way of preserving, with great accuracy or with embellishments, moments of family fun, truth or consequences, from one generation to the next.

In my family the telling and re-telling of stories started over eight years ago when Douglas, the eldest of my two sons, addressed me as “Sterbs” rather than “Mom.” My then five year old Grandson, Joey, asked … “Mimi (that’s what the Grandkids, all four of them, call me), why does Dad call you Sterbs?” My response was …”It’s a long story.” Joey begged me first to tell him the story and then to write it. Thus began the first in a series of short stories to comprise a book which each of the grandkids love to read over and over.

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I wrote that first story as simplistically as possible since Joey was just beginning to read. Now that he is going on fourteen, I simply tell Joey the story and he writes it. So far we have completed ten of twenty-eight hilarious stories that happened, when his Dad and Uncle Mark were little boys, you know … in the “olden days,” and I am reminded of more as the years roll by. So here is that first story …


Mimi’s Name

Once upon a time...

When Daddy and Uncle Mark were young, before Mimi became Mimi, she was always in the kitchen stirring up something. Maybe it would be a pot of soup. Maybe it would be a batch of brownies. But what Daddy and Uncle Mark noticed was that their Mommy, Gail, was always STIRRING. Round and Round ... stirring!


They decided that stirring was sooo important that their Mommy should have a special name, so they talked it over. Daddy told Uncle Mark what he learned about knights in school. “They’re very important people who are honored with the title, 'Sir'.”

Daddy suggested, “Maybe, since Mommy is always stirring up good food we should call her Stir — that’s almost the same as 'sir.'” Mark  agreed. Then Uncle Mark said, “But Daddy’s important too. In fact, everyone in our family is important. So they decided that family members who have already earned their “Stirs” should be labeled by the first initial of their name plus the title, "Stir."

And that’s how Mimi was given the title, "G-Stir." Over the years the title got shortened to Sterby and then to Sterbs. The End!

P.S. This is the abbreviated version. The original is MUCH longer and all the stories are “shaggy dog stories!”

Gail Neustadt retired as a Speech/Language Pathologist over ten years ago to care for her husband who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. After Dave’s death and a series of mystical events, Gail turned to the power of the pen to express her deep concern over the destruction of our shared environment. Under the pen name Dylan Weiss she authored Skunk Tales Trilogy published by Red Engine Press and is now an ardent environmental activist.

This article is sponsored by:

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Active Families by Corey Flynn NTDR, CDM, CFPP

Add Color and Variety to Your Plate by Corey Flynn NDTR, CDM, Cf