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Doorknob John

May 1, 2017

II have a lot of good memories of my brother in law, first known as doorknob John. My sister was dating...2 different John's.....and he worked for kwikset...hence doorknob John differencated the 2. After I was married and moved to California my sister and brother in law came out to visit several times. We had a little red MG midget convertible, John loved that car, took it all over...he could barely fit in it! He took us to the city...San Francisco, where we saw the female impersonators, he didn't tell us what the show was, and I was surprised to learn they were really men!! He introduced Doug to scotch, said you had to acquire a taste for it. That's cutty Sark scotch, rocks, lemon twist, stiff pour. He graciously shared his birthday with my daughter Michelle. He'd always say "Happy birthday Chubby Cheeks!" But, what I remember the moment my dad died, he looked up and said, "I just lost my best friend". "Door knob John" we miss you dearly!!! Love Doug and Cristie

Miles and Miles of Memories

April 20, 2017

Car trips loom large in our family’s history.  To Grandmas’ house, the shore, skiing, to Schrader’s lake and the Sue locks.  I think back on the vacations of our youth – the bickering, the singing, the geology lessons and the laughter – and realize that our best anecdotes as an adult come from those childhood excursions.

We listened to static-infused local radio stations, as dad would fiddle with the dial.  We would get a pretty strong signal for about 60 miles, then it would falter and the search would begin again.  Finally in later years we had a vehicle with an 8-track player and would be forced to listen to the “horsey song.”  The wagon became a moving classroom.  We learned to read maps.  We learned about local history and weather systems.

The back of the station wagon was our domain, to be carved into personal spaces to suit our moods.  This was before seat belts, when kids would lay in the rear window to toast in the sun and watch the sky, or at night watch “the bombs”, which were the reflections of the oncoming traffic headlights.  We were free-range passengers, and we made beds in foot wells and forts behind the coolers at the very back of the back.  When we tired of the bickering, we would exchange the seat arrangements.

As we grew older, the sniping ceased and the years of helpless, stop or I’ll wet my pants laughter followed.  There was no one funnier in than we were, we believed, and if something was funny once, well then, it was funny a hundred times as we giggled and snorted our way across America.  As for our long suffering parents, usually a reach for the visor with the hidden paddle or the words, “If I have to stop this car…” would put a calm to us.

Though we all eventually went our separate ways, we remain close.  I believe this is partly because we were soldered together by miles and miles of shared experience, by slices of summer vacation lived on the road.  We rode over the sticky blacktops of Ohio and climbed through the Appalachian Mountains, all the while laughing, singing over bridges and talking over each other.  These memories are as fresh as yesterday, and still invoke bursts of laughter at family gatherings.

                                                                                    Love ya all, Cindi

OHIO: The Man He Didn't Have To Be

April 20, 2017

February 17, 2007

Dear Mom & Dad,

As I was traveling back to California from Grandma Rhoten’s funeral, a very important thought struck me…like a ton of bricks.  Relationships don’t just happen.

I want to say THANK YOU for keeping us in touch all these years with the Rhoten side of the family.  Not all parents would have done what you did, schlepping us back and forth each year for Easter and other events.  It might have been easy to have let those Ohio relationships slip away over the years.

Our family is exceptionally close.  I know too many people who haven’t spoken to a family member for years or even decades.  We are close because of you guys…the way you brought us up.

Thank you for doing such a great job at molding us into the great people we are today.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that what you did, whether intentional or not, didn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated.  I know my siblings feel the same way.

Love you,




April 19, 2017

You gave us your love, and so much more...

From "horsey rides"
     to the tickle bunny,
You gave us your love
     and we took all your money.

A millionaire
     you often said you could be,
With all of your time
     totally free.

Yet you rescued this family,
     each and every one,
I truly believe
     you were hand-picked by Don.

Then, added to the mob
     was your son JD,
Who completed the picture
     of all we could be.

There are millions of memories
     from which we can choose,
Like "cats for makes kitten britches",
     which still keeps us amused.

Or, the little black mints
     from the Red Roof Inn
Were always in your pockets
     when home you came in.

Our Christmas's so bright
     with presents galore,
And dreamy vacations
     at the Jersey shore.

With cheese steaks, the boardwalk,
     and foamy Birch Beer,
Echoes of the early morning song
     of "IN-QUIRE-EER".

Pink polka dot umbrellas,
     getting buried in the sand,
And sneaking off
     to see "Jaws" at the Strand.

Growing up you shared
     important lessons of life,
Like where the speed traps are,
     and that lying comes with a price.

Whether called Grandpa Grrr, Jack, John
     or the funny Bud Man,
As "Dad",
     you are forever a truly great man.

You gave us your love, and so much more...


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