Life Can be a Wild Ride

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Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by color.” ~ Author Unknown


gwynnoakparksignIf you are a baby boomer you probably remember end of the school year field trips. Those trips were designed to learn how to have fun!

In Baltimore,  Gywnn Oak Park was a fun place to be except when it became very controversial and a place for riots and protests against racial segregation due to its whites-only admissions policy.   The sixty-four acre park closed up due to terrible flooding in 1973 from Hurricane Agnes. To read more historical information about the desegregation of  Gwynn Oak Park, follow these links.  and

Gwynn Oak Park TheWhip

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Gwynn oak park ticket

But, Hershey Park, Pennsylvania (aka Chocolate Town) was the most desired field trip spot in my world during my days of growing up. My classmates and I got to travel to it on a Greyhound bus rather than on a school bus. That was a big deal. The seats  were plush and you could tip them back. There were headrests and ashtrays on the armrests. We thought that was pretty cool. We saw chocolate being made and Hershey’s amusement park was much larger. It was a blast. Only the real dorks didn’t like it.

I was game to go on on any of the thrilling rides except the roller coaster, aka The Comet. Once was enough. I thought I was going to have a heart attack it was so scary. The fun house with all the distorted mirrors was one of my favorites. I liked the mirror that turned my body image from skin and bones to an inflated balloon in the blink of an eye. My friends finally had a chance to see what I looked like over-sized instead of under-sized. We all thought it was hysterical. We laughed ourselves silly and had to keep going tinkle!

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Ahh…. the good ole days. Sometimes I wish I could bring those fulfilling times back.

This blog is brought to you by author Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.  Sue’s audio book version of her memoir gives a real sense of the era in which it was written. The treasure is in the voice. Click this link for more information.


Don’t Step on the Crack!

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Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Don’t step on the crack, you’ll break your mothers back. Don’t step on the crack, you’ll break your mothers back, don’t step……” Remember repeating that over and over again as you paced all up and down the  sidewalks?  For our family, it was a novelty to walk on city sidewalks because we lived in a wooded suburb. When we went to the city being able to sketch on pavement with chalk or to draw out a hopscotch course, we thought was pretty “nifty.”

When we visited our grandparents in Baltimore City, we got to do all kinds of things that we couldn’t do at our house. At home, our playground was the forest and stream. At least an acre or more of land separated the neighbors. At our grandparents, we thought it was pretty neat that we could sit in rocking chairs on a  porch and politely greet passers by.

The ragman  I can still remember the voice and the words of the Ragman’s banter as he navigated the horse and cart down the city streets of Baltimore. “Rags! Rags for sale! Come get your rags.”  Hearing the clip-clop of the horses feet coming down the street, was so exciting. The rag man called out, “New rags for old. Give me yours, and I’ll give you another.” Recycling, I assure you is not a new concept.

All in good jest, my parents used to threaten to sell or trade us to the Ragman if my sister, my brothers and I didn’t behave ourselves. That was enough to make us sit up and pay attention!

If you are a baby boomer, you might have recollections of having the Ragman arrive in your neighborhood and seeing people run out in the street to greet him and check out his wares.

Do you know the origins of the Ragman story? Here’s a link, you can read it for yourself. I found it quite interesting because as a child, the only thing I was interested in was seeing the big horse (usually an old gray mare) pulling the cart down the street. Little did I know there was an inspirational story behind The Ragman.  Check  it out!

In 2010, Walter Wagernan’s short story The Ragman was produced into a movie. Click on the link if for more information and ordering the DVD Ragman.

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author and narrator of the memoir Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. Now available in audio book.  Click here to listen to the audio book sample, narrated by the author



Faith & Speculation in God’s Creatures

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Life is like a wild horse. You ride it or it rides you. ~ Unknown

Pimlico-Race-Course---Preakness-StakesThis coming weekend is the Belmont Stakes. A few weeks ago Baltimore celebrated the running of the Preakness. Since 1873 ,every third weekend in May, the Pimlico Race Track has played host to one of the horse races in the “Triple Crown Series.” That’s a long history.

In our household, every year before the Preakness, we’d wager our bets among us as to whether King Leatherbury, our relative and well-known horse trainer would enter one of his horses in the contest. Sometimes he put faith in one of his throughbreds and other years he refrained from entering. But the speculation was usually among our annual May Day family dinner conversations.

If you are from Baltimore, you can’t watch the Preakness Stakes without a mint julep in hand. So my Dad always mixed up a batch of “juleps” for any adults that came by the house the afternoon of the race so they’d be ready for the showdown, whether one of King Leatherbury’s horses was in contention or not.

What’s the purpose of this blog, you might ask? Your looking at lucky and another fulfilling memory that I have of my days of growing up in Baltimore that got left out of my memoir. That’s all.

preakness lookin at lucky

Photo Credit: 2010 Cindy Pierson Dulay

Lookin’ at Lucky – Winner of 2010 Preakness

This blog is brought to you by the author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.Sue’s memoir




Mark your Calendar, Hon!

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The universe is but one great city, full of beloved ones, divine and human, by nature endeared to each other. ~ Epictetus

Mark your calendars, right now! The 2014 Bawlmer Hon Fest is coming up in less than a month. This year it is June 14th and June 15th. It’s a whole weekend dedicated to the culture that I grew up on the outskirts of,  in the mid-Atlantic city of Baltimore. People like to poke fun over it’s regional subculture in self-deprecating humor.

Don’t know what I am talking about? The movie Hairspray with John Travolta will give you insight into what I am talking about. It’s hard to explain but once you are immersed in the jest, you’d quickly get it. It’s all about fun and fortune of being among friends or close family, hon, and speaking the same language.

That’s all I’m sayin’ except that the influences are there, in my memoir. I’ll say no more. I don’t want to get myself in trouble. Here are some pictures that might explain a little to outsiders.


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VIDEO OPTION: We're looking at the turnout for Honfest. Who's there? What are they doing? Do they really care about the HONtroversy?


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This blog brought to you by Sue BattonLeonard, the author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.Sue’s memoir

Come on back tomorrow, hon, I’ll be sharing some more childhood memories from living in Baltimore, Maryland.


Baltimore Nostalgia Time

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Today on All Things Fulfilling: A visual look back at iconic images from my growing up in Baltimore.

Oriole CafeteriasReads drugstores

Berger cookies


mary sue easter eggs


61outXDZsKL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_welcome to baltimore hon

That was a fulfilling journey revisiting my childhood through images this morning. Last summer when I was back in Maryland for an extended visit, my mom bought me a box of Berger’s cookies. I thought I had died and gone to heaven!

As the stellar character in my memoir often stated to my mother after having eaten a box of  Berger cookies –

“Dem’s was da bestest, Miz Battoney!”

Indeed, being given a  surprise box of Berger cookies is as satisfying of being given a Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected!

In coming weeks we will be hunting down more images of Baltimore memorabilia… Stay tuned to All Things Fulfilling!