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Mourning Steve Esmedina and Judith Moore, first day of school, memories of Mom and Dad, the bar where Danielle Van Dam's mom was

Reader writers roll up their sleeves

Dad's Cafe and Steakhouse.  Brenda van Dam is described in court as “having her tail feathers up” and “acting frisky” and “acting huggy-huggy” on the dance floor at Dad’s. - Image by Joe Klein
Dad's Cafe and Steakhouse. Brenda van Dam is described in court as “having her tail feathers up” and “acting frisky” and “acting huggy-huggy” on the dance floor at Dad’s.
  • Blubbo's World

  • "Blubbo, oh Blubbo, where do I begin? You’re dead, gone, laid out rotting in a casket somewhere in the ground; and if that’s just your body, your corpse, your shell, God, I hope so, because, surely, your mind, your spirit — glorious, wonderful, twisted, sad...the essence of Esmo, a nickname they say you hated, but you never told me — is still out there somewhere."
  • By Abe Opincar, Dave Zielinski, Duncan Shepherd, Eleanor Widmer, George Varga, John Brizzolara, John D'Agostino, Jonathan Saville, Linda Nevin, Ted Burke, Thomas K. Arnold, Various Authors, Sept. 20, 2001
Steve Esmedina didn’t soft-focus his lens when trained on himself either. So he invited everyone to call him Blubbo.
  • Daddy

  • "My father was older than other kids’ fathers. The disappearing and already disappeared hair on the top of his head offered testimony to that. The mustache that linked him to an earlier generation of Hollywood role models offered corroboration. And then there were the antiquated words and phrases that peppered his and no one else’s speech. 'Meathead' as a term of endearment or rebuke depending on tone. 'George!' as an exclamation of delight. 'Nuts!' as a cuss."
  • By Abe Opincar, Anne Albright, August Kleinzahler, Bill Manson, Deirdre Lickona, Duncan Shepherd, Eleanor Widmer, Ernie Grimm, Jangchup Phelgyal, Jeanne Schinto, Jeannette DeWyze, Jeff Smith, Jennifer Ball, Jim Eichel, John Brizzolara, Judith Moore, Justin Wolff, Linda Nevin, Mary Grimm, Matthew Lickona, Patrick Daugherty, Richard Meltzer, Stephen Dobyns, Sue Greenberg, Susan Luzzaro, Thomas Larson, Thomas Lux, W.S. Di Piero, June 15, 2000
John Brizzolara with his sister and father. Robert Brizzolara died of a heart attack while on a fishing trip in Wisconsin in September 1968. He was 49 years and seven months old. In July of this year, I will be that age precisely.
  • Mom

  • "Mom rarely spoke about her past. When she did it had the blur of myth, not biographical fact. In 1938, did she bleach her hair blonde and go to Hollywood to become the next Jean Harlow? Did she stand in audition lines and hang out at Schwabb's? Whenever I asked her, Mom laughed and changed the subject. Did she go? Don't know. But she could have."
  • By Abe Opincar, Amy Gerstler, Barbarella Fokos, Deirdre Lickona, Ernie Grimm, Geoff Bouvier, Jeannette DeWyze, Jeff Smith, Jennifer Ball, Jim Morris, Laura McNeal, Mary Grimm, Matthew Lickona, Patrick Daugherty, RF Jurjevics, Suzanne Finnamore, May 5, 2005
Abe Opincar's mother. I pulled off the road. My mother ran from the car. I ran after her.
  • She Hated Adverbs

  • "In the beginning we mostly talked books. But each of us scribbled as well. I was working on fiction and sending travel articles to the Yakima Herald Republic. Judith began doing book reviews several times weekly for the Ellensburg paper. Her work on those reviews led to the Reading column she kept up in this paper for over a decade."
  • By Abe Opincar, Barbarella Fokos, Deirdre Lickona, Dorothy Stewart, Ed Bedford, Ernie Grimm, Geoff Bouvier, Jennifer Ball, Jerry Miller, Joe Deegan, John Brizzolara, Justin Wolff, Ken Kuhlken, Laura McNeal, Mary Grimm, Matthew Lickona, Ollie , RF Jurjevics, Robert Kumpel, Stephen Dobyns, Sue Greenberg, Thomas Larson, Thomas Lux, Aug. 16, 2007
Judith Moore. If you have never been fat, you may find me and my story repugnant. There's not much I can do about this.
  • Friday Night at Dad’s

  • "When you look around Dad’s Café and Steakhouse at 8:30 on a summer Friday evening, you can hardly believe this is the place where Brenda van Dam allegedly asked Cherokee Youngs, “Do you like girls?”"
  • By Jill Underwood, John Brizzolara, Ken Leighton, Sue Greenberg, Aug. 1, 2002
Dad's is like a much larger version of Saska’s in Mission Beach, without the salt air.
The first thing I remember is sitting in my room with my three new roommates. They were 10- and 11-year-old boys, away from home for the first time, and two of them were crying.
  • When the Loud Bell Rang

  • "Three things terrified me about my arrival at Brown University. First, that my acceptance had been a mixup. Second, that I wouldn't know how to behave at the cocktail party/dinner that was scheduled for day one. And finally, that I didn't know how girls dressed in grad school."
  • Jangchup Phelygal, Laura Rhoton McNeal, Jim Morris, Rosa Colwin Jurjevics, Jennifer Ball, Rachel Kempster, Matthew Lickona, Jeannette De Wyze, Ollie, Geoff Bouvier, Sue Greenberg, Ernie Grimm, Joe Deegan, Tim Klepeis, Mary Grimm, Patrick Daugherty, Deirdre Lickona, Barbarella, Abe Opincar, John Brizzolara, Jeff Smith, Sept. 8, 2005
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Dad's Cafe and Steakhouse.  Brenda van Dam is described in court as “having her tail feathers up” and “acting frisky” and “acting huggy-huggy” on the dance floor at Dad’s. - Image by Joe Klein
Dad's Cafe and Steakhouse. Brenda van Dam is described in court as “having her tail feathers up” and “acting frisky” and “acting huggy-huggy” on the dance floor at Dad’s.
  • Blubbo's World

  • "Blubbo, oh Blubbo, where do I begin? You’re dead, gone, laid out rotting in a casket somewhere in the ground; and if that’s just your body, your corpse, your shell, God, I hope so, because, surely, your mind, your spirit — glorious, wonderful, twisted, sad...the essence of Esmo, a nickname they say you hated, but you never told me — is still out there somewhere."
  • By Abe Opincar, Dave Zielinski, Duncan Shepherd, Eleanor Widmer, George Varga, John Brizzolara, John D'Agostino, Jonathan Saville, Linda Nevin, Ted Burke, Thomas K. Arnold, Various Authors, Sept. 20, 2001
Steve Esmedina didn’t soft-focus his lens when trained on himself either. So he invited everyone to call him Blubbo.
  • Daddy

  • "My father was older than other kids’ fathers. The disappearing and already disappeared hair on the top of his head offered testimony to that. The mustache that linked him to an earlier generation of Hollywood role models offered corroboration. And then there were the antiquated words and phrases that peppered his and no one else’s speech. 'Meathead' as a term of endearment or rebuke depending on tone. 'George!' as an exclamation of delight. 'Nuts!' as a cuss."
  • By Abe Opincar, Anne Albright, August Kleinzahler, Bill Manson, Deirdre Lickona, Duncan Shepherd, Eleanor Widmer, Ernie Grimm, Jangchup Phelgyal, Jeanne Schinto, Jeannette DeWyze, Jeff Smith, Jennifer Ball, Jim Eichel, John Brizzolara, Judith Moore, Justin Wolff, Linda Nevin, Mary Grimm, Matthew Lickona, Patrick Daugherty, Richard Meltzer, Stephen Dobyns, Sue Greenberg, Susan Luzzaro, Thomas Larson, Thomas Lux, W.S. Di Piero, June 15, 2000
John Brizzolara with his sister and father. Robert Brizzolara died of a heart attack while on a fishing trip in Wisconsin in September 1968. He was 49 years and seven months old. In July of this year, I will be that age precisely.
  • Mom

  • "Mom rarely spoke about her past. When she did it had the blur of myth, not biographical fact. In 1938, did she bleach her hair blonde and go to Hollywood to become the next Jean Harlow? Did she stand in audition lines and hang out at Schwabb's? Whenever I asked her, Mom laughed and changed the subject. Did she go? Don't know. But she could have."
  • By Abe Opincar, Amy Gerstler, Barbarella Fokos, Deirdre Lickona, Ernie Grimm, Geoff Bouvier, Jeannette DeWyze, Jeff Smith, Jennifer Ball, Jim Morris, Laura McNeal, Mary Grimm, Matthew Lickona, Patrick Daugherty, RF Jurjevics, Suzanne Finnamore, May 5, 2005
Abe Opincar's mother. I pulled off the road. My mother ran from the car. I ran after her.
  • She Hated Adverbs

  • "In the beginning we mostly talked books. But each of us scribbled as well. I was working on fiction and sending travel articles to the Yakima Herald Republic. Judith began doing book reviews several times weekly for the Ellensburg paper. Her work on those reviews led to the Reading column she kept up in this paper for over a decade."
  • By Abe Opincar, Barbarella Fokos, Deirdre Lickona, Dorothy Stewart, Ed Bedford, Ernie Grimm, Geoff Bouvier, Jennifer Ball, Jerry Miller, Joe Deegan, John Brizzolara, Justin Wolff, Ken Kuhlken, Laura McNeal, Mary Grimm, Matthew Lickona, Ollie , RF Jurjevics, Robert Kumpel, Stephen Dobyns, Sue Greenberg, Thomas Larson, Thomas Lux, Aug. 16, 2007
Judith Moore. If you have never been fat, you may find me and my story repugnant. There's not much I can do about this.
  • Friday Night at Dad’s

  • "When you look around Dad’s Café and Steakhouse at 8:30 on a summer Friday evening, you can hardly believe this is the place where Brenda van Dam allegedly asked Cherokee Youngs, “Do you like girls?”"
  • By Jill Underwood, John Brizzolara, Ken Leighton, Sue Greenberg, Aug. 1, 2002
Dad's is like a much larger version of Saska’s in Mission Beach, without the salt air.
The first thing I remember is sitting in my room with my three new roommates. They were 10- and 11-year-old boys, away from home for the first time, and two of them were crying.
  • When the Loud Bell Rang

  • "Three things terrified me about my arrival at Brown University. First, that my acceptance had been a mixup. Second, that I wouldn't know how to behave at the cocktail party/dinner that was scheduled for day one. And finally, that I didn't know how girls dressed in grad school."
  • Jangchup Phelygal, Laura Rhoton McNeal, Jim Morris, Rosa Colwin Jurjevics, Jennifer Ball, Rachel Kempster, Matthew Lickona, Jeannette De Wyze, Ollie, Geoff Bouvier, Sue Greenberg, Ernie Grimm, Joe Deegan, Tim Klepeis, Mary Grimm, Patrick Daugherty, Deirdre Lickona, Barbarella, Abe Opincar, John Brizzolara, Jeff Smith, Sept. 8, 2005
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