Facebook keeps telling me to look at these underpants.  They are underpants for periods.  Your algorithms are fucked up, Facebook.

First of all, I don’t have periods.  I graduated, Mother Fucker. By way of the Mirena, I graduated, never to look back.  Ever.

Second of all, wtf?!?  That is disgusting.  Do you even know how much I used to bleed?  No, you don’t, stupid Thinx (which, by the way, is dumb, because when I was bleeding, I certainly wasn’t able to Thinx, what with all the blood loss and horror.)

Dear Thinx, Think a tampon and 2 pads.  In just one hour. So fuck you and your period underpants.  I’m so not sitting in that shit.  And from your website:


Well, every pair of THINX has a top layer that wicks all liquid into the über thin absorption layer right beneath it, so that you feel super dry. This way, you can wear 'em all day long (i.e., no, you don't have to change them during the day, no, they don't feel like diapers, and no, it's not like sitting in your own blood). Boom.

“Boom” your fucking ass.  Fuck you.  Seriously.  Fuck you.  No damn way this would have worked for me.  Remember the Diva Cup fiasco?  [read this with birds chirping and a calming ocean breeze in the back ground] “Many years ago, my mother had a vision. She dreamed of a healthy and eco-friendly feminine hygiene product that would change the lives of women everywhere. Today that dream has become a reality and is empowering women around the world to challenge the menstrual status quo as they discover what it truly means to be a Diva!” 

That God Damned cup runneth over, Asshole.  Again, wads of blood, literally streaming, flowing and showering out of my vagina, into the cup and out to the world at large.  One clot alone would fill the cup leaving it to shrug and say, “Sorry, guys, I’m totally full,” to all the rest of the blood for the day.  So how do you think dainty underwear with an “uber thin absorption layer” would fair with ol’ Debbie’s Niagra Falls of menstruations?  Exactly.

So please, Facebook.  Fix your algorithms and send me the Positive Thoughts of the Day™ ads, as I clearly need and deserve.  You won’t be sorry.  Much.

And Prince

He got weird the last few decades.  I didn’t listen any more. I didn’t consider myself a Prince fan anymore. But listening to the Purple Rain soundtrack just now was devastating.

I don’t cry.  Ever.  I just don’t.  I guess I consider it a weakness or whatever.  Must have heard that at one time or another. So even with all things ending and life so so hard, I just keep doing what needs to be done and make it all work.  I don’t cry over it.  Waste of time and energy. 

My therapist hates me.  She says this is awful and horrible and not normal.  But why waste time crying when you have so little time to do what you need to and to be happy?  You need to work and make your children happy and your life happy.  You need to smile and be truly happy, because what’s the point in doing anything else?

But my dad died.  David Bowie died.  And Prince died.  Died.  I can’t see them any more.  I can’t yell at them for getting weird so that I can’t be a fan anymore.  They are just gone.  Assholes denying me that final tirade.  


Purple Rain was just a movie. Likely not even that great, but I haven’t watched it in years to see if it holds up. But it was great then.

Like David Bowie, this movie/soundtrack (can you differentiate the two?) spanned genres. 
Everyone saw it and listened to it.  It was a Big Deal.  And the music was not punk, but still “okay” for punks to listen to-- we didn’t get in trouble for being off-punk for Prince.

In fact, the soundtrack played at the Varsity for the next few years in the café where we scrounged change to afford cafe mochas.  I remember Chuck screaming at me with the lyrics, “I never wanted to be your weekend lover,” and then him quickly becoming my weekend lover. I remember the entire soundtrack. Every.  Single.  Word.

And every word means the world to me. 

And he’s gone. Forever. My Purple Rain is over. And my first thought?  Debbie Jones.  I think we ALL thought of her first.  That’s how important Prince was. We worried about One of Our Own when he passed.

I remember going to First Avenue in Minneapolis every first few visits to Minnesota.  Just in case I got to see him.  Just so I could know in my heart that I saw him.  I remember knowing every word so well that when I revisited the soundtrack just now, even through my TEARS (yes, tears) I remembered. Every. Single. Word.  And the song that came next (see my DavidBowie rant).

And I remember thinking back then at the ripe old age of 17 that life was hard.  That the lyrics of Purple Rain were sad and appropriate and maybe I should learn to cry.  Yet, now, 30 years later, I still ask what is the point?  No one cares when you cry and nothing changes.  Isn’t it best to shake it off and be happy and do what you need to do to get to the point where you don’t feel like crying?

All while listing to Prince and the Purple Rain soundtrack and crying my eyes out.  Life comes full circle.

And now it’s time to move on. Because we are among the Beautiful Ones.


Planet Earth is blue
And there's nothing I can do.
~Space Oddity, David Bowie

Life is full of death.  I think when we are very young, it's actually more normal.  We accept death with a shrug and a request for more juice.  I remember when Will's Aunt Ginger died.  He was matter of fact about it.  We'd be going somewhere and he'd announce that Aunt Gin won't be there BECAUSE SHE DIED.  And when my dad passed away, he announced, “You don’t have a dad anymore BECAUSE HE DIED.”  It sounded harsh and almost mean to my ears, but to a young child it was matter of fact; she really won't be there because she really is dead and I really didn’t have a dad anymore because he really did die.

Sadly, we’ve experienced more death this year.  This year brought the death of one phenomenal man, two spectacularly beautiful women, and one David Bowie.  There were others that passed away as well, of course, and some I’m sure just as important, but to me, Monty, my two ladies and David Bowie were those that I did not want to do without. 

Saw you watching from the stairs
Your'e everyone who ever cared.
~John, I'm Only Dancing, David Bowie

When my father remarried, my family hit a double jackpot: Molly to be a friend, confidant, step-mom, and grandmother; and her mother, Mary Beth, to be an inspiration, treasure, and great grandmother.  Mary Beth sent a book when I had Signa, over 13 years ago. The book wasn’t a children’s book, but it was.  The CD wasn’t a children’s CD, but it was.  It was about living beautifully and that is what Mary Beth did.  It is called, “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack (lyrics below) and she did for 93 years with a smile that was contagious.  She was there for Molly and me when my dad died and she was there with her unbelievable strength and wisdom ever after.  Here is her obituary and all I can really add to it is that she is very missed by the Mascot family, who loved her very much.

As we get older it gets more difficult.  We see the sad that death leaves behind in others.  We see the difficult lives that exist with the absences death creates.  The children without the mom; the mom without the children.  They now have to exist separately and they don't know how because they were defined by those relationships.  It’s been almost a year that I’ve watched Alison be without Monty.  It’s a hard thing to see and not be able to do a damned thing about.  Last February, a beautiful strong family lost their father and husband. Monty was like a brother in-law to me. I loved watching him grow up and I loved trying to follow in his and Alison's footsteps in raising our children. And I loved him. His loud booming voice that I once heard from down the street of our house. His smile and joyous greeting. He's the only person I've ever known who, with his big grin greeting of, "Hey, Deb!" could make me feel like a million dollars. His hand talking and explanations growing in volume and intensity with every word. I feel like the luckiest person to have known him for almost 30 years. He will be in our hearts and our memories until the end of time. He was THAT important.

I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
~Changes, David Bowie

In December, we lost our beloved Louise Mariani.  She shared the last few years of her life with us and for that I’ll always be grateful.  I found her when researching the Mariani family of my childhood and she fast became part of the Conner-Mascot family.  We were lucky to be able to celebrate her 100th birthday and 101st birthdays with her, singing and laughing the whole way.  I think one of my favorite stories of Louise will be my last conversation with her.  “Well, Debbie.  Today they brought me a wheelchair.  I just keep going. Next thing you know, they’ll just carry my head around on a platter.” 

As you age even further, you see not only the absences left behind but also your own mortality.  Someday that will be me and what things will I have left undone?  What will I leave behind? Will I have mattered?

Ziggy played guitar.
~Ziggy Stardust, David Bowie

This is where David Bowie's death is a great lesson to us adults.  He can't be dead.  My kids know David Bowie, but I don't know if they really knew he was still alive until he died.  He was like Beethoven and the Beatles to them.  Always there, always good, and always still going.  And his death actually CAN'T stop that.  David Bowie, like the Beatles and Ramones and even Beethoven, are still there on the playlists.  They are on the radio, on Pandora stations, and on TV, and in commercials.  They are still there.  And always will be.  Just like dancing will make me think of Mary Beth and laughing will make me think of Louise and Alison will make me think of Monty and tape players hanging from car ashtrays will make me think of David Bowie.

Wham bam thank you Ma'am!
~Suffragette City, David Bowie

A common theme throughout my teen years was whatever crappy tape player I had hanging from the ashtray of whatever crappy car I had.  I would put in a tape and play it over and over again for days, weeks, months.  The other tapes would be in the car somewhere, but it was easier to just leave one in and keep it going.  I would play the same one over and over and over again.  So much so that even today, 30 years later, I can still hear the beginning of the next song when the song before is ending.

Loves to be loved,
loves to be loved
~The Jean Genie, David Bowie

David Bowie's ChangesOne was one of these tapes.  I actually had a store-bought pre-recorded tape of this.  I don't know where I got it, but likely from Tower, as that is where all music came from those days.  Or maybe just somewhere in Hally’s room.  Anyway, it would play over and over in my car-- the giant yellow beast or the white Toyota or the light blue Pinto-- one of those or all of them.  We played it over and over, just hitting Eject and flipping the tape endlessly.

In the year of the scavenger,
the season of the bitch
~Diamond Dogs, David Bowie

I remember that David Bowie could be played in my car no matter who was piled inside.  My rock 'n' roll friends, my mod friends, my punk friends, my whoever they wanted to be that week friends-- any one.  David Bowie spanned all ages and genres. And he still does.  Just like dancing, laughing, Monty, Mary Beth and Louise span all ages and all generations.

You can't get enough,
But enough ain't the test.
~Rebel Rebel, David Bowie

And now they are gone. I guess.  But when I really stop and think,are they actually any more gone for me this week than last week?  This year than last?  I still have Bowie’s songs on my playlist.  He still frequents my Pandora station, television, commercials and the radio.  I still have dancing and I still have laughing ala Mary Beth and Louise and I still have Monty’s friends, Alison and the girls to keep Monty going.  So are they gone if they are still here still doing their thing?

Scanning life through the picture window
She finds the slinky vagabond
~Young  Americans, David Bowie
The big great thing is that theyweregreater than and bigger than life itself.  I guess the real only difference is that no matter what party I go to, David Bowie, Monty, Mary Beth, and Louise for sure, absolutely, positively will not be there BECAUSE THEY DIED.  Just like I will for sure, absolutely, positively, still hear the chords of Ziggy Stardust before the end of Changes.

Could it be the best, could it be?
~Fame, David Bowie

There is no end.  So nothing to be sad about.  Just keep hearing the beginning of the next song before this one ends and keep doing what you do best so that you can never really be gone, too.

In walked luck and you looked in time
Never look back, walk tall, act fine.
~Golden Years, David Bowie

I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
GOD forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance....I hope you dance.

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin' might mean takin' chances but they're worth takin',
Lovin' might be a mistake but it's worth makin',
Don't let some hell bent heart leave you bitter,
When you come close to sellin' out reconsider,
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance....I hope you dance.
I hope you dance....I hope you dance.

(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along,
Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone.)
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

Dance....I hope you dance.
I hope you dance....I hope you dance.
I hope you dance....I hope you dance..

(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along
Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone)

Today the pressure cooker I ordered was delivered.  It’s all fancy and electric and does cool things.  Not SUPER cool like just everything.  But it does cool things like make food fast.  And differently.  Since I started investigating this purchase, I’ve been hoarding recipes and wondering, “Will I be able to make that in the pressure cooker?”  Tonight as I made a shit-ton of deviled eggs (because I can make hardboiled eggs in the pressure cooker), I realized that I am my father’s daughter.  I obsess over food.

At the Mariani Ranch, Dad had an acre garden.  That garden had everything in it and he and Mom tended it meticulously.  This was so different than a few years later when we moved to an apartment in Minnesota and we grew bean sprouts in the kitchen.  Not the tending meticulously, as we did do that, but the size was so different.  Tiny pots and glasses versus an acre.  But still hoarding.

Growing up, Dad did not cook often.  Mom did all the usual cooking with Dad stepping in for "special projects" (like my shit-ton of deviled eggs…).  One thing that Dad was really good consistently, though, was making a big mess (yes, me, too).  He'd get overly focused on creating a food from scratch and soon every pot and pan, every knife, every dish, would be dirty and overflowing in the sink.  I take after him in this which is why I rarely cook and when I do, it's a big to-do (like my shit-ton of deviled eggs…). 

The first time I remember Dad doing this was the Donut Weekend.  We lived on the Mariani Ranch and I was about 5 years old.  Dad decided to make donuts from scratch. This was pre-internet and my family didn't buy books.  Donut Weekend therefore required a trip to the library, several trips to different stores around town, and lots of patience on Mom's part, I imagine. 

Using  yeast and whatnot, Dad did make donuts.  They weren't very sugary sweet the way children like them, but it made for an interesting Donut Weekend and likely only cost about $237 per dozen due to all the needed purchases to make donuts that we just did not have, being non-donut makers prior.  And after, as that was the first, last, and only donut weekend.

There was also beer-making with tubes and pipes and all kinds of contraptions in and out of the house.  That was more than one weekend, but I'd say less than a couple of months.  Bread-making with yeasty concoctions all over the house lasted much longer and was much more pleasant, as the smells of warm sourdough still make me happy.

Later on in life, Dad went less crazy, but still very focused on one thing. I remember Turkey Mole in Oregon when I visited once.  It took a ton of ingredients used only that once and a combination of recipes.  It was delicious, but I don't think he ever made it again.  He collected recipes like I do, only I have the Internet to keep them in (sites like Facebook and Pinterest); he had clippings and binders and cookbooks and notebooks.  I have those now with a scrapbooking project in mind for them one day.

One weekend visit to Oregon, the local park had a pulled pork contest.  I wasn't a fan of pork chops so I didn't know I liked pulled pork.  We went to the contest and walked around tasting different recipes from different restaurants in the little paper cups they serve you catsup in.  I was in heaven and even now, pulled pork is my favorite.

I also can tell you about shopping with Dad.  Grocery shopping.  We would go to three or four stores with coupons and newspaper ads, picking up different things in each store to make a meal.  Not a week's worth of meals-- just that one big hyper-focused meal. And along the way, he'd collect things that were cheap.  I remember as a kid having a GIANT can of new potatoes in the pantry for years (expiration dates are mere suggestions, according to Dad).  Years.  Perhaps actually close to two decades.  We never used them.  Ever.  But now whenever I see cans of new potatoes, I remember that trip with Dad when I was 12 to the dented canned food store where he saw a giant can of new potatoes and had to have them.

But I think my very favorite shopping time with Dad was when he was released from the hospital.  My family was visiting for a week and the morning we were to leave, we got a call at the hotel that Dad was in the hospital with congestive heart failure.  While we were there he had ignored his kidney issues and his body rebelled.  I rented a car and stayed in Oregon for the duration of his hospital stay while they gave him extra dialysis and got him all cleaned out.  The day he was released, he felt fantastic.  It was just Dad and me against the grocery world!  We went to one shop for meat, one for apple pie, one for spices, one for cheese, a farm stand for veggies, and then a trip to the local farmers market for whatever we felt like.  It was one of my most favorite days ever with Dad.  Makes me smile even now.

So there you have it.  Dad and food.  And a shit-ton of deviled eggs.
Dear Signa,

I know you don't think it's weird that you are a teenager now, but I do.  It's weird that you are 13 and it was just yesterday that you were scootching around on the floor with your happy face.  And now you are 13 and while you still have your happy face, it's more about Minecraft and YouTube than about the freedom of movement around the living room.
This past year you've matured so much.  You have cemented your confidence in liking what you like and shrugging about what you are "supposed" to like but don't.  You absolutely do not succumb to peer pressure; in fact, sometimes I think it's the opposite.
You got your brown belt in karate this year and I'm so super proud of that.  You also finished 7th grace and are hitting 8th at a run.
I'm actually proud of everything about you. You continue to be an amazing creature that I can't believe I helped create.

I love you, Magill!


All my life, I’ve stuck to the things I can easily master.  My brother made me read a book about this when our dad was dying, almost three years ago to the day.  We were in an airport waiting for our flight to or from our last visit with Dad—I’m not sure which, as it blurs now.  I told him how I liked playing Sudoku puzzles, but only if they were easy or medium: the hard sometimes stumped me and the expert always did.  He said he read a book and that I had to read it.  He then went on and on so much that I said, “Fine!  I’ll download the derned thing!”  I did and I read it and I was not happy.  With me.

But that was in 2012, before I knew how to be a failure.   I’ve failed so much since then, that I’ve decided it’s my new hobby. 

The book my brother made me read, Mindset,The New Psychology of Success, by Carol Dweck, a Stanford University psychologist, talked about two mindsets: Fixed and Growth.  Reading this book in 2012, I realized that I was definitely of the Fixed Mindset.  I was good at what I was good at and didn’t try things I wasn’t already good at. If I accidentally got sucker punched into trying something I wasn’t magically a natural at, well, I quit.  Quickly.

After reading this book, I did only Hard and Expert Sudoku puzzles for a while.  Sometimes I didn’t complete them in one sitting and sometimes I had to start over.  But you know what?  Now I do only Expert, as I can do the Hard without a blink.  Sometimes I still fail and have to start over.  Newsflash: The world does not end.

Moving to a Growth mindset is a conscious effort with every step.  Instinctively, I gravitate to Fixed and don’t try things I’m not good at.  It’s just sorta my thing.  In work, relationships, hobbies, and the world in general, I gravitate towards the things that I think might get me praise.   “Wow, Debbie, you are a master at this.  You rock.  You are awesome.” Not that I ever actually hear those words, but at least when I try easy things I don’t hear, “You suck and should just quit.”  Not that I ever hear those words from anyone other than myself, although I fear them more than I crave the good ones.

But sometimes… sometimes, I force it.  I force myself to do hard things.  It is really forcing and I really am getting good at not excelling.  And failing over and over again is, I’m sure, going to pay off in the long run. I fail at relationships and it’s okay because I’m learning to not settle for what's easy.  I fail at Sudoku expert level and it’s okay because it was just really hard and this is just practice.  Like life.  I fail at work because oh my God seriously, Work?!?  You set me up for this shit. And I fail at being a mom, because isn’t that what Moms do?  Set such high expectations for ourselves that they are automatically un-achievable (see: Pinterest).

Because of my new-found success at failure, I decided a few years ago that I was going to learn some sort of music, even though I have no musical abilities.  I was told as a kid that I was a klutz and ungraceful, so I never tried any dance or music or anything requiring any elegance at all. Because I might suck.

But now with my new-found quest for failure, what better thing to do than music where I was sure to be a big fat crapola of shit.  I tried guitar with Signa the first summer she took lessons, but it wasn’t my thing.  I wasn’t bad enough to fail, but I was bored enough to just zone out.  I always thought piano would be my thing, but it just wasn’t right, either—too soothing and too... something.  Or maybe not enough something. Whatever.  Just not for me.

The only other thing I could think of was drums.  I saw my father-in-law playing his drums in his band a few times and he looked like he was having so much fun.  So I googled for a teacher.  There were two that I thought may fit my needs.  One was in San Jose and the other right in my town.  I bookmarked both a couple of years ago and then… life. 

Last year I emailed the guy in my town and we decided after the first of this year would be a good time to start lessons.  So earlier this year, I started my drum lessons with Joe Salles.

Now this post’s title is FAILURE, but Joe is not one of those.  He’s a great guy, a great drummer, and his teaching is perfect for me.  He has this odd intuition to know when something is too hard, just hard enough, or too easy.  He pauses, moves ahead, or switches it up accordingly.  This occurred to me a few months ago when I was trying to get something, couldn’t, and he started telling a story.  It wasn’t our normal chat cycle that we do in lessons; it was timed differently.  Noticeably different. Then he stopped talking a few minutes later and said, “Try again.”  I was able to do whatever it was just fine.  I just needed a mental break and he knew it, even though I didn’t have a clue other than, “I suck and should just quit.”

We work on rudiments and syncopation and stick control and we both know I will never be a rock star or in a band or a famous drummer.  But you know what?  I can’t remember ever having this much fun learning to do something I’m not all that great at.

Sometimes failure is just what the doctor ordered.

I was thumbing through a magazine recently and came across a short article titled, “The Pan Am Experience.”  Next to it was a picture of what appeared to be the internal organs of a glamorous 1970s passenger airplane, complete with smiling flight attendants dressed to the nines.  From the gist of the headline, I gathered that it was an advertisement to eat how you did on Pan Am in the 1970s. 

For only $295 ($355 if you want the fancier upper dining deck) you can board a replica Pan Am 747 and never actually go anywhere.   At the check-in desk, instead of getting strip-searched and herded like cattle, you get a ‘70s boarding pass complete with ticket jacket and carry-on tags.  Using your boarding pass, you now have a chance to enjoy the lounge without having to sign up for the airlines’ outrageously heavy interest Mastercard program.  In the lounge, with drink in hand, you can visit the authentic Pan Am "memorabilia". 

Now, when I was growing up, my father was a graveyard airline mechanic for Pan-Am at San Francisco Airport.  Without implicating my family in the demise and eventual bankruptcy of Pan-Am, I believe it’s okay to mention that at one time or another we lived on much of the Pan Am memorabilia that you will see in your Clipper Club lounge.  Our coats and luggage all featured the logo, having been “borrowed” from the airline.  My childhood art masterpieces were done on the Pan Am computer punch cards of the 1970s. Many of our food items, including the Chateaubriand served on special family occasions, were “leftovers” from Pan Am.  Just seeing the logo for me is like many of you might feel seeing the wallpaper that adorned your childhood home. But back to the tour.

After you peruse the items of my childhood, you will board the Air Hollywood replica of Pan Am’s first Boeing 747.  Having not actually experienced the Air Hollywood version, I can only imagine that you get to board this without the person behind you crashing your heels with his luggage or the woman in front of you taking the last spot in the overhead compartment while yelling into her cell phone. 

Once boarded, your Stewardess (not flight attendant) will be wearing the original tightly fitted uniform and you will be offered another cocktail while soothing music fills the cabin of the fake airplane.  While they perform a safety demonstration, you get to sit back in comfortable, roomy seats, rather than being shoe-horned into the spot between the smelly bible salesman and the extremely large woman who may or may not be a circus performer. Rather than having peanut packets thrown at you, you are served a gourmet four-course meal on fancy China (that may or may not have been used with the Chateaubriand during my special family dinners).  And instead of having plastic cups thrown at you with 6 precise cubes of ice and four exact fingers of cola, you are served your choice of beverage in crystal glasses that may or may not have been my childhood everyday glasses.

During his decade at Pan Am, my father made lifelong friends.  It wasn’t until Dad’s funeral that I learned that some of these friends had only worked with him for a couple of months before moving on from Pan Am, but they never moved on from one another.  There are many stories I cannot share that I learned about Dad during the after-funeral party, and most also featured Pan Am in some way or another.  Maybe.  I'm not implicating anyone.

Pan Am was a pioneer airline, in both its early routes through continents and in its fostering of a family-like atmosphere for the employees.  The Kelly Act of 1925 authorized government mail contracts to private carriers.  As a result, many aircraft owners began air carrier services, including Pan American World Airways in 1927, when it won a contract to deliver mail to and from Cuba and the United States.  By 1930, it expanded to include mail between Mexico and Latin America and the United States. At this same time, air carriers were forced to carry passengers not just cargo to remain competitive.  In 1939, Pan Am was the first United States passenger service to Europe and then provided military transport to Europe, Africa, and Asia.  By the middle of the 1970s, Pan Am had become one of the world’s largest air carriers.  Deregulation, recession, turmoil in world politics, airline airfare wars, and high gas prices, caused Pan Am to lose ground in the mid-1980s.

With their fleet aging and no money to purchase new aircraft, Pan Am was spending too much money on keeping their flights in the air-- over $800 an hour for maintenance costs for every hour an aircraft was in flight.  I'm pretty sure my family didn't borrow enough items to contribute to much of that $800 an hour, but just in case, we GAVE IT ALL BACK. That is what I will say if I'm ever asked.  WE GAVE IT ALL BACK.  Even the Chateaubriand.  

It also should be well noted here that my mechanic father was not earning a cent of this $800 an hour per aircraft, as he was no longer working at Pan Am.  He was in the lay-off program of years before.  But if he had been among the mechanics left, he would have used his Macgyver-like skills to use spit, glue, and duct tape to keep those planes in the air for far less than $800 per hour.  We should all be thankful for that lay-off...  Pan Am filed for bankruptcy in 1991 and, while they tried to reopen in 1997, they had to shut their doors once again when they couldn’t pay their creditors.

While they may not have been the best of business people, I will forever be grateful to Pan Am for my “uncles,” for my winter-wear, and for giving this poor child from a poor family the taste of Chateaubriand, which I found at the time tastes best with just a hint of catsup.