I've made a habit all my life, wherever I am, to call my mom in Cleveland on New Year's Eve.
I remember calling at 9 p.m. Pacific Time when I was in California where I was traveling enjoying the California weather up the Pacific Coast Highway. It's known locally as the PCH. They also call the state routes 110 and 105 just "the 5" and "the 10."
At the time, I was looking for a good location for a wedding that never came about. It was to Bradford Tatum, an actor I met in New York City and came west with to find our mutual fame and fortune.
He has since been in a number of TV shows, such as "NYPD Blue" and movies such as "Powder," but our relationship didn't fare as well. Instead of fame and fortune, he has become known to my friends as "bankruptcy Brad" due to a house we bought and forfeited on in Venice Beach. But that, as they say, is another story.
From my family's point of view, the wedding with Brad was quite the fiasco. Many had purchased tickets to be with me on the West Coast, and we never got past the planning stages.
When I finally was to settle down locally here in New York with Herman, we were to have festivities at Lanzi's on the Lake in Mayfield, and Chris Lanzi, who knew my past, called me the morning of the get-together to ask, "Is it still on?" Over the years, I have had a great relationship with the Lanzi brothers and consider them part of my East Coast family.
In fact, the Easter Sunday before we were to have our union service at Lanzi's, Herman and I went to Lanzi's for dinner and to get the last few details settled. We were surprised to see few cars in the parking lot, and after being seated asked why there were so few people there for Easter dinner.
Lou Lanzi just smiled and said, "Well, we're not really open. We're just having family here for a buffet."
When we said we'd leave so as not to intrude, he answered, "No. Stay. You guys are family."
We've felt that way ever since.
During this holiday period, I hope you have kept in touch with your family. If you don't have family nearby, I hope you have found friends as I have who have become family to share your good and bad times with.
So, happy New Year once again. May you be blessed with health and happiness in 2011.
Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns and contact information may be accessed at her website www.kathrynskorner.com