64 years ago today**


Mama & Daddy...December 9, 1978

Betty & Buster…December 9, 1978

…the good-looking, silver-haired couple in the photograph above went to the preacher’s house at 8am and got hitched. Then, after making sure she would be excused from school that day, drove to Nashville for their weekend honeymoon. He was 19, she was 16, and they are my parents.

As the story goes, Daddy saw Mama crossing the street uptown, some 8 months earlier, turned to his friend and said…“You see her? I’m gonna marry that girl.” Standing at about 5’5″, sporting body measurements rumored to have been 36-24-36, along with blue eyes and blonde hair, she was the new girl in town. Although he hadn’t met her yet, it didn’t take long. He actually asked her out on the spot, for later that night, and she accepted. The only catch was, she was to be his buddy’s companion…on a double date, and he didn’t tell her that until after she agreed. Yes, you read that right. He tricked her! Turns out, Daddy already had a date lined up for the evening, but didn’t want Mama out of his sight, so he set her up, and I’m sure threatened the poor schmuck who was to be her date if he so much as THOUGHT about putting the moves on her). Buster Romine was a smoothe operator, yes he was! Anyway, after that night, he marked his territory by peeing in her front yard or something (not really, but it sounds like something he might do, right?) and diligently courted her. Picked her up and drove her to school in the mornings and back home in the afternoons, in addition to spending the between hours with her as well. Being in a small Southern town back in 1949, my Papa thought folks might start to talk, tarnishing Mama’s reputation, so he told Daddy they better go on and get married. So they did.

And the rest is history.

Romine History. 

You see, they went on to build a life together and stage a marvelous, somewhat locally famous–or infamous, depending on whom you ask–giant family circus. Not Duggar-sized huge, mind you, but one shy of Jon & Kate Plus 8. You can even read about some of the family shenanigans here, on my sister’s blog. Daddy was a plumber-electrician with a genius level IQ who complimented Mama’s homemaker/gifted seamstress roles very well. Out of that early morning matrimonial union, sprung….3 sons and 4 daughters. All the sons have good cooking and sewing skills, while the girls know how to fix a toilet and wire an outlet; the products of practical, common-sense raising. As a band of siblings, we would kick some serious ass on “Survivor: Brothers and Sisters”…lol. Among us, a Navy Seal who served our country in Vietnam, a well-known calligrapher/artist (who also has a nursing degree), another registered nurse, a kick-ass event planner & caterer, a retired prison guard (and damned good plumber-electrician), an EMS dispatcher/ writer/ blogger/ baker/ forensic photographer  (what can I say? she wears a lot of hats) and me–lucky number 7. You can dig through the archives to find out what I do, besides write. Go on, it’ll be fun!

To date, they have…

22 grandchildren

25 great-grandchildren already…..with 4 more on the way 🙂

The love they shared was deep and lasting. Passionate and messy….flawed yet flawless…wildly playful but seriously tamed…focused and distracted…whole yet fractured. In other words…real.

By example, my daddy set the bar high for all the men who showed serious intent while crossing paths with his daughters. He worshipped my mama, and no doubt would have sipped her bath water as if it were the finest champagne of the rarest vintage. And likewise, Mama sent her boys into the world as Southern gentlemen, raised to appreciate, admire, provide for and protect their wives. I’d say we are a damn lucky brood, we Romines, wouldn’t you?

Buster and Betty’s legacy is far-reaching, and sure to continue thriving well-beyond my destined time on Mother Earth. I hold such fond memories of Daddy singing “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” to Mama as they danced around the kitchen, or on the back porch on a summer evening. Oh, what a glorious voice he had! Mama’s eyes lit up like Roman candles whenever she heard it. Fitting, as the eyes are the windows to the soul, and he certainly spoke to hers. True soul mates. They embodied the meaning of love and respect for each other, stuck to their vows and REALLY took to heart the phrase:

for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health…

until death do us part

They died just as in love, as they lived. Daddy first on February 20th, 1994, followed by Mama on September 6, 1995. On this Valentine’s Day, I wish to dedicate this post to their memory as shining examples of true sweethearts. I love and miss them every single day!

**Okay…to be fair, it was actually 64 years ago on Monday, February 4th. But due to the fact that it’s about the sweet love affair between my parents, I wanted to feature it on Valentine’s Day. So… I waited 10 days to publish it instead of doing it on their anniversary. I know, I suck… lol.  It’s the thought that counts though, right?  


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Eye Yoo Wee, Mommy!!


I hadn’t planned to write today, as I already have a good kick-ass post scheduled for Valentine’s Day. (Yes, that’s what is known in Hollywood as a ‘teaser’, so you’ll need to come back to see what the fuss is about)

However this morning for some reason, I kept thinking about when Sugar Bean was a toddler, just learning to talk, which inevitably reminded me of the day I was almost in tears….convinced she would NEVER say ‘I love you too’ despite me saying ‘I love you’ to her 8,000 times a day. Then my mind connected the dots of ‘I love you’ with the upcoming holiday, and….BAM…here I am…writing, in the middle of the dang day when I’m certain there is laundry to be done, errands to be run, babysitters to book (this has so far, been an unsuccessful task I might add)…you get the point. Because the story of her 1st “I love you, too” is good for both a tear, and a giggle.

Back to Sugar Bean.

As I mentioned, I constantly tell The Beans I love them, all day long, every day. It’s nauseating, I think. Since you never know when life will catch you by surprise, cut things short, leave you hanging…and because, I can’t remember either of my parents ever saying it to me –although I’m certain they did– I want to make sure it’s fresh in their minds. Even if the last words they’ve uttered to me are “YOU ARE THE MEANEST MOMMY EVER!” because I’ve refused some request. Anyway, I started doing this immediately after Sugar Bean was born. So, by the time she was 18 months old and talking up a storm….you can imagine my disappointment at the fact that she never seemed to say ‘I love you”, “I love you too” or anything that sounded close. To me.  What did I know? I wasn’t given the ‘Toddler Talk for Dummies Guide”, as a shower gift.

The scene would play out like this, day after day….

Me: “I love you.”

SB: (smiling, silent) 

Me: “SB, mommy loves you.” 

SB: (still smiling…giggles…runs off)

Me: (furrowing my brow)

She did, however, randomly utter the words “EYE-YOO-WEE”….a lot. But never really in response to my endless, sappy proclamation. Which always left me with a puzzled, “WTF?” look on my face.

This went on for months, I tell you. Until one afternoon, The Man and I were in the car cruising down Beverly Boulevard on our way to who knows where, with Sugar Bean strapped into her car seat in the back, happy as a clam, when I looked at her and said “I love you” and she responded with “Eye yoo wee too mommy! Eye yoo wee too!” 


There it was!!! My heart swelled with joy, and my eyes with tears. Then I realized, all those months, my dumb-ass thought she didn’t love me, when she had been saying it all along.


Needless to say, I made The Man pull over so I could yank her out of her car seat and shower her with hugs and kisses 🙂 The following Christmas, I took her to a cool new store called Build-A-Bear and (after two hours of coaxing) recorded it on one of those thingys you stick inside the paw of the bear, and gave it to The Man as a gift, hoping to capture it forever. What they don’t tell you is, the recording devices have a shelf-life, dammit. Still have the bear, but he no longer has Sugar Bean’s voice. Now that she is older, I receive beautiful things like this, which will weather the test of time, both in memory and in print 🙂

The moral of this story is: Leave it to a toddler to come up with a freaking genius way to say “I love you” that sounds nothing like it, but really sums up the meaning quite well.


I + You = We

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