Happy cookie – Happy Wally & Christine

Happy cookie – Happy Wally & Christine

Who can turn the world on with a smile?

If you relate to Mary of TVland, the answer is: Mary Tyler Moore.

If  you are from Tallahassee where I live, if you have poked around events in support of literacy, or if you just plain love cookies, the answer is: Wally Amos.

Mr. Amos, Famous Amos, The Face That Launched a Thousand Chips, husband, father, creator of the best chocolate chip cookie since Mrs. Fields’ Toll House original, is the owner of an impish grin, a wide smile, a genuine glad hand.

His sunny disposition arrives in prime slices, irresistible chunks &  tasty chips in  books on my shelves: The Famous Amos Story,  The Power in You, Watermelon Magic, & Chip & Cookie. Others, I’ve given away.

“Happy cookie,”  offers the autograph from Wally Amos in our copy of Chip & Cookie .

I crave his happy cookie recipe.

My husband has a torn lisfranc ligament in his right foot. He can’t put weight on that foot, which has a small fracture. He developed 3 blood clots after being immobile due to the injury, from a freak tumble in the back yard. Two clots are lodged in his lungs.

He was hospitalized through the ER for four days & now with daily visits from angel nurses & physical therapists, he is able to revive at home, where his nimble Dad & caring brother came from Rhode Island &  Florida’s east coast, to builtd him a ramp so he can flow through the French doors of our bedroom onto the patio. That is, if  the clouds disperse, the air wafts warm & he feels up to it. The days are sometimes too cool & also rainy. This terrain in North Florida is more southwest Georgia than South Beach.

His appetite improves!  I tempted him with lamb stew from Ray’s Steele City yesterday on St. Patrick’s Day. He liked it lots. Eventually during this half- year on wafarin (anti-platelet clotting medicine) he’ll be back to his normal second and third helpings of spaghetti & meatballs. Now, he doesn’t want to even look at that,  or lasagna. He wants soups.  And he wasn’t overweight to begin with.

We hope next semester he will get back into to the law clinic on public service issues for children, which he co-directs at Florida State University. But my husband, Paolo Annino, is staying as sunny as he can. And this is without his reading the seeds of wisdom & slices of life that Wally Amos offers.

I, on the other hand, I need Wally wisdom. I collect my Wallys from the bookshelves, open a bag of sugar, fat & flour (confession – they aren’t his Chip & Cookie brand, which I don’t find in local stores). I dig in.

I met Wally & Christine, his wife of great talent & calm presence, ages back in Tallahassee, the place he spent a lot of his childhood, when I wrote about Mr. Amos’ returning to town to promote a literacy event. Every clump of years, maybe two, then a gap of many, I dip back into their sunny world, buy another book & see how I can re-apply the Amos awesomeness to my psyche.

I’m glad Christine & Wally Amos are spinning stories, drawing pictures – and, selling Uncle Wally’s muffins & Chip & Cookie brand cookies. I hope I see their smiling faces in Tallahassee, yet again. With my husband, out & about.


First readers looked like this

Is this shape a little Kindle-like?

This is a Horn Book.  The kind before we had today’s The Horn Book .

Horn Books were available to learners, especially children (usually boys) who were able to  sit with a teacher,  in the Colonies, especially Massachusetts, New York, Connectitcut, Rhode Island, New Jersey & Pennsylvania, of Great Britain (later the U.S.A)

This Horn Book is for a wealthy family, crafted of silver and ivory & it most likely was made in England.

It is one of many treasures in the Children’s Literature Center of the Library of Congress, where the Chief, Dr. Sybille A.  Jagusch, is herself another treasure for you to discover there.


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c. 2009 Jan Godown Annino at the Library of Congress

c. 2009 Jan Godown Annino at the Library of Congress

Oscar, nursing home comfort cat

“A Day in the Life of Oscar the Cat” by Dr. David M. Dosa of the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island is a must-read article in the New England Journal of Medicine ( July 2007). 

I reached it via www.boston.com/news/globe/heatlh_science.gallery

Oscar is a valued member of the 3rd-floor staff of the Steere House in Providence.  Oscar chooses only to visit at any length patients who are about to pass away.  At the time of the article’s publication, this unique creature had kept vigil for at least 25 individuals in their final hours. Steere House, a highly regarded,  sunny, crisp, and antiques-accented facility for terminally ill individuals, placed a Hospice orgnization plaque honoring Oscar on one of its walls. This uncanny feline selects whom to keep company & without fail, apparently, he has always known who was in their final hours. He arrived at the House as a kitten, brought in by a worker there.

A salute to Dr. Dosa for an article beyond comparison & to Steere House for flexibility in allowing a unique animal on site 24/7. 

A National Public Radio report on Oscar is via