Humor Greets Leaving 1203


Anyone up for some humor shots? Want a tickle for that underused funny bone?

My new book, Leaving 1203: Emptying a Home, Filling the Heart was released two weeks ago. Reader response has delighted me in so many ways. I’m sharing just a few standouts in the humor category.

“When I had to clear out my aunt’s house, I couldn’t part with her frozen Birdseye Rice and Peas. Expiration date had worn off a long time ago. Then, I kept them for another 8 years in my house until I got a divorce. When we were getting rid of things I wouldn’t let my ex-husband touch those packages of Rice and Peas. I had to be the one.”

“Hey, love your book. Was wondering, any chance you could swing by and meet my family over at 1358, maybe give us a little supervisory hand as we empty the old home?”

“My mom really doesn’t read anything except Reader’s Digest, so I took a copy of Leaving 1203 when I went to visit her. I thought it would be nice if I read it to her and we could talk about old times. About 30 pages in, she asked me to put the book down and leave it for her to read—I was ruining it with all my interruptions.”


“My favorite character in the book is Billy the Westie. I looked forward to him appearing with every new chapter. How nice that he was with you every day during the three months of home emptying. The house itself, 1203, is the main character and Billy the surefire best supporting actor. You’re kind of there in the background.”

“I was ready when we went to clear out my grandparents’ home. I loved this home, and after reading your book, I claimed the basement as my place to sleep. Had a flashlight and was really quiet. Just like you, I scored in the basement. I mean “SCORE!”

“You, and the devil, are in the details. It’s all the little things in the book that take me back to my childhood—even if they are not the same things, they take me home. You did all the work and unlocked my memories. It’s like a dream. Don’t wake me.”

And, finally, my dream come true.

A message was left on my landline: “Are you the author of the book about home emptying and finding joy in it? I read about it in the newspaper. Please call me right away if it’s you.” Upon returning the call and identifying myself as the author, her response: “Oh, Lord isn’t this something! I went from room to room with that article and somehow I misplaced the first page with your full name on it. All I had to go by was ‘McCarty.’ So I got out the phone book and called each McCarty. Every one was a wrong number except yours. I’m 90 and I must get this book for my children. They will need it. I love this house like it’s my best friend. My husband ran his business for 42 years from here. I’m a retired schoolteacher. Oh, I can’t believe I found the author, it’s somewhat divinely-inspired…but at my age, almost everything is.

“Inscribe the book? Yes, I’d love that. Just say this is ‘for my three precious children with love from Mom.’ Listen, I live on main street, I mean my house is almost on Main Street in a small town not 45 minutes from Charlottesville. It’s right next to the courthouse, you can’t miss it. Will you come one day and sit on the front porch with me?”

My new friend hadn’t yet read these lines from Leaving 1203: “Come, let’s dawdle. Swing with me. Stand still time. Tickle my fancy, North Star.”