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From the desk of Dora DePaoli, Staff writer: ‘Chicks and Babes Week'

August 03, 2001

My three daughters just spent another "Chicks and Babes Week" together. It wasn't a time of living in the lap of luxury with six small children to care for, but it was a joy nevertheless.

Gina and Mary and their children flew from San Diego to Greenville, S.C., to stay with Debbie and her family. From all reports the girls did their part to help the South Carolina economy. They said they hit the "mother load" in regard to shopping. They had to borrow luggage to bring back their loot.

The week just flew by, according to the girls. Mary's mother-in-law, Janet, and her friend, Jeff, drove down from Blacksburg, Va., for a few days. Jeff was unbelievably tolerant of the kids and they weren't even his grandchildren. Mary explained to her sisters that Jeff was used to being around students as the author of more than 100 textbooks.

Included in the places they all visited were the Greenville Zoo, Kid's Planet and an outdoor production of Shakespeare's "A MidSummer Night's Dream." One not so memorable outing included the Greenville Museum. Not a favorite of the kids. They frequently asked: "Why are all the people naked?" A visit to the North American BMW automobile plant was a big hit, but Mary was disappointed it didn't give out samples.


To get a little free time for themselves the girls had a baby-sitter most afternoons. For an hour each day the kids attended a neighborhood vacation Bible school held in a private home. Young people from a local Baptist church led the Bible school. It was a big hit with my grandchildren, and their mothers.

Phil, Debbie's husband, kept the kids for six hours the Saturday before the girls flew back to California. When the mothers got home from yet another site-seeing jaunt and shopping mission, they heard tales about playing croquet in the back yard and having lunch on the patio. As a surprise for their mothers, the kids acted out a couple Bible stories. Phil acted as both director and cameraman to save their acting debut for posterity.

The girls are already looking forward to their next get-together. They all agree the next gathering of the sisters will be easier when 2-and-a-half year-old Johnny, the youngest of the group, is a year older. Right now he is pretty much a "loose cannon," in Aunt Gina's words. I was amused to see a luggage sticker taped to Johnny's back when they arrived in California. When I asked about it, they said I didn't want to know.

Johnny was enthralled with his first sighting of fireflies on this trip, only he called them "barflies." His mother, Mary, swears she has no idea where he might have heard the word.

The girls were pleased to see gasoline selling for only $1.11 a gallon. One of the women they met said she had paid 99 cents a few days before and another one was lucky enough to find it for 89 cents.

On their return trip to San Diego the group met a woman in Atlanta. She happened to mention to our travelers that her husband was in Australia and both of her sons were out of state. She said how much she disliked being alone and was feeling lonely. Five-year-old Eric overheard her comment and quietly told her, "You are never alone, you always have Him," as he pointed heavenward.

Through teary eyes the woman replied: "You are right. I just forgot."

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