Living Memories New York City Television

Remembering: The Price Is Right

piano keys illustration
Photo by Pixabay on

Host Bob Barker‘s recent passing at age 99 brought back memories of my experience on The Price Is Right stage as a ten-year-old in the late 1950s.

Our family would visit relatives in New Jersey during our vacations from our home in Ohio. In those days, shows like The Price Is Right were filmed in New York City studios. Like others have recently commented, watching The Price Is Right on TV is what you did if you were home sick from school or if school was closed for a snow day.

Somehow my Dad qualified to be a contestant. He won big on the first day, so they brought him back for a second day (where he won nothing more). At the end of day one after the cameras were off, host Bill Cullen had me join them on stage. Cullen then asked my Dad to bring me back for day two – that’s when I was on the show. I remember my Dad needing to wear a blue shirt for the show – white shirts were too bright for the cameras!

A few months after we returned home, Dad bought an audio recording of the show on a 78 rpm record which was mailed to him. We had fun listening to the scratchy bidding replay on our record player, though there was no video back then.

One item my Dad won was an upright Sohmer piano, shipped to our Ohio home. I wasn’t thrilled about it, as my parents immediately pushed me to take lessons! Like many forced into childhood piano lessons, I wish I had practiced more and truly learned to play.

It’s funny what sparks these old memories. Bob Barker and The Price Is Right take me back to a simpler time.

Books Living Memories Presence

Good Memories

back view of a person walking on a forest path
Photo by Gabriela Palai on

“There is no explaining this simple truth about life. You will forget much of it. The painful things you would be certain you would never be able to let go of, now you’re not entirely sure when they happened, while the thrilling parts, the heart-stopping joys, splintered and scattered and became something else. Memories are then replaced by different joys and larger sorrows. And, unbelievably, those things get knocked aside as well…”

Ann Patchett, Tom Lake

This passage about our fleeting memories reminds me of another Ann Patchett quote about life being just a compilation of small moments – either we pay attention to them or we miss it.

“It’s about paying attention to all of the small moments of your life, realizing that your life really is just the compilation of small moments. And either you are awake to them and pay attention to them, or you’re always looking ahead and you miss your life.”

Ann Patchett, PBS Newshour interview

There’s truth in that. Our sharpest memories fade when we fail to fully appreciate the little daily moments. We often overlook the power of presence.

Presence means living fully in the now, using all your senses with mindfulness and gratitude. Noticing the vivid colors of autumn leaves, the warm aroma of fresh bread, the crunch of footsteps on a gravel path. Tuning into the senses opens doorways to memories.

We can choose to cherish routine moments by fully immersing in the season at hand. In spring, capturing the arrival of ducks at the pond. In winter, photographing the tranquility of a rainy street or the drama of an angry sky. Describing in a journal the earthy petrichor smell after a rainfall. Or in snow country noticing the absolute stillness after a snowfall.

When we cultivate presence, ordinary life becomes extraordinary. Making an audio recording of a child’s infectious giggle so you can replay those belly laughs forever. Or interviewing an elderly friend or relative. Freezing time by photographing a baby’s tiny fingers grasping yours. Remembering to capture a photo at your next family celebration together. Preserving memories through the senses helps make them last. Journaling helps record them for future serendipity when you re-discover them and get swept back across your life to revisit moments.

The more we nurture presence, the more natural it becomes. It’s about shifting perspective to treasure the mundane moments we overlook. Being awake to the ever-changing beauty of each season, each day. Appreciating what an amazing gift it is.

So maybe the lesson here is to embrace the fluidity of life, while striving to be fully present. If we learn to cherish today through all our senses, those memories may never fade.

Yesterday I wrote about The Couple I noticed on my morning walk. And the sounds in my ears of Meryl Streep reading while I walked around the pond. I should have taken a photograph of that couple – and I’ll be sure to do that next time. Sometime a while from now I’ll rediscover The Couple – and I look forward to it.

Family Living Memories Tracy Loftesness

A Very Special Day

On this day ten years ago, we gathered as a family at a nearby restaurant to celebrate our cherished daughter Tracy‘s birthday. We shared a wonderful lunch together – laughing, reminiscing, and simply enjoying each other’s company, as families do on such special occasions. After lunch, we went for a leisurely walk and then visited a nearby art museum.

Looking back on that beautiful day this morning, it seems like only yesterday – yet, when I woke up this morning, I didn’t have any specific memories of the occasion. That’s what happens as the years have passed and the vividness of that day ten years ago has softened in my mind. But the memories came rushing back when I came across a few photographs of that day that were like opening old windows to the past, instantly transporting me back to the moments we hold so dear. A “magic carpet”!

Now I can still see Tracy’s effervescent smile, a reflection of her unique zest for life. As always her eyes sparkled with a vibrancy that seemed to capture the very essence of her spirit. She always “lit up the room” with her good cheer – something we’ll always remember even though we don’t have her here to celebrate with today.

“Memories are like magic. They take you back to a time and place, and make you feel as if you were still there.” Today, for me, that special time and place is ten years ago with our family gathered together celebrating her beautiful birthday!

Living Memories Tracy Loftesness

Tracy Ellen Loftesness

In my post “Back to the Future” in January I wrote about the passing of our daughter Tracy just before Christmas 2022. Here is her obituary.


Tracy Ellen Loftesness passed away on December 20, 2022 in Omaha, Nebraska after a courageous battle with esophageal cancer.

Tracy was born on August 18, 1971 in Daly City, CA to Scott and Linda Loftesness. After moves to the east coast and midwest, the family settled in Morgan Hill where Tracy attended Britton MS and Live Oak HS. She played tennis and basketball, joined FBLA, and was in the youth group and choirs at Advent Lutheran Church.

Tracy attended San Francisco State before transferring to Harvard University, earning a BA in Slavic Studies in 1993. She studied at Boalt Law at UC Berkeley, graduating with a JD in 1998. Tracy began a successful law career working at Littler Mendelson, Brobeck, and Hopkins & Carley before joining the research group that became Inventus. Tracy was highly respected by her colleagues for her work ethic, sharp mind, and leadership abilities.

Tracy loved languages, studying Spanish, French, Russian, and a bit of Arabic and German. She honed her Russian skills during a college summer session in Moscow, which included her first (and only) skydiving jump. Tracy later spent a year in Paris honing her French and working as a translator.

Tracy met Joseph Baumler in 2009 during a trip to New Orleans. From NOLA to San Jose to Castro Valley to Genoa, Nebraska,Tracy and Joseph shared 14 years of love and adventure. They enjoyed hiking, catering, and spending time with family and their beloved pit bull, Maggie.

Tracy was known for her generosity, offering steadfast support to any friend or family member in need. She was an advocate for change and, inspired by her grandmother Elizabeth, was an active member of Zonta International. Tracy was a leader and a tireless fundraiser in the Silicon Valley chapter of Zonta and an advisor to the Berkeley chapter.

Despite facing a difficult illness, Tracy never lost her spirit or determination. Her grace, humor, and optimism in the face of adversity is an inspiration to all of us.

Donations in Tracy’s memory may be made to two organizations Tracy was passionate about – Zonta International and Underdog Animal Rescue.

Tracy is survived by Joseph, her mother Linda, father Scott, brother David, sister Kari, her beloved dog Maggie, and many extended family members. We will miss her deeply, as will her friends, colleagues, and all those who had the privilege of knowing her. Tracy’s memory lives on through the lives she touched, the love she shared, and the acts of kindness and generosity done in her honor.

Memories Sydney Travel

A Fond Goodbye

I’ve done a lot of airline travel over the years – accumulating over 1 million miles on two US airlines. That’s a lot of flying! Every once in a while I’ll calculate just how many hours of flight those numbers translate to – and that’s when I reflect on just how happy I am that those miles are behind me and not somewhere out there ahead! Over the last two years, I’ve done exactly one trip – thanks to Covid-19!

Over those many miles in the air, there is one airline experience that I’ll never forget – the one and only time I ever flew on Alitalia, the Italian airline that flew its last flight a while back. On that occasion, Christopher Buckley shared a satiric “remembrance” to Aliatalia in the New York Times. In his piece, Buckley noted the airline’s nickname: “the Pope’s airline.” That triggered my memory…

My memory of flying Alitalia begins in Sydney, Australia. I had spent a few days on business in Sydney – one of my favorite cities. I was on a multi-week business trip around Asia.

We were about to check out of our hotel in Sydney to catch a morning flight to Bangkok where we were going to meeting with a large group of clients the following day. As we were checking out of the hotel, the front desk manager asked: “Have we heard about the strike underway at the airport?” We replied: “No! Strike, what strike?”

Turns out there was a labor dispute that had flared up involving the airport baggage handlers who were refusing to work that morning. In sympathy, other union workers at the airport had also gone out on strike – including the aircraft refuelers. We decided we’d better call our airline (Qantas) before leaving the hotel to verify that our flight to Bangkok was still going to fly that morning. Qantas assured us that while all of their domestic Australia flights were being cancelled because of the strike that our flight to Bangkok wouldn’t be – our flight was the first leg of Qantas #1 to London and they assured us they were doing everything possible to avoid cancelling that flight. With that reassurance, we finished our hotel checkout and grabbed a taxi to the Sydney airport.

Our ride to the airport was uneventful – until we left our taxi with all of our bags and headed into the terminal building to check in for Qantas #1. Literally as we were walking into the terminal, the overhead display showing all of the flights began clicking away (I love those old clicking airport and railway terminal signs!) and the display for Qantas #1 changed from On Time to See Agent – not very encouraging! This was years before iPhones – so we didn’t have airline schedule information in the palm of our hands!

We lined up at the Qantas checkin counter and got the bad news – the flight had indeed been cancelled. No good alternatives were offered by Qantas – we were stuck. “See you tomorrow!” was the best they could offer but by then we would have missed the first day of our big meeting with clients in Bangkok! We were desperate for a better solution.

Fortunately for us, we happened to notice on the overhead display in the terminal that an Alitalia flight that was coming into Sydney from Bangkok and scheduled to arrive in about 90 minutes. We rushed over to the Alitalia check-in counter (fortunately there was no line!) and spoke with the Alitalia agent – asking him if this inbound plane might be heading back out to Bangkok on a return trip? Would the airport worker strike also result in the return flight also being cancelled?

I’ll never forget the agent’s reaction when he told us that he was going to do everything possible to keep this flight on schedule and to not have it impacted by the strike. He looked at us and said simply, with a strong Italian accent: “No one screws with the Pope’s airline!”

This guy was one serious, dedicated agent. When the flight arrived from Bangkok, he kept it parked out on the tarmac well away from the terminals – isolating it from the striking airport workers. We were escorted to buses (no union drivers apparently!) who bused us out to the plane (a 747-Combi – part airliner and part cargo plane).

As we waited in our bus to board, the agent told us to watch the unloading door on the side near the back of the plane. Slowly they unloaded two cars from the big door on side of 747 and lowered them to the ground. On our bus were the soon-to-be owners of those two cars – both Ferrari’s – who cheered as their cars were unloaded. After that bit of excitement, we left the bus and walked up the stairs to board at the front of the 747.

Once boarded we got the usual briefing and started taxiing for takeoff. As we turned the corner and starting rolling (not a lot of other air traffic that morning!) the big 747 picked up speed and started to lift off – with a big round of cheers and applause erupting in the cabin as we heading out of Sydney. Sort of like “escape from Saigon”! Only we weren’t headed back to Bangkok. We were on our way to Melbourne. Turns out that this was this flights regular route. Rome to Bangkok to Sydney to Melbourne back to Bangkok back to Rome. Our time in Melbourne was brief – we did pull up to the terminal, some passengers deplaned, others boarded, and we were off for Bangkok. Oh, one other thing – we also refueled in Melbourne after being kept from refueling in Sydney because of the striker airport workers!

We made it to Bangkok a few hours later than originally scheduled on Qantas #1 – but in time for our big meeting the next day. Alitalia saved us! My one and only flight on that now defunct airline.

There was one other time I encountered Alitalia. But this time it was from a distance. I had a layover for an hour or so at the airport in Denver. Turns out I was there waiting the same day that the Pope was flying in on one of his tours of the U.S. And, of course, he was flying “his” airline – Alitalia. I was able to see his plane land and taxi in just before I had to board my next flight.

Ciao Alitalia! The Pope’s airline indeed! Thanks for the very fond memories I have of your service!

Family Living Memories

Carl J. Loftesness – 100 years

My Dad was born on Dec 31, 1921 – exactly 100 years ago today. He passed away at the age of 88 but left us with so many great memories of good times shared with all our family. It’s a great day to remember all he did for us along the way as we keep him in our hearts.

This photo is one of my favorites. I was too young to remember the moment but I will always remember the bike and my Dad’s joy in getting me to ride it so many years ago!

Carl and Scott Loftesness

Libraries Living Memories

Remembering Bookmobiles

During my morning reading this morning I happened across a story about bookmobiles – including a number of photos of older bookmobiles.

The idea dates back to Ms. Mary Lemist Titcomb, a librarian in Maryland who stated in 1905:  “Would not a Library Wagon, the outward and visible signs of the service for which the Library stood, do much more in cementing friendship?”

As a kid growing up in Ohio – and later in Maryland with our two children, I can remember my delight in regularly visiting our local bookmobile every week or two. What could be better than having a portable library show up down the street – where you could browse and then borrow free books!

Such a great idea – and reading this story was a lovely reminder of how much I enjoyed seeing the bookmobile arrive in our neighborhood!

Living Memories Photography Photography - Black & White

Remembering Dad

Here’s one of my favorite photos from my younger days – my Dad helping me along on that big two-wheeler bicycle! Dad would have been 98 years old this year – and we all miss him dearly. On this Father’s Day 2019 we have lots of great memories of our wonderful Dad!

Memories Venture Capital

I enjoyed reading this post by Dan Levitan reminiscing about his 20 years at Maveron. I was fortunate to have been on the board of a Maveron company early in the firm’s life – and learned a lot from them!