6,000 FB Post Reach…with 10,000 in Our Sights

(Pic is of lovely Database Manager Colleen McGuinn whom I met at a Hawaiian luau….Random meeting in life? I never think these things are ‘random.’)

colleen mcguinnYep, we’re on a roll, which is pretty darned sweet, helping other achieve recognition for the good work they do.

This week, I went to Warwick Vets and Pilgrim where I met with high school students who will vie for cartoon/caricaturist position, to accompany my monthly Op-Ed’s in the Prov Journal.

That visit was productive and they’re emailing their work to me, as I write.

Hopefully, you of the public will soon see what this teacher has always known:  Schools are great compendiums of talent…Raw talent, for sure, but these kids are impressive. I just don’t think they should have to be age 21 (or a graduate of some higher-ed school) to have their work taken seriously. So I work to change that…

And, with our recent story on our Grandpa and the Truck site, we generated 6000 “Post Reach” connections and that’s thrilling.  I have every reason to believe we’ll go on to 10,000 but I have no real understanding of Google’s algorythmns (Did I spell this right?) I just know:  People hunger for wonderful, soul-enriching stories.

Finally, this AM, I was asked to speak at at Sacred Exchange Fellowship church, 75 Division St., Warwick, joining my former student who is now Pastor– Mike Caparrelli (this is his pic, with wife Christine.) caporrelli, mike and Cjristine

The topic?  Mourning and periods of bereavement (with losses of all kinds) and how those very low points in one’s life can become fertile grounds for serious growth. It’s a topic I believe in strongly….

Life continues to amaze.

Now, hit the following link for the story that’s creating quite a stir on the worldwide web. We’re at 6,000 “Post Reach” views and I don’t know where it’s going from here. It’s about how Grandpa and the Truck (creators)…a hospital data manager…and a trucker family all came together at a critical juncture on life’s journey.

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Best in America–Again!

Asheville Makes the Cut Again!country bear jamboree outside greenlife grocery

It’s not surprising, for Paul and I chose it over a host of others and we spent years in the process, searching…searching…searching.

In fact, we traveled the entire eastern seaboard, checking out communities, most of which were dedicated to boating or golfing. Since we do neither, we eliminated those.

Oh, they were beautiful and offered seemingly endless amenities and they all had the quintessential guard shack to keep others out (as in ‘gated community,’) but we also knew that that same community could become insulated and homogeneous–not always good.

We were so concerned about coastal hurricanes, high taxes, and escalating insurance rates that we opted to go inland.

That brought us to the community of Asheville, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

For 9 years we lived there, from early January to June of each year, making friends, doing volunteer work (I taught at the downtown women’s jail and he ferried the blood supply to Charlotte.)

In the end, we left.

Our reasons are some you may never have considered…..

But ‘consider’ you should, for moving one’s life to another entire region is no easy process.

In my book, “The Asheville Experiment” I show how we made the decision (apparently it was a good one since Forbes agrees with our pick), how we assimilated into that new land, and what ultimately drove us back.

What else will you or others get from my book? Useful information for anyone moving anywhere (even in-state.)

It’ll also be an interesting read for there’s lots of humor in it, as well.

Here’s the link of 2015’s “Best Retirement Towns in America.”

If you “subscribe” to my website (upper right hand corner of this page,) you’ll know when the book is ready.

(In the pic above, Asheville minstrels entertain customers outside Greenlife grocery store, ‘singing for their supper.’)



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We Remember So Well….Now We Share Our Memories…

colleen kelly mellor--long curly hairAs a young girl who grew up in West Warwick, I swirled my stick in the river waters that ran in the woods behind my house.

I thought the iridescent, purple-blue water lovely.

I didn’t know  it was dye waste.

After all, I was only a child–a mill town child at that.

Now, as an older American, raised in that blue collar town, I write of the events that shaped me.

My last column resounded with many of you as I sought to breathe life into our former teacher, “Corky.” Some of you thought her ‘crazy’ but ALL thought her phenomenal and claimed her to be the BEST teacher ever.

Many of you posted your memories on the ProJo website and many sent private messages to me (23 to date, from all over the country–3 even today!)

Some literally brought me to tears… laughing.

There was the time Corky went to the window, lifted it, and ordered the class to “listen to the grass grow.” The students all just looked at each other, believing her nuts.

But then they listened, for Corky had a Pied Piper quality.

There was the time her ‘wardrobe malfunction’ partially exposed her bosom. When the boys reacted (as pubescent boys will,) she calmly said ‘Just nature, boys,’ and continued on with her lesson.

One woman told me that, as a girl, she accidentally broke the famed cobalt blue glass atomizer holding the precious “Evening in Paris” toilet water that Corky sprayed on herself whenever she ducked into her supply closet. The poor girl was traumatized.

And one man told of his class coming back from lunch, on Valentine’s Day, only to find a chocolate heart on each desk.It was before the days of political correctness, mandating all children be included.

For Corky was ever the egalitarian: She could intimidate or sweeten all, with the simplest of acts.

The many memories are in 3 different locations:  my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ckmellor …”YOU’RE PROBABLY FROM WEST WARWICK IF” (and why is it all in caps?) and the Providence Journal site, itself….

I loved hearing from you all and I hope to hear more from you in the future, as we share our interesting past….

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Thinking of Moving to Another State? Read My Book First….

gentle mountains blue ridge parkwayThinking of leaving your home state, to live elsewhere? (Or know someone who is?) Seek state with better municipal services…no income tax or a significantly-lower (or no) sales tax?

What do I think of living elsewhere, especially in one’s senior years? I’ll give you my unvarnished report, based on our amazing, 9-year experience living in one of America’s ‘top retirement towns’—Asheville, North Carolina.

I’ll tell you how we decided on “Where?” and how we avoided common pitfalls homebuyers in a new region make.

The beauty of my book? Any home-buyer can use this information.

Why listen to my advice? After my 30 years in teaching, I became a top-ranked realtor, earning well over 6 figures. After all, a realtor’s job is a lot like teaching—we show clients how to buy and/or sell homes.

Now, I share that knowledge with you.

But I’ll give you more, too. I’ll tell you how to choose a condo unit from a vast array; I’ll tell you the pitfalls and advantages of condo living.

But it’s not just about condo purchase (tho’ that’s what many of you will do.) I’ll tell you how we chose our geographic region–Asheville (tho’ we knew no one there and had never visited the region, before.) You can use my information for any home purchase (even one in your home state).

But I’ll also tell you what went wrong…

And I’ll offer hilarious insights as well.

Finally, I’ll tell you what might affect you, too, if you give up your home state for the lure of another….All considerations you might want to crunch in the hopper before you uproot.

You see: It’s never just about seeking a warmer climate when February’s harsh winds sink their teeth into those northern regions.

This book will be useful for any who contemplate a move or even for those who aren’t sure about staying where they went.

“The Asheville Experiment” is coming………I’ll keep you posted.

real est. ladyThe pic? Because it’s never just “about the sale.”

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If Retired Teachers Aren’t Brain-Dead (After a Long Career)……

What Else Can They Do (in Life)?

monocle woman***Sleuthing, anyone?

De-escalate a smoldering racial problem before it erupts into volcanic force; explain how algebraic problem solving is important to kids who can Google anything; lead a pack of terrified kids out the door to safety, in a crisis; conduct a wildly disparate orchestra of young who are all at different ability levels; produce order where there is none; engender trust in children who’ve had no positive adult role models…..

Such are the acquired skills of the good, career teacher. But I am not herein referencing Teach for America members, of whom fewer than a quarter remain in teaching after five years.

I’m talking about long-haul teachers, those stoic types who continue at the profession some 28 years or more.

If a teacher “does it right,” she can use her acquired skills and go on to a plethora of later occupations for which she’ll be amply prepared, for she’s a true expert in optimizing human potential.

And even Ronald Reagan’s “Great Communicator” skills pale in comparison to those of successful career teachers, for his audiences were polite adults invested in what he said.
A teacher’s audience is composed of squirming, hormone-riddled adolescents who owe no allegiance.

My husband has a good ol’ boy brother who’s lived in Arkansas from birth, and whenever we visit, he marvels that I can make sense of that brother’s mumbled, backwoods dialect, while my husband remains clueless, wondering if indeed they’re even related.

Philip (the brother) drops whole syllables in the midst of weighing in on a host of topics. My husband asks: “How do you know what he’s saying?” I answer: From years of deciphering adolescent responses, garbled as they are with secreted wads of gum, a sneaked Gummy Bear, or adolescent shyness in responding when they’re put on the spot.

This talent means that if given a syllable, I can probably predict the word the person is going for.

And like animals in the jungle with heightened senses of hearing and smell, I’ve developed those abilities too. This means I’m acutely attuned to someone’s surreptitious unwrapping of gum and I can smell it too, from 10 rows of students away.

Ten other professions that could use those acquired skills?

Undercover agent/store detective comes to mind, as sleuthing is required to get to the bottom of a problem. Teachers are expert at deciphering body language, such as shifty-eyedness and sleight-of-hand maneuvering.

Many teachers go on to become lawyers, for the similar skill set of preparation, compilation of data, and performance (their success often hangs on their delivery).

Realtors teach their clients how to buy and sell property, successfully, which explains the heavy representation of former teachers in that career (I was a successful realtor for eight years, following retirement).

Tour guide agencies are filled with former teachers, who can plan an itinerary (similar to a lesson plan), get up before a group and regale their audiences with interesting stories interwoven with facts.

Mediator. Today’s teachers are skilled in negotiating so that their behaviorally challenged students don’t move misbehavior to the next level — violence.

Cruise ship entertainer … A successful teacher ramps up student interest via a strong, compelling delivery. She can later translate her honed skill to an audience on a cruise ship whose adults will be far kinder.

Minister (man or woman of the cloth) … Despite intense and daily interaction, successful teachers don’t swear at rude and unruly kids and they don’t hit them. If folks are honest, they’ll admit: Good teachers are darn near saints.

Financial adviser … It’s easy to adjudicate a six-figure salary, determining where you’ll save and spend. It’s far harder to live well on a teacher’s modest salary. If a teacher is successful here, he/she should guide others in financial husbandry.

Parent … Although success in teaching doesn’t gainsay success in bringing up one’s own children, it definitely helps.

Writer … A teacher’s window on the world of young humanity means she’ll have a rich repository of subject matter to harvest. In other words, she’ll never suffer writer’s block.

Colleen Kelly Mellor (colleenkellymellor.com), a monthly contributor (to Providence Journal’s Op-Ed pages,) is a retired teacher who taught for 30 years, from kindergarten through grade 12.

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I’m on “the Hunt”–Help Me Out!

It’s like “Who’s gonna fit the glass shoe (young man or woman)?” in Cinderella?cinderella glass shoe

An Exciting Plan for Future Caricature-ists/Cartoon Artists

I am monthly Providence Journal commentator, Colleen Kelly Mellor, whose articles on education and teaching (many with healthy dollop of humor) have garnered a significant following. I was a 30-year Cranston teacher.

The link to my Op-Ed’s is here (the first is a Letter to Editor; Op-Ed’s follow that.) I am the only teacher given a consistent voice, by ProJo, to weigh in on teaching and education.

I now have commitment from Editor of Prov. Journal that he will run student illustrations with my Op-Ed’s, if those illustrations can meet publishing requirements (resolution appropriate etc.)

The young artist I identify will enjoy the benefit of his/her work being seen alongside mine. His/her name will appear.

I am looking to meet with all student artists who might be interested in applying for this position, shortly after the holiday break. I can come to the school (meet in library or cafeteria) where I can further explain.

If young artists wish to research ahead of time, they should look at Dave Granlund’s cartoons that appear on Prov Journal’s Editorial pages. They’re sparse, haven’t a lot of detail (usually), often have comical twist.Santa-Peace Here’s one, to the right, but check out more by Googling his name.

If they further want to try their hand, they should go to my “Kids Need to Get Physical” and consider how they might illustrate what goes on in that article (perhaps show the desk overturning…the kid’s legs intertwined.) Oftentimes these cartoons exaggerate specific traits of individuals—if that’s pertinent (they’d portray Obama’s ears, for instance, as ‘almost elephantine.’) My article suggesting “Kids Need to be Physical” is below.


My next Op-Ed, in January is “Kids Lie”—about my own stroll down Deception Lane. It happened when I was 11, had a serious crush on twin boys and determined to make them notice me. When they didn’t, I ramped up my game, by stomping colored chalk into their jackets (I was in an art supply closet next to our kid coat rack). Then I denied I’d done it for one solid week.

The newspaper may provide an image for this one or I will get my student artist in time (I have to get column into them, by Jan 8th.)

I welcome the opportunity to address students who might be interested—in cafeteria or library—Art teachers are invited as are any students who’d like to try their hand at this.

Being published in state newspaper, on its prominent Editorial pages is no small coup. I hope to see many who wish to apply.

But if they wish to email me their black and white efforts (no color…no heavy detail) ahead of time, my address is ckmellor@cox.net. Put “student illustrator” in subject line.

Colleen Kelly Mellor
e-mail: ckmellor@cox.net


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“For Hire” Writing Service

What’s the pic in my ad? I’m announcing that I’m “For Hire,” just like this bounty hunter.

I take on a broad swath of subject matter. Some are smoking-hot, hence the blazing gun pic.

One of my clients is a young Syrian girl writing a book for her senior project. She’s telling the story of her childhood in that war-torn region.

Then, there’s the adult who writes of a relative who sexually-abused young girls in his charge.

They’re important stories that need careful advising and editing….

But I help with other writing projects, too.

I’ve worked with high school seniors to put their best foot forward in college essays. Some have won scholarships based on their finished product.

I’ve worked with others on paragraphs for job resumes.

So…got a story..or an article?

Or maybe it’s a book you want to craft because it’s been bouncing around in your brain for a while? Maybe you want to write the story of your family, for those who follow.

I can help in all of this.

My services aren’t cheap, however, for I’m a well-respected professional writer who’s spent years honing her craft (see my resume).

So, I’m an expert–Just like the hired gunslinger.

But don’t let that stop you from contacting me. Your 1st. session (where we discuss the possibilities) is “free.”

So, let’ s talk…..e-mail me at ckmellor@cox.net

Resume of Colleen Kelly Mellor: Freelance Writer and Editor

2015: Monthly Op-Ed contributor to Pulitzer-Prize-winning Providence Journal, one of the newspaper’s ‘most popular’ writers, as demonstrated via social network numbers.

2015: Maintain website www.colleenkellymellor.com from which I will launch my fist book—“The Asheville Experiment” this year.

2014: Host of “Lively Literati,” a monthly, open-mic night where RI authors get up before the public and read their books, poetry, etc. I wrote and disseminated info to media outlets and acted as MC, introducing authors to the audience.

1997-2014: Freelance writer whose eclectic works appeared in Providence Journal, Scripps-Howard, and Wall St. Journal (Health section)

2010-2013: Writer of blog at www.biddybytes.com. My national audience grew into the thousands.

2012: Publisher of two childrens’ books, Grandpa and the Truck, Books 1 and 2, and ran the website, tracking husband’s and my activity in school visitations, etc.—www.grandpaandthetruck.com.My books were heralded as “Cool gifts for kids” by biggest international truckers’ association—OOIDA and Women In Trucking (WIT). Reviews of them are on the grandpaandthetruck.com site and the Amazon site, as well.

1999-2007:  Realtor who consistently ranked as one of RI’s most successful. At the same time, I wrote columns regarding my work as realtor that ran in the Warwick Beacon and the Cranston Herald, two regional newspapers.

1967-1997: Highly-successful teacher of English and Journalism in 4 different schools, building assignments that were all elective moves.

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Watershed Moment–#70 is Here

palm springs...colleen and kerry in bathing suits

I can’t believe it…No, I’m serious. I REALLY can’t believe it. I am 70 years of age and basically fit enough to be still active…still travel…still be excited about life.

Now, why is that so darned unusual? 14 years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer, endured a 9-hour surgery (mastectomy) and ended up in Rhode Island Hospital’s ICU for two whole days. All I recall in that claustrophobic setting was towers of blinking lights beeping and reacting, tracking some poor soul’s (maybe my own) vital signs.

Staff thought I was checking out of this world and so did many in my family.

I didn’t. As a result, I have gone on to some of my most productive days in my 3rd. career— writing. The other two careers? Teaching for 30 years and real estate for another 8. All have given me knowledge and training that I now tap into when I write my Op-Eds for the Providence Journal or work on my 3 books.

But I’ve not released books about my own life, to date. That will change this year.

I am already a children’s book author. I write of my long-time partner, Paul’s experiences as long-haul trucker, traveling across America, for 30 years. Focus audience? Little kids 4-9 years old.

Our Grandpa and the Truck books have been heralded as “cool gifts for kids” by the top international, long-haul truckers’ union, OOIDA, since they speak accurately of a trucker’s life…his or her experiences…the challenges of weather, other drivers, geographic obstacles (mountain roads, city craziness, etc.) Purchase them– autographed by author (me)– at www.grandpaandthetruck.com.

We’re the only ones who have written such.

So, freelance writer, children’s book author and guest speaker to elementary audiences (our biggest audience was 200), I now look forward to branching out and completing my own books on a crazy life that has fulfilled in so many ways.

I’ll keep you posted as to a timeline of when I release the first.

If you wish to make certain you don’t miss release dates, please sign on to be notified, via e-mail. As always, I thank you for your support and enjoy hearing from you, too.

E-Mail: ckmellor@cox.net
palm springs--I fan Amanda with palm leaf like Romans did
Top photo is older daughter Kerry Mellor and me; bottom is younger daughter, Amanda Mellor O’Connell and me. We had fun in Palm Springs, Calif., where they celebrated my watershed birthday.

As you can see, we make the most of the Gift of Time we’ve been given.

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“Not So Fast”–If You Consider Leaving Rhode Island

Thinking of leaving Rhode Island, to live elsewhere? Tired of poorly-realtor--bettermaintained roads, government mismanagement, and high taxes, when you know other states entice newcomers with no state income tax and a significantly-lower (or no) sales tax.

Why do you think so many retirees go elsewhere–especially to Florida? (yeah, it’s rhetorical.) It’s not because they want to play host to Disneyworld-seeking relatives.

What do I think of living elsewhere, especially in one’s senior years? I’ll give you my unvarnished report, based on our amazing, 9-year experience living in one of America’s ‘top retirement towns’—Asheville, North Carolina.

I’ll tell you how we decided about “Where?” and how we avoided common, costly pitfalls homebuyers in a new region make. Can you use this information if you buy in Rhode Island, too? Of course.

Why listen to my advice? After my 30 years in teaching, I became a top-ranked realtor, earning well over 6 figures, because a realtor’s job is a lot like teaching—we teach clients how to buy and/or sell homes.

Now, I share my knowledge with you, the public.

But I’ll give you more, too. I’ll tell you how to choose a condo/townhome unit from a vast array (no one else is going to share this important info with you.) I’ll tell you the pitfalls and advantages of communal living. I’ll show you how to self-sell and not get beaten-up, in the process, by realtors (remember, I was one).

I’ll offer hilarious insights as well.

I’ll tell you what might finally affect you, too, if you give up your home state for the lure of another….All considerations you might want to crunch in the hopper when you decide.

You see: It’s never just about seeking the balmy beaches of that southernmost tip when February’s harsh winds sink their teeth into our region.

This book will be useful for any who contemplate a move or even for those who aren’t sure about staying where they went.

My book--“The Asheville Experiment” is coming……………………….

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I’ll Publish My First Book…Soon.

colleen--bestTwo years ago, I wrote a blog (biddybytes.com) that focused on the good in this world. Because its theme was “encouragement,” I got categorized (by Google) with the “Born-again’s” and religious revivalists, tho’ I’m neither. I wrote 3 times a week and I had a really good readership…..

I began that blog,  following my husband’s “death experience” on that North Carolina mountain road (he survived the accident but the hospital experience almost killed him.) It’s been a tough climb back.

For the past two years, I’ve concentrated on getting my Op-Ed’s published (they appear in the Pulitzer-Prize-winning Providence Journal) and working on my books. Now, I write to tell you I’ll be releasing my first book in the months ahead.

On this website, I’ll tackle occasional other issues (like today’s “Mr. Holmes”) but mostly I’ll file snippets of longer stories that will appear in my books.

“The Asheville Experiment” (book I complete now) has invaluable information regarding how to choose a home–especially out-of-state, self-sale (saving thousands,) quirks/benefits/drawbacks of condominiums and townhomes, power players in those communities, how to sell your furniture to your best advantage, how to deal with closing attorneys, etc. (remember– I was a successful realtor.)

It’s not all instructional. Much of what I write is amusing or downright hysterical.

Finally, another of my books, “In the Shadow of Princes” tells how to recover (seriously, it’s possible) from negative  family dynamics. Again, humor is my weapon.

My books aren’t ready yet, but “The Asheville Experiment” will be first.

Now, enjoy my most recent post “Mr. Holmes”…and please, sign on in “Subscribe” area on top right. Just add your e-mail address; I promise: it won’t go anywhere else.

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