September 1978

Little Jo Red Cross Clown

“Little Jo” – The Clown for Red Cross Blood Drive


Summer went by fast, and I stayed busy. I got my lifeguard certification, and spent most of my time with the Red Cross, where I’ve been volunteering for quite a few years, working in the office and at blood drives; they had me dress as a clown for one of the blood drives. Seems fitting since my mom has been a clown for almost as long as I can remember.

The only thing that made me sad about going back out is that I’ll miss Vinny. My girlfriend and I saw the movie, Grease, at the mall theater, and then went shopping afterward. We were walking around and I heard The Load Out / Stay playing in one of the shops. Jackson Browne is my favorite, so we went into this men’s clothing store to hear it. That’s where I met Vinny – he was working behind the counter, and we chatted for awhile, since we were obviously not there to buy anything. As we were leaving, he asked if he could call me.  So we started dating. He’s what you would call a nice Italian boy. He lives at home, and his family is very kind to me. He says he’ll still be there for me when I get back next spring. That is a long time, though. I don’t expect anything, and I didn’t promise anything either.


M/V Odessa

Odessa Soviet Cruise Ship

We just flew to Turkey to meet another Soviet ship, Odessa, for a Mediterranean cruise. Our luggage – and all the magic props – got lost along the way. So we had no change of clothes for 2 days until they found our stuff.  It was lucky that we were staying over in Istanbul for a couple days before the ship left port.  When my parents went to pick up the huge load in the airport, they wound up on Turkish television. The customs people wanted to know what they used all the weird stuff in their bags for, so my dad figured it was easier to demonstrate than to explain.  Turned out there were television camera crews in the airport that dropped what they were doing and filmed my dad doing tricks for the customs agents.  Anyway, we got our stuff back in time. It could have been a disaster.  Knowing my dad, he would have somehow made props and come up with shows to do on the ship.  But also knowing my dad, I would have been wearing the same clothes over and over, because he wouldn’t want to buy anything new, since I had perfectly good clothes somewhere between the US and Turkey.

Jo at 14 – Spotlight Queen on the M/S Kungsholm


This is my second Mediterranean cruise. A couple years ago, we worked on the M/S Kungsholm, which was a much nicer Swedish ship, and did cruises around Europe and around South America. At 14, I was the queen spotlight operator on the Kungsholm, and was convinced that was my future career calling. This trip starts from Turkey, travels around Europe, and then sails trans-Atlantic to New Orleans.  After that, we go back to Europe with the ship. Then, we are hanging out on our own in Italy for 6 weeks or so, and then catch the ship back to New Orleans again to do the week-long trips in the Caribbean. My father wants to stay in these really cheap places in Italy so we can afford it.  I wish we would find something better for that time.  I really do not want to go. I’m actually hoping that they will let me do something else by myself instead, and they can have fun staying in the pensions like college students bumming their way around Europe on their own. Unfortunately, I don’t have a say in the matter.  I don’t think my Mom is thrilled, either, but will do it because my dad wants to and because she won’t have to cook.

Click to play  The Load Out / Stay – by Jackson Browne [audiotube id=”8BJTtPrSNEA”]

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