Uncle Steve’s 99th

The 14th of July would have been Uncle Stephen’s 99th birthday. I’ve been thinking quite a lot about him (and Wainer’s in general) and wish I had more pictures to share. Here’s a picture of Uncle Steve and Aunt Dot ( Dorthy A. Crocker  22 Dec 1918 – 01 Sep 1989) . It looks like they are in front of the house on Island Ave in Maine, but I can’t be sure.

It’s a great picture of them both.

Also, if you’re interested, please donate to the Travis Mills Foundation in memory of Stephen N. Wainer. The foundation is a non-profit devoted to assisting wounded veterans.



Stephen N. Wainer

My Uncle Stephen passed away Friday the 10th of June about a month shy of his 99th birthday. I always felt a special bond with Uncle Steve because I was named after him. I think he’s the only person to ever call me “Stevie” on a regular basis. He was born 14 July 1917 and served in the Navy during WWII on the LST 696 in the Pacific. Here’s a picture of him and the crew. He’s in the bottom row, second from the right:


I always equate Uncle Steve with the outdoors and especially fishing. My favorite Uncle Steve fishing story goes like this:

We were in Maine on MCGrath Pond fishing; Uncle Steve, Aunt Dot, my father, my brother Bill and myself. My brother and I were very young and I don’t think we’d ever  been on a boat fishing before. I *know* we had never baited a hook before, at least not with a worm.

We’re city kids, we don’t know how to do this stuff.

Anyway, Bill must have been all of 4 0r 5 at the time and was sitting next to Uncle Steve who was baiting his hook for him. Uncle Steve tells him to put the line over the side and cast. My brother just puts the tip of the rod over the edge of the boat and pushes the thumb release to let the line go – no cast – just PLOP in the water. The adults chuckle because there’s no way he’s going to get a fish. Uncle Steve then starts getting his line ready but before he’s done my brother says, “Hey Uncle Steve, I think I have a fish!’ The line has been in the water at most 45 seconds. Uncle Steve says, “No Billy, you can’t have a fish on there yet” but then catches sight of the tip of Bill’s fishing pole dipping. He takes the pole from my brother, reels it in and sure enough, there’s a fish! Everyone laughs, Uncle Steve grumbles a bit that he hasn’t even got his pole in the damn water yet,  and bait’s Bill’s pole again. Bill puts it over the side, presses the thumb release again and PLOP the line is in the water.

Uncle Steve then starts getting his gear together again. 30 seconds later my brother says, “Uncle Steve, I think I have a fish!” All I hear is “Jesus H. Christ, there’s no WAY you have another fish on there.” Sure enough though he sees the pole dip again, takes it, and helps Bill reel in another fish. “Jesus H. Christ, I haven’t even got my line in the water once yet and Billy has caught two damn fish already.”, he says. I don’t think we caught another fish all day.

Here’s one of my favorite pictures of Uncle Steve


Purple Panic

My block is heavily planted with Jacaranda trees. In the Spring these trees quickly produce  tremendous amount of purple flowers that start falling and carpet the street ( and cars parked there). They also drop a kind of sticky sap that, when it gets windy, covers everything outside with a fine sticky mist. Even though they are kind of messy, I really enjoy them. Here’s a few pictures of them in bloom on my street.IMG_0427IMG_0431


Thinking of my mom today

Thinking about my mom today;she was born Dec 9th 1928 and died September 21th, 1988.  Since my birthday is in December as well, we’d always celebrate out birthdays at the same time. Usually this involved going out to dinner at Lawrey’s Restaurant in Los Angeles; it was her favorite. (Mine too)

Lawrey’s has since moved down the street and in it’s old spot is a new restaurant called “The Stinking Rose”. It servers garlic infused meals and is my son’s favorite place to have his birthday dinner. Funny how things work like that sometimes.

Here’s a picture of my mom on her wedding day, Dec 9th 1960 (dad was no dummy, always easier to remember one date and not two) in Las Vegas, Nevada.



Three Youngest

Dad passed away on the 21st of October  2013 and was born the 24th of October 1929 so this week especially  I think a whole lot about him. It’s difficult to find pictures of him because he was always the one behind the camera taking the pictures of all of us, but I found this one with two of his siblings: Florence and Eddie. Dad is the youngest on the left.


Who are you? (Knickerbocker version 1)

Here’s an old picture ( maybe late 1960’s early 1970’s?) at Uncle Bob and Aunt Loraine Knickerbocker’s house in Minnesota. I’m the kid in the plaid shorts on the left, Uncle Dude is sitting in the chair surrounded by kids. Are YOU in this picture? Which one are you?What Knickerbocker