When Famous Seaweed Soup first arrived in 1993, the local newspaper, Suffolk County News, arranged an interview in my home with me and my ten-year old daughter Sara. I scrambled to tidy the living room, put on clean clothes and makeup. Sara was excited to get her picture in the paper. Hallie, then seven-years old, argued that since she was in the book, she should be in the picture, too. I agreed. Immediately, Hallie picked out a pretty dress and insisted I style her hair with a topsy-turvy ponytail. Once dressed and coiffed, Hallie teased her little four-year-old sister, Robyn. 

“You can’t wear a pretty dress or get your picture in the paper, like me, because you are NOT in the book.”

It was true. Robyn was not born when I first wrote the story. Once written, it had taken five years to find a publisher then two more years for the story to become a book. A lot of life happened in those seven years, including Robyn. Not being in the book was Robyn’s sore point. I wrote stories with her in it, but it wasn’t the same with the Famous Seaweed Soup celebrations. When I read the book to her, she insisted I substituted Hallie’s name with Robyn. Occasionally, I had to substitute Sara’s name. It depended upon which sister crossed her that day.

Hallie’s teasing accomplished a full-blown crying fit, fist-chasing, scolding scene. Robyn was not about to be left out. The reporter arrived and the only one who looked in control was Sara. 

“Behave!” I warned Hallie and Robyn. 

The reporter agreed Robyn should be in the picture, too. I dried Robyn’s tears, put on her pretty dress and attempted to brush her hair while answering the reporter’s questions.  

Finally, it was time to take the picture. Robyn shoved Hallie and scrambled on my lap. Hallie protested. I quietly repeated the reminder to behave. Robyn, almost satisfied with her win, stuck her tongue out at Hallie.

“BEHAVE!” I repeated louder. Robyn pulled her hair ribbon out. 

The reporter focused the camera. “Look at the camera and smile.”

Everyone looked and smiled, except Robyn. She stared right at the camera and stuck her tongue out. That was the picture published in the Suffolk County News!

Suffolk County New 1993
30 years later and I still have to say BEHAVE!

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