Author: Shelly "Splinters" Rabuse

The Dog My Mother Never Wanted

“I’m sure I have eaten dog.” That’s what my mother, the World War II survivor, told me one day. My jaw dropped, so she quickly clarified by saying, “Well, when you got meat on the black market, you didn’t ask.” Needless to say, my parents, who were both young Germans growing up in frequently bombed Cologne in 1942 and didn’t have the luxury of pets. But as a typical American middle-class kid in suburbia, I wanted one — badly. I grew up in Ambler, PA in a split-level-filled neighbrhood as, essentially, an only child; my brother was 13 years older and out of the house by the time I was six. There were lots of other kids on the block who had a dog and I yearned for a fuzzy friend who would sleep on my bed and be my best friend and companion. My parents weren’t keen on the idea of a pet, however. It wasn’t a necessity and possibly created more problems. For a short time, my brother had a hamster and my …

Turning Around an Old Thrift Shop

It wasn’t really hard to convince me to volunteer at a second-hand shop. I’d been a thrift-shop/flea market/garage sale junkie ever since I scored the best wagon ever at a neighbor’s garage sale for a buck. Not chump change for an eight-year-old. But what I didn’t realize was how a once-a-week job to consign clothing would become an all-consuming passion. It started with a weekly lunch date with a friend who worked at a charitable consignment shop. The shop is in a well-heeled area of suburban Philadelphia. Downstairs the store sold household items, jewelry and art, and upstairs they sold clothing. My friend wasn’t always ready to go when I arrived so I’d hang out, peruse the jewelry cases and eventually I started volunteering. I discovered I really enjoyed it: I’d scoop up great vintage pieces I could rework for my own handmade jewelry line and found pleasure in sprucing up messy displays. Plus, I was “giving back” in the process. The store’s profits were equally divided between local charitable organizations — from a school for autistic children to a …

I Joined a Rollerderby Team at 46

Here’s the thing: Most weekdays I’m a website designer, jewelry crafter and mom with a 13-year-old daughter and a husband who works in finance. And while I live in the suburbs of Philly, I’m not your typical 46-year-old suburban mom. On weekends I like to “jam,” throw “whips” and “booty block.” And by jam, I don’t mean canning up strawberries. This kind of jamming. I’m a brand new member of the Penn Jersey Roller Derby team. How did I get here? My history of roller derby goes something like this: Philadelphia Warrior: One Saturday afternoon, when I was 14-years-old-ish, I happened to be watching roller derby on a black-and-white TV in my room. My dad came in, flipped out and told me “you aren’t supposed to be watching that junk.” Remember, in the ’70s, women’s roller derby was more like pro-wrestling with women really slugging each other. Some of the same people in those leagues — like the Philadelphia Warriors — are now our coaches. It wasn’t like I had any compulsion to watch roller …