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Annual Summer Sale Starts Tomorrow!

Joanne Rossman Summer Sale 2018


Darlings, I am dusting off my old blog to make sure you know about my once a year Summer Sale which starts this Friday, July 27th and runs right through to Tuesday the 31st. Check my store hours here. EVERYTHING is on sale…for the right price I’ll hand you the key to the whole she-bang!

And don’t forget that once the sale is done, Rita Rose, Nicco and I sail off for the month of August to parts unknown with piles of books. We’ll be in search of a private nude beach to store up enough sun in our bones to last through next winter. So if you know of an empty beach house…

I have a hankering to tell some tales. I have been neglecting this blog so I will dive back in and you’ll be hearing from me. But first I have to relearn all the steps…is it just me or is anyone else exhausted at keeping up with the constant software updates, upflows, updrafts or whatever! When I was a kid, you learned to write with a pencil, and god bless them, those yellow Ticonderoga #2’s still look and work the same. With computers I am always back at the bottom of the learning curve. But soldier on I must! Stay tuned!

Filed under: events,sale

It’s Been A Long Time!

Sand Hills Journey

Good God where do I begin!  Perhaps with the Sand Hills in western Nebraska, which is where this “starter home” is located.  Needs some work might be an understatement! There truly is nothing like the prairie with its plain colors. At first the Sand Hills  seem dull, but after taking a longer glance, this place of silence is totally magical.  One of my wonderful daughters relocated to Nebraska, and her generous husband gave me the option for a journey into another world. How could I not take him up on such an offer?

I guess what I treasure about this stubborn, dry homestead is that it refuses to collapse. This little abandoned property has seen many a presidential election. I would wager a war or two, perhaps the great Depression and still it stands…a bit worse for wear but stands none-the-less.

In January, I marched in D.C. along with thousands of men, women, and children to resist, to protest, and to attempt to make sense of events that make no sense at all. Protest was my middle name back in the Sixties. I marched for women’s issues…freedom of choice, I marched to legalize marijuana, I protested the war in Viet Nam, I got all righteous about Bank of America…there wasn’t an issue that I didn’t feel keenly about. After 9/11 I marched for peace with a small, silent collection of folks in front of Trinity Church in Boston. This was before Bush’s Big War. Now I have my old lady legs marching again!

I want to believe that like this old, silent property, we will survive what feels like madness. I want to believe we will all weather the storm of half truths, outright lies, and cruel behavior by our elected (or not) officials. I want to believe in America and our care for one another. Perhaps that was another America more suited for the little home on the prairie but I choose to think not.

My wonderful customers come into 6 Birch daily sharing their concerns. I listen, because I have many of the same concerns. There seems little we can say to ease our anxiety.

I think about my childhood and my own immigrant grandparents. I think about  the times, as a child, I stretched out, face down, on the bank of an irrigation ditch my grandfather, Ambro Rosaschi, dug to water his fields.  I remember the water skipper spiders that scooted this way and that over the water’s surface. The skippers tread water well until a small pebble breaks the surface, and they forget their own survival and become frantic. Those same skippers were the best swimmers I knew in my Nevada desert childhood and yet a small pebble could interrupt their direction! My childhood skies were exactly like the one above, a few clouds, lots of blue. Gone is my grandfather’s ranch, and the amazing Mexican men who worked alongside him. As sappy as it may sound…I am still here and so is America! Lets not lose our direction because of one pebble. We must protest, resist, and take care of one another.   No matter where we’re from, we all belong here!

Filed under: family,life stories,musings

A Bit of History


Collector Supreme

Thirty-one years ago, when I was three inches taller and thirty pounds lighter, I met this divine man.  He was young back then, and handsome, talented, and kind. We became fast friends. Within minutes of our meeting, I bummed a handful of quarters from him…the change machine at our local Wee Wash It was out of change, and I had a load of wet clothes stuffed into the dryer. I knew John Derian and I would be friends for life after that!

Like all of you, I have been amazed by this talented man.  His decoupage pieces have been a staple of my store for nearly seventeen years.  John has a following that rivals even Rita Rose! And now…THE BOOK! John Derian Picture Book that is beyond amazing! Use this book for all the madness you can conjure…tear out a page and wrap a gift, tear out another page and send a note, tear out more pages and cover a box, a wall, or simply frame the image. Let your mind have at it…this is the joy of 300 pages all with possibilities!

John will be at the store Friday, October 28 from 5-8PM signing books and being charming. Come join us…meet the artist, have a bit of wine and a sweet or two. We look forward to your visit!

Filed under: events,family,just in,life stories

The Ennui of Retail

nude in ptown

Marche aux Puces, St-Ouen de Clingancourt…from Paris to Provincetown, circa 1920

Well, there you have it, this is me pondering!  For sixteen years, I have pondered retail…sometimes I am fully clothed and other times I choose to let it all hang out, or down, as the case may be.  It is a tricky business this retail nonsense.  I liken it to owning a polo pony that needs exercising and the finest food around…maybe that pony wins the race and maybe not.  One of my mother’s favorite terms was “it’s a crap shoot.”  Coming from Nevada, this phrase has a totally different meaning than potty language.  For sixteen years, I haven’t really come to any true sense of it all.  And, frankly, it matters not whether I am fully clothed, for any of it to make sense.  So for the moment, I continue  shopkeeping.

The world is generally all a crap shoot.  Sadly, Dora (my mother) is long gone, but I can only imagine what she might make of Trump and the cast of characters seeking to control the country.  It is times like these I wish I could see her sitting at that formica kitchen table in my childhood home.  I long to see her stir her fourth cup of coffee with it’s ample spoonfuls of sugar and cream.  I long to hear her take on the election, on my polo pony of a store, on the cost of a movie ticket or, for that matter, the cost of her pack of Marlboros.  Such a sage and such a pisser!

So…what you want is news of the store.  Tomorrow we will host Heather Haase with her magical collection of necklaces made with only the very tastiest of gems gathered from India, Tibet, Thailand, and other exotic travels.  This is Heather’s second visit.  Each time she sends us a box of treasures, we swoon.  I don’t need to tell you Miss Rita Rose has already selected the best of the bunch!  I saw her sneak a fine necklace under that dog bed of hers.  Do you suppose she has plans of purchase or might she think it is her due?

Then…FINALLY….a last ever Pajama Party on May 1st.  You have begged, pleaded, cajoled and finally I have listened. But I can promise you there will NEVER be another!  At least not at 6 Birch.  So head on in for coffee, donuts, bargains, and a true chance to wander the streets in your bedclothes!  The whole store is included in the sale…this is not dregs from the dreaded basement.  This is not dusted off, tired merchandise…this is good stuff!  And good stuff cheap enough for you to roll out of your bed…no need to wear eye liner or mascara…just come in early!  We will pour the coffee…the doughnuts are your doing but napkins will be provided!

In case you’re wondering, the painting is a favorite of mine and is in my most favorite bedroom at my friend John’s Provincetown home.  I know all of you are thinking it might just be me.  I also think that when I wake up to see her staring across from the foot of my bed.

Anyway the Pajama Party will be an event you don’t want to miss!



Filed under: events,musings

The magic of Santa Maria Novella Foot Cream

One of my absolute favorites…I’ve been using this foot cream myself for years. In fact, the number one reason I stock it in the store is so I never run out!  You can buy it immediately in my online store….click here!

…I am having so much fun doing these!

Santa Maria Novella foot cream from Joanne Rossman on Vimeo.

Another Year!

Tuscorora House

House For Sale…Needs Some Work

This is it, my Darlings!  Were I just a bit more foolish (is that possible) I would have scooped this baby up.  Knowing full well I made a pact with myself that I would no longer do fixer-uppers…houses or humans.

I am ashamed to say that months have passed since I spotted this gem in Tuscarora, Nevada on last October’s road trip to the desert I so love.  If you have not been to this part of the world…drop everything, pack a pair of Levis, your best ever boots, and head West!  I vowed I would write this blog upon my return and then life took hold and it was Thanksgiving and then Christmas and then New Years and here we are smack-dab in the middle of a bitter cold January.

blue house

Ghost Town Getaway

This sweet dream 0f a house was my lodging in Eureka, Nevada!  Story goes it is haunted, which suits me just fine.  Any house with spirits is my sort of house.  Eureka, Nevada straddles Highway 50 touted as “the loneliest road in America.”  A perfectly delicious highway surrounded by Nevada desert, high mountain ranges, and wee small ghost towns.  One of the best ever grilled cheese sandwiches, consumed by yours truly, was in a small diner in Austin, Nevada…one of these little ghost towns.  This tiny blue gem, shown above, is called the Eureka Doll House and that it truly was.  Should you be lucky enough to be out west and should you need lodging, if in fact, you’re in Eureka…head to the Doll House for one of the best nigh’s rest you will ever have.

rainbow nevada

A Road Trip Rainbow

Sometimes it’s hard to capture magic when whipping along in a rental car at speeds we rarely use here in the East.  There it was…a beautiful rainbow tilted sideways and held up by the Nevada desert.  The air that day smelled of sage, a bit of pine and the moisture of dry land that rarely has a storm pass through.  This is where my small house will be, way off over there to the left, just near the base of that mountain.  Pop by anytime you’re on Highway 50…I will pour scotch or perhaps whiskey…more in keeping with the Wild West.  It is times and travels like these that make me wonder what I am doing with my East Coast life.

Happy New Year, all you dear folks…the store still survives, I didn’t head for the desert, and I do continue to hold court at 6 Birch Street…though Nevada does have its hold on me!

Filed under: travels

Does Elvis Shop Here?

The Last Days of Summer

The Last Days of Summer

August spun past me and Miss Rita Rose.   So many plans for a month off….books stacked up, movies to see, dinner guests to entertain.  The luxury of a full month (without pay, might I add) can easily be squandered.  Before I knew it, it was the fifteenth, the month nearly gone…one book read, one movie seen, no one entertained!

But that Rita Rose knows how to use up the days!  She wore herself silly on the Riveria.  I sent over her French translation book with a complete wardrobe of bathing suits suitable for a worldly pug.  I, on the other hand, had a rather quiet August.  Oh yes…there were the five days in New York City shopping for the store (more on that later) and eating out at chic little places where the noise level made it nearly impossible to talk…so I simply ate and drank.

Now I am back!  Folks have popped by the store with their own tales of August.  One visitor, who told me of her life, also asked me “Does Elvis shop here?” and then she told me about her marriages (now, having had two under my belt, I can relate to marriage when it is in the plural sense).  She, whose name I never got, told me she had four husbands…well, maybe three, but my favorite husband, she said, was my mother’s second husband…I slept with him when I was 16!

If ever I question why I have a store and what on earth I am doing with this one life and why, at my advanced age, I am not playing bridge or taking a cruise (aside from the fact I don’t like boats, have no interest in being on deck with others my age, and haven’t a clue how to play bridge), I do wonder at times about the past fourteen years of shop nonsense.  Then in pops a woman who clearly knows Elvis and slept with her mother’s second husband when she was sixteen.  Honey…give me a store any time, no matter if it makes money or not, I adore the adventures of it all to say nothing of the stories, real or imagined!


Filed under: musings,pugs,travels

Summer is Winding Down…The Heat Isn’t!



The Sum of August

There you have it folks!  A porch glider, a stack of reads, and a favorite pug and all of August to make fine work of that glider.  I have tossed about since the last blog, back in April, what to write…the world has given this old girl lots of material, much of it disturbing and not quite laughable.

As you all know, August is the month I pretend to be French…I close the store for the whole month.  It is a month off to regroup, make scarves, hangers, and clothes for the store.  It is a month to eat and cook and cook and eat.  A month to travel for those two or three day-trips one, of which, will be Gloucester, then a long weekend in North Haverhill, NH to visit the boys who once owned Gusto.  We will laugh and eat and talk about aging, which will cause us to drink.  Then I am off to NYC for the Gift Show at the Javits.  Back from NYC and off to Provincetown to visit John for a few days.

Rita Rose has her own schedule…I overheard her talking to Kirby, her lean and handsome mutt down the street.  Their plans for August involve an uber driver, the rental of a little beach cabin along the coast of Maine, and a whole series of Flamenco dance lessons.  I have made the wee Flamenco  dress that fits her slim hips then flares into layers of ruffles, each layer hand-sewn with a bit of bling.  Rita Rose also has her stack of reading during August…she has worked her way through Fifty Shades of Pug.  Way too racy for my girl, though she is hanging out with Kirby and Flamenco dancers… who am I to stop that little vixen!

We wish you a safe, happy August filled with too many calories, a few cocktails, and a good slather of #70 sunblock.  See you in September with wondrous tales and fresh, new merchandise that I just know you will not be able to resist!

Filed under: musings,pugs

All Surprises Come in April!

rita rose in chair

Rita Does April in Style

Looks to me like Rita Rose has the right idea!  As I write, the weather is mixed…a little rain, a little snow, some wind.  It’s bloody well into April and still flurries!  Ah well, most happy folks will say…it will NEVER stick, it’s April after all.  I try hard to NEVER use the word NEVER when it comes to weather.

I have gone off the deep end.  Perhaps it was too much winter.  Maybe it was not enough scotch.  Either way, I hired a personal trainer once a week.  He arrives with all sorts of equipment in his little duffle bag: boxing gloves, rubber bands, and long elastic things that have handles and create such torture for my sagging upper arms.  Yesterday he arrived with a scale that not only told me what the bad news was but also gave me my body fat index!   The numbers on both items were daunting.  I recalled each and every pound of butter I ate over the month of February and March…dreadful.  The last time I weighed this much I was nine months pregnant!  So now I am on a diet.  Damn!  The one good bit of a bonus is this trainer is kind and he is cute as a button and he is generous to a fault.  He tells me I am doing great when I can barely get off the floor!  So he lies…I wouldn’t want it any other way.

It wasn’t enough to get a trainer once a week but I have signed up for a basic drawing class.  Now mind you, I am not going to leave 6 Birch Street and head to the south of France and create art any time soon.  After last night’s first class, I left a humbled person.  As I recall, I may have crawled out on my belly to get to the car!

I need a teacher that stands in front of this basic learner,  holds up a #2b pencil and says,”This is a pencil.  We will work tonight on what can be done with this pencil.”   I mean we are talking basics here!  Instead there were two still life set-ups involving apple, apple wedges, two pears on a plate, one round grapefruit.  After three hours of drawing an apple, three wedges of cut apple, and a plate that looked remarkably similar to a frisbee (I avoided the grapefruit), I ended up with dreck.

I shan’t quit but I thought of crying and I was stunned by just how long three hours can be when sitting before you is a lovely red apple that has cast shadows I can’t seem to capture with my #2b pencil.  I will keep all of you posted on the size of my ego, the width of my hips, and that nasty fat index number…should these change any time soon, you will be the first to know!



Filed under: musings

One Day Closer to Spring!

back door

My Basement Cellar Door…No Way Out!

Here we are at March first!  Daylight Saving Time begins in seven days…the first day of spring is a mere nineteen days from now!  There is hope, folks…but don’t put away those snow shovels, the long underwear, the snow boots, or the grippers we attach to same.  Just imagine the spring we might have if the snow ever melts!  I seem to have lost all sense of anything green and growing other than the mold on my leftovers of all those meals I have cooked during this endless, tedious winter!

I long, just like each of you, to walk out my front door wearing only a skimpy frock, a pair of flip-flops, my hair in pigtails, and a beach bag thrown over my shoulder.  Lovely image (except the pigtails!).  Sadly, for now, I layer up to wander out.  I waddle with the weight of carbs, of wool, of down parka, and weariness of winter.

This weekend, we bid a sad good-by to our wonderful neighbor, The Boston Cheese Cellar.  I can’t begin to tell you what this means to a retailer, to Birch Street, and to Roslindale in general.  The loss of a merchant is akin to losing a member of one’s distant family.  I know it sounds dramatic, but drama is what I feel when there is snow banking my world and retail on the street is soft with few places to park.  Folks have hunkered down and with good reason!  I want to thank those of you who come in my store to say hello, to shop, and to pass the time.  I love your brave, happy, frost-bitten faces!  Thank you from all of us on Birch Street.

Filed under: musings

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