There have been so many people who possess greatness inside of them, whom I’ve met, and I didn’t even know it, until numerous years later. When I was nineteen and at the beginning of my marriage to my ex-husband, Mr. D.A. – we both worked at Cable Value Network aka C.O.M.B. in Plymouth, Minnesota. I believe it was located in the old, Litton plant on Xenia Lane. It was the beginning of the era when you watched products on cable television being sold. Back then, not many could afford cable television. I honestly didn’t think it would work and it would come and go like a flash of lightening in the sky. I believe Cable Value Network merged or sold to Home Shopping Network. I think that they came before any of the home shopping network channels. Cable television was very new in the late 1980’s. I thought it was a strange idea, but it was a job.
This is where I fell in love with a computer keyboard. I worked on the sales floor answering phones. I spoke to many stupid people. The job utterly bored me. We were not permitted to read books while waiting for customers to call. I was impatient and irritated with having to deal with stupidity for eight hours a day. I also disliked wasting time and sitting still doing nothing while waiting for phone calls to come in. I had a kidney stone the size of a quarter in me, during this time, which I was unaware of. I felt sick with high fevers – always having to pee – suffering from really bad, back pain. I was written up on numerous occasions for being absent due to illness or being too rude, impatient or blunt with customers.
“Hello, Cable Value Network, how can I help you?”
“Yeah…um…I’m interested in the cubic zirconia, diamond earrings that are on the T.V. right now. Are those real diamonds?”
“No, they’re man made diamonds, sir.”
“Oh…so they are real diamonds.”
“No sir, they are man made diamonds.”
“You are telling me that they are real?” (actually he spoke like this – “Yer tellin’ me that they’re real?)
My reaction – face palm – doh! – click…ooops sorry we got disconnected….please try again until a more patient operator answers your call. I know…I know…I sound like a curmudgeon – Mr. C rubs off on me. Not everyone I spoke to was stupid. I enjoyed some of my conversations – even though they were few and far between.
When the call volume was low, I would get asked to work in data entry. That’s when I fell in love with a computer keyboard, much like Mozart did when his fingers first touched the keyboard of his piano. ( I was born on the same month and day Mozart was born) I would challenge myself with each entry, attempting to get faster and faster with my typing. I loved the sound of the keyboard click clacking like music to my ears, as I typed quicker and quicker – honing my skill. I also loved how my fingers could fly swiftly upon my keyboard. I would often laugh to myself whenever I was processing a check and it read – Cat Victor Nancy – in the payment to section, instead of CVN- Cable Value Network. I’d often tell people who wanted to use a check instead of their credit cards – “Make the check out to CVN – C as in Cat – V as in victor – N as in Nancy. LMAO. (Doh! * another face palm.)
Sometimes I would get asked to model products on air – often modeling for Colleen Lopez when she first began her career in the realms of cable home shopping. I didn’t really like being in front of the camera, never really have, but it got me off the sales floor for awhile. I wasn’t very confident back then and lacked self-love. There were times when the other women I worked with became jealous and would talk behind my back and the other models’ backs (haters will be haters) They would call me and all the other models whores. The only crime we committed was modeling things I would never purchase – except for the long, full length, silver fox fur that I modeled on air one time. (sorry PETA people…I live in Minnesota where a fur coat is a necessity) These were generally very heavy women, who appeared not to like themselves very much – sour, bitter and mean.
I’ve always been one to challenge others…I spit in the face of adversity – much like a rebel.
“If they are going to call us whores,” I said to my beautiful, blonde, long legged friend, “why don’t we dress as whores just to piss them off.”
So we did. On that day, after all of the male managers gawked for an hour in the management cubical behind us, they eventually sent us home to change because the bitter girls were making complaints – bitches.
“We have an issue with your attire – um…it’s not that we don’t like it – it’s just that it’s not appropriate, business attire – people are complaining. You will need to go home and change.” I was sent home on numerous occasions for wearing clothing that people complained about. The large girls could wear leggings. I was always sent home to change if I wore them.
I will always remember this on air salesman – Tony – and the huge mistake he made on air, when I was working the second shift. He had been talking to an older women on the phone about a product she liked on air. When he thought she hung up and was no longer on the air with him and they were not taping – he said aloud, “What a stupid bitch!” or it might have been “What a dumb fucking bitch.” I can’t recall his exact words. I just recall that it was a very strange moment in home shopping history.
Presently, I type extremely fast. I don’t really like typing or texting with my thumbs on my phone or post to Instagram with a lengthy description of my images. They are full of mistakes. I’m frustrated that I can’t feel the same magical flow that I feel when I am typing with all of my fingers on my computer keyboard. My brain moves very fast and so do my fingers. I don’t always catch my mistakes.
There were two women I befriended, who weren’t models, they appeared quiet and book worm-ish. I liked them – they appeared genuine, intelligent and true to themselves. They never sought the spotlight. They were wallflowers – Tammy Bondhus aka Tammy Bondhus Morimoto – (the daughter of the man who owns Bondhus tools, John Bondhus – Monticello, Mn) and Julie Bellisario – Donald Bellisario’s daughter – David Bellisario’s sister.
Julie and I would often sit together at a cubicle – she would show me photos of her and Tom Selleck with their arms around each other in a friendly manner, on a beach in Hawaii, when we waited for phone calls to come in. I didn’t watch television often. I didn’t have the time. I worked second shift at Cable Value Network and at a restaurant on Main Street in Elk River, Minnesota in the early morning. I hardly slept. I knew of the actor Tom Selleck – Magnum PI, but not enough to be really impressed. Her personality didn’t match the daughter of a big named, Hollywood Producer.
I was unaware of the importance of the Bellisario name when I was 19 years old. I have an artist’s mind – it’s always in the clouds, day dreaming, or I’m having long conversations with you, Henry, inside my mind. I’m like a female version of Forest Gump – naively moving through life to the beat of my own drummer. I continuously meet famous people and don’t really know it at the time. I don’t think Minnesotans really care as much about celebrities as they do in other states. Because I was naive, her importance never intimidated me – she was human much like everyone else. I wish I had the opportunity to get to know her in this present day. I bet her creative energy is powerful and inspiring.
* side note – Julie Bellesario Watson – if you read this blog – you probably won’t – you are much too busy living life and creating – but, if you do…know that you are inspiring to me. Your success is motivating me to move forward with my life – strong and confident- until success and I converge and explode like fireworks in the sky. I wish you could know the creative side of me and not the telephone sales representative side of me. Thanks for being so nice, humble and intelligent. Generally, other females hate me. I try to be nice. I’m never one to follow the crowd or want to be like everyone else. I’m glad that you never acted like you are a hot shit, Hollywood celebrity and befriended me years ago.
I had the opportunity to get to know Julie Bellasario more intimately off the sales floor when we moonlit (I guess it would be called sunlit, since we both worked second shift) as perfume sales solicitors before going to work at CVN. I am pretty sure the job of a telephone sales representative was as boring to her as it was to me, otherwise we wouldn’t have been trying to find other jobs. I’m not sure about Julie – but I greatly disliked being a solicitor, selling knock off, designer perfumes. Their sick, poisonous fragrance made my head hurt – Gross! I also loathe solicitors and couldn’t stand having to go from business to business shoving my products down their throats as they were trying to run a business. (I’m such a bitch when solicitors pester me) When I got over my disgust for what I was doing, I did well at it. I could’ve made a lot of money – if that was my passion.
As I read Julie Bellesario Watson’s online IDMb profile – she went on to do great things, such as produce episodes in the television series – NCIS – JAG – Quantum Leap (my favorite). I was watching a Family Guy episode last night on Netflix – Three Kings – an episode which parodies three, Stephen King Movies – The Stand – Misery – Shawshank Redemption. At night, after my husband comes home after a long day at work, we will often watch two episodes before going to bed. We love that we can laugh, let go, and not take life so seriously. In an imaginary dimension in time and space, I am married to Seth Mac Farland. In the whimsical, cartoon world of comedy, I am wed to Stewie Griffin, and having kinky affairs with Brian and Quagmire – (sick and weird, right?)
Mr. B – my ex – benefactor/lover, lived in NYC for a long time, after graduating from Columbia University, prior to moving to Minnesota. He greatly resembled Mr. Carter Pewterschmidt. Whenever we went to NYC together, others would ask if he was Ted Turner. My children always called Mr. B – Mr. Pewterschmidt. I laugh whenever I see this awesome, cartoon character with gorgeous, Asian hookers in numerous, Family Guy episodes. I adore Seth’s humor and wide range of extreme talent. He’s a creative mastermind. I’d love to meet him someday.
Photo discovered on Google – this is how I remember Julie Bellisario.
When I was watching the Family Guy episode, Three Kings, I saw David Bellisario’s name, reminding me of Julie. I Googled Julie Bellesario aka Julie Bellesario Watson and saw that she moved beyond stinky perfume sales and talking to stupid people on the phone as a telephone sales rep. – Awesome!
The other employee I worked with at CVN – Tammy Bondhus. She used to date my ex-husband, years prior to him and I meeting. She was very quiet. One would never know that she derived from a very successful family. Her father, John Bondhus owned Bondhus Tools – Monticello, Minnesota. She appeared humble to me and at times awkward. I always enjoy befriending the ones who don’t live their lives as if they are screaming for the spotlight, “Look at me – look at what I can do.” I like socially awkward people – I can relate. I also admired that she never shaved her arm pits. She wore her individuality much like Sarah Jessica Parker wears a vintage, designer dress and pair of Jimmy Choo Shoes. I Googled Tammy Bondhus last night. It appears as if she is very outspoken today from the posts I have read online – fabulous! It’s pleasurable for me to see others evolve into a stronger version of themselves. It’s inspiring.
I’m ending this letter and going to bed, so I can start working very early in the morning. Mr. C has to work an overnight shift. He won’t be home at his normal time – we won’t be eating pizza and watching Family Guy tonight – awww! He has been working since 8 am this morning. Poor guy! He is going to be such a dick head from being over exerted – oh yay!..fun!…but, I love my Mr. Curmudgeon – good and bad.
Bisous, Mon Amour
Quote by my cartoon love – Stewie – How you uh, how you comin’ on that novel you’re working on? Huh? Gotta a big, uh, big stack of papers there? Gotta, gotta nice litte story you’re working on there? Your big novel you’ve been working on for 3 years? Huh? Gotta, gotta compelling protaganist? Yeah? Gotta obstacle for him to overcome? Huh? Gotta story brewing there? Working on, working on that for quite some time? Huh? (voice getting higher pitched) Yea, talking about that 3 years ago. Been working on that the whole time? Nice little narrative? Beginning, middle, and end? Some friends become enemies, some enemies become friends? At the end your main character is richer from the experience? Yeah? Yeah? (voice returns to normal) No, no, you deserve some time off.
Donald Bellisario Biography
Work of Donald Bellisario
“JAG” (1995-present) TV Series (Executive Producer) “Tequila and Bonetti” (1992) TV Series (executive producer) “Quantum Leap” (1989-1993) TV Series (Executive Producer) “Last Rites” (1988) “Airwolf” (1984) TV Series (Executive Producer: 1984-1985) “Tales of the Gold Monkey” (1982) TV Series “Magnum P.I.” (1980-1988) TV Series (Executive Producer) “Mission Galactica”: (1978) (TV) (supervising) “Baa Baa Black Sheep” (1976) TV Series (associate)
“JAG” (1995) TV Series “Quantum Leap” (1989) TV Series “Last Rites” (1988) “Three on a Match” (1987) TV movie and unsold pilot. “Airwolf” (1984) (TV) “Battlestar Galactica” (1978) TV Series
“JAG” (1995) (TV) “Quantum Leap” (1989) (TV) “Last Rites” (1988) “Three on a Match” (1987) (TV) “Airwolf” (1984) (TV) “Magnum P.I.” (1980) (TV) “Black Sheep Squadron” (1976-78) (TV) “Kojak” (an episode) “Quincy” (an episode) “Crowfoot” (CBS, 1994)
The Belisarius Players
If you are a fan of Donald Bellisario’s shows, you will probably have seen
several of the same actors appear in one show and then another and another.
These actors are part of what some fans call “The Belisarius Players”.
Actors who have appeared in 2 or more of DPB’s series.
One of these actors is Larry Mannetti. Better known for his work on the series
“Magnum P.I” he had also appeared in DPB’s “JAG” (“Ghost Ship” and “Ghost of
Christmas Past”). In Quantum Leap he appeared in “Tale of Two Sweeties”
Another is Jeff MacKay who appeared on “Magnum”, “Black Sheep Squadron” and “Tales
of the Gold Monkey”
There is Charles Rocket who appeared on “Airwolf” and “Quantum Leap” (“A Little
Miracle” and “A Leap for Lisa”)
A perennial Belisarius Player W.K. Stratton appeared on “Quantum Leap”,
“Magnum PI” and just about every series that DPB has ever done.
Ernest Borgnine appeared as a regular on “Airwolf” and also appeared on “JAG”
Charles Rocket who appeared in “Tequila and Bonnetti” also appeared in
Quantum Leap. (“A Little Miracle” and “A Leap for Lisa”)
Also members of this group of players are 2 of DPB’s children.
Michael Bellisario has appeared on “JAG”, (Pilot ep, “Ghost Ship”,
“Wedding Bell Blues”, “Adversaries”, “Surface Warfare” and “Ghost of
Christmas Past”) He also appeared on “Quantum Leap” episodes.
(“Camikazi Kid,” “Play Ball,” “A Tale of Two Sweeties” and “Mirror Image”),
Troain Bellisario appeared in Quantum Leap’s “Another Mother” and JAG’s
Two other of Bellisario’s children also work in the entertainment field.
David Bellisario, as Associate Producer of “Quantum Leap” and “JAG” and
But not only are actors a common thing on DPB’s shows, but other interesting
facts as well. Such as birhtdates.
Magnum’s birthday is the same as DPB’s. Harm Sr’s (JAG) birthdate is
the same as DBP’s father.
One of the characters in Airwolf was named Saint John, pronounced Sinjin,
a name which later resurfaced in Quantum Leap’s Edward St. John V.
The character of Harriet Simms (JAG) is named after JAG’s Audience Liason
and long friend of DPB’s, Harriet Margolis.
KIP, is the name of Harm’s childhood dog (JAG). KIP happens to be one of the
production insiders Of JAG.
A character in JAG’s “Washington Holiday”, Secret Service Agent Culp, is the
real name of one of the actors who appears as a reacurring character (Clayton
Webb) on JAG.
Tequila and Bonnetti, names of the characters of the show by the same name, are
almost identical to “Tequila and Boner”, the names of the two pushers in the
“M.I.A.” episode of Quantum Leap.
Character names such as LoNigro and Ibold and Bonnick tend to turn up
repeatedly on DPB’s series, as do dogs, (Magnum PI, JAG, Tales of the
Gold Monkey and “Tequila and Bonnetti”). Also a reaccuring theme is Vietnam
Veterans (often P.O.W./M.I.A.)