Coffee with Shirley
About the Filmmaker
Coffee with Shirley
It is early in the morning before anyone else is up. As I walk into the living room, a room filled with family photos and early sunlight, the rich aroma of coffee and Shirley’s warm grin greet me. I curl up on the couch opposite her comfy rocking chair as the clock plays its hourly song. Though its spring, she is warming her self by the glowing fire, gently clutching her decaf coffee. After making sure I had slept well and offering me hot tea, Shirley tells me about some of her escapades.
“One day,” Shirley begins, “I dressed up as the Easter bunny and went to [Bob’s father’s] adult day care center. I brought him some jellybeans. Another day, I dressed up as a clown and paid him a visit. I didn’t tell him it was me. I kept asking him if he wanted to go on a date with me. He kept saying, ‘No, I’m busy later.’ When he got home that day, he told everyone about the crazy clown that came had come by.” Shirley’s mouth has formed into a tight smile, holding back her snickers. I can tell from her expression a punch line is coming and she loves the anticipation.
“I stepped into the room and you could just see the realization form on his face. ‘It was you?’ And we all just burst out into laughter. We just couldn’t stop laughing.” The two of us are almost in tears from laughing so hard when she finishes her last sentence. Her smile slightly fades as the clock chimes again. “I hope I don’t get Alzheimer’s,” she says, “and forget all of these memories.”
In their time together, Bob and Shirley adopted two loving dogs who truly enriched their lives. The first dog was Spice, a towering dog Bob brought home one day. Shirley recalls that she and Spice never got along in the beginning, as he constantly growled and scared her. One day, as Shirley tells it, Spice got into a fight with some of the neighborhood dogs. “He was all bloody and beaten up and Bob said, ‘Shirley, take Spice and clean him up.’ And I just knew I was going to die. But, I took him in and fixed him up and we became friend after that.” After this incident, Spice became a beloved family member, often helping the couple rid their house of mice. Bob remembers how the mice “were under the kitchen sink. And I would take him over and go ‘Do you want ‘em?’ And I would growl and ask him again, ‘Do you want ‘em?’ By this point, he was chomping at the bit and I’d open the cabinet and pots and pans would go everywhere.”
The second was Kate, an unwanted dog their daughter Denise brought home during her college years. One day, when Denise was at the soccer field, she stumbled upon a women trying to find homes for two dogs, Kate and Ally, named after the popular 1980’s show. When Denise brought them home, the couple soon fell in love and decided to keep Kate as their own. Ally stayed as well, becoming Denise and Kate’s constant companion.
In the time that Spice and Kate spent with the couple, they were friends, protectors, and ecstatic mouse hunters, wearing many hats just like the couple themselves. After all, what story is complete without a dog?
Adrienne Kubat is an English major at Christopher Newport University. She enjoys a good book, a warm cup of tea, and the thought of graduating with her Bachelors in Arts May 11, 2013. She currently resides in Newport News with her boyfriend, their cat Zoe, and their dog Teddy.
"The Simple Things"
films by Adrienne Kubat
Bob and Shirley Sokolinsky married on April 4, 1964 and have been together ever since, over 49 years. Through out the course of their eventful lives, they have collected many “hats,” each as colorful as the next. They are “Moo Mow” and “Pop Pop,” Mom and Dad, husband and wife, friend and neighbor. Shirley is a retired nurse and a member of the Red Hat Lady Society, an international group of fun-loving women over the age of 50. With over 18 unique red hats, being a Red Hat only emphasizes Shirley’s already out-going and enthusiastic personality. After serving in the military, coaching traveling soccer teams, and being inducted into the Virginia Soccer Hall of Fame, Bob is still active and helps manage a Virginia soccer association. They are avid collectors and craft show-goers, boasting an impressive collection of figurines and other treasures. The couple now lives in a cozy house right on the water, where they enjoy their retirement and family visits from children and grandchildren.
"How They Met" (4:28)
"Rockfish Rocks" (1:47)
"Soko Tacos" (1:13)