Book Excerpt: Chapter 1

An Excerpt From:
My Life As a Doormat
A novel by: Rose Gardner
Chapter One: The ArrivalThe year was 1980, a time of innocence compared with what would lay ahead. Marijuana was illegal and not available at the corner pharmacy with a doctor’s note. The 80’s: an era when “cell” referred to miniscule components comprising organic life, or a room in a jail. Cell phones were available but expensive, and used mostly by celebrities who had an entourage to carry them. Terrorist cells were obscure, not on the front page of every newspaper. The horror of 9/11 was in the distant future. Yet, despite the relevant safety of the times, I was terrified.Here I was, the elevator doors just closed behind me and I dragged my suitcases into the middle of the eighth floor hallway of the building that would be my home. Roberta’s distinct raspy voice hurling obscenities at my best friend Ce echoed through out the empty corridor. “I’m not your friggin bank,” Ce screamed back. When Ce had suggested Roberta as a third for our New York City apartment, I was hesitant because I didn’t know her very well. Apparently neither did Ce.

Page 2

My stomach clenched and I heard Mom’s words resound inside my head. “Come home Rose!”

“No,” I whispered as my mind raced and contemplated her suggestion. “NO!” I repeated. I took a deep breath and tried standing up straight while I pushed down my fear. My roomies screaming at each other like two rivals from a bad soap opera wasn’t a sign I should go home. Was it?

The yelling continued from behind the door of apartment 8A as my grip tightened around the two dilapidated luggage handles. What had happened to make Ce and Roberta sound like they were murdering each other?

“It’s just ’til next week until my checks clear,” Roberta raged.

“That’s what you said last week!” Ce howled. I felt immobilized but forced my feet to shuffle towards the apartment, dragging my over-stuffed suitcases. Lingering outside the door, I waited until all was quiet.

Silence. What was going on in there? Just as I was about to ring the bell another round of Roberta’s diatribe began. My finger froze in mid-air.

“Do I look like Wall Street?” Ce yelled, her shrill scream sent a shiver down my spine.

Page 3

“I should’ve stayed in the cab,” I whispered to the pale grey carpeting as my body stiffened. Returning to the lobby seemed like a safe alternative to the war zone inside my new home so I parked the two suitcases next to the door and headed back to the elevator bank. But then I froze. What if I get the unlucky elevator? Paralyzed with fear, my eyes darted back and forth from the closed elevator doors to my new residence.

Roberta’s voice bounced off the hallway walls while informing Ce she didn’t need the lousy apartment.

“FINE!” Ce screamed.

“FINE!” Roberta screamed back.

Five hours earlier I’d been safe and secure in my hometown of Coral Gables, Florida. But now, here I was in an unfamiliar hallway in the giant city of Manhattan, and wondering what the hell was I doing there?

Three months out of college, and much to Mom’s dismay, I decided to move to the Big Apple and be an actress. “You’re not going to live alone in that filthy, crime-ridden city!”

“I won’t be alone. I’m going to share an apartment.”

“With who?” Mom opened the oven door, and smoke billowed into the air. “Damn it, Rose, you’ve got me so upset that I’ve burnt dinner!” My mother blamed me for everything. “Blame” should’ve been her middle name, instead of Blanch.

Page 4

“Sorry,” I whispered, and then listened while she laundry listed every terrible thing I’d done since birth. “Sorry,” I repeated and accepted all her accusations as absolute truth. She was my mother after all, and I was a respectful child. I stared into space while she removed the charred chicken and placed it on the kitchen counter for her regular scraping ritual.

“With who?” she repeated. “Rose! Answer me.”

I rolled my eyes, and then left Mom in the kitchen with the burnt bird and soggy vegetables. Every day since graduation we’d had the same argument. I walked into my bedroom, and closed the door. I loved my mother but hated that she made me feel worthless.

“Rose!” I heard Mom shriek from the kitchen. I put my hands over my ears and tried muffling the sound of her voice. Was everyone’s mother like her, or just mine?

“Get out!” Ce’s voice zapped me back into reality.

I’d known Ce since kindergarten; when even at the tender age of six, little girls were bitchy and cliquey. Snotty brats clothed in frilly dresses pulled my

Page 5

hair and laughed at my bleached-out overalls and nautical-themed outfits. All of them; except for Ce. It was the second week of school when she approached me as I sulked alone in the far corner of the large playroom where daily gymnastics was held (and recess when it rained). While my classmates played checkers and patty-cake, I crouched alone on the far edge of a gym mat, coloring Wilma Flintstone red in a worn coloring book.

“Hi, I’m Chelsea!” The girl with blond pigtails dressed in a pale cornflower-blue dress that matched her eyes kneeled besides me and asked if I wanted to play Chinese checkers

“Sure.” Startled, I dropped my crayon as Chelsea took my hands in hers and pulled me up, then led me to a game next to the popular girls. One of them pointed and warned Chelsea she’d get my cooties as we sat Indian-style across from each other. “I don’t know how to play,” I blurted out. My eyes welled up while I tried blocking out the popular girls remark. Certain that Chelsea had heard her too and would go back to the clique of kids who already knew how to play games, and wore pretty dresses, I felt invisible.

Page 6

“That’s OK. I’ll teach you.” Chelsea smiled, and I noticed her two front teeth were missing, just like mine. She reached across the game board and squeezed my hand. “Ill teach you. She repeated. Her smile was reassuring.

“Thanks.” For the first time in my short little life I felt validated and from that moment forward we were best friends.

If you’ve enjoyed what you read, please click on to order the book.

And if you have a moment, please tell me what you think about this except from my new book by posting a comment in the ‘Leave a reply’ box below. Thanks so much. Rose.

By |2014-07-07T08:10:53+00:00July 7th, 2014|"My Life as a Doormat" Book|87 Comments


  1. Cindy Aglor July 7, 2014 at 9:45 AM - Reply

    So happy for you that you are writing your story, this is so brave! As a woman who was ( ok, can still be at times) a huge Doormat I am proud of you.
    As for what you have written, you hooked me and now I would love to read the book! I think and I feel as though you are writing for so many, representing a world of pain. This is not to pressure you but to encourage you. You are such a huge blessing Rose. Your page has made me feel stronger, encouraged, challenged and able….Able, finally.
    From my heart I thank you for your courage, keep on writing and when you are done I will ask you sincerely for a copy autographed by you!
    Cindy Aglor

    • ivytobin July 7, 2014 at 10:00 AM - Reply

      Hi Cindy, Thanks so much. The book is completed. I will be posting more info in the coming weeks about how to access the chapters. I truly appreciate your comment, and your viewership. Much love and gratitude. Rose

      • Cindy Aglor August 28, 2014 at 7:12 PM - Reply

        I still want the whole book!

        • ivytobin August 28, 2014 at 8:18 PM - Reply

          Hi Cindy, you’ll be able to read the whole book in late Oct., early November. That is when it will be released and will be available for purchase on this blog site, ( an autographed copy) or on line through Amazon, or Barnes and Noble. It will also be available electronically on Kindle and Nook. I will post more info as we get closer. Thanks so much for your continued support. <3 Rose

    • ivytobin November 24, 2014 at 6:17 PM - Reply

      Hi Cindy, my book is now available. Click on the link, and order through PayPal for an autographed copy. <3 Rose G

  2. Lisa Lanser Rose July 7, 2014 at 10:14 AM - Reply

    Reblogged this on Lisa Lanser Rose and commented:
    Sweet! My friend Ivy’s first chapter to her zesty novel, My Life as a Doormat

    • ivytobin July 7, 2014 at 3:42 PM - Reply

      Thanks for your continued support Lisa. <3 <3 <3

  3. Wanda July 7, 2014 at 10:16 AM - Reply

    Hi! I want to read the rest of the story! It takes courage to write your story and put it all out there for everyone to see, but I think you are doing a good thing. It can help you and me and a lot of others too!

  4. Laura July 7, 2014 at 11:00 AM - Reply

    Love it! So real I can relate. I gotta get the book!

  5. Espe July 7, 2014 at 2:08 PM - Reply

    This is great-you have a terrific writing style! One feels as if they are right there next to you, experiencing what you experience-and that takes a talented writer to accomplish that.

  6. Natasha July 7, 2014 at 7:17 PM - Reply

    I’d love to know how and when I can get your book. I’ve thought of writing my own story, mostly just for me as a cleansing experience, but also for my children so they may one day understand why I left their father. Keep up the great work on your page.

    • ivytobin July 8, 2014 at 9:13 AM - Reply

      Hi Natasha, I am in the process of getting “My Life as a Doormat” ready for release. I will keep you updated on my progress on the Society for Recovering Doormats FB page. Thanks so much for your interest and viewership. Rose

  7. Hazel Wright July 8, 2014 at 6:29 PM - Reply

    Love the start of your book, look forward to reading the rest

  8. suzanne July 9, 2014 at 9:04 AM - Reply

    Left me wanting to read more. Well done on the start of it! <3

  9. drterrysegal July 9, 2014 at 11:30 AM - Reply

    I’m in what will be a long line to buy an autographed copy of your book!! LOVE IT!

    • ivytobin July 10, 2014 at 8:28 AM - Reply

      Thanks so much Terry! I appreciate your encouraging, positivity. Many thanks <3 Rose

      • ivytobin November 24, 2014 at 6:28 PM - Reply

        Hi Terry, did you receive your autographed copy of My Life as a Doormat yet?

  10. ivytobin July 11, 2014 at 7:52 PM - Reply

    Thank you so much Cecile. Stay tuned ~ more is on it’s way . ❤️ Rose

  11. ivytobin July 11, 2014 at 8:01 PM - Reply

    Hi Jan, I think most people visiting The Society for Recovering Doormats had a mother like mine. May she rest in peace and bless her. BUT when you are young, and hormonal, and just want to ‘grow up’ our mothers were made from the same “mother KNOWS BEST” mold. I am so delighted my excerpt resonated with you and hope you will visit often. Thanks again. Rose

  12. Phyllis Duckett July 15, 2014 at 1:20 PM - Reply

    I love this. Please let us all know when and where we can purchase your book. .I truly want one. An autograph would be great too So pleased you have written this i’ll just about bet we all have things in common with you. thank you again and God Bless You

    • ivytobin July 15, 2014 at 9:02 PM - Reply

      Hi Phyllis , It will be my pleasure to let you know when it’s available. I also think many will find themselves relating to and feeling like they’re walking in Rose’s shoes. Thanks again for your support. ❤️ Rose G.

    • ivytobin November 24, 2014 at 6:30 PM - Reply

      Hi Phyllis, my book is available. Please click on the link in this message to order. If you live in the US, then order thru the PayPal option at the bottom of the page one you get to the link. Thanks so much for your interest. <3 Rose

  13. Amy July 15, 2014 at 9:19 PM - Reply

    Loved it!

    • ivytobin July 16, 2014 at 10:55 AM - Reply

      Thanks so much Amy. I appreciate your viewership. ❤️ Rose

  14. Robert Alvarez July 22, 2014 at 11:41 PM - Reply

    Wow! I saw your comment on THE Jerry Mahoney’s “Mommy Man” blog, and when I saw the name of your blog, I had to visit!

    We are definitely long-lost siblings, because I have been so very beyond done being a doormat for years!

    Regarding your book excerpt, you are Re-Minding me why I do not read them: because they are SO GOOD, that I hunger for more. I need to wake up early tomorrow morning, have yet to do my daily journal writing, and yet, here I sit, and I did not realize until I finished reading the excerpt that it sucked me right all the way in. I was there, and when Chelsea met Rose for the first time, you touched my heart. I would have loved a friend like Chelsea/Ce when I was in kindergarten, but I digress.

    • ivytobin July 23, 2014 at 10:42 AM - Reply

      Hi Robert, thanks so much for your encouraging feedback on my book excerpt. I will keep you and other’s posted on the book’s availability as soon as a firm date is set. Probably sometime in late Fall. Please visit me on FACEBOOK as well, where we are over 29,000 peeps strong. Wishing you a wonderful day, and thanks again for taking the time to stop by and comment. With gratitude.

      • ivytobin November 24, 2014 at 6:32 PM - Reply

        Hi Robert, My book is available on line Here’s the link

      • Robert Alvarez November 25, 2014 at 4:22 PM - Reply

        Thank you, as well, for the reply. Between my Psychic Practice, a temporary position of employment and NaBloPoMo, I have not been visiting other people’s blogs that often, but I appreciate the update, and I look forward to purchasing my copy. Perhaps an early Holiday gift?!

        • ivytobin November 25, 2014 at 5:50 PM - Reply

          Sounds great! If you want a personalized, signed copy, free shipping, please use the the PayPal option when purchasing. Thanks so much and happy Thanksgiving.

  15. Shae July 25, 2014 at 11:57 PM - Reply

    Love! Can’t wait to read the book! Thank you!

  16. Kendra July 27, 2014 at 7:04 AM - Reply

    Oh, kindergarten and cooties…weird name, burn on my arm, grandmother at music day, fingerprinting in dark colors…where is my Chelsea ?! Your excerpt brought me right back there. Ready to finish reading your story; keep us posted…..left me hanging at the apartment door wanting more. 👀

  17. Noel August 8, 2014 at 10:50 AM - Reply

    I see pieces of myself in every part of this excerpt. Would love to read the finished product. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • ivytobin August 8, 2014 at 5:59 PM - Reply

      Hi Noel, I will keep you posted when the book is available for purchase. Thanks so much for commenting. Very appreciated. Rose G.

    • ivytobin November 24, 2014 at 6:35 PM - Reply

      Hi Noel, the “finished product” is ready and available. Please follow this link for purchasing options.

  18. Mitch Poulos August 18, 2014 at 12:27 AM - Reply

    I’m captivated! Bringing back many memories of that time in NYC. Love your writing. Can’t wait to read the rest!

    • ivytobin August 18, 2014 at 3:04 PM - Reply

      Thanks so much Mitch. I will keep you posted. <3 Rose

  19. Debbie Kay August 28, 2014 at 11:19 AM - Reply

    Sounds like it is going to be just great. Reminds me of how I grew up – everything that went wrong in the house, even if I wasn’t in it, was my fault according to the mother (I no longer call her my mother, only by her first name). I’ve carried her words & then my first husband’s words, the one that broke my wrists & kneecaps, with me all my life-I can’t ride elevators, scared to death of bridges, etc., because I can’t get their gloom & doom statements out of my head. I’ve been a people pleaser all my life, gave up everything I ever truly wanted to do, and now, at 61, am still found lacking as my husband of 15 yrs has decided he doesn’t want to be married anymore. I don’t know how I am going to get through this one. Your book will be great for me to read. Thank you for your awesome posts, too! You have so much skill & caring.

    • ivytobin August 28, 2014 at 12:41 PM - Reply

      Wow Debbie Kay, I think my book will definitely resonate with you. I am wishing you many bright days ahead. It is hard to stay positive when so much bad stuff has been dumped on us..Believe me I know what you are going through. BUT Rose Gardner, the main character in ‘My Life as a Doormat’ shows that even the most challenged doormats can rise above and keep going. No matter what. Thanks for being a part of my on-line support group both here and on FaceBook. <3 Rose.

    • ivytobin November 24, 2014 at 6:37 PM - Reply

      Hi Debbie Kay, my book is now available. Here’s the link for purchasing options.
      <3 Rose G.

  20. Clare Seche August 28, 2014 at 11:51 AM - Reply

    Wow. And this is only the first installment? It reminds me of my childhood experiences but in a comforting way. I can’t wait to read the next excerpt from the book!

  21. Angela Mills August 28, 2014 at 3:31 PM - Reply

    That little girl sitting alone at school,trying to make herself invisible was me too.I will be buying your book and shedding a tear for a long insignificant little girl xx

    • Angela Mills August 28, 2014 at 3:33 PM - Reply

      Lonely not long*

    • ivytobin August 28, 2014 at 8:21 PM - Reply

      Hi Angela,
      Aw, there were so many of us. The book will be released in late Oct., Early Nov. I will keep you posted. Thanks for your support. <3 Rose

    • ivytobin November 24, 2014 at 6:39 PM - Reply

      Hi Angela, here’s the link to purchase my book. Thanks so much for your interest <3

  22. Jean Antonini August 28, 2014 at 9:01 PM - Reply

    Honestly I’m not much of a reader anymore cause I get bored . But I really want to read this one

  23. Vicki August 28, 2014 at 11:13 PM - Reply

    I can not only wait to read your book, I can’t wait to own it. Beautiful writing!!! Creates a very strong image in my mind. Congratulations!

    • ivytobin August 29, 2014 at 9:19 AM - Reply

      Hi Vicki,
      Thanks so much for your lovely comment. The book will be available late Fall. I will keep all posted. Thanks so much for being here. <3 Rose G.

  24. Nicole Kurishingal September 3, 2014 at 11:01 AM - Reply

    I feel like I’m reading my own life through your words. Exceptional writing, that touches my vulnerabilities. Which I usually keep well guarded behind a sarcastic and happy go lucky facade. I hope you continue writing, I am eagerly awaiting the next chapter.

    • ivytobin September 3, 2014 at 3:34 PM - Reply

      Hi Nicole, the whole book is finished and is in the process of being published. I am hoping for a late fall release date. ( Late October, early November). I will keep you posted on the blog site, and on FB when it is available thru AMAZON, Barnes & Noble (online) Kindle and Nook. Thanks so much for your viewership. <3 Rose

    • ivytobin November 24, 2014 at 6:43 PM - Reply

      Hi Nicole. Here’s the link for the entire book
      <3 Rose G.

  25. melissa September 18, 2014 at 3:54 PM - Reply

    I would love a copy

    • ivytobin September 18, 2014 at 7:02 PM - Reply

      So glad to read that Melissa. I will be posting about availability and how to order soon. Thanks so much for your viewership. <3 Rose

    • ivytobin September 21, 2014 at 12:21 AM - Reply

      Hi Melissa, the book will be available in late Oct. I will let everyone know how to purchase it as soon as it is released. Thanks so much for your support. Rose G. <3

  26. Patti Covey October 6, 2014 at 1:22 PM - Reply

    I too, an a recovering doormat & have been throughout my 58 years of life. I enjoy reading your posts & look forward to reading your book. Please let me know when it comes out & where I can purchase it. Thank you for sharing your life story. I feel I know you personally.

    • ivytobin October 6, 2014 at 8:05 PM - Reply

      Hi Patti, I will put a shout out up on this blog site, as well as on FB when my book is launched. Thanks so much for your continuing support. And yes, I feel like I know many of the people who visit me on line. I guess being a recovering doormat gives us all a common bond. <3

    • ivytobin November 24, 2014 at 6:44 PM - Reply

      Hi Patti, my book is now available for purchase on line. Here’s the link. <3

  27. gloria January 3, 2015 at 11:22 AM - Reply

    I moved to NYC in ’79… as an actress. Lived in Chelsea with my 2 room-mates. 🙂 Stayed till summer ’85. Wonder if we ever crossed paths…

    • ivytobin January 3, 2015 at 11:37 AM - Reply

      Hi Gloria, it is so possible! Did you ever wait tables or coat check? Did you work on any Woody Allen Films? Did you go to HB Studios? Does the name Stephan Strimpell ring a bell? It is such a small world. Since you probably lived a parallel life, I truly feel you’d so enjoy my book. <3 I'd be so interested in your thoughts. Wishing you a very happy New Year, and thanks for shouting out to me.

  28. Marion Abel March 8, 2015 at 2:46 PM - Reply

    I cannot connect with your first chapter from personal experience. I have completely different reasons for becoming a people pleaser… Actually quite the opposite as did you. But I love the idea of forming a society, and enjoyed your writing very much. Thank you for sharing your story. AND it’s getting out of the habit that is the common bond here, regardless of how we got into the mess in the first place . I do need help in this department!!

    • ivytobin March 8, 2015 at 2:52 PM - Reply

      Hi Marion, thanks so much for taking the time to read my excerpt and for commenting. We all have our own stories to tell, and I am glad you enjoyed reading my excerpt and perhaps get a glimpse how people pleasing got it’s roots in a completely different circumstance then yours. The bottom line is that everyone who is a part of our group has the commonality of people pleasing and engaging in doormat behavior at one time or another. It truly is unimportant how we got here, just that we are all here: standing up, speaking out and cheering each other on. Thanks again for your viewership. <3

  29. Cathie Owenby April 9, 2015 at 11:51 PM - Reply

    Just read the first chapter and as soon as I post my comment I’m ordering your book! Rose, even though I’m older I feel such a connection with you. Until I started reading your web pageI didn’t recognize that I’m a “doormat.” Wow, how wonderful that you’ve opened my eyes! No one would believe what a drab piece of work I’ve really been. I’m compelled to change and live my life with gusto! Thank you so very much!!! <3

    • ivytobin April 10, 2015 at 8:52 AM - Reply

      Hi Cathie, your comment made my day! I am so glad you enjoyed the first chapter. I received your order for my book. SO as soon as I finish my reply to you I am getting your book ready for shipping 🙂 I’m so happy my site has helped you find your voice and compel you to go for the gusto in life. Bravo !!!!! Thanks again for shouting out and for purchasing my book. Have a great weekend <3 Rose G.

  30. Colleen March 27, 2016 at 10:45 PM - Reply

    I really enjoyed it…

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