Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Now when I look at the adults in this picture they look so young to me. Back then they looked so old to me. Back then I thought they knew nothing. Now I know they knew everything-everything that matters-everything that touches most everyone at one point or another-love, sorrow, loss, disappointment, joy, worry, and so much more-so much more than a young teenie bopper watching TV on the couch even understands.
I've come to realize what 'out on the range' meant to them, sitting in their enamel chairs or on seats from a school desk coming from our clubhouse-with their dogs resting nearby. Just as I felt that was my time to be rid of them-I believe they felt the same way. That was their time to come together without children-to talk, share some stories and laughs, have a few beers and snacks-relax-unwind-before they had to go do it all again. Looking at them, I wish I could hear their conversation now as an adult.The more I look at this picture the more I can imagine crickets chirping-a breeze sifting through my aunt's pine trees-the damp air coming from sucker creek not far away-the fire cracking-and glorious stars shining.That sure beats watching TV. But you never could have convinced me back then.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Sometimes having a father as a funeral director led to some unforgettable memories!
Most people knew my father as a funeral director-a caring man who took great pride servicing families in their time of sorrow. I love this picture of my father because it's about the only picture I have where he is not wearing a tie. He's kidding around, enjoying some down time-showing his sense of humor. Growing up around a funeral home offered a unique awareness of the frailty of life-and some unforgettable moments-some quite hilarious-like the time I went off to college in the hearse and never thought a thing about it. When it was time to go to that community college, my father just happened to be going that way to pick up a remains to bring back home. So we loaded up the back of the hearse with all of my stuff and off we went. The school didn't have dorms on campus so I was renting an apartment with four other girls I'd never met.(This was way before facebook)! Adding to the plot was my hair. At that time The Munsters was the #1 show on TV. The vehicle used in the show resembled a hearse. Lily Munster had hair down to her waist with a strip of white down each side in the front. Well I had hair down to my waist just like Lily's but my strip wasn't white-it was a blondish shade. So not only did I arrive in a hearse-I looked like Lily Munster! At first, my landlord thought the hearse was a joke. My roommates loved it. After we unloaded everything, my father and I jumped back inside the hearse and went to dinner-parking right in front of a spaghetti place nearby!
Friday, June 6, 2014
I can't imagine summers when I was growing up without my Keds sneakers. My sneakers went everywhere with me as I played with my cousins-down to the creek and on to the raft my uncle made out of telephone poles; in the barn and up into the haylofts to walk across the plank bridge connecting the two; across the road and down to the pine grove-and some days down further into the woods to the river to go swimming; out in the field to play baseball; to the front yard of my grandparents' farmhouse to climb trees, make bows 'n arrows out of some sort of a rubbery, flexible stalk-like weed, play hide 'n seek and red light-green light, and. of course, spend time in our chicken coop clubhouse-day in and day out. I was certain my Keds made me run faster-jump higher-stop quicker. They took me through hayfields and mud; cow pies and creek grass. They stayed with me when I'd kneel down to get a drink of water at the bubble-a natural bubble of very cold water squeezing out of the flat rock. They never failed me. If they were wet when I went to bed-they were dry in the morning and if there had been mud on the soles-the mud had magically disappeared.
When I think about those Keds I realize I was lucky to have grown up in a time when sneakers were sneakers. They came in basic colors. Mine were blue-always blue with white laces. I didn't need super cushioning or aero dynamic soles or neon sparkles or sci-fi designs, zippers, or Velcro. My sneakers were all I needed. My blue Keds took me wherever I wanted to go. They did make me run faster than the wind. I did jump higher than an Olympian when wearing my sneakers. And not that I even thought about such a thing back then-but I'm certain my Keds were economical-unlike today's weird and overpriced versions of sneakers.
Saturday, May 24, 2014
Besides Laura Ingalls Wilder and Louisa May Alcott books, I loved reading the adventures of The Bobbsey Twins when growing up. This was a series about two sets of twins in the same family-Bert & Nan and Flossie & Freddie. I think I read "The Bobbsey Twins at Big Bear Pond" a hundred or so times. I never realized it back then but those kids never aged.
I recently found out that Laura Lee Hope was not the author. In fact she never existed. The Bobbsey Twins was created by Edward Stratemeyer who wrote the first book in that series and outlined many of the books that followed.
I discovered Mr.Stratemeyer also created The Rover Boys, The Hardy Boys, Tom Swift, Nancy Drew-150 popular series in all under 100 pen names. This was such a surprise to me. As a lover of the Nancy Drew series I grew up thinking Caroline Keene penned Nancy Drew. I guess it doesn't matter. Just because there never was a Laura Lee Hope or Caroline Keene doesn't change anything. To me they will always be the authors of books I loved. Their names are part of my childhood.
While discovering some author names connected to books I grew up with were as fictitious as the storylines, I find it amazing that one man created so many different book series each with unique plots and characters without the aid of a computer. That means he had no delete button, no cut and paste or forward, no pdfs or jpegs or email or all the rest we take for granted.
Despite all of that, I don't see where this Mr. Stratemeyer-or Laura Lee Hope or Caroline Keene-or whatever you want to call him-was stifled. He pumped out stories and created characters that remain in the minds and hearts of kids now grown-ups. Maybe because he couldn't spend his time surfing, texting, posting, pinning, emailing, commenting, liking, he simply wrote stories-so many good stories.
Friday, May 16, 2014
Monday, May 5, 2014
Sunday, April 20, 2014
I have no clue how I ended up with this treasured piece of jewelry-a pin shaped like a pony that belonged to my grandmother. I remember her wearing it on special occasions-more often than not pinned to a gray/black design knit dress. Besides her wedding band, there were only two other pieces of jewelry I remember her wearing. One was another pin-a small swirl of silver circles entwined about each other and the other-a small, round silver watch (minus the band) on a chain that she wore around her neck-again, on special occasions.
Now tarnished and frail, I keep the pin inside a box underneath some cotton batten in my dresser drawer. I remember the pin from back when my grandparents lived in their farmhouse. My grandmother kept it on top of an old dresser in her bedroom. There were no diamonds or rubies sitting next to it. No array of rings or endless strings of pearls. That speaks volumes about the woman with the little pony pin. Even if she could have afforded all the shiny bobbles, she wouldn't have bothered with them. She worked hard every day-using her hands to do endless tasks. She wore many hats. None required shiny bobbles.
Funny what ends up meaning more than other things that cost a hefty sum. Things like kids' artwork and school papers and hand-scribbled cards and ticket stubs and photos. I have an old mason jar sitting on a shelf in the kitchen. It's stuffed with stones and feathers and pine cones and leaves and twigs and acorns and who knows what else. Every little thing in that jar has a memory attached to it. Each little thing in that jar is priceless-just like my grandmother's little pony pin-now tarnished and frail.