Tag Archives: reminiscences

Mairzy Doats and Dozy Doats

From the time I was born, I had feeding issues. Those were the days when breastfeeding was on the decline and my parents had difficulty finding a milk-product I could digest. Cow’s milk made me sick so they began testing the potential of other similar milks.goatsEventually, they settled on goat’s milk which enabled me to thrive. Those were also the days when goat’s milk wasn’t sold in every grocery store. I’m not sure where they found goat’s milk in our relatively large city because I doubt it was readily available … I’m just glad they found it!

Once I graduated to solid food, my belly matured enough that I didn’t have serious food challenges. However, there were plenty of foods I didn’t care to eat. (Truthfully, my daddy was a picky eater and I know I must have watched him turn up his nose at multiple foods, especially vegetables. I learned from him … but then I ventured out on my own. He’d eat peas and lima beans, while I’ve always gagged on them!) Continue Reading →

Outside The Touch of Time

A dear friend and I try to share lunch at a local restaurant at least every couple weeks. She and I have known each other for many years and our lives have traversed similar paths. Over the last year or so, both of her brothers have died so that now, only she and her 88 year old mother remain.

BrosSist

FROM: http://tiny.cc/411mux

The privilege and joy of having siblings doesn’t end when we grow up and move away from our birth families. In my view, siblings become more precious in our lives as we age; they especially take on added importance after our parents’ deaths.

For my friend, this is certainly true. She’s facing the frightening prospect that once her mother is gone, she will be like an unmoored ship, bereft of the family connections she has enjoyed her entire life since she was brought into this world as the youngest among her siblings. Continue Reading →

Certifiably Married

Quick question … for those of you who are married, do you know where your marriage certificate is? This document, most often provided to the married couple shortly after “I Do” and “I Will” have been spoken, is often a fancy piece of parchment that notes the names of the married partners and the place where their vows were exchanged. Signatures of the witnesses and person who officiated are often included on the document.antique-marriagecertificate-graphicsfairysm

I love the marriage certificate pictured above – apparently from the 1800s – because of its elegant simplicity and its implicit invitation to attach photos of the bride and the groom! Unlike many of the digital documents produced today for births, marriages, etc., this above document is artful and would be a beautiful keepsake to display. Continue Reading →

Social Networking Before Facebook

Facebook … so many people depend on this expansive social network … it can even become an addiction where its unavailability feels like withdrawal for some.

Then there are thousands of others who eschew the network … they consider it trivial, they prefer their personal information and social connections not be publicly available. Launched in February of 2004, the Facebook network boasts over 1.3 billion active users and over 2 billion registered users.facebook 1

Though I try to limit my time on Facebook, I’m an “active” user. Once or twice a day, I open the browser window to catch up with whatever stories have accumulated in my timeline. I don’t often post, as such, but my blog posts are always cross-posted from WordPress to Facebook. That’s about the measure of my use. Continue Reading →

Practicing Peace In An Age Of War

Reminiscing with my mother today (via phone), I was reminded of the long-ago world she and my dad shared. As their world had convulsed from war to a tenuous peace, they began their life together 69 years ago this week.

I had asked her a couple questions about my dad who, when I was a young child, attended Bible school. This would have been after World War II, after he’d married my mom and after their first two or three children had arrived.

NAS Army

about 1943

To put Dad’s hunger for education into perspective, it’s important (I think) to mention he didn’t graduate from high school. (He attended one year before quitting.) Instead of further schooling, he chose to take a job driving a truck and delivering furniture.

But following the war, he had renewed motivation to expand his understanding of the world. Having traveled to Europe (while in the Army), having seen and experienced horrible things, he was – on his return – an eager student whose further study was the natural result of witnessing the tumult faraway and having a curious mind that hoped to sort out some of what he’d seen. Continue Reading →

Set a Spell

It’s easy to talk about how great education was a generation ago. People do it all the time, and they don’t even have to offer but maybe one or two anecdotes to “prove” what they see as the abysmal condition of education today. Now I’m not going to knock today’s education (nor am I going to compare it to the good ol’ days). I think both eras likely typified instances of excellence and shoddiness … depending on multiple factors.

sometimesIn my case, I’m confident I received a relatively high quality education, though I’d venture to say there were faddish practices embraced in the 1950s and 1960s just as there are today. If I have a complaint, it is that education often becomes captive to trends; I’ve wondered if it’s because teachers get bored teaching the same material every year. Rather than stick with what they know works (can we say phonics?), they eagerly adopt “new, improved” methods. Continue Reading →

Time In A Bottle

A number of years ago when my parents traveled in Germany, they sent a gift of a cuckoo clock back to the States for me. Having grown up in a home with a cuckoo clock, I have always loved them! My Beloved … not so much, but like many of my idiosyncrasies, he tolerates them because he loves me. Wherever we’ve lived, I’ve positioned the cuckoo clock – in deference to him – on a wall far enough away that its twice-hourly soundings don’t wake him at night.

2014-12-26 19.42.25In the years since our clock was initially delivered, it has suffered occasional mistreatment as well as the expected insults of old age. (Almost immediately upon arrival, one of the deer antlers at the top was broken and had to be glued.) Pulling the chains to raise the weights is necessary to keep the clock running, but children who watch this being done tend to follow suit and frequently yank too hard. As a result, the clock has required several trips to the clock-maker for repairs.

When I was a kid, the cuckoo in our home had two weights hanging from chains – one to regulate the pendulum, the other to turn the gears (behind the face) that move the hands forward and trigger the cuckoo’s action. It was a relatively small clock but sweet-sounding. I remember many a night in childhood hearing that clock sound as I lay abed. Continue Reading →

Is This The Fairy Tale?

Looking back, there’s this overwhelming realization of how young we were … he was 21, I was five days shy. We were fresh-faced, dazzled by the idea of joining our lives together, and fearless about the unknowns our future held for us. Here’s a picture on our wedding day. (Did I mention fresh-faced? Ha! How d’ya like that bow?) We were heart-and-soul smitten and (using today’s parlance) in luuvv. (Say it with a deep voice.)

DLORLOWhat in heavens did we know about love? That’s a reasonable question! The best answer, I suppose, is that both of us were stubborn enough – once we’d said our vows – we were going to stick together no matter what. We’ve had our share of both laughter and tears, and how we’ve been blessed!

Forty-five years is more than twice the years we’d lived prior to marriage. But in the annals of anniversary history, 45 isn’t particularly significant … it’s just one of those milestones on the road to 50. As I thought about it, I realized there are a few other things uniquely related to 45 and I offer my observations on those. Continue Reading →

Sweater Odd-iquette

Driving in town today, I noticed a sign for a local boutique that advertised “Christmas Sweater Sale 80% Off.” The image that immediately came to mind was of something hideous, a combination of green and red and white (and maybe blue) with cartoonish figures and gaudy objects protruding from the weave. You know what I’m talking about … you’ve seen them too.

SweaterThis sweater at left is a silly one, but it’s not crude. (There are plenty that are.) For many years, I’ve wondered what the thought process is when a person decides to wear one of these. My sense is such sweaters often come as gifts … causing the recipient to feel compelled to wear it (at least once).

Green happens to be my favorite color and I actually love the green of this sweater, but that ridiculous figure ruins the whole thing. Place one small wrapped gift on it and I’d be okay. Anything more than that and it’s too much. I can understand why stores advertise these at 80% off. Even at that bargain level, I’m shocked to know someone pays money for them.

I had a sweatshirt once with a picture of a Christmas tree and gifts on the front. It was about as crazy as I could allow myself, but I recall the first time I wore it, I was terribly self-conscious. After several launderings, the colors got more muted and that was fine with me.
Continue Reading →

A Full Life and Long

When I first heard of P.D. James (many long years ago), I initially thought she was a he. I mean, how many women prefer to be known by their initials rather than their actual names? When I heard yesterday that Baroness James had died at the age of 94, I can’t deny I thought with regret about how her most illustrious character and protagonist of fourteen James novels, Adam Dalgliesh, would fare. Yes, James did (more or less) retire Dalgliesh when the last mystery novel (The Private Patient) in which he was featured debuted in 2008. But for readers of the fourteen books, his persona is so familiar, so real! (Did I mention he’s a poet?)

Photo by Sage Goodwin http://www.cherwell.org/culture/interviews/2013/10/19/profile-pd-james

Photo by Sage Goodwin
http://www.cherwell.org/culture/interviews/2013/10/19/profile-pd-james

When I began to be more serious about my writing in adulthood, several others in the writing world – who knew about publishing – told me mystery-writing was an easier avenue for achieving publication success. I read some mystery/detective whodunnits and a ton of Ellery Queen before I acknowledged these weren’t my cup of tea.

In something of a surprise, I stumbled across P.D. James who (I discovered) had begun writing detective stories as a self-taught “apprenticeship” she hoped would assist her development into a “serious” novelist. My aspirations mirrored hers. Before I’d read one book through, I was hooked. Her cautionary comment became a watchword for me:  “a detective story is very easy to write badly but difficult to write well.Continue Reading →

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