Tag Archives: family

Oh, For the Good Old Days!

I’m sitting here at 3:50 a.m. Sunday morning, wide awake and thinking about the old days when the world looked so much larger than it does today. Of course, I was so much smaller then and had never been outside the small environment of Highway 81 and the childhood that now seems to have been a magic time. Just one old woman thinking back to days that now look perfect at a time when there is not much perfection in this expanded world we live in.

Our radio played only the good things back then. “The Shadow knows, heh, heh, heh”, Bobby Benson as the young (and I was certain HANDSOME) star of our favorite show, B Bar B. In retrospect I can remember that the world that looks so perfect and small back then wasn’t really all that small or all that perfect. This country was engaged in a “Police Action” called Korea at the time, but since we only listened to the radio when our favorite shows were on we were sheltered from a lot of the world news.

I did hear some of the news at selected times when the family was together and we all listened to the radio. TV wasn’t around this area at the time so we listened to George Burns and Gracie Allen, Abbot and Costello, Jack Benny, still some of my favorite people who remain alive to me via the now seemingly necessary television, on now and playing some of the old songs that came along after I was grown and more in tune with the news of the day.

I have found a TV channel that plays some very old shows with George and Gracie, Jack, and on Saturdays even Abbot and Costello. I still find the first two fun, but the slapstick of Abbot and Costello seems a bit extreme now. There is too much real violence surrounding us now to get the same laughs at two men hitting each other with what would be called lethal weapons these days. The difference is that back then there were no school shootings, no daily reminders of brutality against everyone that is not just exactly like us. Back then I had no idea that one day I would be typing on a computer, a contraption that wouldn’t fit in anyone’s home back then, a very large contraption that filled entire rooms and had to be kept cool to prevent fire and explosion. Now I use a laptop or a tablet, small, compact, easy to use when it is working okay. This is something that was not thought of back then when my world outside the Highway 81 environment was delivered by radio.

I know I gripe a lot about the frequent breakdowns of all electronics. I’m fussing right now because my early morning clumsiness has my fingers on the wrong keys and typing nonsense pages while my brain is trying to tell my body that it is morning albeit a very early morning, and I shouldn’t put so much pressure on the keys. The TV is a Fire TV, also known as a “smart” TV, and I’m listening to John Denver singing “It Makes Me Giggle”. My life seems to be oriented around all of the “smart” electronics around me and I don’t always like that. It’s difficult for me to depend on electronics that always seem to break down. I now read books that I don’t even hold in my hands, but can read on my phone or mainly on my Fire tablet. I used to turn pages by using my fingers to turn the page. I usually had to lick the fingers to get traction on the page I was reading so I could turn it more easily. Now my hands have problems holding on to those wonderful books, so they are all loaded on my Amazon Fire tablet. To turn the page I simply tap the screen with my finger and the next page appears. If I fall asleep while reading the tablet turns itself off, saving my page until I turn it back on. Incidentally, while writing the above paragraph i had to delete rows and rows of “r’s” that my finger tapped accidently. Didn’t even have to lick my finger to make those lines and lines of r.

Oh, for those good old days right now. Memories partly faded by the ravages of time, typing keys so sensitive that I can fill several pages with the wrong stuffrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr — case in point, but caught before it went very far. I’m going to stop while just a little bit in control. And I’m going to look for photos from those old days, if indeed I can hit the right buttons to look for them!

And today will be the good old days 20 years from now! Imagine that!


One Liner Wednesday on Thursday

I just read Lauren’s post on LSS — and I’ve forgotten the rest. Sorry Lauren. Brain freeze I think. Anyway, it was a story about ancestors and it broke my heart to see that she didn’t get to know most of hers. I grew up around family, so rather than use her formula I’ll just talk about that and what it’s like to be one person in a family of hundreds.

First of all I have four brothers, three of whom are still living. We lost Steve two years ago. There are also two sisters, both living. I have three living children, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. My parents are deceased and the family is scattered but we are still close.

My mother was from a family of thirteen children. No, that’s not a typo, she had ten brothers and two sisters and one of my aunts still lives. She will be 93 on Monday and we will celebrate on Sunday.

Altogether I had close to 75 first cousins, most of us living with a one mile radius of each other. I am including both sides of the family here. My dad had one brother and five sisters, all deceased now, and one of his sisters married one of my mothers brothers. So among these cousins, five are double first cousins.

I grew up on Highway 81, a little known area with a well known name — Rome, KY. Well, Rome is a well known name and the reaction from people if we told them we grew up in Rome was priceless. Most of my cousins lived along that stretch of highway and they were my first friends and playmates. We went to school in a four room brick building — St. Martins School. It no longer exists but the church is still there and as far as I know it’s going strong with several of my cousins still in the congregation.

Our house was just across a pasture from my maternal grandparents and we were in and out of their house almost as much as our own. I can remember crossing that pasture, avoiding the cows and bull when possible, and spending summer afternoons with my grandmother, watching the soap operas on the only TV in the family for a long time but only after helping her with the dinner dishes. For us dinner was the noon meal and the evening one was supper. My grandmother was also a great cook and between my mother and her plus my paternal grandmother I learned to be a pretty good cook myself. We all canned vegetables and fruit in season and enjoyed opening those jars all winter long. Grandmother and Papa had a farm and in addition the cows they had chickens and pigs, all of which ended up on our tables. We also had fresh eggs every day, and after Dad got our first cow and pig and Mother got a house full of chickens we were pretty independent as far as groceries went. I can remember churning the cream into some of the best butter ever. During the autumn season we gathered black walnuts that fell from the tree at the end of our property and produced enough each year for most of the family. Mother sold the extra eggs and butter to the neighbors and used that money for Christmas gifts for all of us. Not much extra money those days but my parents made sure none of us knew it. Since everyone else was in the same financial boat we never knew we were dirt poor. We had what we needed and some of the things we wanted.

My paternal grandparents lived a couple of miles away and had a dairy farm. I loved going out to the milking barn with Mom and Pop, the name they were known as even to strangers. Pop would hook most of the cows up to the milking machines but Mom had almost a dozen that she had raised from newborn and she refused to hook them to a machine, preferring to hand milk them twice a day every day. Dairy farmers don’t get days off, or even a morning or afternoon off. Mom also raised geese and plucked them periodically to make the feather pillows she kept her entire family well stocked with. From her I not only learned to bake bread and fruit cobblers, but also how to save every scrap of fabric to make quilts. I’m still making quilts now even though my family are already well stocked. They each still love receiving new ones once in a while.

We have a treasure trove of stories and some of my personal ones are almost unbelievable these days. I learned to walk and talk by nine months of age and then proceeded to teach my older brother my wicked ways. He soon learned some tricks of his own though and I became the follower while he was my much adored leader. If he said do it I listened. He and a neighbor boy gave me my first haircut one night when Mother was shopping and Dad was “watching” us. Not sure how it happened but Dad didn’t catch the haircutting. We caught it though when Mother got home and saw the results.

After we moved from town out to the house on Highway 81, my brother had the job of burning the trash. I should add here that the land we lived on had been bought from one of my uncles, and he still had a barn full of hay behind our house. His plan was to leave the barn there until he had used all the hay and then tear it down, giving us more space for whatever Dad decided to do. He didn’t get the chance to tear the barn down or even to use up the hay though. My brother watched Dad demonstrate how the cinder blocks our house was being built of wouldn’t burn and brother was watching as Dad lit a match and placed it on a block watching until it burned itself out without burning the block. Brother decided to show me how safe our house was but he used a little bit of imagination there, stuffing the holes in the block with some of the loose hay before lighting the match he had kept after burning the morning trash. That barn full of dry hay went up fast and brother pulled me into the hen house to hide, while they had to pull Mother away from the barn when she couldn’t see us. She kept trying to run in and save us but one of the fire fighters kept her back while others went in to look. That was the worst trouble he ever got me into, but I still followed every place he went. Even after the rest of the siblings grew big enough to play with us, big brother remained just as today, my hero!

When he started to school I did homework with him, so when my turn came to go to the big red brick school and we were both in the same room I already knew the first grade material and again did my homework with him. Only one time did one of the teachers put me in the same class with him and she told me many years later that she wanted to see if I could beat his top scores in everything. I never tried to beat him. If I had I have no doubt to this day that he would have beat me in a much different way.

We had family reunions each summer even though we lived in each others pockets all year. But to get that many people together for barbecue chicken and all the trimings was a treat in itself. Home made ice cream for dessert was the food of the gods.

Lauren mentioned going through Ancestry.com to find her family and one of my sisters did that as well. What she found was probably a lot of fairy tales, but according to that we are descended from royalty on both sides of the family. Henry VIII on Mother’s side, and Attila on Dad’s. Not too sure if I should even say that since neither of them had a claim for doing good deeds.

So many memories are coming to me now, but it would take the rest of the week to write them all down. I have been writing some of them down for my daughter since Christmas, one chapter a week and will continue doing so until I run out of life or memory, whichever comes first. My daughter used to sit at my Grandmother’s feet and listen to her stories, my granddaughter sat at my Mother’s side and did the same. I am writing my stories down in journals and online as a way to keep them alive for anyone who wants to read about their past and the wonderful people they are descended from. And I am aware that my grammar is all bad now, but it’s easier for me this way. After all, I’m closing in on 80 years and don’t have the time to worry about grammar now. I still have some quilts to finish

Sometimes Plans Have

Aarrrgh! Tried to change the title, or at least finish it and it seems to be stuck there. Should have been “Sometimes Plans Have To Be Changed”, referring to the fact that our plans to visit my older brother had to be put on hold. He has been in treatment for cancer for a few months now, but Saturday night he fell and on Sunday had surgery to repair a broken hip. He is doing well but will be in therapy for a few months and visitors are limited as far as how many and how long. I’m still having trouble convincing myself of my own age and since he is older it’s even harder to think of.

Speaking of age, I was talking with my older son about my plans to live another 25 years which would take me to 103 years old (thanks to Marilyn Armstrong for doing the math for me). We then got on the subject of birthdays and realized my youngest will not live to see his 50th birthday. He’s a Leap Year baby and so far has had 13 birthdays, so if he actually had a 50th actual day he would be 200 years old. Now THAT is old! And take my word for it, I don’t want to be around to help celebrate that one.

I’ve been talking to my aunt a lot lately and we always take a trip down memory lane while we are talking. I enjoy that a lot since we were both raised in the country our backgrounds are similar. And since she is only a few years older than me we were both still riding the same school bus when I began first grade. She, of course was in high school but always saved a seat next to her for me. She could always tell what kind of day I was having when I got on the bus and always made it better for me.

Last night’s conversation turned to the meals we had on the farm. Marie is the youngest of 13 children while I’m second oldest of 7, and what began as commentaries on the UK/LSU football game Saturday and led to talking about our brothers. None of them ever played on any team, not so much because they weren’t interested but when you spend the day working on a farm there just isn’t time enough to play games. That of course led to feeding everyone.

Marie is my mom’s youngest sister and since there were only three girls that meant 9 boys, the 10th having died as a baby, and they only hired help during harvest. Meals were always large in the family but at times like that they had to prepare enough for an even larger crowd. My family meaning hubby and kids didn’t have as many in the family but we did hire help and I was the cook. I learned a lot from my mom and even more from both my grandmothers. So, when I began cooking at home I also learned to cook for nine of us, not a bad number, and we always had to cook a lot of food. It makes me wonder how my grandmother ever managed with her group, but I can remember Sunday dinner at her house when growing up and no one ever left hungry. That training helped me after I married a farmer and became the chief cook and bottle washer for all of the farm hands. The numbers were different each time so one of my brothers who lived with us one summer to earn a bit of money once told someone I would look out the window and count the cars and then throw more beans in the pot to make it all stretch. If it had only been that easy!

I miss those days, my garden, even canning the fruit and vegetables each summer. Everything was fresh and organic and the feeling of satisfaction the following winter when I would see all those jars of food on the shelves and know that whatever came along could be met and even enjoyed because we would be fed and have enough leftovers to share with anyone who might still be hungry.

This seems to be rambling along due to my talks with my aunt and the memories and hours hours we spend talking but we both cherish those memories and hope some of the younger members of the family will learn more about the generation that will be gone after she leaves us. We have to learn from the past before we can plan for the future.

October and all it Brings

This is an unusually busy month for me. Has been for several years. And today is not one of my best days because on this date in 1970 I was lying in a hospital bed. At six a.m. (6:00 a.m.) that day I had given birth to my fifth baby and she wasn’t doing well at all. The doctor ordered bed rest for me and I was not allowed to even go down to the nursery window to see her. At eleven p.m. (11:00 p.m.), after being given sleep meds and finally getting some sleep I was awakened by a soft breeze that passed across my face accompanied by the sweet smell of flowers like I have never smelled before or since in my lifetime. About 15 minutes later my hubby came in the room and I understood what had happened before he said a word. My long awaited daughter, Jennifer Marie, was gone. Her time of death was 11:00 p.m.

This is also the month of birthdays of others in my family, all still living and much loved. The wonderful Aunt Marie, the only aunt living now will be 91 years young on October 17. She will probably outlive us all. My youngest sister, Meg, who informed me she is now drawing Social Security, has a birthday on October 16 (and of course I would NEVER tell her age!), and my older brother, the one who got me into so much trouble in our younger days, will be 80 on October 22. OMG, 80 years — that’s older than some Kentucky dirt! Since he teases me on each birthday I will naturally point his age out to him. I might wait until he has taken the first bite of the chocolate amaretto cake I will bake for him. My cake was always an angel food cake with lemon glaze but his? Devil’s food when we were younger but now, since the discovery of the chocolate amaretto cake that is the one Mom baked for him. I took that cake to a family party one year when we were celebrating all of the birthdays and most of the men in the family were gathered around it with spoons, eating the glaze that had collected around it, almost pure alcohol since the amaretto was added after the chocolate melted. I have to admit it makes a delicious fudge on its own, so I make a double recipe of that part.

I should also mention that October is MS Awareness month. I’ve had MS since I was eleven, so have run the gamut of emotions where that is concerned. No one I know had ever heard of MS when it reared its ugly head, but now it is better known because there are some drug protocols that can help make life easier for those who can take them. I personally am so sensitive to medications that I don’t try them. I tried one several years ago and it threw me into some heart problems, a new twist from the blackouts and falls other meds had caused. After reading the tiny, miniscule print on the information packet that came with that medicine I saw that one in 100,000 people would or could have heart problems from taking it. Hmm, not exactly one in a million, but in this case I would just as soon not be the one in 100,000! How lucky can one person be?

MS is still an orphan disease, meaning it fits no category but its own, is incurable still, and at one time most people with the advanced version that I now have didn’t live very long. I plan on only another 25 years myself, but then I never really wanted to live past 100 before now. My math skills are nonexistent, so add the 25 to the 78 and maybe someone can tell me how old I will be then. Or, I could get out my calculator but that would mean getting up out of my chair and I’m just too tired to do that.

I am going to attempt some photos now but don’t hold your breath. Turning blue is not a good thing for people.

Random Thoughts

Can you believe February is half over already?  I’m still not mentally prepared for the year 2020 and we are one and one half months into it now!  I know I’m getting older and I was already older than dirt with the possible exception being the plant that committed suicide in my window last week.  It was planted in fresh new dirt and had to be tossed this morning.  Ingrate! I have to admit the air in here is dry but the humidifier has been running full force long enough for my alligator skin to look fresh.  Sigh!  Gone from the plant lady with the green thumb to plant suicide lady in just a few days!  And theoretically, the year has just begun!

Now I need a lot of luck here.  I began this post 13 hours ago, lost it by hitting a button of some kind, found it and tried again 10 hours ago, lost again, and now let’s see if the third time is really the charmed one.  I found it again and thank God for drafts!  Oh no, it just went away again but came back.  The draft I’m thankful for is the one WP saves to the site, not necessarily the one that is coming thru my walls and windows at the moment.  I have too many of that kind and they just make me very, very cold most of the time.  I have a problem with being cold anyway, so the drafts coming thru the walls aren’t exactly the welcome type.  I must have thin blood or something like that, but then I’ve had this almost all my life.  Some of my earliest memories are standing on the heat register as often as I could find one that my sibs weren’t hoarding.  Needless to say here, the kind of heat we had back in the day didn’t do much to warm the house — or maybe it just wasn’t turned up enough for us.  Mom was always extremely hot natured so it had to be kept comfortable for her.

Okay, a few more thoughts.  Hmmm, maybe not.  I had several this morning when I was awake and moving around before the rest of the world knew whether it was still intact or not.  Guess it still is in most places.  Not sure how long that will last though.  I really think the world leaders should take my advice about all this fighting and bombing that’s going on.  Let the leaders do the fighting and leave our young people home to grow up and have the chance to be as crazy as most of our honorable (?) leaders are!  They can choose their weapons from every weapon of personal injury known since time began EXCEPT FOR the nuclear, atomic, and other weapons of mass destruction.  Personal destruction only!  Then give them a place for the carnage where the rest of us won’t ever have to see, hear of smell any of it and let ’em fight it out.  Maybe send all of the leaders to the field of shame so we can all start over where the leadership of the participating countries is concerned.  Simple, huh?  They get the fighting they all seem to want and the rest of us get to elect newer, saner leaders.  Nice if we could choose the voters, but that isn’t the democratic way of doing it.  Oh, I guess I’m dreaming again.

Speaking of dreaming, my older son visited yesterday.  I guess I crashed before he got here because I woke during the afternoon following a nice, restful nap, glanced at the clock and wondered what time they would arrive, since they are in the Eastern time zone, therefore an hour ahead.  Didn’t have to wonder very long though before the knock on the door and my daughter-in-love cautiously peeping around the door as she opened it.  It seems they had arrived earlier and couldn’t wake me, went out for a coke and came back to see if I would wake up for them that time.  It was a great visit after I heard the whole bit about my snoring!

The first time I “crashed” like this was while eating a sandwich for lunch.  A friend was here at the time and she told me I had it almost to my mouth when suddenly I just crashed!  sound asleep sitting there with that silly sandwich slowly coming to rest on my shirt.  I have insomnia, you see, and after long stretches of no sleep at all it catches up at the most inconvenient times.  Not so bad if I’m alone but not so good if someone is visiting at the time.  It is very inconvenient at the time and I’m sure some of them have wondered about it.  Haven’t found any way to avoid it yet.  tried getting up and walking around once but woke up on the floor later with a headache and bruised noggin, so that didn’t prevent anything at all.  But the good part is that I always wake up refreshed after the initial nap, provided of course that no one wakes me while I’m sleeping.

Gina was here on Saturday and I stayed awake for her visit.  Had my nap before she arrived so I didn’t need another one yet.  She and her youngest got to see it happen a couple years ago though, so Mike is the only one now who hasn’t seen me fall asleep on everyone,  I’m afraid to show him.  He might try it also.   He seems to try to copy all of my injuries.  Broke my left foot one night sliding off the sidewalk when I wanted a Milky Way candy bar immediately and had to go to WalMart to get one.  Ended up in the hospital getting a cast instead.  So a couple years later Mike slid off his front step and broke his left foot.  I really know he loves me without his trying to empathize by copying my injuries.

Let’s see if I can find more photos for you.  Probably of the dolls since I haven’t taken them of anything else lately.


Here It Is, Jill

Recently I started quilting again after seeing some fabric sheets that go in my printer and come out with mixed results in my case.  After printing several of them out I’ve learned a few new tricks to make them look better, but anyway, I’m hooked on making pillows and bags, and have even started a memory quilt for my kids.   So, when I told Jill Dennison of Filosofas World about the bag I just finished she wanted to see a photo of it.  Well, after many attempts at getting a good photo, here are some of the shots, not my best work with the camera, but I just couldn’t convince that doggone bag that it should sit up and pose for me.  Hope you like the photos.  This bag is the first of many more to come!  The pictures were found on Pinterest.

 Kinda neat looking, huh?  Don’t mean to toot my own horn on it, but after dropping my needle several times and finding it when it was stepped on, seated on, or just bit me when I stuck my hand in a pocket for some reason.  That kinda smarts, ya know?  But the quilting part if fun again after several years hiatus from holding that little needle.  I am finding the process to be very calming again.  Can’t exactly take a nap under the bag — well, I have a few times, but it’s not as comforting as the full sized blankets when it comes to keeping warm!  Since I don’t have a lot of space here I’m using the quilt as you go method where each block is quilted and when they are stitched together after being quilted.  It’s actually so much easier than the old traditional method of putting them in a frame and calling the neighbors to come in for a quilting party.  Not as much fun, but easier~  Y’all have a great week now.

In Memorium

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My dad was born July 9, 1915 and passed away July 16, 1992, one week to the day after his 77th birthday.  This year he would have been 103 years of age, but the cancer did him in one week after his 77th birthday.  The photos above show me sitting next to my mom, and just dad’s profile next to her.  The second photo is mom and dad cutting the cake on their 25th wedding anniversary.  Somewhere I have photos of them celebrating their 50th anniversary, but as it usually happens, just couldn’t find them yet.

What I did find however, are a couple of poems I wrote during dad’s short illness, while sitting with him.  And I remember so many times when I would go to visit and just sit with him.

Most of all I miss the companionable silences–

        just sitting–you asleep in your chair.

I miss walking with you through Autumn woods

with the only sound the leaves crunching beneath our feet.

I miss your smile, the twinkle in your eyes,

the pleasure of telling you the latest joke, knowing

you would get it every time.

I miss the thoughtful advice–

your patience when I didn’t listen,

your satisfaction when I did.

But it’s okay to miss you now.

The loneliness is okay.

I’ll have your memory forever.

July, 1992

I love you Dad, I miss you still.

Happy Valentines Day

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Valentines Day today.  Just sending this short note to everyone who loves someone, whether with them or not.  For me, it is NOT but that only means not living with them.  Children grow up and leave home for places and families of their own, marriages fail but the love that brought us together remains, family members  pass away and if we are lucky, friends take their place in our lives. I just happen to be very fortunate in my friends, blessed to have them and grateful that they have always been around when I need someone.   So, to my family and friends, Happy Valentines Day.  I love and appreciate each and every one of you.

I want to share these photos of the sweet green frog and balloons sent yesterday by my daughter and her family.  Thanks, G.  I love it!