Friday, December 26, 2008
Well, today is another day after Christmas and we are preparing for our Christmas get together which is taking up our quiet time that has been a tradition for the "day after."
Since the children left home -- and I often felt bad for my mom and dad after all their children were gone -- we do very little to celebrate Christmas. I'm sure it was the same for my mother and father. And while I always called mom on Christmas, I knew that they probably hadn't even decorated their home.
My children have their own families now, and we have ourselves. But we try to get together with each of the famlies either singularly or as a group.
This year, while we met with one family alone, the other two families will be joining us for a big party. We're looking forward to it and the noise!
The first year he was back from Kenya, he bought out the store and gave me so many wonderful things -- a new coat, a sweater, several pieces of jewelry, and some gloves -- fur lined. He over-spent, and was a little short for second semester at Rutgers that year.
Then, a bad gift year, was the first Christmas after we were married. I, of course, was wanting something romantic. He got me a trash can with matching bread box and a vacuum cleaner. Now, we really needed these things, but I did not consider them good Christmas presents because they were needs not wants.
But after my sulk that Christmas, he got the message. After that year, most of my gifts were jewelry, because I love jewelry, especially sterling silver. And now, it's time for me to pass on those gifts so lovingly given to me to my children and grandchildren, which is a tradition I started several years ago.
Now Alan doesn't like Christmas. Except for what he has given me over the years, he's very much like Scrooge and has a real bah-humbug attitude about it
Well, this year he gave me The Complete Jane Austin -- hard bound with gold leaf printing and on the page edges. I have started the first one -- Sense and Sensibility -- but didn't get too far because frankly I had too much else to do today.
So, I wanted to let you know what my great present was this year. And believe me, I really, really wanted that set. I love Jane Austin.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Next, I need to mention another tradition that my daughter, Cyndi (whose child Ellie is) and her family have. They have 5 children and for the last three they have waited until Christmas morning to find out what the sex of the child will be.
Well, child number 6 is due in March and we found out this morning, because today is Christmas after all, that they will be having a BOY! They must have gotten up really early because my dear daughter, Cyndi, called me prior to 9 a.m. and I was actually awake.
I was not particularly waiting for the call, because frankly, I forgot that they were opening the envelope this morning, but I'm glad I was up.
One of my husband's and my tradition is to have roast duckling on Christmas day, and today's feast, prepared by me, was very, very tasty. I have already made duck soup with the left overs and we will enjoy that for the next couple of days. I might freeze some of it, but I don't know how duck soup freezes, as I have never frozen it before.
So, my last tasks are to finish wrapping presents in prep for our big family Christmas party. I'm really looking forward to it.
Last -- I watched for the first time ever The Christmas Story a story about a 8 or 9 year old boy who wants a rifle (bee-bee gun) for Christmas, and his mom doesn't want him to get it, and how he finagles his parents, well, his father, into getting it for him. Frankly, I found the story boring, but the "sets" were wonderful.
You see, the story is set in a small town, not unlike Runnemede. And it is set in the late 40s/early 50s -- the time when I was growing up. And it was very nostalgic. You see, the kitchen is not unlike the kitchen in which I spent so many hours growing up. Same refrigerator, same kitchen sink, same counter top. And the bathroom had the same sink, same medicine cabinet with mirror, same light over the medicine cabinet, etc. And the wainscoting in both the kitchen and the bathroom was just like what we had in our home, including the color of paint. I watched it twice, just to make sure I didn't miss any "scenery."
Well folks, Christmas Day 2008 is over, but it was a pleasant day, and Christmas Eve was as well. I'll discuss that next -- a little out of order, but I have to, because of my wonderful husband.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
NOTE: The top picture is the children horsing around, and that is Toria, not Cyndi. Then the other two pictures are pictures of Cyndi's family room tree and the fireplace.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Who is Rachel? She's the daughter of the wonderful woman that God has provided to us to do a bi-weekly clean of the house, and then do my grocery shopping for me. This provision has saved me this month. And Rachel is her 18-year-old daughter who loves to decorate for Christmas, so she went into the attic and picked and chose the best of my decorations and spread them around the living room. I was insistent that ALL the snowmen be put out. However, there is still one box of snow-people -- a whole village, including a snowman doll house -- which I can't find, and is still buried somewhere in the attic.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
But I have another confession to make -- am I about to die or something with all these recent confessions about my most well-kept secrets? God knows.
The confession is this: I LOVE, ADORE, CAN'T WAIT TO SEE, FIND IRRESISTIBLE, and am MADLY PASSIONATE ABOUT Christmas movies. Most of them are not worth the time I take to watch them, but I don't care. I love them.
This year has been especially full of Christmas movies. They are on the Hallmark Channel, the Lifetime Channel, ABC Family Channel, Oxygen, and who knows what other channels. Anyway I had been overdosing on these movies.
The dilemma has been when there are two on that I haven't seen before. What do I watch? Well, I bounce back and forth and hope that the commercials are scheduled at different times so I can get the gist of what's going on in each movie. I'm hopeless. I'm just a couch potato who loves Christmas and those stories.
Do you know how many Scrooge movies there are that take the three ghost theme and are set in modern day? Some really mean and nasty person gets the visits from the "ghosts" and wakes up and all is well with the world. They haven't miss Christmas, and "God Bless us Everyone."
Well, so far I've counted 8, and I'm sure there are more that I haven't seen, and maybe have skipped because I don't want to see another "Scrooge" movie.
I have to say that I do enjoy the movies on the Hallmark Channel, and Lifetime has some pretty good ones, also.
So where is this leading. Well, at our community party the other night we played Christmas Trivia, which my table was very good at, mainly because I had seen so many of these Christmas movies -- and let's not forget the Children's cartoons -- I veg out on those too -- and was able to answer most of the questions asked of the audience. I miss the one about Rudolph having antlers, even though everyone said male reindeer have antlers, it depends on which cartoon you see with Rudolph the red-nose reindeer whether or not he had antlers, so our table, all having seen the same cartoon, apparently, decided to say "no antlers." That was wrong!
But we did very well on the other questions.
So, while I veg out and waste hours and hours of time (while I am not walking) on these movies and cartoons, something good came of it. Our table had the most answers correct overall. So there!
I was determined that when I had a daughter-in-law, I would try real hard to get close to her and treat her as a daughter. And I really think I have. I love my daughter-in-law -- and it's hard for me to write "daughter-in-law" because I really think of Amy as my daughter.
She and I get along very well. If there is a problem between us, I don't see it. I love her to bits and she is really a lot like me (poor thing).
First and foremost, we both love my son, Phil. And Phil found the best wife ever and she is perfect for him.
I made a comment at dinner tonight, and Phil was so pleased. I had made as part of the dinner, mashed potatoes, and they were lumpless, but I didn't think they tasted all that good. All I said was, "Amy you make such good mashed potatoes, I wish I could make them as well as you do." Phil beamed. But Amy does make the best mashed potatoes I've ever tasted. And she makes several other dishes much better than I -- ham for instance. I just don't make a good baked ham. It is always dried out, and tastes yucky.
I know Phil remarks about my cooking to Amy and I hope she doesn't harbor any inferior feelings about her own cooking. We all have our nitch. And men always think their moms were the best cooks ever. My own husband wishes I would bake like his mom. Not gonna happen, not in this lifetime. I hate to bake. I love to cook and experiment with sauces and gravies and reductions and vegetable dishes, but I don't like to bake.
So I learned to make the most awesome sandwiches in the world. And my husband likes -- no, he loves sandwiches. It's his favorite thing to eat. He could live on sandwiches. Now, he still loves the sweets, as the ladies in our community can attest to -- he always gravitates to the dessert table at community functions -- but he does love those sandwiches.
Anyway, here's to you Amy. I love you and am so glad you are in my family.
DTC - 13
Friday, December 12, 2008
When I was teaching at Bible Baptist Christian School I had the children learn this version and I was able to get a background tape of just the music part, so they could sing the words and the instrumental part was just the same as the record.
Listen to it, I think you'll really like it. Catchy tune.
Another tradition we had was listening to "Why the chimes rang". It's a two-hanky story and you can find it at: http://www.holytrinitynewrochelle.org/Why_the_Bells_Rang.html. Read it and weep with me.
Of course, there was "The Littlest Match Girl" which I tried to read to my own children every year, but never have gotten through it without shedding a few tears. And even reading it to my rambunctious grandchildren hasn't changed that, I still tear up when I read that story. Poor little thing. You can read that at: http://christmas.howstuffworks.com/inspirational-christmas-stories15.htm
So you don't miss any of my Christmas ramblings, I spent some time and went back and catalogued them under Christmas; holidays. That's only Christmas. The other holidays are not included. So, if you want to know what Runnemede was like back in the 40s, 50s, and 60s at Christmas time, and what our family the Drexlers did with the Sbaraglias read them. It won't take you long. And, please, fell free to comment.
DTC - 13
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Well, I was watching the first sound movie of that Christmas classic and found out something very interesting.
Lionel Barrymore was slated to play the lead in the movie, but he had an accident which paralyzed him and so Reginald Owen played the part of Scrooge in the movie, but apparently since he didn't have to do any walking in order to make the recording (vinyl record set -- 4 records, 8 sides) he made the audio recording.
I thought that was an interesting bit of trivia. I always picture Lionel Barrymore as playing Scrooge, but never saw him in any of the many movies of the book. And now I know why.
I wonder, does my brother Mark have this record, too? I know he has "Hatchie Melatchie." :)
MC in 15
Saturday, December 6, 2008
I will be attending a few grandchidlren Christmas presentations in the next 24 hours and hopefully I'll get some decent pictures. But, I may still not write anything on the BLOGs.
I have just too much to do right now, and BLOGging is going to have to take a back seat to the other things that are pressing.
I'll be back in a few.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Alan and I were watching the news this morning and the pundits were talking about how much homework children are given these days and that the time they have to spend on that odious task is not allowing them to be children in their "off hours" from school.
Home work for kindergartners is not something I understand or can comprehend. Why would a teacher require that a 5 or 6 years old do homework when they get home. Seems cruel to me. Are teachers afraid that the child will forget what they learned in the 16 hours they are out of their teacher's control? I don't think so. I mean that might be what teachers are afraid of, but I don't think they will "forget" what they learned that day in school. I didn't. My sister didn't. My brothers didn't. Well, maybe they did a little bit.
But my point is, give the kids some credit that they will retain what they have learned that day.
I was a teacher. And I know I've ragged on this before. But when I attended Runnemede Public Schools back in the 40s and 50s, I did NOT have homework. Not once! Never! It wasn't until I got to high school that I even knew what homework was, and then it seemed that each teacher I had was in a competition to see which one could give the most homework. And, if you didn't do your homework, you COULD fail the course. Stupid. The homework was never graded, but if you didn't do it, you got a black mark and were threatened with failure.
And when I was teaching, I always gave enough time in the classroom for a student to get his/her homework completed in class if they worked at it, plus they had the advantage of having me nearby if there was a problem with their homework. I remember doing math homework and not being able to do it because I didn't know how to work the problem, and then turning in an incomplete homework assignment, fearing that I would fair the course because I hadn't been able to work all the problems assigned. I'm feeling the angst I felt then as I write this.
So, I learned to read, write, and cipher without doing homework. There were enough hours in the day for the teachers to get into my brain, and my classmates' brains what we needed to know to go onto the next grade level. And, we had time for recess each day, and time for music, and time for art, although for music and art we weren't sent to another teacher. Art was part of our classroom experience, and music was a combined effort by one of the teachers with whom we combined classes to have a time of singing or play rehearsal.
Alan went to boarding school from the time he was 9 and he said that after 4 p.m. each day there was no more school work. That was the time for sports or reading or just being a kid and doing kid things.
So, I have to ask, when do children today get to do children-type things. If they have two to three hours of homework a night (which is what was reported on the TV, if you can believe that) when do they get to go outside and ride their bike. When do they get time to play a game of Monopoly? When do they get to play with their dolls? I mean if they are in school from 8 to 3:30, and get home at 4:00 p.m. Homework would go until at least 6:00 p.m. at which time it would be dinner time. Then, figuring dinner is over around 7:00 p.m. it's time for baths and then to bed.
I know that my younger grandchildren are in bed by 8:00 p.m. They have to be because they have to be up by 6:30 in order to get on the bus by 7:30 in order to get to school by 8:00.
And so the circle goes. Poor kids!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
For years I had the attic view for "out back". The window was at the top of the stairs and if I sat on the top step, I could look out the window and see far away -- no trees to obstruct my view. I could see our church, I could even see the church which was across the street from our church. I could see a ways up Johnson Avenue, and I could, of course, see several of the neighbors' homes -- the ones that lived on Clements Bridge Road. And, best of all I could see the rooves of the chicken coops that belonged to our neighbors. And, if the window was open I could hear what was under the rooves of those coops. Sorry, no pictures.
In the winter, because the back windows faced south, when it was a sunny day, it was a warm day. At Christmas time, dad set up a train platform on the porch. The back porch, being on the south side of the house, was lit up and warmed and that was our play room. The back porch was mostly windows.
Now, that view, being almost at ground level (there were six steps up from the outside ground) had an entirely different view than the attic view, but both were from a comfortable, cozy place.
In the summer, there would be a huge fan in the attic window so enjoying the view was not as easy as in the winter. From the porch you could, of course, see the church, and I posted that view in a previous rambling, I could see my favorite climbing tree, the garage, my mom's rose bushes -- of course all these things were visible from the attic window, but looking at the roof of the garage or the top of the tree is entirely different.
It's amazing that looking at the same place, from a different sea level abode, is so different.
How I wish I had some pictures of those views, other than the ones in my mind which is getting fuzzier the older I get.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
The closest thing to the front door was the front porch, then the steps leading down to the sidewalk, the street, and across the street, Downing School. The school I attended for 4 years. I recall waiting by the front door for the children to line up to go into the school, then I would head over to school arriving just in time for school to begin. I really didn't want to play on the playground in the morning before school started, but can't recall whether the reason was I was shy -- yes, believe it or not I am shy -- or whether it was because I didn't want to get dirty before school started.
The piano was just inside the front door -- there was just enough room to open the door without bumping into the piano. As I mentioned the rooms in the small house were, well, small. So, as I sat at the piano, which was a daily occurrence for me as I was religious about practicing right after school, I could see the comings and goings on the street -- of which there were few, children playing on the school ground -- there weren't many of them either -- and the porch, where, if the weather was nice, my brothers and sister would be playing.
In nice weather the door was left open, and the screen door provided the view, rather than the beveled glass door which was shut during cold weather. I seem to recall that the door was open on the first nice day, usually in March, and left open, pretty much the rest of the time, until late October. The only time the inside door was closed was at night, when we were in "lock down" mode.
My dad was a stickler about locked doors. Why, he wouldn't even give me a key when I was in college for fear I'd lose it and someone would find it and figure out where we lived and break in. So, I had to pray that someone was home at any time I was away from the house and coming back to the house. I don't think I had to sit on the front porch very often waiting for someone to come home to unlock the door for me.
Since my mom and dad both played the piano, I think they were determined that each child would learn to play. My dear sister tried, but didn't get very far. My brother, Mark, quickly switched to trumpet, and I don't recall that my brother Carl ever learned any instrument. If he did, it was done after I wasn't home very much any more.
So my view from the piano was such that I could see and hear the street and it's sounds, and the street could hear the sounds emitted from the piano, good and bad. But it was another view from the multitudinous views I had from various parts of that tiny home.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
My dad, in his later years, had so much stuff that it gradually piled up all over the house so that there was a path from the front door to the back door, and into the bathroom and bedroom. All other floor and furniture top space was covered with stuff. I've talked about his collections before.
Well, my office has become my father's house. It's the Christmas room, and it's piled high with presents that need to be wrapped, projects for the grandchildren at our Christmas get togethers. Not to mention the Creative Memories left overs. At least that pile (the CM pile) won't get any bigger. Since it is a small room, it fills up fast.
I'm looking at the bookcase I have in the office, the one, small bookcase. It was the bookcase that my father had next to his captain's chair in the living room. It's as jam packed with books now as it was when dad had it. Two levels deep on each shelf... The books are all hardbacks, most of them are antiques. Most of them, in fact, were given to my father in the early 1900s by his own father and mother and are inscribed as such gifts. That really makes them special.
Once in a while I'll pull one out and read a story or a few poems or even the whole book and try to think what it was like to be a boy reading such literature.
I'm hoping someone gives me a complete set of Jane Austin for Christmas -- leather bound, of course. That's a pretty expensive gift, so I'm not going to hold my breath, but it would be nice. I have not one single book written by Jane Austin, yet I love her stories. And, I would like to read them for myself, not watch them on PBS.
Ugh! The room is eating me up and I'm going to be gobbled up by the debris any minute now. I'd better get out of here before that happens.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
And so, today, Thanksgiving 2008, dawned another beautiful, sunny-shiny, crisp, cold day here in Northern Kentucky. I don't know what the weather is like in Runnemede today, and I could look it up on weather.com, but in New York the weather was beautiful, which brings to mind another Thanksgiving Day tradition.
My family, as long as we have had a TV and as long as the Macy's parade has been televised, have always watched the parade. I haven't watched it for several years. Alan isn't interested, but today, I was up before him so I had control of the clicker and we watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. And, at 2:00 p.m. I'm going to watch the movie, Miracle on 34th Street, the original one.
I called my daughter Becky, because I know she always still watches the parade and we talked for a few minutes while she and I watched together in our own individual homes. I talked with one of the grandchildren, Annie, as she was watching the parade, and it almost made it feel like I was, once again, sitting on the sofa in the family room, with my three children sitting with me, watching the Thanksgiving Day parade, smelling the smells of the turkey roasting, probably a pie in the oven (and today it was an apple pie in the oven at the time of the parade) and waiting for the moment when the parade was over, and then a game or some other activity was entered into in order to keep the children occupied while I finished up preparing the Thanksgiving Day feast.
I've celebrated 65 Thanksgivings, about 61 of them I remember, sort of. And I hope you are all storing up good memories of this holiday. Be Thankful -- In everything give thanks for this is the will of God.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Things to be thankful for:
(1) Waking up;
(2) getting out of bed;
(3) knowing that my husband is still breathing when I get up;
(4) being able to walk occasionally;
(5) wonderful children and grandchildren;
(6) the best ever Italian family in America!
Oh, there are other things. And I shall miss the large family seated around the table, and each member of the family saying what they are thankful for. I think that was probably one of the best things about our Thanksgivings. Of course, that was AFTER dad prayed and after we had eaten, but before dessert.
When my children were growing up, a tradition we started was the annual football game. I only played that once, if that many times. I don't mind watching football, but all that running and falling, and getting pounced on, was not, and still isn't my cup of tea. However, the children and the other adults who attended our Thanksgiving feasts enjoyed that respite before the turkey nap syndrome sunk in.
I'm so glad to have found out about this BLOG site and have been able to give many of my family members a peak at what it was like growing up and living in the 40s, 50s, and 60s in a small town. But...that was then and this is now. Life goes on, and it goes faster and faster the older I get.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Write me and tell me how and what you all did on this special day.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
When the "packaged" pie crusts came out (Mrs. Smith's had a pie crust shell) she tried them, but dad still preferred her light and flaky crust rather than Mrs. Smith's thick and chewy crust. He didn't object, however, to the store prepared graham cracker pie crusts, but I think mom still always made her own.
Don't get the idea that mom baked a lot of pies. She didn't. Getting a piece of pie in our house was a real treat. And I think that's one reason why we liked the holidays so much -- we got pies. Aunt Annie always brought a pie with her when she came to visit on Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I recall that we always had a lemon meringue pie, but I don't recall who made it, that is, whether it was my mother or Aunt Annie.
So, it's time for me to start peeling apples for my annual apple pie (that's really a stretch, I usually make more than one apple pie a year, but not many more than 2). And this afternoon the smell of a freshly baked apple pie will permeate my habitat. Can't wait.
Monday, November 24, 2008
So, I love Thanksgiving, even though this year will be very quiet for Alan and me. We've been invited to my daughter's (Becky's) in-law's for the day, but Alan is not up for the trip, nor am I, so we're going to stay home and I'm going to, hopefully, make a great dinner. We'll have cranberry sauce (already made, last week), pumpkin pie (in the oven right now), turkey (I have a turkey breast thawing in the fridge), stuffing (Stove-top with added nuts and applies), apple pie (yet to be made), corn, coleslaw, and rolls. What's missing?
Well, when I was growing up we always had pickled beets. I love them, but Alan doesn't, so I'll not waste the effort to make them. We always had a dish of pickles and olives and celery sticks. While I have all those ingredients in the fridge, I don't think I want to dirty another dish and I don't want to just stick the jars on the table. We can do without them. Ginger ale and cranberry juice -- may have these, but I'm not sure yet what we'll have to drink. Since we both prefer water to anything else, I'll probably just stick to ice in a glass topped with water. Mashed potatoes? Too much trouble for two people. Sweet potato casserole? That's a maybe. I'm not partial to sweet potatoes in a casserole, I prefer them baked, straight from the oven, slatthered with loads of butter. Alan loves all the sweetnes of the casserole, so I may, if I'm up for it include that in his dinner. He loves them as left-overs as well.
Mostly what we'll be missing is 30 people around the table, all talking at once, laughing hilariously at something someone said, and my father's 30 minute grace wherein he thanked God for everything He every made and gave in my dad's lifetime.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Do I get excited over the dumbest things? Well, any time I see snow I get excited. Because, I love snow. I have a friend here in Northern Kentucky and I usually call her as soon as I see a flake -- she's also a snow lover -- and I sing to her over the phone --
Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but inside is just delightful, and since I've not place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
Then we talk for a few minutes. We seem to talk on the phone more in the winter than in the summer -- mainly, I suppose because it doesn't snow in the summer -- at least not here.
So, I just wanted you all to know that it snowed again today, albeit the 10 flakes didn't amount to much. I mean by the time I grabbed my camera to take a picture of the event, it had stopped!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I love snow. I hate ice, but I love snow. I don't mind what it does to the roads, because I no longer HAVE TO drive any where.
My first remembrance of snow was when my father put me on THE SLED (this was an old wooden sled with the cross bar in the front for steering the two steel rudders) and hauled me down to the Post Office to get the mail. I was bundled up like you see those kids on TV with 16 layers and couldn't move if I wanted to. He put me on THE SLED and then he walked down the middle of Second Avenue to The Pike talking to me the whole time, about what, I don't remember. The he went over to the PO to pick up the day's mail and dragged me back home.. What fun that was for me! No roly-poly plastic thing that is now called a sled for us -- I don't even think plastic has been invented back then. Well, maybe it had, but I can't recall anything that came in a plastic bottle or jar. Shower curtains were made of material -- if a household even had a shower -- and the interior and exterior of appliances were made of metal or glass.
THE SLED also provided me, personally, with many hours of play. While I can only remember one snow storm when I was a child where the snow was so deep in which I had to trudge through snow up to my waist to get to school -- all uphill of course, we often had snow enough for sledding. And there were many hills -- small hills which we called "banks" and I would find my favorite "bank" and slide down there over and over until I wore myself out, then I'd head home. It seems to me that I was only allowed to sled in the afternoon. Whether that was because I had school in the morning and early afternoon, or whether it was a "house rule" I can't recall, but I do not remember ever sledding in the morning. Isn't that odd?
So, it snowed last night. Our first snow of this winter season and it isn't winter yet. I wonder if that forebodes a treacherous, blustery winter for this area. This section of the country really hasn't had a bad winter since 1977. We're about due, aren't we? Oh, yeah, and I won't be sledding this year. My sledding days are over. Now, it's time to watch others enjoy the sport.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
You'll notice that in the picture of Mark with the suspenders his hair is a little uneven. His brother (and mine), Carl, had given him a hair cut a few days prior to the taking of this picture.
First of all, it was definitely a day off from school. In fact, November of each year was a holiday month. We had election day off (every year), Veterans' Day (November 11), the State of New Jersey Teacher's conference (two days, Thursday and Friday early in the month), and then Thanksgiving and the day after. So, in November we had six days off.
I don't recall how much my mom and dad enjoyed having us all home from school, but I never got the idea that mom wanted us in school and was happy when we were home and happy when we were in school.
On Veterans' Day, in the morning, daddy and I would walk over to the VFW Hall and they had a ceremony there to honor the vets, which I ENDURED -- I had to stand still while the ceremony took place, which if I recall corrected was a bunch of boring speeches, and it ended with taps.
My husband is a vet. He was in the Army during the Viet Nam war era. We were blessed that the only action he saw was on the New York City subway and not in SE Asia, but we wonder sometimes whether what our vets and anyone who wore a uniform in the late 60s endured wasn't like being in a war zone.
I can't imagine what our men went through in SE Asia. I can't imagine the suffering of the POWs. I only know from experience what the uniformed men suffered at the hands of the men and women of this country who opposed a war in a far off country -- a war which was to keep communism at bay, a war which most of the country opposed, and in that opposition turned on our men in this country, when they were at HOME, and defiled them and abused them, both physically and with their mouths.
We need to thank God for the safety he has given our friends and family who have returned from our wars, and thank God for their willingness to keep us safe and preserve what we have fought so hard to have -- freedom as outlined in our Constitution.
Enough flag-waving for today, I suppose. But I feel strongly about this and could go on and on and on about it.
I just thought I'd clarify that I had really good credentials for that position. My children had attended public school, then went to a Christian school (private), and then were home-schooled. They were all accepted to various colleges after graduation from high school (home-schooled).
I was able, as a member of that board, to represent parents of all children, whether they were public school students, home-schooled, or attended any of many private/religious schools in my district, that district serving one million Ohioans. There were 11 districts at that time, 11 board members, and each one of us represented one million people. I served basically two counties in southwest Ohio, which included the city of Cincinnati.
I loved visiting the schools, no matter whether they were private or public. And I tried to keep a good rapport with the many superintendents in my district, which by and large, was a conservative (in the aspect of their desire for the type of education the children received) district. My superintendents often battled with the Ohio Department of Education (and the OSBE) over requirements that they include certain touchy-feely programs in their school day when they wanted to spend more time on academics.
So why am I writing more about this stint? Well, it certainly changed the way I looked at education for children, not only my own, but my grandchildren as well. I discovered things that were happening in the various school aspects that I liked, and some that I really didn't like, and could and would NEVER support. After getting off the board I was able to "lobby" for the programs I liked, named phonics and then going before the legislature with my (and my supporters) wishes regarding changes being made to the various required curricula for all students no matter what choice parents made -- what would be teaching requirements for all students.
So, I think I've written enough about this subject. I was a hard two years, but it was probably the best two years of my adult life from a "work" standpoint.
I have had many jobs in the past 65 years, being on the Ohio State Board of Education was by far my favorite.
Monday, November 10, 2008
In 1992 I was elected to the Ohio State Board of Education. It was a surprise. I ran because the group of republicans with which I was associated at that time -- the truly right-wing conservative wing which was not really part of the STATE republican, or LOCAL republican RINOs who were in control. We were trying to get more conservatives elected into all areas of government. So, when someone mentioned that the State Board of Education seat was coming up for election this year (term started on Jan 1, 1993) was anyone interested or even able to run, I looked around the small group and no one said yes. Being new to the group I didn't want to butt in, so to speak and just take over, which was my bend back in those years.
Well, no one said anything that night. I went home and I thought about it. I was working as a paralegal at that time and so the next day I looked in the Ohio State Code what the requirements were for a person running for the state board of education in Ohio, and how to do it. Then after talking with Alan, we decided I would run with the help on the ground of this group of Republicans in the Hamilton County, Ohio area.
After three months, after my petitions to get myself on the ballot had been certified (I needed 500 signatures of valid voters) I started with their help to get my campaign going. Alan and I had little to no money, so we weren't able to give me much support in that respect. I sort of ran "under the radar" against the local county Republican pick for the SBE and the NEA pick for the job. I won. And believe me, I was so surprised. I won by a landslide. And at that point I really believed that if a recount had been taken I would have lost, because the win was so big. The following election was just the opposite, I lost by a lot. In fact in my own precinct the certified list of votes in Hamilton County showed that I only receive one vote -- which is not correct, because I know that I had at least three votes -- me, Alan, and my son. But to get an official hand recount would have cost us $20,000, and that certainly was not in the budget for a job which I loved and spent 24/7 at for the years I was on the board, but for which there was little remuneration.
Why am I writing all this. I know I was on that board for the time I was on that board for a reason. And today I received a Google response to something I wrote back in 1999 about the Science Standards that were being written and argued about in Kansas. You can check it out at: http://www.arthurhu.com/99/12/capsi.txt .
I have often thought of running for another school board slot, and this year I should have run for city council, as there were six slots open and only six people signed up. My chances of getting on the council would have been good, I suppose. But, I'm at a point in my life, now, where while the mind wants to do much, the body isn't able to follow the mind's direction.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Well, my niece Jennie remembered another one that he would call people, not necessarily family members, and usually not family members. So, I guess we can add this to either family sayings, or just idiosyncrasies of my father.
He would call people a potted palm. Now, Jennie, don't take this the wrong way. If he ever called you that, I'm sorry. Because a potted palm was a dimwit, a dummy, a numb skull, and politician with all of those adjectives in front of his name. So, no one ever wanted to be called a potted palm.
I don't know where that came from, probably some old movie, like Arsenic and Old Lace, but I really can't say where. If anyone out there knows the origin of that saying, let me know.
Anyway, I woke up this morning thinking, again, of the Sunday night song services, which were extended and daddy only had to give a 15 minute sermon, which usually lasted about 1 hour. But that's beside the point. The point is the song service, and the singing part was the long part, which we really enjoyed. I'm not saying that the "old" people didn't enjoy daddy's sermons, but until I was older -- in my late teens -- I really didn't appreciate his preaching. Back to the point.
I woke up this morning with a song on my mind -- Since Jesus Came Into My Heart. I recall this as being a favorite of the younger church attenders -- younger meaning under 14. SJCIMH was a favorite because of the chorus, which went like this:
Since Jesus came into my heart, since Jesus came into my heart, Flood of joy o'er my soul like the sea billows roll, since Jesus came into my heart.
The thing is that whomever was leading the songs that night, would stop us at the word "roll" and it was a contest to see who could hold that word the longest. In fact, Mr. Paul Turner was often the leader at the sings and he would even step away from the pulpit and count to 10 or 20 or whatever, all the time we were holding on to the word "roll" in the chorus.
Sometimes we sing it, "like the sea billows roll and roll and roll and roll". Some fun. Those were certainly different times, different church hymns/songs, and the church was packed on these Sunday nights. Of course there was no TV to distract people from church. No football. It was, after all the day of rest and church, a day set aside to honor God and his Word.
You can click on the link in the title above and hear the melody and read the words for yourself.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
This was really a dream I didn't want to wake up from. In this dream we had won some sort of prize and we each had $5,000 to spend in fixing up the rooms. The first thing we both did was build closets in the rooms, back to back on the dividing wall. We were actually doing the work ourselves, and our husbands were doing the drying walling. We would do the painting.
We had just spent a boatload of money on "accessories" and I was about to finish the room arrangement and decorating when BING my bladder went into "hurry up" mode and I woke up from one of the nicest dreams I've had in a long time. And it was in color.
Why was it such a nice dream? Well, believe it or not, while I now know that my bedroom was less than attractive to most people, and would be one of those "worst bedrooms in the world" that appears on TLC today, to me it was a cocoon of blessing and I loved my room. I loved the fact that I could move the furniture around and change it for the various seasons. I loved the fact that I had wonderful antique furniture and antique linens to use in my room, those linens stayed with me for a long time. In fact, one of the items was a satin, down-filled quilt which was my grandmother's, and I had that until one of our dogs decided she wanted to eat it.
I had to get rid of the quilt, and it was the last straw with that dog. We got rid of the dog as well.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
My father could not tolerate onions -- the smell, the taste, eating them -- he would get sick if he ate them, and the smell, I guess nauseated him, although he never really said that was the case.
Well, all my father's children loved hoagies. (a.k.a. subs) A Philadelphia area hoagie is completely different from any hoagie in any other part of the country. I know, because I've tried to get Jersey Mikes and/or Subway to make one that duplicates the taste of the hoagies we were able to get when I was growing up, and after I grew up and left Runnemede, the ones I purchased each time I returned home, but those two places have never come up to the standards of a Runemede hoagie.
My father had to know what was coming when I returned home each year, but probably prayed that this time things would be different, because the first thing I would do when I got home was run down to Vince's and get myself and Alan a hoagie. As my children got older, the girls, at least, enjoyed this South Jersey treat. I don't think my son every enjoyed them.
Ever since I was a teenager, I would spend some of my allowance money on a half a hoagie made by Vince (I've talked about that hoagie shop before). I would come home, and before I even got through the back door, dad would be standing there telling me to wash my hands. What? I hadn't even touched anything, yet.
You see, a good hoagie starts with a special kind of Italian roll -- it's like a baguette, but it is not as hard crusted as a baguette, but not as flimsy at the rolls you get at Subway or Jersey Mikes. If you haven't had a hoagie roll, correctly made by a Philadelphia artisan, there's just no way to tell you what they are truly like.
Anyway, you start with the bun, then you put on it provolone cheese, Genoa salami, prosciutto, cappacola, boiled ham, and probably another kind of salami. Then you add shredded lettuce, not as much as they smother your sub/hoagie with at Subway, tomatoes, ONIONS, and hoagie spread. Hoagie spread is a mixture of hot and sweet peppers pickled in vinegar. Delish! And then you sprinkle lightly the whole thing with a mixture of spices -- there's the rub (pun intended) -- no place has the right mixture of spices except the little Italian delis all over South Jersey and the Philadelphia area.
After purchasing my hoagie, I would bring it home, and enjoy it at the kitchen table. The whole time I'm enjoying this delicacy (because it truly is), my father would be telling me to wash my hands, wash the table, wash the floor, wash my face, wash my hair; and don't touch anything until you've washed your hands.
Did all that nagging bother me when I had a delicious hoagie in my hand? Not at all, but we were remembering that dad had said the same thing to my brother whenever he came back to Runnemede and got a hoagie. So, I imagine it was the same with all the children, because growing up in South Jersey/Philadelphia, not a week went by after I became a teenager, that we didn't enjoy a hoagie at least once. Even mom got in on the act and would buy a whole hoagie -- a rather long version of the regular sized hoagie -- and bring it home, and then divide it up between herself and her four children, with the voice of my father nagging in the background:
Rose, make sure you wash your hands and make sure all the children wash their hands. Judith, be sure to wash your hands. Deborah, wash your hands. Mark, don't touch anything until you wash your hands. Carl, be sure to wash you hands.
So do clean hands mean a pure heart? I don't know, all I know is it means my father would be pleased he wasn't smelling onions any more.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Well, my brother, Mark (John), was the originator of this phrase in our family. Me? I didn't care what I got if it was wrapped and I could tear off that paper and open a box. Maybe it was because I was a girl, and little girls like clothes almost as much as big girls. But not boys, no siree.
My dear, dear brother...what can I say?
Apparently, one year, my brother was given $2 for a birthday gift from our Aunt Francis. Now, back in the 50s, $2 was a fortune to a kid who had next to nothing, and boy was he looking forward to spending that money on himself. And, Aunt Francis was a poor missionary, and we rarely got any gifts from her and Uncle Howard -- not because they didn't want to give us gifts, but we were giving them gifts because they had less than we had.
Anyway, I think Mark had visions of a new fire truck or some such "real" toy (not popsicle sticks). But, no, mom took the money and fled -- straight to the 5 and 10 and bought Mark SOCKS! That dreaded gift that no child wants to receive -- SOCKS! Yikes!
So, when Aunt Annie asked him what he wanted for his birthday a few days after the money for socks event, and not knowing that Aunt Annie had already bought him a new shirt, Mark said, "Anything be'cept clothes."
And that's how that expression caught on in our household. But it didn't matter, whether we wanted anything but clothing, we got clothing anyway. Why? Because we really, really needed new clothes.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Here's how it works -- and I think I got this correct.
He would take two Popsicle sticks -- they were free -- and you'll see the ingenuity of a child who didn't have Wii or other video technology. Just loads of fun back in the 50s.
He could only do have these races after a rainy day or an afternoon shower, so the timing was limited. Anyway, the trail of the race was from the gutter down on Central Avenue, between Second and First, and then apparently there was a loop around the actual storm sewer, so the sticks didn't go down the drain, so to speak, and the route continued down First Avenue to Jack's Five and Ten -- at the Pike and First Avenue.
Mark would put two Popsicle sticks into the stream in the gutter making sure they were at the starting line together, then he would pick one, and hope that the one he chose was the one that won the race. He would give them both a little nudge and off they would go and he would race along side the stream in the gutter down the block and around the corner and down the next block, following his Popsicle sticks until the finish line.
He didn't say what his percentage of wins was, but I gather he was ahead in the end.
How many kids today would race Popsicle sticks in the gutter?