Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Now that's April gold!

Now, that's what I mean!!! That's April Gold. All those bulbs were planted by one woman who began in 1958, and this is what the result is in 2008. Isn't that something?

This picture was sent to me by a friend. The lady lives in California. 50,000 bulbs. That figures out to 1,000 bulbs per year. That's a lot of kneeling and digging. But, what a result. Amazing!

Old Ladies Clothes

I remember growing up that older women, I don't know what they're ages were, but they were older than my mom, wore different clothes from my attractively dressed mother and other women who were the mothers of my friends. These women were the "church ladies" of the era. They were the ladies who were there first thing Sunday morning, and the last ones to leave on Sunday night. They were the ladies who always were around whenever there was a church "food" social.

Don't misunderstand, the women of my mother's age also helped with church socials, but it was these older women who did the most work and cooked the best food.

These are the women who wore the "old ladies clothes." I figured it out. It came to me out of the blue. They wore these clothes because as they aged, their bodies didn't shrink after having babies, they didn't care that they had gained weight -- at least I suppose the didn't. Being "overweight" back in the 40s and 50s wasn't something that women worried about.

I wondered about "old ladies clothes" all through my 20s and 30s because I saw some of my older family members beginning to don these misshapen clothes; and then in my 40s I found that I, too, was wearing, "old ladies clothes." And here's what I recently figured out.

Once you get over a size 14, there is nothing available but "old ladies clothes." They are polyester, shapeless, overly long, and have dark, ugly colors -- mostly brown, olive green, and navy blue with polka dots. The example picture is put on a beautiful young woman, and even on her it doesn't look good! And notice the print of the dress? Also, it's polyester. Do you know how polyester CLINGS to your body. Those of us who are amply endowed with flesh, do not wish something that CLINGS to that flesh as the material used in our clothing. That only reinforces what we're trying to hide. Also, notice the length. Now, this is long -- at least longer than I prefer -- on the model, who is probably 5'10", so that particular dress would come down to my ankles.
"Old ladies clothes" are clothing where the back is shorter than the front -- mainly because the designers don't consider that the backside of an over-size-16-woman hikes up the clothing causing the front to droop and the back to lift (I'm talking about dress or skirt here).

I know slacks/jeans have become the standard now for all women, but frankly, I still prefer dresses, especially now that stockings or pantyhose aren't a requirement. I mean, if TLC's What Not to Wear ladies don't have to wear hose, why should I? Aren't those women, in their final make-over condition, the epitome of style today?

"Old ladies clothes" became my mainstay when I blossomed to a size 16. Clothing manufacturers just don't make "pretty" clothes for those of us who are vertically challenged.

My friend -- she's 65 like me -- but she a size 2 -- and she wears young person's clothes and looks good in them. One of my neighbors is 80 and she is a size 8, and she wears "teen age" clothes as well but doesn't look like a teenager. At least these women can wear what's in style.

I have to admit, that finally they do make jeans for those of us who have matured into larger sizes, but the tops we have to wear -- yikes! I know that no matter where I go, I'll never find the cute top that my neighbor's daughter was wearing on Sunday -- and it would be a style that would be very flattering to me, and the colors were so nice.

This is not a negative BLOG, but a statement of fact -- those of us who have gained weight, for whatever reason, wear ugly "old ladies clothes" because that's what's available. And, yes, I was called on the carpet by a former boss for my dress -- and I was buying expensive clothing at that time, but all I could get for my girth was "old ladies clothes".

I remember when I was in my late 30s Alan asked me why I wore such ugly clothes. Well, first off, we had no money, so I was stuck with whatever Goodwill had on their racks, but second it was because no matter where I would have gone to purchase clothes, they would have been "old ladies clothes". After he asked me that self-esteem plummeting question, I started making my own clothes, and for a spell, I was able to get patterns that while too small for me, I could expand and make clothing that was youthful and pretty, and I had control over what fabric they were made from. But child rearing and a full-time job to boot, took away the time I could have to sew for myself.

So where am I going with this? Well, for those of you who are svelte, slim, and smaller than a size 16, be thankful, so very thankful. Take a gander in the Women's clothing section at Macy's, see what clothing is available, and be thankful for your slimness. Also, learn to sew, because you never know when you, too, will blossom, and become eligible for "old ladies clothes".

Monday, April 28, 2008

I have a "yen"

Another family saying -- sort of.

I recall my mother just blurting out any old time of the day or night -- I have a "yen" for .... fill in the blank.

It could have been cheese and crackers -- a family favorite. Now you have to have the right cheese and the correct cracker; that would be white American cheese (one slice, cut into 1/4s) and Saltines -- one cracker. You see, one-quarter of a slice of white American cheese just fits on a Saltine.

It could have been the longing for a chocolate and orange sherbet ice cream cone.

It could have been the desire to watch an old movie.

It could have been the yearning to walk in her garden -- "Come on, Judi, walk with me while I pinch some blooms. I just have a 'yen' to do that right now."

She (mom) often had a "yen" for a cuppa tea. Lipton's. Always Lipton's tea. Plain old Lipton's tea.

Mom also had a "yen" on occasion for a cookie -- the name of which I don't know, but it was like an oreo only it wasn't chocolate, it was a white cookie.

Mom loved the Girl Scouts' chocolate mint cookies. And she would hoard them. We'd find her satisfying her "yen" in the middle of the summer on a mint cookie she had hidden away. Of course, she shared with us when she had this kind of a "yen." We were given one mint cookie to enjoy while she satisfied her "yen."

"Yens". Not the Japanese money, but a sudden want to do something, a wish, a longing, a craving.

Remember that word. Use it. Especially now that spring is in full swing -- say to someone -- I have a yen to see a robin, will you come search with me? See what kind of a reaction you get.

Datsa my dode

That's my daughter. Datsa my dode is the way my grandmother Sbaraglia said, "That's my daughter." I grew up hearing that line many times. It was my father's mimic of my grandmother, because I never met my grandmother Sbaraglia.

But datsa my dode is a line I have had with me all these years. It's a statement of pride. When daddy was proud of something I did, he'd say, "Datsa my dode." Apparently, that's what my grandmother did as well.

Well, today, I was doing my weekly errands and passed one of my son-in-law's trucks (grammatically it should be son's-in-law, but that sounds terrible) for the veterinary clinic he runs -- and there on the side of the truck was a picture of my daughter watching one of the mobile clinic procedures. This as a form of advertising. And I thought, "Datsa my dode."

I understand there is a bill-board with that same picture up on I-75 (or is it I-71). Since I haven't traveled that way for over six months, I haven't actually seen the board, but if I did, you'd hear me shouting, "Datsa my dode."

Way to go, Cyndi. And thank you Shandon for putting your beautiful wife (and my beautiful daughter) in that picture.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Concepting is a term I first learned from a colleague at AiG (Dan Leitha). I think it means to think about something with the idea that after thinking about that something, I'll be able to have an idea to write about that something about which I'm thinking. Clear enough?

Concepting is also a word that doesn't spell-check, so Mr. DanL, maybe we need to think of another word. It really means to procrastinate about something, but concepting sounds so much more high faluting.

I've been concepting -- thinking about something, knowing there's a light at the end of the tunnel and I'll come up with a readable essay -- for days. Days and days and days.

I like concepting new BLOGs, but in that area I think I'm concepted out.

But, I'll have lots of concepting time because the fan is broken on my computer and I can only have it on for 15-minute intervals, which is barely enough time to get booted up, let alone BLOG something. So, Monday I'm taking my computer into the shop for a new fan, and I don't know how long it will take to get my computer back.

Besides concepting time, I'll have time to go nuts, I suppose -- no e-mails, no BLOGs to read or write, and except for the telephone, no communication with others. Yikes!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Whatever happened to wallets. I went wallet shopping recently and really couldn't find anything that I wanted to carry. They were either half the size of a small handbag, or they were the handbag.

When I was growing up every girl had a wallet, and that wallet contained a passel of pictures of friends, TV stars, etc., and each picture had some sort of saying pasted over it, which would say what the person thought the person in the picture was thinking when that particular picture was taken, or if it was a picture of a TV star (such as Spin or Marty from the Mickey Mouse Club series of the same name), then words would say things such as "so cute", "look at those eyelashes", etc.
I carried a really bad school picture (aren't all school pictures really bad?) of my brother in my wallet, and the look on his face was, well, he looked perplexed and sad, so I labeled it "sad sack." I still have that photo in one of my albums with the "sad sack" sticker on it.

It was also a status symbol -- your personal wallet was. It had to be THICK -- loaded with pictures. The more pictures, the more popular (in theory) you were. However, I knew unpopular kids who "loaded" their wallets with TV star pictures, not pictures of their friends.

My wallet was a dark blue Buxton. So that you didn't have to buy a new wallet, they sold picture-adding sections to place in your wallets, thus making your wallet even thicker. All good wallets had a separate place for change, and then, of course, a place for paper money, not that I ever had much of that variety.

I always called a dime -- the cost of a phone call -- in case I needed it for an emergency.

Of course, there was the time someone stole my wallet -- I felt naked without it and I was out the dime for a phone call.
One always carried a wallet, if one was over 13 years old. I mean always. Pockets got ripped, we still carried a wallet. We just sewed them up again. I always had safety pins hidden in my hems so I could fast-fix any ripped pockets. Those were the days before velcro or double sided tape.

So, I've included pictures of a wallets -- I actually had one exactly like the tooled-leather one. But that was too big for any pocket, and didn't really have much place for pictures, and I couldn't get the picture-addendum thing to work in that particular wallet. But it was very pretty.
I also had one similar to the red ladies wallet in the advertisement, except as I mentioned, mine was navy blue, leather.

Grace -- the grandchild

Grace was born on the day after we found out her grandfather, my husband, Alan, had bone marrow cancer, and we were en-route to Arkansas for Alan's first treatment. That's how I remember her age -- she's 9 -- or will be in a little over a month. I think she's the spitting image of her paternal grandmother (Beth) and she does look like her daddy, but I also see her mom in her when I don't see her face. Her body language is definite her mother's.
Grace is artistic. Her scrapbook about her cat is unbelievable (for me who's been doing scrapbooking for years now) and the background papers she chose to highlight the pictures were so well chosen. The pictures popped, but the background was viewable and noticeable as well. I guess you have to see the pages to know what I'm talking about. She's the first grandchild that I have scrapbooked with that didn't crowd each page with as many stickers or other things as they could fit on the page. Her pages were simply beautiful. (Simple, yet beautiful)
Grace is so much like her mother. She is a second child, also a middle child, she is very organized, helpful, quiet, and beautiful, just like her sister Annie. Grace's beauty though is quieter than her sisters. She has green eyes instead of electric blue eyes as are Annie's, so while Annie's beauty hits you in the face like a fist, Grace's beauty comes at you slowly and entices you to watch her and look at her longer than Annie.
Grace has had problems learning to talk. She talks well, don't misunderstand, but she doesn't like to talk if she can't say a word properly. Like her mother, she pronounces "R" like "L". If it's on the end of a word, like "sister", then it comes out like a tough Brooklyn kid as "sistah". Go figure. We try to get her to just say "R" -- as I did with her mother until, I gave up, and then Becky outgrew the problem --- and she says uh -- drawn out. Hmmm. I assume she will have perfect speech by the time she's a teenager just like her mom. Who's to say that Brooklyn-ese isn't proper English? I mean she even talks like a Brit at times -- she says cards -- k ah ds.
On another note -- I didn't mention her voice -- it's so true and good and I love to hear her sing. She's learning guitar and she has just a few songs in her repertoire. (get it? note, voice, music?)
She loves doing domestic things like cooking. I gave her a cook book and cookie cutters for Christmas. She is now cooking quite a bit, which surprised me the other day as she got out all the fixings for waffles. But then, we discovered there were no eggs in the house, so we put the batter in a container and they will mix in the eggs -- probably already have -- for waffles for another day. I guess I just don't think about how grown up my older grandchildren are getting. I mean they're babies, right? Wrong?
Babies last for such a short time. I know you moms who are reading this are thinking, but I'm so worn out now and I'm not enjoying this. I hear you. I didn't enjoy my children when they were babies, toddlers, into pre-teens either because I was so worn out. But once they became self sufficient, I did enjoy my children. I especially liked their teenage years.
So, Grace is growing up and getting older and I'm positively bummed that the babies are becoming older and don't have that dependence on me they once had when I truly "baby" sat them. On the other hand (positive) being waited on hand and foot isn't so bad either, and now the children are at an age where they are taking care of me -- it's really nice.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Not Expelled

Well, it wasn't to be. I didn't get to see Expelled. Alan did and he said every child should see this movie -- and I asked, at what age should that child be to see the movie so that they will understand it? He said, "5." I don't think so. But, yes, I agree, from viewing the trailers and from the recommendations I've received I think every child (and adult) should see this movie.

But, on a positive note -- see I started out with the negative, but I'm getting to the positive -- I did get to go out to dinner, albeit Bob Evans, not exactly my favorite restaurant(oops, there I go being negative again), but it was close and by the time we left the driveway, I knew I had made a mistake in trying to get out to O'Charlie's so we stopped at Bob Evans which is one block from our driveway entrance. I was able to deposit my nearly overdue Louis L'amour books in the library dumpster before we got to Bob Evans, then when we sat down to eat, the pain left. I got back in the car, and bam, it hit me again. I guess carrying a heavy strawberry cheesecake pie out to the car wasn't such a good idea.

Well, I lightened the load later on by eating a piece, so the once heavy pie is a bit lighter now, and won't hurt my back when I take it out of the fridge tomorrow.

It's still beautiful weatherwise here in Northern Kentucky -- it's 11:20 p.m. on Wednesday evening (still the 'day of woe') and outdoors it's 75 degrees. Man, I love this weather!

Tomorrow, I will once again hop out of bed (positive) and get a cuppa (positive) and venture out onto the sun porch (I've decided to positively call my porch/lenai/deck/veranda, the sun porch) and enjoy my coffee, do a couple of Suduko puzzles in record time (positive) and then I'll do my daily rounds of bed making, bathroom cleaning, and tomorrow I shall vacuum and do a load of laundry, all without any pain.

Did you all catch that "hop out of bed" notation. I haven't hopped for at least 10 years, in fact the highest I've lifted my legs is when Stacia and I were doing chair-dancing during our break at AiG back in the late 1900s. Boy does that sound old? But I'm trying to be positive here, so bear with me on this, and humor me a bit about hopping, okay?

That's all for now. I'll be back on-line again when I think of another positive topic that I hope will be of positive interest to you all.

Today is Wednesday

Wednesday's child is full of woe -- isn't that what the nursery rhyme says? I was born on a Wednesday, so I guess that explains my less than positive outlook on most things. I can twist them back to positive, after I've delved into the negative, though. But mostly I approach things from a negative perspective.

My children keep telling me, "Mom, you're so negative." And I guess I am. I wonder why that is? I don't really think it has anything to do with my being born on Wednesday.

I know that we are told that "This is the day that the Lord has made, we shall rejoice and be glad in it." So I should be rejoicing regardless of the what the day presents to me. And in Ephesians 5:20 I read that I should be "giving thanks always for all things unto God."

So, I shall try to be positive in my BLOGging.

First, you will notice that I added something to the "what's this BLOG about" arena. I added, "and my life since then." I had to do that because I was getting more and more into the present family happenings, which is a good thing, and so I just added that little caveat to what is included in the BLOG.

Now, here are some positive things about today:

My back (after two days of being flat on it) is better (mostly). I have been able to walk relatively pain free, but I'm very tentative when I walk afraid to twist something back out of whack. But Thanks be to God I can be comfortable in a chair and I'm able to walk without the pain. That hasn't been possible since Sunday afternoon through last night.

The weather is beautiful again today. That makes three days in a row. I was out on my sun porch today, and enjoyed the birds singing. They're finishing their nests and some of the mother birds are sitting on their eggs. I listened as they chatter back and forth. I love the sounds of Spring. My sister loved the sounds of the birds when she visited me last April. I am so looking forward to our time together in a couple of weeks.

More April gold has popped up around the neighborhood. Those daffodils finally sprouted and are in full bloom and are very lovely this year.

I heard from my niece Jennifer -- who now goes by Jessie -- another name thing I haven't been able to wrap myself around -- but there I go being negative. I guess when I learn the name of someone, it's hard for me to change that knowing to another name.

For instance, I have a friend whom I've always known as Bobbie. At one point, there was an effort for us all to change and call her Barbara. I'm sorry. Bobbie is Bobbie, just like Alan is Alan -- not Bob as many folks call him and know him as. And then there's a young man in our church who was named at birth Jeremy, and then he decided after 17 or 18 years to change it to Jeremiah. I still call him Jeremy. It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks, I guess. So Jess -- you're still Jenny to me. I hope that's okay.

Now, here's something interesting -- Jenny's brother is Daniel Jacob -- and he was known as Daniel in his early years. I really haven't had a problem with his new name -- it only took me about 15 years to change my thinking about it -- he goes by Jake (short for Jacob).

Same with my son. We named him Philip, but called him "Pip" from the day he was born. Pip, like in Great Expectations -- the Dickens novel. Alan and I were watching that movie on TV back in the late 60s while I was carrying "shim" not knowing whether we were having a boy or girl, and we decided to name our boy Philip on the birth certificate, but call him Pip, like in the novel. Well, when Pip was about 7 years old he decided he didn't want to be Pip anymore, he wanted to be Phil or Philip. It only took me 30 years to change that over -- I still call him Pip from time to time, that is when I'm not calling him "Mark" (my brother's name) or Beck, Cyn, Phil -- last in the list of my three children. Don't all mother's do that?

I wonder how long it took Sarah to get used to her husband's new name -- the name that God gave him when he changed it from Abram to Abraham. Probably not too long, I mean she probably called him Abe before it was changed and after it was changed kept up with the Abe thing.

Just trying to be positive here. How am I doing?

Today is "date" day. Alan and I have tried for months to have a date day -- Wednesday is our date day by proclamation of Alan -- and we have missed our "dates" for several MONTHs now. I hope this is the start of something I can count on, again. Alan picked Wednesday because we can see a movie for half price on Wednesday -- we're old -- and seniors get half-price admission on Wednesday. Thing is, dinner is cheap on Tuesday. But I think I can talk him into eating out after the movie. We'll see. I'll let you know. :)

I'm off to enjoy the movie of the week with my husband -- we're going to see Expelled.

You all have a great day. Runnemede folks, you're included in that admonition. Bye for now.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

"You're a Panic"

That's an expression from the past. We used to use those words when we meant someone was funny, humorous, made us laugh, etc.

Well, I talked to Micki today. Now, she's "a panic." She's in the hospital in Interlachen, and so far all the tests are not showing anything. They know there's something wrong, but haven't found it yet. She does have a leaky heart valve, but they haven't said anything about how bad that is, or whether they're going to do surgery.

I wish I could be there with her and ask the doctor more pointed questions as to what they're doing, what they're giving her, and what her prognosis is, but I can't.

She's in great spirits, though. In other words, she's "a panic." When talking with her it was like I was still in her home with her. We just picked up where we left off. And the laughter began within the first minute we spoke to each other. She's grateful to know that folks are praying for her. So, keep praying for her. Pray that the docs will find out what's causing her problem.

Katy (her dog) is being taken care of. I was concerned about Katy, but figured she (Micki) had that covered if anything ever happened to her. Her neighbor, who loves Katy as much as Micki does, it taking care of her. Her neighbor has two grandchildren who visit her on weekends, from time to time, and this past weekend was one of those visits. Katy took to those two children like white on rice. Now, Micki wonders if Katy will be glad to see her when she comes home. Silly wondering. Of course, Katy will be glad to see her. She's been Micki for over 10 years.

Well, I think you get the picture on Micki. Continuing praying for her, okay?


When my mother died, my grief was more like relief. She had been so very sick, and I had nursed her those last few weeks. She was in so much pain. She couldn't eat, and was starving to death. But when she was lucid we had a few nice talks. Even knowing that each one might be my last, I don't think I was as nice as I should have been to her. And when she died early on a Sunday afternoon, I was relieved. She was FINALLY with the Lord.

When my brother, Carl, said something about her at her funeral, about how much he loved her, and he always knew she loved him, even when he was at his worst, and that she always prayed for him, that got to me, and the tears came and I grieved.

Even now, at times, I'll pick up the phone and dial my mom's old telephone number, and then realize by the time I hit the 7th number, she's not just a phone call away. And that's after almost 20 years of her being with her Lord. There have been many things I've wanted to ask her. I would love to be able to talk to her about what I'm feeling today.

I'm grieving. I had only six days for form a love for a grandchild that I would never see or hold. I was so happy about the new little one. I was already planning his/her new memory book, the help I would give my daughter when the baby was born, the help I was going to give her tomorrow during her bed-rest time, but it is not to be. God took the baby to be with Him. Now as I type this through tears -- I'm still crying over this -- I know that His will is best, and whatever His plans are for another grandchild for us are His best. It's just hard sometimes to understand that God's best for us is just that -- His best, not necessarily what we think is our best.

Now I have 12 wonderful grandchildren to talk to and enjoy. Two are with our Savior and I shall see them some day.

Thank you Lord for my grandchildren. Help me to be an example of your love and grace, and help me to let them know about you and your majesty, the fact that you are wonderful, a counselor -- someone they can talk to --, the Mighty God, our everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


I was always taught that I should dress modestly -- no short shorts, one piece bathing suits, no short skirts, be careful when I bend over, etc. That carried over into my marriage. I'm not ashamed of it.


There is an incident that occurred during the summer between grade school and high school. I really still don't get it, but apparently I was very immodest.

We had a church youth group meeting -- mix sexes, boys and girls -- and the ages of those in attendance was 14-18. We had an outdoor BBQ (hot dogs and hamburgers, no BBQ) and so I had dressed "appropriately" for a summer BBQ, according to my mother's and father's standards. I was wearing pedal pushers (are they called clam diggers now?), and a matching blouse, tucked in. That was suitable dress for the occasion, so I figured, phew, got past that one.

You see being a PK (preacher's kid) in Runnemede meant that you had tests to pass every day on all kinds of things, modesty being just one of them.

I rode my bike to the party. And we had so much fun. We played badminton and some board games (that was how we had fun back then), and then it was time for supper. Well, the hosts didn't provide chairs for us to sit on, so the ground was the only option, other than standing and trying to juggle a plate, a drink, and eating at the same. We were all sitting on the ground with our legs crossed "Indian" style. If you don't know what "Indian" style is, I can't explain it except one leg is crossed over the other and vice versa, so you sort of look like a pretzel with a body attached to it.

Well, apparently the lady who hosted the party didn't' think sitting "Indian" style was appropriate for anyone. But, she called my mom. She called her before I got home, and mom was waiting for me.

She started to tell me I was getting boys excited (I didn't even know what that meant, believe it or not, when I was 14) and that I wasn't sitting like a lady should sit. I was really confused. I didn't get how sitting "Indian" style -- and every single one of us was sitting that way - was causing boys to get excited.

Apparently the hostess thought that sitting that way was "exposing" one's self to the opposite sex and getting them aroused. Of course, I wasn't the only other girl there, and there certainly were much more attractive girls at that party dressed more seductively than I, I might add; but I was the one that got the "friendly" call from a "concerned" parishioner.

So, girls and ladies, be careful how you sit. Always sit with your feet crossed at the ankles, and keep those knees tight together. Sit in a chair or on a step -- that was the suggestion for me -- and make sure you are modest at all times. You never know when someone is going to take offense at how you are sitting.

Of course, with my present girth, sitting "Indian" style is out of the question, so I suppose that I don't have that problem at this point in my life. However, I mentioned it to my daughter, and she cracked up. But, she also could see the point of the poor lady who thought I was being immodest.

Be careful, my children, and others, the "immodest" police are out there just waiting to get you caught!

Let Us Pray

I know this is probably the quickest way to get folks to pray for Cousin Micki. She is in the hospital (in Florida) and since this is fourth-hand information I'll let you just pray for her and her heart condition.

What I have been told is that she has a "leaky heart something." So I asked my daughter, the nurse, and she said yes, you can have a leaky heart valve, and that would mean valve replacement.

I don't know anything about whether they are doing a valve replacement on Micki or not. I only know that she is not in good physical shape right now. Remember she is 82, or is it 83? I guess when you get that old, it doesn't matter.

When we left her she was not feeling well, but she put on a good front. She was tired, very tired. And originally the doctor thought she was anemic or had some internal bleeding. Well, now they think it's her heart (a likely scenario). So, please, please pray for her.

Second, our youngest daughter is going to have another baby -- her sixth -- but she is having problems, and is on complete bed rest. Now, how do you get a mother of five, one of which is a one-year-old, who also has ADD, to go on complete bed rest? See the problem here? Pray that she will obey her doctor and stay in bed until this problem clears up (which we pray it will), and that her ADD won't get in the way. She does have someone to take care of the one-year-old all the time, isn't that a blessing? And folks are bringing her and her family food -- another blessing. But pray for her. Oh, yes, the doctor said the baby is doing fine, no distress or anything.

The "Let Us Pray" header is something we heard a lot growing up -- if someone got sick, or was in the hospital or had any need at all, daddy would say, "Let us Pray" and then we would pray for that person and their need. So prayer for me and mine is not something that we find hard to do.

Even yesterday, I was so thankful for such a beautiful day, that while I was outside with my grandchildren, I was shouting, yes SHOUTING, "Thank you Father for such a beautiful day. Thank you for the trees in bud. Thank you for being the great I AM." And, you know what, my grandchildren didn't think I was weird or odd or anything, they just joined in. Isn't God good?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Annie and other ramblings

I'm sitting here at the kitchen table -- not mine, my daughter's -- with my granddaughter, Annie. She's such a sweet child. She's seven. She's being home-schooled, and she finished her work for the week, so she's sitting here with me working on an album (scrap-booking) of a trip she and her friends took to Clifty Falls. She's doing such a good job. I can't believe how artistic she is. She sees things, I can't even think about. That's her in the picture.

I'm having so much fun with my older grandchildren. They understand my limitations and don't push me to do things I can't do. The younger ones don't understand when I can't run up the stairs, down the stairs, back up the stairs, then down the stairs, etc.

So, I'm sitting here with Annie. She has a great vocabulary for her age, and we're just gabbing away. She has told me about her birthday and the trip to Clifty Falls with her friends (click on today's title and it takes you to the Clifty Falls website). I missed her birthday this year -- I didn't miss getting a gift to her, just missed the party. We were in Florida at the time of her birthday.

I'm so glad the Lord has blessed me with a "quiver full" of grandchildren (currently 12, number 13 will arrive in November and one is in Heaven). I think I mentioned that to some folks that the new baby was due in October. Well, I was wrong, it's due in November. My daughter -- not Annie's mom, my other daughter -- is on bed rest for now trying to keep that baby -- the baby is in great health according to the doctor -- in its growing place for another seven months, just that Cyndi is having problems.

But this is about Annie, not my new grandbaby. Annie...since the day she was born has been for me a very special child. She is quiet -- she likes to whisper things to me or her mom. Not that they're secrets, she just likes to whisper. It's so nice to be around a "quiet" child.

Annie wants to be a baker -- bake wedding cakes -- when she grows up. She likes to decorate cakes, and she's good at that, also. Of course, she's seven, so we'll see where that goes. By the time she's 17 she might want to be something else.

I mean, how many times in our lives do we change our minds and want to become something else? How many of us knew from the time we were 5 or 6 or 7 what we wanted to be and stuck to it? My youngest daughter did. She wanted to be a mommy. From the time she was 3, she wanted to be a mommy. And she got married when she was 19, and when she was 21 she was a mommy. Now, she's a mommy five times over, and is about to be a mommy for a sixth time. What can I say? She loves children. And she's a good mommy. She's a fun mommy.

I don't think I was ever a "fun" mommy. I took care of my children, but I don't remember enjoying them or doing "fun" things with them. They remember "fun" things, but I don't. So, I'm doing "fun" things with my grandchildren, Annie being one of them. My precious, beautiful, Annie.

When she was three she didn't want to be "beautiful." And I would sign (like sign language) to her that she was "beautiful" and call her my "beautiful, beautiful, Annie". She really wanted to be just Annie.

So, now, Annie's run off to do something else for a while. She's scrapped about 10 pages -- really nice pages, too, and it's time to do something else. Children's time spans just aren't what adults are.

Annie just came back and gave me more information about Clifty Falls and the caves and the water fall that at least four times higher than her house -- that's what she told me -- four times higher than this house - and some of the caves are tunnels (meaning, I suppose you can go to in one side and out the other and see from one end to the other). But, she's seven, and I know her dad knows all about Clifty Falls Park and what's in the park, so I'm sure by the time she 11 she'll know all about the caves and tunnels in Clifty Falls State Park.

So, today, is a grandchild day. This afternoon, will be Grace's and Dan's turn to do something "fun" with me-mom. And Dan's a chatterbox, so I'm sure I'll get lots of new information about something. We'll see how that goes. Can't wait.

Oh, by the way, Annie has never been to Runnemede. She was born after my father left to live with my sister. In fact, Annie never met her grandfather. He died before she was born. So, there's absolutely no Runnemede connection, except through me!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


You know, I'm so glad we didn't have television until I was 10 years old. And even then, there was little on TV that we watched. We didn't watch TV every night, all night. Nor did we watch it all day, every day. Saturday morning there were cartoons -- Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry, Popeye, etc., but nothing else on after that, except for Hopalong Cassidy.

The few programs we did watch in the evening were The Lone Ranger, Sgt. Preston of the Yukon, Roy Rogers, Liberace, and I Remember Mama.

But when I was little (before I was a grown up of 10) there was plenty else to do, and I was thinking about that today. What do children do these days?

I know my grand-daughter who is in third grade comes home laden down with homework, so that by the time she's finished doing the home work, there is no time for play. Don't they want children to play any more? Can't the children get the work finished in school, during school hours? My granddaughter is very smart. She really shouldn't even have homework. Plus, I never had home work in grammar school, so why do they have homework these days.

I came home and I played -- either I played with one or two of the neighborhood boys, pitching a ball or batting a ball, or climbing trees, or I played with my sister -- pushing a doll coach or playing brides or pretending I was a teacher and she was the student, or pretending I was a nurse, using my mom's nursing caps to make it more real. I also made nurses caps out of paper when mom's needed were being laundered and needed starching and ironing.

I often played with "bricks" -- which were like Legos, but they were made of wood. And I built villages with those bricks, or I built houses. I often sat down at my desk and designed houses. Of course, they were mansions, not small homes like the ones everyone in Runnemede lived in at that time.

So, I was wondering today, as it was such a beautiful day, and I don't see our few neighborhood children outside playing, are the children cloistered inside because they have homework, or do children these days not know what to do outside?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Keep the change

Alan and I went out to eat tonight. I had a very painful day, and so he suggested we eat out. Isn't he a sweetheart?

You all won't believe this, I find it hard to believe myself, but I fell asleep at my computer last night. Alan came into my office around 11 p.m. and there I was with my arms folded over the keyboard and my head on my arms and I was out. He had a difficult time waking me. I don't even remember turning off the computer, but he said I was awake enough to do that.

But, that has nothing to do with the topic, "Keep the change."

That remembrance came about after dinner. We both wanted dessert, but let's face it, Barleycorns doesn't have the best desserts in the world, so we opted for Graeter's instead. After we placed our order, Alan handed me a $20 bill to give to the cashier. When I was handed back the change, I said to Alan, "I get to keep the change, right?" He said, "No." I said, "My father always let me keep the change," and pouted a bit.

You see where I'm going with this?

When I was younger there were two ways I could "keep the change" when I went shopping with or for my father. If he sent me down to Joe's to get ice-cream for himself, me, and my mom (imagine carrying three ice-cream cones) he would let me keep the change. Sometimes it was a nickle, sometimes it was a lot more than that, depending on the denomination of the bill he gave me to give to Joe.

When I would go shopping WITH my father and he would hand me a bill to give to the cashier, I would look at him, bat my longer-than-they-are-now eyelashes, and ask: "Can I keep the change?" My father ALWAYS answered, "Yes."

Any other siblings have that experience?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Another family member heard from

Another niece, Lori, sent me pictures of her family, and said I could post them here for the rest of the family to see. Lori called my father, "Gramps" and my mother, she called "Grams" (I think I'm right on that, but she'll let me know if I'm wrong). And she got to visit with the grandparents just once a year.

My brother is a preacher and he would go back to Runnemede once a year and preach on whatever Sunday they were in town. And daddy liked to have Mark come in at least once a year. I'm sure if it were up to my father, his son would have taken over as pastor at Mt. Calvary when he left, but that was not to be.

Anyway, Lori has three adorable children. They are: Maddie, Noah, and Olivia (Livie). Maddie looks like her mother, totally. Noah? I can't tell. Livie? I can't tell. I don't see much of Lori in Livie, and I spent a little bit of time with her when she was a youngster.

There's a story for you. Next BLOG. You'll have to wait for it.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

It's prom season

Yes, it is. I was not permitted to dance when I was growing up. Dancing was a sin. Getting that close to someone who was not of the same sex as you were was a sin. So dancing was out. Skating was in, though, so I went skating with boys, instead of dancing. Never got it in my head why one was okay and the other was not.

I know some of the older (older than I) folks thought that dances like The Twist or The Watusi were obscene -- all that gyrating. So, I never went to either the Junior Prom or the Senior Prom. Back then there were two to choose from. Of course, the Senior Prom was the highlight. For me, however, if I had been able to attend a prom, it would have been the Junior Prom because that was the year my dear husband and I were "dating" (while he was in the states). He was not permitted to attend dances either, so going to the Prom with him was not an option. Another thing that made it impossible for me to attend a prom was the cost of a gown.
In the late 50s and early 60s girls wore ball gowns to the Prom. They were long, flowing, some had trains, most had lots and lots of tulle. See the pictures above? The one I coveted, and tried to win by selling magazines (it was a prize) was the pink one in the "Nadine" picture -- the one with all the ruffles on it. At the time I thought that was the most gorgeous dress I had ever seen.
I walked past the case in which it was displayed every day and prayed, yes I actually prayed, that I would sell enough magazines to win that dress (earn that dress). I didn't do it. I was bested by another girl, who probably prayed just as much as I did that she would win that dress. If I were picking a dress now from those at the top of this BLOG, I would pick the pink one on the left. The strapless one.
Back at the time I was looking at dresses to wear to the dances I wasn't going to be able to attend, I would NEVER have looked for a strapless gown. I mean, I had absolutely NOTHING to hold it up with. I didn't even have much of a waist. I was straight, up and down, with a little bump where my derriere is located.
So, that's the story on the Prom for me and mine.

Rotary versus push button

I, of course, grew up with a rotary phone. And into my early married years, we had a rotary phone. Push button phones came out in the late 60s, I think, but they cost money, and the standard phone issued by the phone company (they gave you a phone with service back then) was black and had a rotary dial. See the picture above.

Even now, as I dial a number, I visualize that rotary dial, and dial the number I'm visualising in my head, transfer it to push buttons, and there you have it, I'm connected to the person whose number I pushed. I can't say "dialed", even though every one does, because, let's face it, we're not dialing anything, we're pushing numbers to get a signal to send to a computer that recognizes that particular push signal as a letter/number and then when all the numbers/letters are pushed in you have a connection on the other end and the phone rings at the place where that particular phone sits. Is that clear?

I do prefer a dial phone myself, although I have to say, I can do one-hand pushing and with a rotary phone, no matter what, you had to hold down the phone with one hand, while you dialed with the other, the only exception being the ones that were attached to the wall.

We still have an old rotary phone, but we don't use it. We've opted out and are using only push-button phones. Is that a cop-out? I don't think so. Is it easier on the fingers? Yes.

But if I were forced to keep a rotary phone, I wouldn't complain.

And thinking about the visual redial thing, maybe it's easier to visualize a number in redial (not repush) because dialing a number is slower than pushing a number. You have to wait for the rotary part to swing back to "zero" so to speak before you can dial the next number.

What brings up this issue is, again, the missive from my niece, Heather, in which she reminded me that my father would NOT give up his rotary phone. No matter how crippled or bent his fingers became, he would NOT give up that phone. I know I spoke to him about it several times, but I guess it was one of those old things that still worked and it was a comfort to him. (We older folks get comfort out of the old things that are worthless or nearly worthless because they remind us of some happy time/event in our life.)

Some things that change aren't always for the better.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Psalm 23

I have notes in my Bible -- the one I talked about recently -- of a sermon that my father preached and which I heard on Psalm 23.

Psalm 23 talks about the sufficiency of God. He is sufficient for ALL our needs. Notice it's needs, not wants. The Psalm is written by a shepherd (David) about a shepherd (The Great Shepherd). Psalm is a lesson for living, a guide so to speak.

The Psalm is full of promises, some of them are:

  • I shall not want -- not for anything, no not anything (that's how it is in the Hebrew language).
  • He leads me beside still waters -- not a babbling brook or a rushing river or on an ocean during a storm -- still waters are calm. He gives us the peace to make us calm.
  • He restores my soul.
  • He is with me -- no matter what, even through the valley of the shadow of death. That "valley" is a real place in Israel and it is not a nice place. It is a scary place. But to know that our God is with us in those scary places. How wonderful is that?
  • Your rod and staff comfort me -- He is my comfort. Like a baby's comfort is his blankie, God is my blanket, my cover, my comfort.
  • You prepare a table for me -- (You feed me, even in the presence of my enemies)
  • Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all my life -- because of His grace
  • I will dwell in His house forever -- because of what his Son did on the Cross.

Not a long message, but something to think about.

It's so easy to quote Psalm 23. We learned it as children, many of us. It is read at funerals (on TV). We've heard it many times in our lives. It's familiar to us. Yet do we think about it when we are facing hard times? He is with me, always. What a blessing.


I received a surprise in the mail -- well via UPS -- today. It was a skate key -- a well-rusted, very old skate key -- from my sister. Thanks, sis.

Nostalgia is something I'm enjoying more and more. And I am so looking forward to a few more days with my sister in the middle of May so we can nostalgize (that's a new word I made up). We're heading down to Tennessee for a couple of days.

Regarding KEYS. My dad had keys -- not as many keys as pens, but he had a few. They were clock keys. Heather reminded me about the clocks. She said that she remembered that he had several in his bedroom and it sounded like a clock shop - tick tock, tick tock. She's correct. But they were of the wind-up variety. He'd see a new bedside clock -- you know those kind you wind up and set the alarm on to wake you up -- and buy it for his bedroom. Never mind that he never set the alarms. But the ticking and tocking? I guess for him it was like a lullaby or something that lulled him to sleep each night.

He also had several other clocks around the house. I remember when his step-mother died and he inherited a couple of clocks. He seemed to be so excited about the clocks. Since I didn't know anything about death, his lack of remorse over his step-mom's death (they had a good relationship) didn't bother me. I was as excited as he was over these new clocks.

One struck on the quarter-hour and played 1/4 of a song -- ding dong, ding dong, ding dong, ding dong. Can't you just hear it? No, oh, well, you had to be there, and I was. And he got another clock, which now resides on my son's mantle -- it was an old mantle clock. We had no mantle, so he put it on the buffet in the dining room. That clock too, struck on the 1/4 hour, but it was just a bong.

He had one in his office at the church. That one lapsed into a quiet decoration quite often, but he'd chuckle and drag me over to his office to watch him get that clock running again.

I remember one time he took the clock down from the shelf and turned it around so I could see the insides. It had a pendulum and springs and coils and sprockets and he told me how the sprockets moved in a certain way and they were made to precisely keep time. Then, he wound up the clock, gave the pendulum a push, and it started ticking. That clock only struck on the hour.

You know what? I recall the various clocks going off in the middle of the night, but it wasn't something that was jarring. It was relaxing, comforting.

Something else about the KEYS and the clocks. Dad was very precise about time. He checked on the phone with the Naval Observatory from time to time to get Naval Observatory Time. And then, he would make sure every clock was set to that time, including his wrist watch and his pocket watch and my mother's wrist watch!

He didn't like battery operated clocks and he laughed at the annoying sound the electronic clocks made. He never had a grandfather's clock, but if he did......

Resident Staples at your service

That's how my niece, Heather, put it.

Remember I mentioned in a past post that my father was a collector of pens, pencils, etc. You can now link to other memories about my father and his being a "resident Staples at your service." Just link up with "pens and pencils" and you'll be able to reread the BLOGs about daddy's affinity for pens and pencils.

What brought this up was that my father had pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, briefcases, rulers, paper clips -- in other words -- Staples in his home office, and more in his church office.

He kept these things so he could give them away. Now, you have to realize that Staples was a late-bloomer as far as stationery stores is concerned -- at least in my father's life. His favorite was over in Somerville -- New Jersey Business Supplies -- I think that was the name of it. I loved that store, also. And, they had things in there that Staples doesn't carry to this day, but that I can get on-line, if I need them.

I'm a lot like my father -- a collector of pens and pencils, but I have them for my grandchildren who want them (mostly Shandon and Toria). If I find a new pencil or a new pen, I get a stock of them, then when I see the grands, I pass them out. My father's desk is filled with pens and pencils for the grandchildren.

I also have several fountain pens. I do prefer a fountain pen to a ball-point or felt tip. I guess it's because when I was growing up my father gave me an Esterbrook pen and pencil set. I treasured that set. I still have the pen.

Now with an Esterbrook pen you could buy different "nibs" (points) and they would screw in and you would have a wider or narrower point on your pen -- sort of like calligraphy pens today, but it was all in one pen, just the nibs were changed out. And, of course, you had to have ink so you could fill the rubber tube that held the ink when you ran out. I collected ink colors as well.

So, you see, my father started me off in this.

Now days you have to by ink cartridges -- not as easy to change or refill the ink supply as it was with the old-fashioned lever mechanism on the outside of the pen that caused the rubber tube to collapse inside, then when you released the lever I guess the intake of air above the ink caused the ink to come back into the pen from the bottle. It's hard to describe unless you've done it -- fill a fountain pen the old-fashioned way, that is.

They even have disposable fountain pens nowadays. They're made by Pilot. I have to order them on-line; and they come in all colors. I love them.

Thanks, Heather, for reminding me about the pens and pencils. It's just one of the things that made my father unique!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Crooked fingers

I heard from my niece, Heather, today. We've been out of touch for years. I keep up with her comings and goings by talking to my brother, Carl. He's her oldest child. She was born shortly after my son, Phil. So she's...I won't tell you how old she is. She might not appreciate it.

She asked me some questions about things that were my father's and mother's and if I knew where they were. Heather lived with my father for a while when she was in her 20s and struggling to get started in her career. She always seemed to really love her Grandfather (she stayed with him after my mom died) and he, her.

Anyway, she's engaged. No date set for the wedding. She said her fiance makes fun of her crooked pointy index fingers and was wondering if she got that from my father.

My dad had really bad arthritis in his hands and his fingers were so bent, I often wondered how he could hold a fork or play the piano, or type. Now, I have crooked fingers -- my pinkie, left-hand finger top points toward my ring finger, and my index finger, right hand, top points toward my thumb. So, I know the answer to my wondering now that I'm experiencing the same thing. I can type -- a little slower than I used to -- and I can hold a fork and a knife. I just figure I have the perfect curve in my index finger, right hand, to go around that mouse I've grown so fond of in the last 10-15 years!

My sister has crooked fingers as well. My mom, didn't. I mean, when she was 80 her fingers were gnarled and misshapen, but they weren't bent sideways like my father's were, and like mine are, and like my sister's are, and now, like Heather's are. It's in the genes!

Payback time

I did it to my sister and brother last week, remember? I posted a picture that I'm sure neither of them would want shown even to the closest family members. Well, here's one I found of me and Alan, taken in 1972. I was expecting my second child, Becky, at the time. It had to be January or February of that year.

Can you imagine that I thought the style and the material of the dress I was wearing was in style? Well, it was. I had purchased it just a few days prior to this event (it was a military ball) and I got it at a garment loft in the garment district in New York City. Those garment lofts are where the NEW fashions are stored, and if you know somebody you can get into them and purchase clothing before they go on the racks at Macy's or Bloomingdale's, etc. for not much money.
And those shoes? Oh my. Aren't they the worst?

Blah, blah, blah

I wonder what it is that compels me to write something, anything, each day, in this BLOG. I'm sitting here conjecturing about what I should write. Nothing is coming to my mind. I mean NOTHING, nada, zilch, zip, NOTHING.

So I put down my meandering thoughts about this blah day, and it has been very blah.

First, I had a really hard time waking up, but then I had an even more difficult time sleeping last night, or should I say this morning. I was so very tired when I went to bed, then my mind started working on something, which I don't even recall, and there I was wide awake until after 4 a.m.

Sometimes when I'm awake like that I write down what thoughts are keeping me awake and then try to decipher them in the morning, thinking that perhaps I had a "deep" thought. But, I haven't had any perceptive or "deep" thoughts for years, if ever.

Then when I finally pulled myself out of bed, I realized why I hadn't wanted to get out of the bed. It hurt -- a lot. That old hip just doesn't like to get back into place once it's been unhinged during sleep. It took a lot of effort to get it to snap back into place today.

Once that chore was finished, I had to decide which blah task I would do first -- clean the bathroom? Clean the kitchen -- I hadn't cleaned it last night? Do laundry? Have a cup of coffee? Read? Do Sudoku?

Well, I decided on the kitchen because I could use the counters to get pressure off the hip if I needed to (by placing my hands on the counter and pushing myself up, like on a parallel bar). That took all of five minutes. Then I decided to scrub my stainless steel kitchen sink. I like to have it shiny, and sometimes it needs an extra scrub with Dawn degreaser to get it back to it's original sparkling condition.

Have you noticed that I did NOT have a cup of coffee first? For some reason the thought of a cup of coffee just didn't set well, so I chalked that task off the list. Now this blah day continues and I have finished in the kitchen, what next? Laundry. Easy enough. Two minutes later, I decided to go out on the sun porch for a few minutes. I placed a few phone orders for clothing for Alan while I was out there. Another task completed.

It is noon yet? Rush Limbaugh wasn't in his chair today and whoever replaced him just wasn't keeping my attention.

I decided I needed to get some Bible reading done, and some searching for remembrances of my father's teachings. I'm using one of my old Bibles. It's falling apart, and it has notes written all through it. It's the Bible I used in the early 80s. I wish I could find the one I had when I was a teenager with all those notes in it. It's probably in Nigeria. We gave a box of our old used Bibles to our former pastor to take with him on one of his mission trips.

Some people write their "church" notes in a notebook. I found that if I wrote them in the margins of the passage that was been talked about, I would recall it better than reading a page of notes, and I'd see it years later. I mean who really goes back and reads all those notes anyway?

So, I did some Bible searching.

Finally, Alan got home from a luncheon he was attending, and the blah was no longer blah. He still can light up my life by walking into a room, believe it or not!

Dad and "grace"

My father liked to give what he called expository Bible studies. And that just means that he would take either a topic or a book of the Bible and tear it apart – in a good way – seeking what God had imparted in that particular book for us, to teach us His way, or looking for what God had to say about a certain topic, such as grace.

I think my father did a study on “grace” that lasted for two years of Sunday nights, minus the once-a-month missionary night. But how can you put a time-limit on grace. God’s grace is forever and he gives it to us liberally, just because he wants to. We certainly don’t deserve it. What would this world be like with the grace of God? If it weren’t for His grace, we couldn’t be saved. His grace is sufficient for everything we might endure. Paul said, that He (God) told him (Paul) that His (God’s) grace was sufficient, whereupon Paul tells us of the things in life he is endured by God’s grace.

Paul suffered an infirmity in his flesh – some sort of disease, we think; he was in prison several times, his life was threatened more than once, and yet he was able to say that God’s grace was sufficient for him. Wow! How I wish I could get a handle on that grace. I know about it. I understand it. I take hold of it on occasion, but I ask God to allow me to have grace all the time because that’s how often I need it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Let's begin at the beginning

My father was a creationist -- not in the scientific sense, but in the Biblical sense. He believed the Bible literally, and never wavered from that.

So, I'm beginning at the beginning. I was taught that God created everything. We didn't morph from water to fish to frogs to people, or whatever the sequence is that evolutionists want us to accept. I was taught that God's Word is truth, and if God said He created the heavens, the earth, and all that was in it, then we were blaspheming Him or denying Him, if we didn't believe what He said.

Dad and I had times when we had to fight for this belief. I've mentioned the time with Mrs. Jackson (prehistoric Jackson) when I was in 5th grade. The trouble is that dad didn't think there were dinosaurs. He thought that the dinosaur imaginings in museums ALL came the the northeast corner of someone's imagination (that's one of my father sayings, by the way). He learned late in life that there were dinosaurs, but they were here before, during, and after the flood, and we're just now finding the fossils.

What Dad had a hard time getting a handle around regarding dinosaurs, is why there are so many dinosaur fossils, and so few people fossils, when he was certain the people far outnumbered the dinosaurs prior to the flood, and why are there so many dinosaur fossils and so few other animal fossils. He thought maybe every bone that was found was tagged as a dino fossil, when, in fact, maybe it was a horse leg, or something. That was my father. Questionning science, not questionning God's word.

The other event was in high school, and it wasn't even in a science class, it was in a history class. I couldn't answer the test questions correctly because I knew that my teacher's dating process was skewed -- he believed the lie. My father went in to see that teacher, and I was permitted to not answer those questions, and to not be docked from my score for not answering them. However, I was warned that questions like that were on the SATs and I'd be wise to "lie" on that test if I wanted to get into a college.

My father was not a happy camper when he read the Western Civilization history book. Piltdown man, hump-back man? God created man -- upright -- no questions. Whatever they found -- the hunched over man -- there was a reason, but it wasn't because God had created man that way and eventually he stood up straight. Man was created perfect, and then deteriorated -- that's what daddy believed.

You know what? He was right. I believe that 100 percent.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My father's sermons

I loved my father. I also didn't appreciate my father.

My father was a preacher. Actually, he was a teacher. Teaching God's Word was what he did, and when he did that his whole countenance changed. No matter how old he got, when he opened God's word, and started talking about what was on those pages, he lit up, like a Christmas tree, I guess would be the idiom.

I really didn't appreciate my father's teaching, but in the next few BLOGging sessions, I hope to give you an inkling of the little bit that I remember of what he taught me and his congregation.

For this remembrance, let me say that my father was a teacher. He wasn't a visitor of the sick, although, he did visit the sick. He wasn't fond of conducting funerals, unless he had carte blanche with God's word from the deceased's family. He wouldn't marry two people who were "unequally yoked" -- in other words, he wouldn't marry a believer to an unbeliever. He wouldn't marry anyone who had been previously divorced.

He believed in church discipline. If a church member was "misbehaving" -- that is, behaving contrary to the principles set forth in the Bible and openly flaunting that behavior -- they were not permitted to be part of the Lord's supper.

He believed that the King James version of the Bible was the best translation that there ever was and spent his life finding things that were "out of kilter" with other translations. He knew Greek and Hebrew and often used the old manuscripts to defend his belief that the translators of King James got it correct. Personally, I learned Scripture from the King James version, and all the other versions sound funny to me.

So, get ready, we're going on a journey -- a journey that may mean longer breaks between BLOGs because I want to get my father's teaching to me, correct.

Ah, Spring Break

We never had "spring break." We had an "Easter" break, and it was only for three days -- I think I've mentioned this before. So maybe I should stop writing right now. Not!

I have something to say, and I'm going to say it.

Okay, I'm getting old, and now I forgot what I was going to say, especially since Alan interrupted me to ask about coffee creamer. You had to be here.

He does that a lot. He just seems to have an instinct built into his brain that says to him, Judi's BLOGging and it's time to interrupt her and distract her so she'll forget where she was going with a topic. That happens a lot! Of course, I'm not blameless in the interruption category.

He's working on taxes right now and that's almost 24/7 with him this time of the year. We have a LOT of medical bills to go through, and he said to me last night that it's getting more difficult each year for him to keep focused on what he's doing (with tax reporting). So, whenever I need to know something from him at this time of the year especially, I "interrupt" him at a crucial time. I guess I have the same radar he has in the interrupting category.

Back to "spring" break. I still can't remember what I was going to write about. So I'll reminisce a bit. (Wow, it took me a long time to remember how to spell reminisce!) I'm looking out my office window and I see the trees in bloom -- flowering pear tree, flowering crab, red bud, but no April gold. I'm wondering if the daffodils all got killed in the last freeze.

The view of the flowering trees brings my thoughts back home to Runnemede. It seems to me that Easter time (our spring break time) was a time of flowering trees and other flowers.

I know that New Jersey is not any warmer than Kentucky, although Kentucky does get much colder blasts occasionally than New Jersey ever does, and I don't recall the temperature in New Jersey ever going down to more than 2 below zero, where here in Kentucky, that's a common winter temperature. Plus, it seems that almost yearly we get down to almost 10 below at least once. So, why do I recall flowers at Easter time there, but they are not here? Is it because Easter was so early this year. Isn't it usually in April?

The flowering trees in New Jersey were mostly cherry blossom trees -- like the ones that line the sidewalks in Washington, DC. I recall that we had tulips by Easter, though, not the forced ones you can buy at the grocery store, I mean the ones that come up in the ground.

I did look at the neighborhood tulips that are popping through the other day, and they look a bit worn -- like they were nipped by some hungry deer (we don't get deer on our paved areas, only in the woods behind the homes). I hope they bloom. The landscape committee here (that would be my mom when I was growing up) was out and about, pulling weeds, checking to see how the annuals were fairing, etc.

Mom would do that as soon as she could go out and not freeze her hands. She liked to work without gloves, but wore them in certain places because of black widow spiders. Yes, we had BWSes in mom's garden in certain areas, so we didn't pick anything there without gloves, or not at all. Mostly they lived in her bed of lilies of the valley. She had that bed along the bedroom side of the house and it went the entire length of that side.

You know I see people tie up the leaves of lily of the valley, daffodils, and tulips, after they have bloomed. I wonder why they do that. My mother never did and her plants bloomed year after year.

This really has nothing to do with spring break, but I still can't remember what I was going to write about, so I'll stop rambling for now.

ADDENDUM: After I wrote this I went out to run many, many errands. And, what to my wondering eyes should appear bit YELLOW GOLD!!!!! It's all over the place, just not visible from my office window. I drove around the neighb and there it was. Then I went over the river and through the wood to Beechmont Avenue (a shopping strip near here) and while I was driving toward Beechmont through the tree-lined streets, I also noticed a tree that I hadn't mentioned, but which is prolific at this time of year with its blooms -- and that is the magnolia (sweet bay, my mom called it). Kentucky doesn't seem to have many magnolias, but I recall that Ohio did, and they were in full bloom. I suppose the dogwood will be out by next week.

Also, by the time I got home the weather prognosticators were predicting -- you guessed it -- snow showers? Go figure.

Monday, April 7, 2008


I'm still hung up on this. Sorry. I was remembering that some of the names in the Bible seem like someone just threw a pile of letters on the table and made it a name.

Just take a look at I Chronicles 1 and read down that list. Most of them aren't even pronounceable, are they?

I mean, how would you like to be called Ashchenaz -- sounds like you should say "God bless you" after calling that person. (1Chron 1:6).

Hazarmaveth -- (vs. 20) -- now that's a name you can get your mouth around. What do you think would be a good nickname for that person? Haz? Hazar? Hazarm? Zarma? I could go on.

Arphaxad -- sounds like a new drug that the FDA is checking out.

How'd you like to have the name Dumah? I don't know if that's a long "u" or a short "u", either way, I don't think I'd want that name.

Realize these are all MALE names. Women are rarely listed in this genealogy.

Not until we get to 1 Chron. 2, vs. 4 is there a mention of a woman. Some of those mentioned are: Tamar. Short for Tamara, usually called Tammy? Not too bad. And verse 16, chapter 2 mentions Abigail and Zeruiah. Caleb's wife was called Azubah. And when Azubah died, he married Ephrath. Here's a pretty name -- Atarah (2:26). I don't think I'd mind having a grandchild called Atarah. Although I still think it's a little weird.

Just because a name is Biblical doesn't make it okay in my book. Why the name hang-up? I don't know. I guess I've seen You've Got Mail too many times, and have been brainwashed by the scene in the coffee shop where Meg Ryan asks why people can't have normal names, like Elizabeth (from Pride and Prejudice) which is a book she and Tom Hanks are discussing.

So much for names. Needless to say I didn't dig out ALL the weird and ugly (IMHO) names in the Bible. I hope this is the last time I bring this up. But, it probably won't be.

Where did we come from?

We came from God.

Now, that we've gotten that straight. I will tell you where our Italian ancestors came from. And, once again, give a short history of their emigration to this country.

My grandfather, Orazio Sbaraglia, used to be (if my mother told me correctly) along with his family, the caretaker of the cemetery in his home town.

That town would be -- now please remember this, because it's a mouthful, and I'm not going to repeat it again -- Torrevecchia Teatina Chieta Abruzzi. From now on it will be TTCA. TTCA is broken down thusly: Torrevecchia Teatina (name of the town), Chieta (name of the county), Abruzzi (name of the region in Italy, like our states). TTCA is located on the southeast coast, just north of the heel of the boot. The climate is warm most of the time, but as you leave the coast you immediately begin to climb, so that TTCA is above sea level a bit and gets some cooler, even a rare snow storm as they had this year can occur.

Now back to Orazio. He married Santa Barbetta and they had several children -- in birth order they were: Daisy, Francis, Rose, Anne, Joe, and Joe's twin, unnamed because he died shortly after birth. If there were more children born to them, I'm not aware of it.

Orazio left his family in the late 1800s to go to the Panama Canal -- he was a digger. He got sick. He was given a "stake" of passage for him and his family to the USA when he was able. Orazio arrived two years before the family in 1904. We get this from ship arrival records at Ellis Island. In 1906 Grandmother Santa, Daisy, and Frances came over but they didn't get off at Ellis Island. Their ship was quarantined, and the passengers were not permitted to leave the ship, so the ship sailed on to Philadelphia, which didn't have the same "debugging" laws as the Port of New York had. They disembarked in Philadelphia in June 1906. Those records were lost in a fire. I got this information from my cousin Betty, Frances' daughter.

With me so far?

Oh, I guess you're wondering about the picture. That TTCA's town square. It's where I want to be in April of 2010 with my sister and any other family member who wants to join us for two weeks of tramping around Italy. I'm your travel agent!

So, we have Orazio and Santa in Philly. Life was hard for them. Grandfather O died in 1915 and Grandmother S was left by then with 4 children at home and would be their total support. As I've mentioned before she was the custodian (that's what they call it now) at a mission in south Philly near where they lived. I'm supposing that Grandfather bought a house before the family came over. Mortgages weren't as common in the early 1900s as they are today, and it wasn't the way of people from the old country to borrow money. They paid for things outright. I can't be sure this is the case, but I'm thinking it is because they lived in that house until grandmother died.

The languages spoken in the house wer Italian and English. My grandmother didn't speak English very well I've been told, but don't let that fool you. You'd better believe she understood it. Also, she worked in a place where the language would have been mostly English. Her children certainly spoke English, with a Philadelphia accent (that's a joke), and of course, Italian. My mom also was fluent in French.

Now to clear up who's who in the "cousin" category.

This is where the waters start to get muddy, especially for my own children, because I'm always talking about cousin Bette or cousin Betty and they ask, "Who's daughter was she again?"

Memorize this: Aunt Daisy (and her husband Morris) had 8 children. They were: Ruth, Hannah, Mary, Martha (Micki), Esther, Grace, David, and Bette. Aunt Daisy was knocked down with a stroke shortly after I was born, and never recovered from it. Of those cousins, there were 16 children born, who would have been my second cousins. Some I knew well because they were close to me in age. Others were just being born as I passed into late teens and my twenties. Those names are fuzzy even to me, so I won't get you to learn who they are.

Aunt Fran (and her husband Uncle Howard) had two children, Dan and Betty. Dan and Betty went to Philadelphia College of the Bible after high school, so we saw them frequently when they were there. That was about the time I was graduating from high school. The parents, Fran and Howard were "missionaries" to the people in and around Bristol, TN (Appalachians). Dan and Betty had a few children between them, again, these children were born around the same time as mine, but I don't remember names. Since I've been around Betty a lot in recent years, though, I know her son's name is David. Her daughter's name escapes me. I want to say Amy, but I'm not sure about that.

Aunt Anne (married Joe Egitto) and had no children. But, when Daisy got sick she took in Bette Evangelista and legally adopted her. Bette was just a little older than I, and we spent lots of time together in our very young years. Esther also lived with Aunt Anne after Aunt Daisy's stroke.

Uncle Joe (married Rita ???) and they had three children, Robert, Joan, and Lynn. Robert has two children. Joan and Lynn have no children. Joan is two years younger than I. Robert is two years older than I. These were the cousins I spent the most time with when I was growing up. Today, I enjoy frequent e-mails from Joanie which I love to read. She's funny. I visit Robert whenever we're in Florida at his horse ranch.

This "funny" thing must be a family quirk. ALL the Evangelistas will make you laugh within two minutes of meeting them. You don't laugh AT them, but with them.

It's an enjoyable family. Squabbles? Of course. Forgiveness? Always. Love? Forever -- we know that because we'll all be together again if not on this earth that with our Lord.

I didn't include Rose (who married Carl Drexler) -- my mom and dad. I think you all know who we are. Well, in case you don't. Rose and Carl had four children: Judi(th), Deborah (daddy pronounced that De BOR ah, instead of Deb bee), John Mark (whom we called Mark, except for dad who called him John Mark), and Carl David, whom we called Diddle. Their four children had 12 children altogether. Those being: Judi's children are: Phil, Becky, and Cyndi; Deb's children are: Jenny, Jacob (Jake), and James (Jamey); Carl's children are: Heather, Kristen, and Joseph; Mark's children are: Lori, Micah, and Emily.

I think that's about it on "where did we come from?". I hope it clears it all up.

PS: If you click on the title above you will pull up the home-town's web page.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Goat gotten

You can only get someone's goat if they have a goat to be gotten. I don't remember which preacher told me that, but I heard that sometime ago, and put it in my memory bank, and just now remembered it.

I may have gotten some folks' goat with my BLOG on names. Sorry. I like strange names, but not really strange names.

For instance, I have a grandson and his name is Shandon -- not Shannon (Irish name I think), but Shandon. It's an unusual name, and I knew that would be his name long before he was born because it is his father's name.

Now, there's an interesting tale -- Shandon - the father -- didn't particularly care for his name at one point in his life. He was a young teenager. We were having a weekend retreat with a few other churches that weekend and it was being held at our church. Everyone was required to wear a name tag. Shandon decided his middle name Matthew (shortened to Matt) would be better, but he didn't want to do away completely with his first name (Shandon), so he wrote on his nametag: S.Matt (no space between the dot and Matt). Frankly it looked like his name was Smatt, and that's what he was called all weekend -- and is often called that to this day by his mother-in-law.

So, I do apologize to those who might have taken offense about my ragging on folks who don't use ordinary, boring, usual, commonplace, run-of-the-mill, uninteresting, dull, lackluster, unexciting -- I could go on and on -- names for their children and would rather use extraordinary, unusual, different, unexpected, surprising, atypical (again I could go on and on) names for their children. It's their choice, not mine.

Just out of reach

Today was a wonderful day weather wise. It was sunny, high in the high 60s, and a gentle breeze. The sun porch was the place to be.

Alan decided to join me today -- a first since we enclosed our deck/veranda/lanai -- and it was so pleasant just sitting out there reading -- he his book, me mine.

Then something happened that reminded me of something I don't think I've BLOGged before about my father's teasing. Oh, I've BLOGged about his teasing but not this particular stunt.

My brother Mark and I are masters at this one!

When we were sitting at a table and someone would ask for, say, the salt, if it was near daddy he would hand it to you just out of reach, and as you grabbed for it he would slowly pull it back until you almost lay sprawled across the table!

So, today I was handing Alan a Dr. Pepper and didn't even realize I was pulling that trick that dad pulled on us so often, and which when I get together with my brother Mark, we reprise. I handed him the can, and as he reached for it, I pulled back and started to leave the room. He said, "Your just like your father." I stopped. I knew what he meant, and I laughed. Then I really pulled the stunt on him with the glass of ice -- on purpose!!!!

Now, it's almost dinner time, and I asked him where we were going for supper. He said, "Waffle House" knowing that I will never, even if I am starving to death on a deserted island where the only place to eat is a Waffle House, enter a Waffle House. Been there, done that, hated it, still feel greasy!

So, where are going for dinner? No where. That's the response when he doesn't want to go anywhere for dinner. Guess he's having frozen pizza for supper. I might even heat it up in the oven.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

They'll hate it

My brother and sister will hate this picture. Deb is the one holding the dolls. Mom is in the middle, and my brother, Carl, is the cowboy.
Notice Carl even has the leather straps to tie his holsters to his leg. And isn't Deb's naturally curly hair just lovely. That's how our hair looked most of the time. No matter what we did, and as I mentioned before, I'm not really bitter about it, that's the kinky-hair style we were stuck with. I'm sure my mother made the dresses the dolls are wearing.
So while I know my sister will not particularly like this picture, nor will my brother, I just thought I'd give you all a laugh. If any of you have any other "funny" family pictures, scan them in and send them to me. Who knows, I might put them on the BLOG.