Monday, October 31, 2011

Teen Idols

My Boogie Woogie Piano Aunt has an amazingly gifted grandson who has captured the attention of my thirteen year old grand daughter. Although they are cousins and she has talked non stop about him for weeks, they had not met until today. A chance meeting, a brief hug, and the subsequent swooning reminded me of the summer I saw the Everly Brothers in concert in Oklahoma City.

Link here to listen to this extraordinary young man

I think it was the summer I was fourteen that my parents put my two years older uncle and me on a bus headed to Oklahoma City for visits with my grandma and with his sister. Although we have always enjoyed a close relationship, my uncle was a boy of few words, as evidenced on this long bus ride with a stop at every town alongside Highway 64. We sat silently together in the same seat until I noticed after returning to my place at a bus stop that he had bought a couple of comic books. When I asked him to go back in and get me one he finally uttered these three little words, "Get it yourself." I love him to this day.

Isn't she lovely?

My beautiful aunt picked us up at the bus station in Oklahoma City and took me to Grandma's house in Midwest City. It was on an earlier visit with her in Oklahoma City that she bought me my first McDonald's hamburger. I remember them being ten cents and a special treat we could not get in Clarksville. She is as pretty, kind, and caring today as she was then and I love her.

Mama and Grandma

Undoubtedly Grandma was heartbroken when her only daughter chose to move so far from home and, despite Grandma's admonishment that Mama had made her bed and she should now lie in it, they had a special bond. We visited there as frequently as possible and although a visit to this Grandma was different from the times I spent with my Grandma from home, it was also special. This Grandma had boxes full of sparkly costume jewelry that I thought was real rubies, emeralds, and diamonds. She had a metal woodpecker on a log toothpick holder I was so fascinated with that my son bought me one like it.

Note the authentic fifties dinette

This Grandma was a seamstress and had scores of wooden thread spools she kept for us to play with. This Grandma had been to Las Vegas and old Mexico and she took me to the zoo. This Grandma's neighbor let me read Movie Time magazines. This Grandma bought me the thin yellow sweater I wanted instead of the heavier and warmer red one. This Grandma had pretty china and real silverware and displayed it in the china cabinet I now have. This Grandma soaked brown paper sacks in vinegar to soothe my blistered and sunburned back. This Grandma drove a '57 Chevy and she kept it in her garage. This Grandma saved her McCall's magazines so I could cut out the Betsy McCall paper dolls. This Grandma kissed me on the lips long after anyone else did.

And this Grandma took me and another teenage friend of mine to an amusement park for an evening concert with the very popular at that time Everly Brothers. Today that is who we would call a cool Grandma. And I loved her.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Boogie Woogie Piano Aunt

I just happened to think of a little snippet as I was writing about Auntie's move to Alaska. My Grandma was in her forties when she had her last baby just two years before her first grandchild was born. That made my youngest uncle close enough in age and usually near enough in proximity that we grew up together, enjoying an almost sibling relationship that has remained today. I have another uncle three years older than I and an aunt nine years older. When you are only eight, a grown-up seventeen year old seems aloof and sophisticated. My aunt was that. She had boyfriends, she colored her hair, she wore sweater sets, she never had to go to the storm cellar, and she could play the piano.

Although I am sure this teenager was not happy sharing her parents and home with a dozen younger nieces and nephews, she seemed to tolerate us well. Most of the time we rode the school bus to the farm where Grandma minded us until Daddy or Mama got off work. I don't remember Auntie hanging out with us often but one afternoon she stopped at the piano to play a little tune. Sitting down on the piano bench we sometimes knelt beside for Grandpa's nightly prayers, she ran her petite fingers up and down the keyboard for an intricate run. It was impressive. She turned around and said, "I taught Jerry Lee how to do that." She then got up and moved off to the mysterious bedroom we were not allowed to enter. I believed her for years and never questioned where she ever came into contact with a star like he was then.

I remember Grandma making over one of Auntie's grey felt skirts to fit me. It had a button at the fitted waist and a circle skirt. Her tastes in clothes had probably changed by then as she wore the tighter fitting pencil skirts that had become popular. I was happy to get it from her even if it didn't have the poodle on a leash applique like some of the others had. Grandma knelt in the floor with the skirt spread out on a white sheet while she took a ruler to cut away the same amount of the non-raveling felt all around the full skirt. How grown up I felt when I slipped into that hand-me-down skirt thinking, "If I only had one of those neat sweaters with the little pearl buttons down the front."

But why on earth did Mama have to buy me those horrible saddle oxfords every time. I thought they were clunky, ugly, and indestructible. Oh yeah, that was the reason. They never wore out and I had to wear them until my toes were practically curled up inside the shoe. I wanted some pretty lightweight penny loafers with shiny new pennies stuck in the toes of them.

But it is so funny now because I think the
saddle oxfords are so cute. Of course they
would now that I am nostalgic for the

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Alaska and the Arkansas River

Although it has been a spectacularly beautiful day today, it seems to be a somewhat blue day for me.
Nothing is wrong except I feel a little lazy. Therefore, my post will be brief and not at all like my usual Nana's Memories. I want you to see a few pictures of the fall colors here in Arkansas. We are just now beginning to have cooler temperatures and have had some nice rain showers adding to the changing scenery. The Arkansas River Revival Flotilla has been in our area this past week commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Kerr-McClellan Navigational System along the Arkansas River where these pictures were taken. I saw the first pelican of the season today. They winter here on the river. I'm not sure where they are on holiday from.

As further evidence of my laziness, I am going to show a video my cousin in Alaska has posted. His mother is one of my dear Aunts whose story is somewhat like my Mother's Whither Thou Goest one. A move to the far off state of Alaska took her away from her family here but allowed her to remain with the love her life. They have since moved home but a love for the Great North remained with her children where they now live in North Pole. I really didn't know North Pole existed as an actual town. I thought it was a fictional storybook place. Not only is it real but it is really beautiful as evidenced in these pictures. Love to all who reads this.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Loving Television

I watched a lot of movies when I was a kid. We usually went to the drive-in theater across from the 64 Hub Truck Stop. We just called it the 64 Hub when Daddy worked there. It was a full-service gas station on the West end of town and named for Highway 64, the major East-West route before Interstate 40 went through Arkansas in the 1960's. Highway 64 is how we got to Grandma's house in Oklahoma City a half a dozen times a year and how Daddy drove us to Altus a little more frequently. Locals will know why we went to Altus. I liked going though because Daddy would get us a rarely enjoyed soft drink. All the way up there my brother and I would be deciding whether we wanted a Nehi Grape or maybe a six ounce Coca Cola. Sometimes Daddy would buy us a Baby Ruth candy bar too. We never had more than one car so Mama would load us up, usually in our pajamas, to get Daddy from work. While waiting for Daddy to finish up, we would sit across the highway watching the big screen and imagining what the stars were saying.

I loved everything about the drive-in except the times Mama didn't want to take me inside to the bathroom and expected me to use a paper cup while I squatted in the floorboard.  One time I remember Mama driving through the box office gates with her friend in the passenger seat and six or seven of us kids piled inside. It was a night we just paid one price for the whole carload full. All of us kids ran to the the playground beneath the giant screen where they had seesaws and swings. When the lights were dimmed and the cartoon began, we returned to the car to find Daddy and Pete sitting in the front seat. They had sneaked through the fence after dark. The kids usually sat on a pallet on the grass to watch the movies. I do not recall many of the films we saw at the drive-in except I do remember the Jane Russell one where her bosom overflows her blouse. I guess that was pretty racy back then. We didn't usually get much from the concession stand but, if he had the money, Daddy would stop on the way home to get all four of us (our sister came later) an icy cold root beer from the Frosty Mug. Those root beers and the Sunnyside hamburgers are special childhood memories of mine. I guess it is similar to how our kids remember going to Whatta-Burger in Russellville on Friday nights before we bought groceries.

We lived in a basement apartment near what was the College of the Ozarks when Daddy brought home our first television. I can still picture The Lone Ranger's opening scenes. My love for television began that day as I became the family's equivalent to a TV guide. I could tell you what show came on what night and at what time. There were fewer programs to choose from back then with just the two or maybe three channels we received. We rarely lived in a location that the antenna would pick up Channel 7. I was a pretty discriminating viewer back then and, although it is probably unamerican to say, I did not like Howdy Doody. Something about today's Pee Wee Herman puts me in mind of Howdy Doody. Maybe it is the way he walks. I do not care much for Looney Tunes now and was actually afraid of them as a kid. I think it was because of the scary dream I had of Yosemite Sam with his crazy orange moustache and both guns blazing, chasing Bugs Bunny out of my closet. But then it gets all confused with Elmer Fudd's, "I'll get you, you wascally wabbit!!" Which brings to mind our babysitter, who wore her hair like Petunia Pig's. You know, the one I'll tell you about in the Pinto Beans and the Frog story.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Should Have Got a Whipping

I remember Daddy's old 1950-something dark green car parked in a gravel driveway behind the asbestos siding covered duplex apartment we lived when I was six or seven years old. I was sitting in the front seat watching the tiny dust motes floating in the warm springtime sun that was brightly shining through the car's windshield.  It was not unusual for me to play alone outside while Mama cared for my three year old brother. I had my blanket wrapped baby doll with me when I noticed the cigarette lighter Daddy and Mama used to light their Pall Mall cigarettes. Actually, I think Daddy smoked Camels.

Daddy would show me the front side of the Camel package and ask if I would rather live in the small tent, the large tent, or under the camel. After I chose the larger tent, Daddy would flip it over and say he would choose to live in the Turkish Palace.

As I usually rode standing in the back floorboard of the car hanging my head over the back of the front seat, I had seen both of them operate the shiny chrome lighter. I knew if I pushed it in, it would pop back out and the tip would be red hot. I am sure the factory installed ashtray overflowed with Mama's Theater Red lipstick covered cigarette butts. Although I doubt I tried to light one of Mama's leftovers, I did repeatedly push the lighter in just to watch it pop back out. After playing with it a while, did I accidently drop the lighter on the car seat and note the smell of burning upholstery? Who knows how I went from being fascinated with the mechanics of the in and out cigarette lighter to trying to brand the entire front seat upholstery. I know I liked watching the lighter's coil turn red. I do recall the smell of the scorching upholstery. I remember I liked the smell of the burning fabric. I can still see the perfectly round and blackened holes in the bench type seat of the car my parents could not afford to have re-upholstered. As much as I deserved it though, I don't remember getting my backside warmed.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

God's Design


I awoke early this morning to prepare for a breakfast with family and to watch the Arkansas River Flotilla go upriver toward Ozark. I rarely have time in the mornings to look outside but this morning I saw a deer just steps from my bedroom door. Although deer are not uncommon in our yard, it is unusual to see them this close. I could hardly see her in the early morning dawn.


We enjoyed a nice breakfast and get together with two of my aunts and an uncle on the back porch. Before we finished eating, this little guy was climbing up Auntie's arm. She shrieked and knocked it off into the grass. Aren't they perfectly camouflaged?


Apparently these "walking sticks" have infested my back porch. And as demonstrated in yesterday's post Spider Webs, spiders have taken over as well. They are all pretty creepy looking but I think I will wait to exterminate until after Halloween. If they will stay outside, I may just live and let live.


This picture of my only grandson with a seven legged arachnid was taken from our back porch last fall. While having breakfast this morning I noticed he was back and climbing the wall near the window. Hubby tried to scoot it closer to the screen so I could take another picture when another leg fell off!!!! (Not hubby's leg - he still has two.) Poor thing is limping around on six legs. (Again, not hubby - he still has only two.)

Spider Webs







I love this time of year as it reminds me of when hubby and I first dated. I do want to tell you of how it all began at the Knoxville Halloween Carnival but first I should clarify that we did have one date while still in high school. My brother and I had been invited to my future sister's-in-law birthday party (hmmmm, it just occurs to me that her birthday is this time of year as well) and of course he was there. He has always had a motorcycle and asked if I wanted to take a ride. That was a totally foreign concept to me. Ride on the back of a motorcycle? How do I even get on it? What must I look like from behind? Since it was dark, I did climb on and held tight to this boy I barely remembered seeing in classes. But first, the bike would have to pull us both out of the straight-up graveled driveway. As I knew nothing of physics then (as if I do now), I was sure that as we tried to climb out of that hole, the front wheel would have to spin out and then the whole bike would fall backwards in an Evil Knievel stunt gone bad. Especially if the weight in the back was greater than it was in the front. Well, that was bit of an exaggeration since he was a big guy then and did not slim up until he was subjected to my cooking on a daily basis. We did take a quick spin around some dusty and unlit backroads before returning to the party. Little did I know those same roads would someday lead to my home for forty years.

That scary ride in the dark on the back of a motorcycle was not our one time only high school date. I don't really remember him asking me out afterwards but surely he must have. Although.........he never did actually ask me to marry him.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Get Out Of The Road

The Arkansas River Flotilla will be passing behind my house on Tuesday. As I was preparing the back porch for a possible breakfast there, I tripped over a rug, fell headlong into a lawn chair, and scraped across the cement floor into the 1950's chrome and formica dinette set I have by the window. Because I was afraid hubby would come around the corner and see me sprawled in a heap, I was able to get up more quickly than usual.

Although it may seem odd to some, I am most embarrassed when hubby is aware of my awkwardness. Along that same line, but somewhat off the subject, I have never told hubby how much I weigh. He has asked on occasion telling me, "It is just a number." Since it is just a number, I may tell him I weigh 120 pounds. Hubby was with me during my pre-op for surgery one time when the nurse asked my weight. She launched into this long spiel about why it was important for administration of the anesthesia but finally gave up and let me write the number on a piece of paper. She probably blabbed as soon as I was asleep.

An anecdote related over the years by our family has been that a woman fell in front of my dad, hopped right back up, and said, "I didn't fall." I can just see Daddy's little lop-sided grin as he replied, "I didn't say you did."

As I have been inherently clumsy all my life, it is not uncommon to find myself on the floor after I have stumbled and fallen. I hate it though when I fall in front of a crowd as I did one hot Missouri day going into Lambert's Cafe. It would have to happen on a huge motorcycle rally weekend where the line into "The Home of the Throwed Rolls" snaked three deep down the sidewalk and all around the back of the building. Luckily hubby was parking the bike and never knew. Although several patrons attempted to come to my aide, I was up and re-standing within seconds. When I do get down in the floor to clean or pull something out of a deep cabinet, it takes a winch to pull me up. But I can bounce right back up if I fall in front of people.

Speaking of bouncing. A friend was driving her dad's pickup when she turned the corner, the passenger door opened, and I slid right out of the truck in front of the old IGA store on the corner of Main and Montgomery. This was probably 1966 and as it was before the "looking for a husband diet" I just bounced as I hit the pavement. Mrs. Jones came running out of the store to frantically admonish me to lie still while she got help. I wasn't waiting for anyone because I just wanted to get out of the road.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Old and Senile

I want to share this cute little saying someone had on facebook a while back. Although it is humorous, and I did repost it on facebook, it exposes a real concern I think we all have.

I was reminded of an article I read of how Sandra Day O'Connor's husband had been moved to an assisted living center where he met another Alzheimer's victim. He fell in love with her and would sit on the porch holding her hand. He had no recollection of his wife or his children. As stated in the New York Times article, she was relieved he was happy again. I was saddened to think how this cruel disease had robbed them of their former life.

I often see children struggle to care for parents long after the loved one knows or recognizes them. Although there are many programs in place that allow the elderly, and sometimes not-so-elderly, to remain in their own home, sometimes it is not possible to keep them there safely and other measures must be taken. With that in mind, I have requested my children care for their dad and I, as well as they can, for as long as they can.  But when they can no longer do so without jeopardizing their own family unit, do what needs to be done without remorse.

Although I did request he come to see me from time to time, I specifically instructed hubby to go ahead and place me in a nursing facility if I no longer remember him or the children. As we often do when facing our fears, his reaction was the wise-guy remark, "What difference would it make if you don't know me?"

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Whither Thou Goest

Mama was born in Missouri. Grandpa had bought land in Branson, Missouri back in the 1940's and promptly sold it saying, "I have no use for this pile of rocks." (Those of you who have been to Branson realize the irony in this statement). He loaded up his family and moved to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Mama was raised in the city with her four brothers, whom she loved dearly until the day she died. They doted on her and she grew up headstrong, stubborn, and rebellious. She roller skated, went dancing, rode motorcycles (before it was cool), and was definitely a wild child. When Daddy met her, Mama was a petite sixteen year old with pretty white teeth, full lips, and beautiful, long, auburn hair. She looked like Rita Hayworth. Rita Hayworth was at the height of her popularity when I was born so Mama named me after her. There aren't many girls (if any) named Rita nowadays.

I am going to sidetrack a little here to relate a story about Rita Hayworth. I made a home visit a few years back to a gentlemanly, retired Catholic priest who, when noting my name on my nametag, informed me there was a Saint Rita. I told him I did not know that but that my Mother had named me after Rita Hayworth. His response was, "I don't think she was a saint." I don't think she was a saint either but she was a beauty.The story of Saint Rita

And my Mama was a beauty whom my Daddy fell in love with shortly after going to work at my uncle's service station in Oklahoma City. They did not date long when, against Grandma's wishes, they traveled back to Clarksville to be married by Daddy's Pentecostal preacher father. Mama missed her Oklahoma City family and Daddy made many long trips up Highway 64 so she could see her Mother. But Daddy's family became her family and Grandma Middleton mothered her as her own. Mama was merely two years older than my little Rachel when she left all things loved and familiar to make her home with her new family.

Starting with verse 16

I am saddened to think of Mama so far from home in a land so foreign to her. Daddy and his family loved her but how lonesome she must have been for her familiar life. She said many times how she had grown to love her new family and had been with her mother-in-law years longer than with her own mother.

I remember Mama explaining the story of Ruth and Naomi and how Ruth had begged, "Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people." And I am comforted.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Looking For A Husband Diet

As mentioned in previous posts, I broke my ankle the summer I turned thirteen and spent that summer with a cast on my right leg. I got out of doing chores until Mama caught me scuffling with David and then I was back to doing dishes. I did walk to town with a friend several weeks after initially learning to use crutches. I had to stop a couple of times walking back up Cherry Street hill in front of the high school. But most of that summer was spent sitting in front of a fan while watching television. Mama was working then so we had a babysitter that came to the house. (I have a story to tell about her in a later post entitled "Pinto Beans and Frogs.) I was thirteen and could have taken care of my younger brother and sister but I guess my parents thought too much of them to leave in my custody all day. This babysitter was an older woman who wore her hair in two braids twisted across the top of her head that put me in mind of Petunia Pig. She was a dear soul though who certainly knew how to cook. Not only did she make breakfast and lunch for us kids, she had supper ready for Mama when she got home. We had biscuits and white gravy, cornbread and pinto beans, fried potatoes and macaroni and cheese, chicken and dumplings (I do not care for dumplings), meat loaf and ham....well you get my drift.

During that long summer of inactivity, I became that ugly three-lettered "F" word we do not let our kids say.  I gained a little more each year until I turned sixteen and Daddy took me to an old country doctor in Dover for advice on losing weight. Dr. Lane was short-spoken and all business. He smoked a pipe and brought his german shepherd to work with him every day. His fee for an office visit was five dollars. After a quick exam, which thankfully did not include removing my clothes, he brusquely instructed me to step up on the scales. My aversion to that ever sliding to the right measuring block began.

I should probably post Dr. Lane's diet on the internet in one of those little pop-up ads that say, "guaranteed to lose forty pounds in three months." I could probably make a tidy little sum from it as well. But I won't. Here it is.

I stayed on this diet plan all summer and did lose a lot of weight. But I stayed strictly with it. If I did not have something from the list, I just did not eat. I drank a lot of Tab soft drinks. I think they were probably ten cents a bottle and tasted pretty darn good with a saccharin sweet taste. They said later the saccharin was giving lab rats cancer but then "they" recanted that claim.

I maintained that weight loss until I was expecting Laura. All day long morning sickness prevented me from gaining much with Greg. But since I felt great during my second pregnancy, I gained quite a bit more than the doctor recommended amount. From time to time I would go back to eating the green vegetables, fruits, and lean meat but never enjoyed the same success I did that summer.
Although Dr. Lane delivered babies in his office, I used obstetricians for my deliveries. My family did continue to use him over the years from time to time for the common sore throats, rashes, ear infections, and bumps and bruises. On one of my visits for some malady, I asked Dr. Lane why I could not lose weight like I did back then. His as-always curt response was:

"Because you're not looking for a husband now"

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Spadra Creek Baptism

I have heard that Grandpa Middleton was not always a man of God. In his earlier years, he did not go to church at all. 

I understand he used to go to moving picture shows and that he loved westerns. Someone said he had a high temper and a short fuse. Maybe he was known to drink alcohol or enjoy tobacco, although I cannot imagine that being the case. 

How I wish I had listened to how he came to God. Was it at an old brush arbor meeting? Did he kneel at the altar of some church camp ground? Or did he finally succumb to his Mother's pleading and walk through the doors of a local church? 

However and whenever this salvation took place, it was long before I was born. I only remember Grandpa as a prayer warrior and a mighty man of God.

Grandpa was a fiery preacher but would cry aloud when he spoke of what God had brought him from and what God did for him. He was rarely able to finish When He Reached Down His Hand For Me before breaking down in tears thinking of God's love.

Grandpa was small in stature but stood so tall in the eyes of God. He prayed aloud and long. And God listened. 

If you were at his house at bedtime you knelt beside the bed, a chair, the sofa, the piano bench, or anywhere you could find a spot while Grandpa prayed. Oftentimes I was impatient with the long prayer that included each child's name, their spouse's name, and each grandchild's name spoken aloud asking God's hand of protection on us all. 

He and Grandma had  nine children. The prayer would start with Dena (Grandma) and went on to Inez, Paul, Rocky, Cathy, Johnny, Leon, Virginia, Rita, David, Freda, Dorcas, Howard, Jimmy...................and end with Sam and his children. He never failed to name each of us. I often think of those prayers with our names still resonating in heaven and shielding us from the evils of this world today.

Grandpa married countless couples within Johnson County, including Don and I. He performed many christenings and dedications, including Greg and Laura. Sadly, he preached far too many funerals for friends and loved ones. He not only spread God's Word at churches and camp meetings, he witnessed at hospitals, nursing homes, jails, and individual homes. 

But, most of all, he loved to minister at baptismal services. He baptized me in Spadra Creek downtown one Sunday afternoon following morning church services.

I wore a plain dress with the skirt pinned between my legs fashioned like bloomers. Friends and family gathered on the creek's bank near the Legion Hut as my two "same as sisters" cousins and I followed Grandpa into the shallow waters to accept Christ as our Saviour. I remember Grandpa wearing a crisp white shirt and black dress pants and taking a clean dry handkerchief to place over my nose and mouth as he immersed me in the cool water. What an inheritance I have received.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Not For a Million Dollars

The saying is, "I wouldn't take a million dollars for it." That is how I feel about this small handmade table. I think my Mother's daddy made it. As I am now an orphan with only younger siblings, I have no way to authenticate this sweet table's history.  But just in case, it is not for sale.
Although this pretty print in an original frame is not the same one Grandma had at the farm, it is still precious to me. I must have been the age my little Sierra is now when Grandma gently explained the meaning of the picture. She said Jesus sent a beautiful angel to watch over the two children as they crossed the broken bridge over the dangerous waters. I think she wanted me to also notice how the older sister was helping her little brother and hoping I would be kinder to my own brother. Anyway, I am comforted to think of the angel's protection.                                                                                     
Now this little metal footstool was made by my Grandpa. My Mother's daddy was a big as life, John Wayne looking, rough around the edges man and a welder by trade. I never saw much of him since he lived in Texas. When I was growing up, Texas was a lot farther away than it is now. Mama took me and my brother on a train there once though. We drank a lot of water out of little cone-shaped paper cups. I have this stool and another taller one I am saving for my kids.
Mama's lamp. She kept a philodendron growing in this lamp base as well. Her plants were never as wilted-looking as mine are. The lamp probably had just as much dust on it then as it does now though. She is such a pretty little redbird. I'm keeping this too.
I bought these rubber squeaky dolls at a flea  market about ten years ago just because I thought they were cute. Then someone told me my beloved nine days younger cousin had one like this boy doll when he was little. He probably used it as a teether. They said I called him Shimmy. His name was Jimmy and he died when we were fifteen. I will never part with these either.
Christmas at my Oklahoma City grandma's house always included these mischievous-looking bookend elves. They were always on a shelf above her picture window. I longed to play with them but was never allowed to touch them. I loved looking at them and they are displayed year-round at my house.

Check out the following link to see how Dena (otherwise known as the fabulous Girl Next Door) incorporated these cherished items in with my newly purchased ones.

I have a houseful of other odds and ends that I intend to sell. They have more monetary value than any of the things I plan to keep but they are certainly less valuable.

If I could only talk hubby into parting with some of his keepsakes. When questioned about his large collection his response is, "I didn't buy it to sell it." And no matter how rusted it is or how long it has been non-running in the field, do not call it junk. He will just reply, "It is merchandise." Personally, I thought merchandise was supposed to be sold. But it is all good. He obviously likes vintage so surely I am here to stay.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Worm Water and Bedpans

     The year I turned 13 was not my favorite summer. I don't think we had ambulances in Clarksville then because Dr. Manley came in a small beige car to take me to the hospital when I hurt my leg jumping from a tree.  After seeing it was actually broken, the doctor put his arm around my waist to help me up. I told him he couldn't carry me to the car. His breath smelled of cigarettes when he said, "I'm not. You're going to hop."  My foot flopped up and down with each step.

     I had to stay a couple of nights in the hospital with my foot iced before the swelling went down enough to have it set. Trying to save the nurse some trouble one busy night, I attempted to get the heavy metal bedpan out of the drawer beside the bed. Luckily I had not used it yet when I dropped it on the tiled hospital floor. The nurse said she knew what had happened when she heard the loud clatter.
     The night before I was scheduled for surgery, this same nurse told me I would not be able to eat or drink anything after midnight. This seemed to worry me more than the surgery itself. I must have whined about it because she said they might let me have a sip of worm water.  WORM water? I pictured dirty water with worms settling to the bottom. She laughed and said, "No, warm water." I didn't need any water at all.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ruffled Dresses

Mama's treadle machine
A lost art among girls today is sitting with their legs together. I think it is probably because they rarely wear dresses. But in the 1950's, girls wore full skirted dresses with pinafore bodices and puff sleeves.  Mama made me a lot of pretty little dresses on her old treadle sewing machine. Actually this machine was probably not that old when I started to school in 1957.

1950's dress pattern

I remember playing one hot summer afternoon at the farm.  I was wearing a shirtwaist dress fastened with tiny buttons and a wide sash tied in a big bow in the back. I was having so much fun playing with the many cousins gathered at Grandma's house that I almost waited too long to go to the toilet, which at this time was outside. After having my aunt unbutton my dress, I quickly ran to take care of business.  It wasn't until I returned to have the dress buttoned and tied again that I realized dresses do not have to come off to use the bathroom.  Now why would that memory stay with me fifty odd years?