Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Militants

For those of you who did not know, my maiden name was Middleton (none of us got an invitation to the royal wedding). Sometimes our Southern dialect causes the beginning of the word and the ending of the word to run together. 

During the time I felt I had been banished to Hickeytown, the Israeli and Palestinian conflicts were heating up with border raids, gun battles, and nightly reports of the "militants this and militants that". 

I guess my little sister had finally heard enough because she got all huffed up and said, "I wish they would quit talking about the 'Middletons".

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Searchers

I've been watching "The Searchers". Martin tells Laurie, "Laurie, I was just thinkin' it's about time we's goin' steady." To which Laurie replies, "Martin Pawley, we's been goin' steady since we's three years old." Incredulously Martin asks, "We have?"

Friday, March 23, 2012

ZsaZsa's Flowers

I have had a little bit of trouble keeping up with my blog reading. And why is it we have so little time to do the things we like? I did happen upon this in a round about way and wanted you to see it. I don't do "frou frou" but isn't this the prettiest thing you've seen in forever?

Can you tell they are arranged on a dress form? Sure would look good on my front porch.

Television in the Fifties

Television was big in the fifties as families began to be able to afford this new luxury. It was 1957 before we were able to get a television set of our own. It was a Christmas like event in the middle of the summer when Daddy climbed on the roof to adjust the antennae just right to bring in an almost clear picture of Silver rearing up as the Lone Ranger shouted, "Hi-Yo, Silver! Away!"

1950s TV

I was hooked on television from the beginning and became the family's equivalent of the “TV Guide”. We only got two channels and had our favorites from each one. Daddy hurried home from work to catch the latest “Have Gun Will Travel” or “Rawhide” show. My brother liked "The Roy Rogers Show". I have actually thought about decorating a spare bedroom in a "Roy Rogers" theme. Mama liked Dale Robertson in "The Tales of Wells Fargo". Westerns were big in the fifties.

Me? I liked them all and resented my brother getting to stay home to watch Captain Kangaroo when I had to go to school.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Cowboy Code

As you can probably tell by now my interests vary from day to day and week to week. I am kind of on a cowboy kick now. Well not actually any current cowboys but the fifties cowboys. The cowboys like Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, and John Wayne.

Back in the fifties there was a different morality that dictated how television and movie stars were portrayed. Even back when Gene Autry had his Melody Ranch radio program, he expected his shows and public appearances to abide by a standard of ethical and moral behavior. I have asked to use his Cowboy Code but as I have not heard back from them, I am giving you a link to his website so you can read Gene Autry's Cowboy Code for yourself. I especially like #8 and #9.

And how many times did we watch Roy Rogers when we were growing up in the fifties? He also felt he needed to maintain a code of conduct and even had Roy Rogers Riders Club Rules for his young viewers.

I am not sure about John Wayne's personal life but he presented a public persona of honor and patriotism. He once said, "A man’s got to have a code, a creed to live by, no matter his job."

And it was that creed that made him refuse to allow his character in his final film, "The Shootist" to shoot a man in the back as was originally scripted. He was quoted as saying "I've made over 250 pictures and have never shot a guy in the back. Change it."

This is a public domain clip from the Dean Martin show where The Duke tells the values he would like to impart to his eight month old daughter Marisa. Are we still trying to teach these values today?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Break

It is Spring Break around here and all the kids (and teachers) are excited. I do not remember having Spring Break when I was in grade school. Perhaps we did and I have forgotten. We did not start to school until September and then we were out of school in May. Children have so much more to learn nowadays than we did.

As I got older I would spend summers with my OKC Grandma. Grandma was a seamstress and made alterations at a large department store in the City. She owned a 1957 Chevrolet but usually rode a bus  to work. I thought that was pretty neat as a bus that was not a school bus was unheard of where I came from. Sometimes I would ride the bus with her and stay at the store while she worked. She let me pick out a really pretty Catalina swimsuit one summer. She paid a whopping $16 for it and it lasted forever.

Sometimes I stayed at her house while she went off to work. Her neighbor, Mrs. Johnson, checked in on me during the day and let me read her Movietone magazines. I sure wish I had some of those old books. I would love to read again how Elizabeth Taylor took Eddie Fisher away from Debbie Reynolds and then discarded him for Richard Burton. Those movie stars sure led a different life than we did in Arkansas. At least we did not hear about it in the Herald Democrat or the Graphic. That's right, we had two newspapers in our little town.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ron's Rhododendron

My brother in law is back in the hospital...bless his heart. This a flower he planted last summer when he was in relatively good health. Although I really have no idea what it is, I am calling it a rhododendron. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Going Home

My tax man, hairdresser, and doctor are all in my old hometown about twenty miles from where I now live. I took off work all day for appointments stretched out throughout the day.  Although I do wonder where all of my adjusted gross income went, the tax preparation process was relatively painless. 

Nicole is well worth the trip to Clarksville as she is consistently good with my hair. In between appointments I saw my beautiful little Aunt, checked out a couple of consignment stores, and finished the day at the doctor's office. 

It seemed like a family reunion at the clinic. My sister had my brother in law there and after I left my mother and father in law came in. My brother in law is back in the hospital.

There are twin nurses at the clinic who both remember Mama. We were talking today about when Mama had lost down to only 77 pounds. I cannot remember whether it was PeeWee or Jane who after she had noted Mama's actual weight, lightly placed her foot on the scale to boost it another five pounds or so. Mama never knew and was excited she was beginning to gain a little weight. 

Later, I was thinking about how good Mama's doctor was to her. I believe he truly cared for Mama. When either he or his nurses comment on Mama, they always say she had "spunk". She would love that she is remembered as a fighter.

My appointment went well. Although I had not seen the doctor since 2009, labs were good. The hand tremors are more an aggravation that an actual problem. Doctor says there is medication to take but it is usually not necessary unless you can no longer bring your fork to your mouth. I think I will always be able to eat.

This is a self portrait of my baby grand daughter, Sierra. She has pretty blonde hair and big blue eyes. She always dresses in the sweetest little dresses and shoes. I think she has a real talent.

And this is a self portrait of my middle grand daughter, Konstance. She has beautiful, long brown hair and blue eyes like her sister's. When she was little, she always wore the cutest little hats. She loves to dress fashionably. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

All Is Well

Do you ever have those days

 That all seems right with the world

 And even if you are headed down the road

For a day at is all good.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Roo Is Driving

My son-in-law sent me this picture of our oldest grandchild LEARNING TO DRIVE. How on earth did I get old enough for that? 

Her little brother once said as I was chauffeuring him around, "Nana, when I get big and you get little, I will drive you." He is also the one that says I can move with him to Miami when he gets grown. We are going to have a condo on the beach.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Red River Valley

We have enjoyed a lazy Sunday afternoon watching it rain and catching up on old movies I have DVR'd. We first watched The Grapes of Wrath and then The Sacketts. I have been in a Tom Selleck mood and just finished watching his Jesse Stone series. Even though both of the movies we watched today are from different time periods, they both featured the song Red River Valley. 

That song always reminds me of when Dr. Manley and Dr. Shrigley (I always want to add old doctor when I say their names) were preparing to set my broken leg the summer I turned thirteen. As I drifted off to sleep,  I heard Dr. Shrigley singing Red River Valley. I have wondered why that song was on his mind. Did he listen to one of Marty Robbins records? Had he seen an old western at the Strand theater? Did he hear it on this Roy Rogers film by the same title?

Ranchers, with the help of Roy, raise money to build a reservoir but lose it to a gambler through a crooked stock deal.

I remember dreaming of a green pastured valley with horses drinking from a stream that I had imagined looked like Spadra Creek. I had posted this memory earlier with a YouTube video of Marty Robbins singing the song. When I attempted to repost, the video had been taken off YouTube for copyright infringement.

Copyright issues.......I am still struggling with it. I am afraid to download anything that does not plainly say Public Domain. If you want to muddle through all of the old newsreels, television programs, and commercials there are Free downloads from Universal. I got the Roy Rogers show there. They have some old George Burns and Gracie Allen shows there too.

Here is a picture of the Red River least that is what it said on Dreamstime where I buy a few pictures from time to time. I do not know how to make a smaller picture enlarge but I do not think the animal off to the side is horse. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

And Furthermore

So we moved from the less than five thousand population Big City back to Hubby's home place to build our own little house in the country. We had saved eight hundred dollars to begin building. In the early seventies, that went pretty far....not so much so now.

With a lot of help from everyone, we moved into our tiny house shortly before our son's second birthday. We bought a few things as we could and finished it month by month and year by year. Maybe that is not entirely true. When we moved a year ago, the bathroom hallway still did not have ceiling trim.

You can barely see our son in the front yard. It is obvious we did not have our front porch built yet. I cropped the old clothesline I used to hang clothes out on. Chiggers would get on the bedclothes. I swear! You could see the little red things all over the white sheets. You can see the television antennae we used to get channels 4 and 11....on our black and white television. I remember watching Sonny and Cher, Laugh In, and Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show. That was back when we were able to stay awake past 10:30.

For some reason we built at the top of a long and steep driveway that we sometimes had to walk up when it was icy and slick. Although we were only a half a mile from the main road, you could not see the road from our house.

I walked my five year old to the bus stop when he started school in 1976. Coming home, I had to stop halfway up the hill to catch my breath as I was huge with my second baby. After she was born, I had to send him to the bus stop by himself. Although I worried about him waiting on the bus out on that country road, it was not for the same reasons I would today. That was back in the days we sent him to the toy department while we shopped at Wal Mart. Crazy, huh?

We brought our daughter home from the hospital to that old house that was not so old then. She never lived in another house until she married. She frequently reminds us of the corner she was made to stand in for HOURS! That was her voice rising when she talks about it. It is the house I heard every rustle of the covers when I moved our two year to the bedroom across the hall.

We made a yard out of the abandoned peach orchard terraces and planted huge gardens in the back yard. We transplanted flower bulbs and shrubs from the home Hubby was raised. There are enough trees there that we kept the wood stove going all winter. All of our neighbors were kinfolk.

We stayed in the little painted blue house after both the kids married and moved away. We stayed there as they made their homes on the same place their dad was raised. It was where the grandchildren could walk to Nana's and Papa's. It was the little house we had to put pallets in the living room floor when all of them spent the night. It is where it did not matter if they painted with water colors or played with Play Doh and decorated Easter eggs.

And then after the kids were gone and the little house was not quite as small, we moved to a large house in the next community over. The grandchildren can no longer walk to our house.

The old place is still there and is full of our old comfortable furniture. Our bedroom has the iron bedstead I got when Mama and Daddy died. There is even two saddles in our daughter's old bedroom. What????????

I could move back there if it was cleaned thoroughly and aired out good...and if it had a new roof on it...and a new heat and air unit...and new carpeting...and new plumbing. Oh, and if Hubby would get rid of all that so-called merchandise around it.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Seventies Memories

I do not remember much about the 1970s. What memories I do have are spotty - somewhat like childhood memories. I think childbearing and child rearing causes amnesia.

Taken at the old church. Our pictures got lost in the
mail. Glad we had Polaroids.
Although I do not recall a marriage proposal, I do remember a wedding ceremony. Daddy asked if I just wanted to go out the back door. I did not. I remember Hubby being at the church before I arrived. That was the first time he had ever been on time and possibly the last.

We did not have a television when we first married. We went to Mama and Daddy's house to watch Marilyn in the Miss America pageant. It was the first time I did not have to argue with my brother about whether we would watch the pageant or a football game.

We did have a washing machine though. Grandpa vouched for us with Mr. Hammond to get a new washer and pay it out. It was a Whirlpool washer that lasted about twelve years and was our first purchase on credit. I washed my dry clean only dress on the gentle cycle. It shrunk to about two feet long. Same width but really short.

I remember having all day long morning sickness for nine months. I lived three blocks from Grandma and walked to her house every day. She made me baked sweet potatoes. The local radio station played Quartet Time around noon.

I remember moving to our own house in 1973. It did not have inside doors and we could walk through the walls. The first water well they drilled was a dry hole. The second one was artesian.

I was afraid to stay there by myself when Hubby had weekend Guard drills. A scorpion crawled up the drain pipe and into my hair as I was washing it in the kitchen sink. We had a lot of scorpions there.

I remember Uncle coming to build my cabinets - in one weekend. He cut his thumb on the table saw and poured salt in the wound. It stopped the bleeding and he kept on working. I remember how proud I was to have them.

I remember we finally were able to buy a black and white console television. I cried as I watched the Vietnam War POWs return home. That was in 1975.

I remember not being able to swallow my birth control pill and it dissolving in my mouth. It was very bitter.

I remember going to Fort Smith with a full bladder when an ultrasound was new technology. They said my second baby would arrive mid-October.

My daughter was born mid-September 1976.

Probably the reason I do not remember much after that is I am trying to block out having this baby take out the scraps. Look how far it was up to the fence line. I would not make her do that now.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

It's Just the Wind

It is a beautiful Sunday afternoon. It is very quiet now as the grandchildren have all left and Hubby is working back at the farm. I like being alone as long as I know it is not permanent. I have not done much other than a little laundry and the always unpleasant task of mopping the floors.

Again, I apologize for the picture quality. I am reluctant to invest in a good camera or even to invest in the time needed to upgrade my iPhone. And yes, Elizabeth, I will get around to it eventually.

I wanted you to see and hear the wind blowing in the pine trees. It seems so pleasant to me - just a soft, gentle breeze making a quiet whisper through the trees. There is a pretty cardinal up there but it did not photograph well. you notice the picture has a slight jerking motion to it? That is my hand tremor. It is a family thing that is not much more than a nuisance.

But now, my eyelid has started twitching. So, like I know you all do as well, I punch in hand tremor and eye twitching to get my computer generated diagnosis. It came back with Schizophrenia and an advertisement for Prozac. I wonder what I would get if I added in ears ringing?

Someone in the family went to see Dr. Lane (you remember, he is the "Looking For A Husband Diet" doctor) and after proceeding to tell him what she had, he bluntly asked, "Now do you want to hear my diagnosis?"

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Miss Kraus

Well, now I have gone and done it. The intent was to tell how I never got a marriage proposal but now I have thought myself back into grade school. At least I made it to the sixth grade as I am now remembering Miss Kraus.

I would say the consensus is Miss Kraus was a favorite teacher. She was the Hurie School principal and sixth grade teacher as long as I can remember. She was a sturdily built unmarried woman who was probably in her forties when I thought she was elderly. She walked as if she was hurrying to an appointment - sort of bosom forward and bent at the waist.

It was in the sixth grade that Gary played the Big Bad Wolf in our production of Little Red Riding Hood. His mother made a very realistic looking wolf's head out of paper mache. I am trying to remember who Red Riding Hood was. I think it was Kathy who wore a pretty little red cape that I am sure her mother made. Some boy improvised on the "shave and a haircut" part of a song and slapped his leg while outstretching his arms as if he was in a minstrel show. I cannot remember who it was but everyone laughed and applauded. I was a crab apple tree. Plain brown paper bag with crayoned red apples attached to a broomstick. No one saw me crouched behind the screen. I did have a speaking part though. Miss Kraus scolded me and told me I better not mispronounce forbade at the play like I was at rehearsal.

Miss Kraus told us to bring an Irish potato to school for an art project. I fretted over where I was going to get a shamrock colored potato until Daddy said it was just a plain ol' potato you fried up and served with pinto beans and cornbread.

I remember coming back from lunch recess all hot and sweaty. Miss Kraus read Johnny Tremain to us as we laid our heads on our desk. It was a little cooler in the basement classrooms.

I tattled on a rowdy boy on the playground but Miss Kraus would have none of it. She said she had been watching and he had not been playing rough. It is probably my fault he did not fare well in life.

Was it sixth grade that we had a mock Presidential election and all but one boy in the class voted for Nixon?

I can still hear Miss Kraus' shoes striking each step as she hurried downstairs from a program they were having in the auditorium to tell me to quit plunking on that old piano in her room. I am also remembering something scary about the coat closet.

I remember gazing up on the hill where the high school kids were and thinking how grown up they looked. They were probably just ninth graders.

I quizzed Pam Cockrum relentlessly about changing classes and using lockers when we moved to seventh grade. I wore my locker key around my neck on a chain Grandma crocheted for me.

And here it is.

It looks like Mama gave me another home grown haircut. She sure did like my bangs cut short.

Mama came to a PTA meeting wearing a purple dress with matching earrings. She was very pretty. I still have a cookbook my Mama bought from their fundraiser. I have probably made a hundred peach cobblers from one of the recipes.

Mama could not get off work at the chicken plant to come to our sixth grade graduation ceremony. Bob Bender let Daddy take off from the Quality Market long enough to stand at the back and watch me walk across the stage.

And it was when we got to the seventh grade that I probably passed my intended in the hallways and never even noticed him.