Sunday, April 23, 2017

Times to Remember

Christmastime .... Times to Remember

I so remember the cold winter nights in Indiana.  School would be out for Christmas and sometimes it would snow so much that we were out of school for a long time.. 2 weeks extra even.  Without electricity, those cold winter nights looked different than when there are street lights and other lights that light up the sky.  It was quiet, cold and good to be home.  It was always good to be home.  That is the one place we should have to gather our strength to meet the next day.

I remember looking out the window and if the moon was shining, it would just light up the dark earth.  If there was snow on the ground, it would literally glisten.  I remember the comfort of being inside where it was warm and comfy.. where there was someone who made it all okay.

There wasn't any expectations for gifts.. for toys... it was just Christmas and Christmas meant Jesus's birthday.  A tree, yes... and some decorations, yes... but we were void of being bombarded with advertisements on toys.  Christmas has taken on a different hue than it did then.  We can't go back, I know... we are destined to change.... we can't help ourselves.

There Were Times to Remember
When times were slower, calmer, safer  --  when life was not so hectic  --  I'm going to go back to those times in writing.  I wish everyone could.

I was a kid in a small town - or a better word would be 'burg'.  We had a store, a church, neighbors, lots of kids, and times that no one today can match or imagine if you didn't live then.  I've wished I could just plant my memories into my kids' heads.... it would be a way of letting them know what it was like.... but not possible.  Instead, I'll just write.

                                           This is our church ... some years later and closed

I so looked forward to the day school was out for the summer.  There is something wonderful about summer in Indiana.  School was out in April.   It was still cold/cool at that time of year, but we knew spring was just around the corner... after a usual brutal winter.  School out for the summer, meant freedom... relaxing.... time to reboot the fun in your life.  Time to energize.  And later, time to take shoes off... to go barefoot... (but you had to get used to the rocks and gravel.. it took a week to toughen up your bare feet).

We had no TV ... no radio until I was a teenager... and no electricity until I was almost a teenager.  We found things to do every day.  We used our imagination and used what was available in nature.   I had a metal bar across 2 small trees...hanging, turning, over and over..... that was one of my favorite things.  We had swings hung from tall trees... you could swing far and wide on those.   Big thick ropes holding a board for a seat ... all hung from a huge tree limb way up high.  We had baby chickens every spring... and baby ducks.  The baby chickens had to be kept warm and safe from the cat.  The baby ducks grew to think we kids were their parents .. they followed us around, right at our heels.  We filled a galvanized tub with water and leaned a board up to the top.  The ducks would waddle up that board and leap into the water.

We got our water from an outside pump.  When you haven't had the luxury of running water, you don't mind the pump.  Some neighborhood pumps had a tin cup hanging on the side... anyone who wanted to drink used the cup and hung it back on the side.

Everyone was busy all summer... very busy... and yet, they all had time for each other.  We never locked our doors ... and didn't have a bank account.  When we got electricity in our house, we had a meter on the side of the house.  Every month we'd get a card in the mail from the electric company that had the same picture on the card as was on the meter.  We were to mark what the numbers were from the meter to the card.  We'd mail it back to the electric company and they'd send back what was owed.  Trust and compliance... not a problem.  Our electric bill was usually around $3.00.

When I got my bike, I was in heaven.  I'd ride that bike down the middle of the road (there were few cars on that road anyway) right over the hot (from the summer sun) tar and hear the bubbles bursting.  We'd put cardboard on the spokes for extra noise.  We'd put a chair under a low tree limb and then jump from the chair to the limb.  We'd scoot the chair back a little more after each jump and see who could catch the limb the furthest away.  One time I missed the limb and fell on my rear.. knocking the air out of me.  That is such a panic feeling to not be able to breathe!

We had creeks to fish in... just crawdads and minnows, and a stick for a pole.  We had swimming holes to swim in... muddy water and deep... scary for me who could not swim... but fun just the same.  We had a huge garden... and a lot of strawberries every June.  I'd eat them 3 meals a day... and nothing compares to strawberries straight from the patch.  Homemade shortcake too!

Every Sunday, all the family got together... that's how you know who your cousins are.  Family and fun.

I'll write more next time... times were good in those years.... I love to go back ... There are so many stories to tell....


There Were Times to Remember - Continues
It's almost Christmas, 2011.  That date would have sounded eerily futuristic when I was a little girl way back when.   But those years have passed all too quickly and here we are... in realville.

I remember Christmas in the "too many years ago" .... we got electricity in our home when I was around 10 or so.  That meant come Christmas, we could have real lights on our tree.  The tree was real.... just a small 5 foot tree .... and with real lights.   So basic, so unfettered, and so memorable.

I'd asked for a doll every year and every year I got a doll.  There wasn't any TV showing commercials of toys and whatknot  to taint my wishes or put ideas in my head of something that didn't do what it said it would do.  Our ideas came out of our head ... just a doll.  One year I got a ruby necklace and ring.  Ruby was my birthstone ... the red set was in the shape of a turtle's back.  I loved that necklace and ring.  I hadn't even thought of asking for it ... and it was the exact thing I really liked so much.  I caught that ring on a door at school one time.... bent it.... but I straightened it out best I could and kept wearing it.

Christmas was usually accompanied with snow and cold.... lots of snow, in fact.  It was really pretty to look outside and see everything covered with snow... even more delightful to watch it coming down.  Soft, white, quiet snow... and Christmas.  Perfect! 

Which takes me to the hill and sledding in that snow and ice.  We had a hill on the road just south of the intersection.  Everyone slid on that hill.  It was a long hill.... a long slide... a long uphill climb.   All the town kids would be there.  We got wet and we got cold.  I'd come home wet to the bone... and cold to the bone.  Many times the temperatures would be around zero... and that is cold!!  My feet would be frozen... stiff... and hands too.   All bundled up with coats, leggings, shoes, boots, toboggan... and frozen to the bone.   After it became unbearable and no limb was moveable ...  I'd go home and get all the wet clothes off... lay them by the stove... get some dry chothes on... and be so thankful for my home and that warm heating stove.  Time for a cup of hot cocoa and settle down on the sofa.

I so remember reading, studying, passing the winter evenings, by lamplight before we had electricity.  A lamp didn't put out much light, but if you haven't had anything else to compare to, it was just fine.   The lamp was on a little stand and you'd have to sit real close to see what you were trying to read or do.  The flame could be adjusted, but if it was too high, it would just smoke and turn the globe black with smoke.   The lamp burned kerosene.  Today you can buy colored oil for lamps... purely for looks or maybe an emergency if the power goes out.  But back then, it was the only light we had ... all the time.  We had more than one lamp ... and carried one when going from one room to another .... very carefully, I might add.

 ----  To be continued  -----

There Were Times to Remember Continues

Every once in awhile we meet someone who leaves a memorable mark on our lives.   I want to tell you about this person who I knew from early childhood, until he passed away when I was in high school.  I don't want to give his name, so I'll call him Samuel.

I liked to go to their home in the summer.  Summer in Indiana was sheer delight!  After a long winter and late spring... summer was very welcome and very much enjoyed.   So many memories.  Samuel's house had a pump outside the kitchen door.  They also had an outside toilet (which most did back then).. and they had the Sears Catalog in that outhouse ... mercy that is hard to sell.

There were glass chimes hanging on the other door which gave off a delightful tune in the wind ... and every time I hear that sound even today, it reminds me of those chimes.  Across from the kitchen door was another building... it had a cellar in it.  In that cellar was all the cool type foods you'd want ... watermelon, and all kinds of fruit.  They had chickens .... 3 different chicken houses... and when I was there, I'd gather the eggs.  Sometimes hens would want to 'set' on their eggs.... to hatch them... and my taking their eggs didn't make them happy.  The roosters were ready to attack.... and when one did.. he was next Sunday's dinner.

They had a smoke house where they had hams hanging when it was time to do that.  They had a grinding wheel in the yard... and it was used.  They lived next to a railroad track... in the country.... and tramps would jump off the train and stop in for a dinner plate.. which they usually did get .. outside and on the steps.

 Samuel was an unassuming man .... quiet .... hard working .... respected .... dependable.  He did his giving quietly and behind the scenes.   Although you knew he was a good man, you didn't know how good until you heard all he did and would do for his fellow man.

When my grandfather came down with the flu in the 1918-19 epidemic .... my grandmother, being sick also .... Samuel stayed with my grandfather ... watched over him.  People were afraid to be around anyone who had it, so it was impossible to expect any help.  But Samuel came and stayed until my grandfather died.   My grandmother survived ... thanks to another doctor who gave her something that worked.
    They didn't have penicillin back then... and a simple cold could lead to an infection that couldn't be controlled.  Many simple sicknesses were killers.... there wasn't medicine nor know-how to prevent it.   My grandmother said about her husband's death, "He was a 240 pound man one day and gone the next ... it seemed to take the strong".

Samuel had lost his wife before I remember .. he also lost a daughter ... and had one daughter left who lived with him.  He was a farmer.  He farmed with a horse and plow.  He had a wonderful farm that had everything.. a windmill that he'd turn on at the back door just before he walked out to the barn.   The water would be ready to use by the time he got to the barn.  There were cats all over the barn area... they kept the mice down and out of the grain stored in the buildings.  Samuel didn't work on Sundays, except what he had to do... take care of the animals and milk the cows.   He'd go to morning  church service, go home and eat dinner, and then read the newspaper (which he didn't have time to read all week)... and lay the newspaper across his face as he lay on the sofa... and take a nap. After the evening chores and evening meal, it was off to church again for the evening service.   Monday was back to work... every day.. all day.

We used to go to a family reunion every year.  It was about 20 miles to drive to the park where it was held.  He drove 30 mph all the time.  I'd see cars behind us wanting to go around... it was slow... and it was a long drive... but we always got there in time.

Life wasn't easy back then ... it was hard work .... all the time .... it was living life as it came ... making the best out of whatever came along.... not expecting the government to give you anything ... just doing what you had to.   And being thankful at the end of every day.

I learned when I was older, just how much Samuel did for anyone who needed help.  Always behind the scenes... and never expecting any thanks nor recognition... just being the kind of man the world needed and still needs.

Monday, March 27, 2017

                      One of my piano keys wall quilts... I made this brown one about 6 years ago.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Times to Remember Once Again - I Digress Once Again

At my age and with the present times being so erratic, I go back to times when life was not so hectic and immediate.  I digress into the life that used to be...

There was a time when there was no TV... or at least not very many had one.  The very first TV I ever saw was in a little room at my cousin's, who put this little 6 inch TV together and about 10 of us watched The Ed Sullivan Show one Sunday evening.  It was fascinating!  Later on, there were a few families who bought a TV, and most of them were 6 inch too.

It was a treat to go to friends or neighbors and watch a program.  There were 3 channels, ABC, CBS and NBC.  I Love Lucy came on at 9 pm on Monday night.  I went to a neighbor/friend's house and watched that show... 30 minutes.. and then back home.  The news was on every week day night for 15 minutes... then it went to 30 minutes, 6 pm ... and it was news, not talking heads.  The network news came on again at 10 pm and then they all closed up shop for the night and went off the air.

We didn't have any commercials at Christmas time to entice us.  If we had a Christmas list, it was from our own minds.  There was no TV to influence and no computers to open up the world to us.  We had an Alden's catalog to look at, but there were few toys in it.  I also remember a Ward's and Sears and Roebuck store with catalogs.  Sears and Roebuck sold material by the yard.  So did J C Penney.  They sold just about everything.

The newspaper came in the mail the next day after it was printed, and my grandmother read it from cover to cover.  She'd get the paper in the mail and sit in her chair next to the window and read it.
I remember the day the headline that Israel had become a country.  She pulled me over to her side and showed that headline to me.  She said, "this is prophesy."  That was the only way she got her news.   She did have a small radio when she got electricity, and she'd listen to Ruth Lyons at noon.  Her imagination of what Ruth looked like was not the same as when she saw her on TV later.

The programs on the radio were so good.  Simple but good, since we had nothing more exotic to compare.  Our imagination took the place of a TV set.  Bob Hope, Amos and Andy, Our Miss Brooks, Corliss Archer, Jack Benny, Fibber Magee and Molly, Dragnet, The Shadow, are some of the programs we listened to.  You can't imagine what it was like on those cold Indiana winter nights, to have a talking person in the room, when there was none before that little red radio was brought into the house.  It was wonderful!  I didn't like to hear the Dragnet music... it was creepy and didn't settle well with me.  My brother would have it on.  Jack Webb was the man on the radio and when it moved to TV, he was still the main character.

We didn't have a computer to bring in the troubles of the world... it was a peaceful life to even have a war going on and not be bombarded with all that was wrong in the world.  We had ration stamps for food during the war, and could only buy what the stamps allowed.  I remember saving the sugar stamps for when the grapes were ripe and jelly making.  Nylon hose was hard to find, as the government used nylon for parachutes.  Living in a small town environment shielded us from a lot of things in the outside world.

The day the war ended, (WWII) I was playing with the kids in the area when we heard yelling and carrying on in the road.  Everyone came out to see what was going on.  The war had ended and the whole town converged on the local church where everyone took turns ringing the huge bell.  The rope hung down from the high bell tower and I watched as small women were pulled back up to the low ceiling as they pulled that rope down, and it swung back up.  It was a time of celebration and giving thanks.

On our property, my grandmother lived off the land.  We had a huge garden and I learned to work in it every summer.  That's how I got my tan.  We had a shovel, a rake and a hoe.. that was it.  We had it plowed and then we managed the rest.  We had an apple tree, a plum tree, a pear tree, a strawberry patch, grapes, rhubarb, asparagus, raspberries, and planted corn, green beans, carrots, tomatoes, peas, beets, lettuce and radishes.  We ate fresh out of the garden all summer, and canned everything else.  I had the best strawberries 3 times a day for the month of June, and the rest made into jelly.

I had a pole across 2 small trees that I spent hours on every day.  We had a swing that someone had climbed up this huge cotton tree and hung from one of the limbs.  We mowed the yard with a push mower that was so dull and so hard to push.. it was work to push and pull that thing to get the grass mowed.  For 2 summers, we had a little duckling a piece.  That little duck thought we were the parents and followed us everywhere.  We'd fix the galvanized tub with a board up the side and the ducks knew to climb up and dive into the water.  We had chickens and collected the eggs... then we had chicken for Sunday dinners too.  Always fresh and nothing today compares to those we had that lived off the land, eating grain and specks of dirt.  I learned to clean a chicken, but did not ever want to kill one.  I'd leave the area when that took place.

The road crew would come down our road and spray tar in spots that needed it.  We'd get tar on our feet, shoes, and bikes.  Good ole' lard or Crisco took it out.  Then dish detergent to get the lard spot out.  I loved to ride my bike down the road in the summer where the heat would make tar bubbles and I'd try to hit as many as possible.  We had time to make up things to do.... we were not bored,.. and there was always work to do every day.  I didn't have to be told to work... it was expected.

Today, there is no comparison to what I grew up in.  Everything took on a rapid increase.. computers are old in a year... phones are old in less than a year.  Cars cost a fortune today.  We bought our first house for less than we bought our car a few years ago.   The elderly you live around, are important for what they know.  Wisdom comes with age, if we let it.  And youth is wasted on the young.
    I sign off for this round.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Handbag/Purse - Another one I made.. Beautiful Butterflies on Charcoal Black

                                                           ElizabethCreations - Purse

One of My Handbags - Handmade bags for many years


I make handbags/purses.  Years of experience.  I don't use a pattern for this style.. I call it my own design.  It has zipper closure, pockets inside and most have pockets on the outside also.. shoulder straps... double interfaced with Pellon Fleece and extra other interfacing added just where it counts.. and made to wear well.

I start with an almost square fabric, fuse the outside layers with Pellon Fleece, and then add the extra interfacing .. and I know just where to add it for durability.  After both sides are fixed, I add the zipper and sew the panels on both sides that are the pockets.. Fix the lining with pockets on both sides and add the lining to the zipper also.  Add the straps, and then sew the sides up... having both outside facing and lining sides facing each other..  Sew up the sides and fix the bottom corners, leaving a bottom part of the lining open for turning .. and then turn it right side out... like giving birth.  Mold the purse in the corners, and around the zipper corners.  Fix the opening left open for turning, add a cardboard piece to the bottom, covered with lining fabric.. and you have your purse ready to go!  It is easy after you've made one and figure out just what to do where... and get it down pat.  There are bits and pieces not added here ... too long to add it all.. this is a general instruction.  You'll figure it out if you try and try again.

I carry one of these purses all the time.  When one gets to looking draggy, I make another one.  They will last about a year of constant wear as long as you take care of it.. and treat it with respect.  The reason I began making these is I could not find a purse I liked.  They were either too large, too small, handles/straps were not right, no pockets inside for organization, or just not made for me.  I've bought many a purse, and when I got home, my stuff would not fit in it or I could not organize it like my own. .. I just didn't like breaking in a new purse... not one bought in the stores.  I also don't like to break in a wallet... I have carried the one I use for over 15 years.  I think I need a new one.. and I do make them.. but have not traded my old one yet, for a new one.  I'm busy and busy people maybe do not have time to clean out and start with a new one... only to not like the new arrangement.

Well.. you've heard my handbag story... sort of anyway... Go check all of mine out at Etsy or Artfire.  Thanks!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Those Old Songs - The Memories They Hold

I can hear an old song and remember where I was and what the circumstances were when I first heard that song.

Music brings out so many different emotions and memories.  Odors do also.

It was way back in 1954 when I first heard Elvis on the car radio singing "Heartbreak Hotel".  I remember that song like it was yesterday.

We had gone to Texas and were heading back  home in the car... a long drive and no stops except to get gas and a cup of coffee.  There was no interstate on that route.  Later, Interstate 70 replaced Route 66... but not on that trip... not that year.

We drove Route 66 all the way.  Two lanes and traffic only heavy in the cities.  Motels along the route and we saw every one of them.  Gas stations too... just the ones with a couple of gas pumps... nothing like there are today.  No McDonald's either.  There was no such thing as fast food anywhere.  No air conditioner in our Indiana car... just roll down the window.  But then, we didn't know what we were missing...You don't miss what  you never had.

The radio was playing and here comes this song, sung by a new singer I had never heard before.  But I LOVED the song and the guy singing it.  It played often... and it was a 2 day drive.. so we heard that song many times.  The song was  "Heartbreak Hotel".. and yes, it was sung by Elvis Presley.   I never grew tired of it.  It was a big hit, and so was Elvis!

You all have to realize that before Elvis, the singers were Pat Boone, Patti Page, crooner music... soft and smooth.  Elvis came on the scene with a new brand of music, along with shaking hips that were not allowed on The Ed Sullivan Show.  Elvis was a sensation that is still alive today.

When I got back home I asked all of my friends if they had heard the song, "Heartbreak Hotel"... no one had.  No one had ever heard of Elvis Presley either.  Imagine that name being an unknown name.  The station we heard it on was that Del Rio radio station, and it was not heard in Indiana except late at night.. sometimes.

You all know the rest of that story.  But that song takes me back to that trip from Texas, and into that era once again.

A little add on to this story.  I watched Elvis on The Ed Sullivan Show many times... right in front of the TV... enjoying his singing and enjoying Elvis.  Later, my boyfriend, stationed in the Army in Texas, thought he'd score some points when he heard Elvis was going to have a show at the base  and since I so loved Elvis then, my boyfriend said he'd attend that show for me.  Later he wrote in his daily letter, saying he would not "go across the street to see Elvis again".  I guess Elvis was a lady's man and not a soldier's man.
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Then there was a song, The Green Door, that came out in 1956 and I was expecting my first child.  I really didn't like that song at all... and it seemed to play way too often on the radio.  To this day, I get sick every time I hear that song.  It takes me back to that awful sick feeling that goes along with those first 3 months.  But I also remember the Johnson baby products with that sweet smell of a newborn baby and the delight of those happy times.

One more song I have to mention is "Afternoon Delight".  I really don't like that song either.  I was working in a beauty shop after I got my license to do hair.  It played and played... I didn't like it the first time I heard it and I didn't like it after I'd heard it a hundred times.   After all those years, I heard it again last  year, and that old feeling was right there with the song.... in the shop, doing hair, seeing the sunlight come in the windows, seeing Debbie beside me doing her customer's hair.  It all came back.

It amazes me after the years are past... that the memories are still there... the good ones are the best.. hang onto those.
   I'm so glad you stopped in to read my stories.  Do leave a comment if you'd like.  Thank you!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

                                                 Silhouette Hat, Tie, Mustache, BowTie
                                                  Bedding for 18 Inch Doll

Quilt, 2 Pillows - Bedding for 18 Inch Doll