Blog Archives

First Quilt

My 1st Quilt

I still have the FIRST QUILT that my Mama ever made for me when I was a little girl, more than half-a-century ago. This is also the very FIRST QUILT that she ever made! I think that it is a treasure and I love it dearly. It’s called a ‘postage stamp quilt’  because that is the design: it’s basically a patchwork quilt ; however, all of these squares are as little as postage stamps. It does differ than an ordinary patchwork quilt in that this quilt does have a pattern in the way that the squares are placed in a particular order into long strips as they’re sewn together, and then each row is sewn together to complete this pattern. Usually most patchwork quilts do not necessarily follow patterns because they’re using up scraps of leftover cloth. Mama used to make dresses for my cousins and Aunty and herself and I, so she’d buy lotsa material. She also made a lot of curtains back in the 50s when it was popular to do so. So whatever fabric was leftover was cut into little squares and this was what she designed into her FIRST QUILT. I can still point to the squares and remember which of my dresses or tops had the same fabric! That’s part of what makes the quilt special.

Mama has been trying to get me to throw this quilt away for the past dozen years or so! At this point she’s HANDMADE (never ever quilted by machine) over 325 quilts for folks!! What an amazing accomplishment! I am extremely proud of this! My Mama is soooo amazing! Myself, my children, my brothers and their children, my Aunty and her children, all have numerous quilts that Mama has lovingly made for us and we treasure each and every one of them. Most of Mama’s friends have commissioned her to make quilts for their own kin’s weddings or babies or graduations, etc. Plus Mama is regularly DONATING quilts to church raffles, nursing homes, and even soldiers’ hospitals overseas. This fills my heart. So for me to throw away her very first one, even tho it most definitely is old and fragile and could probably never be washed again or it’d likely fall apart, would surely cause me much dismay.

Believe it or not, my kiddies NEVER had a bedspread! They always had Grandma’s quilts on their beds. Me too. I wouldn’t have it any other way! There’s such a ‘homey ‘ look about a house that has bedrooms with a quilt on every bed, especially when those quilts are made by loved ones. My belief has always been that if the house catches on fire : kids out 1st, quilts 2nd, photo books 3rd!

So many times, as Mama would lovingly present me with a new quilt to put on my bed, or another lap quilt for the living room, she’d say : “NOW will you get rid of that old green quilt?” As if she REALLY REALLY thought that I would!! Every time she tries….and every time I turn her down. This was the FIRST QUILT that she ever made PLUS it’s my fave color PLUS this daughter-of-hers just cherishes it, and her, toooo much to ever even consider it! I LOVE MY MANY QUILTS!!!

Advertisements

Lifestyle Choice

 My First Car

I get so very irritated at my first-born child over what he chooses to deem his ‘LIFESTYLE CHOICE‘! In this day and age when that term can have a plethora of meanings, for my 32-year-old son the meaning is that he doesn’t drive! He takes the bus to and from his job at DisneyWorld and his wife hauls him around with her wherever else they wanna go. For now, the two of them have the same days off each week even tho he is a Food Service Trainer at Magic Kingdom and she coordinates training at a Disney resort. So it’s working out well for them….but not for me! My son never gets to ‘pop over for a visit’ or to ‘pick up something at the store on the way home’ for me or to ‘run an errand for his handicapped Mama’. Whenever he DOES get a chance to come over, it has to be planned at least a couple of weeks in advance (even tho he lives a mere 4&1/2 miles from me); and then if we go out to eat….I’m the only one doing the inviting and also doing the paying (even tho I’m on a very tight ‘fixed income‘ while they have two salaries). Or if I do need my 6-foot son to clean the ceiling fans, or something else that my 4’10” daughter (with whom I live because I don’t have enough income to live elsewhere) cannot reach, then I need to have a list ready for him plus I actually gotta PAY this child-of-mine for services rendered so that he can have some spending money because his wife gives him an allowance and he probably needs cigarettes! Grrrrr!

When I was young, I lived far out in the country and couldn’t wait to get my driver’s license so that I could drive, drive, drive! The photo is of my 1st car, an ugly pale yellow Ford Galaxy 500. But it got me where I wanted to go and most importantly was that I didn’t have to ride that darned old school bus anymore!!! YAY! Of course there was a catch and that was that I had to wait around after school until football practice was over and bring my younger brother home. I also had Marching Band practice before and/or after school sometimes too so I didn’t mind. Then in the winter I had to wait again after school for my brother to get outa wrestling practice, and then in the spring it was baseball practice. Oh well, Daddy bought my car and put in most of the gas so this was a pretty decent trade-off for all of us since we really did live soooo far out of town away from the High School.

My son and his wife have been living in the same tiny 1-bedroom apartment for a few years. He recently told me that they are about to sign yet another year’s lease. It’s not the nicest apartment but it is where they began their lives as newlyweds and also where they got their dog. I’m sure they’re sentimental. He told me the other day that they’re planning to only stay one more year, as they’re wanting to save money to buy a house in a particular area. They may even have a house built because there are a couple of subdivisions being planned near a new shopping area that we all really like and have been looking into and enjoy a lot. He told me the prices and I do think that it’s too expensive but I won’t say anything because I don’t wanna be that ‘meddling mother-in-law‘ (altho I certainly haven’t any qualms about telling just him my opinion, haha) that so many TV sitcoms depict so badly! IF AND WHEN this does happen, at that point my oldest child will most-definitely need to re-think his ‘LIFESTYLE CHOICE‘ simply because there are no city buses in the Orlando area that have stops in that vicinity! I really don’t foresee him leaving his high-seniority Disney job to go into retail at this point! Hmmmm, here’s a thought: his only other job that he’s ever had prior to Disney was managing a movie theater and THERE IS definitely a very nice movie theater in that shopping center plus it’s the same company that he previously worked for! This Mama sure does miss those free movies!!!

4 Generations

4 generations-May 1993

Upon reaching a particular age in my lifetime, so many of the goals and dreams that I had once strived for but haven’t yet attained seem hazy now. Riches and notoriety are no longer as important as good health and longevity, especially when those things are not as abundant nor unending as my youthfulness once unwisely led me to believe. A photo of 4 GENERATIONS is a precious memory of my cute 9-year-old daughter with her head resting upon the shoulder of her beloved Great-Gramma with her doting Grandma on her other side, while I stand behind the three most important ladies in my life!

Twenty years later and my Gramma has been in heaven for more than a decade, my darling daughter is 30, and Mama and myself aren’t in the best of health. This spring the family will gather for a big party to celebrate Mama’s 80th birthday; quite an accomplishment! She’s had 3 children, 7 grandbabies, and a great-grandchild. She’s outlived 2 husbands and is happily married to #3 (she REALLY believes in LOVE and in ‘being in love‘, a characteristic that I didn’t inherit from her). She’s had 4 step-kids, lost 1, and has delighted in having 5 step-grandbabies too. She’s always been the epitome of MOM and GRANDMOTHER and WIFE. She learned this from my Gramma, her Mother, although they were from entirely different eras. They were as distinctly opposite as can be but yet alike in very many ways! I learned from both of them and they’ve been excellent role models.

So now I’m ready for my next role: to be a GRANDMA! I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting. My 3 kids are all at that 30-ish age….and yet still I wait. My middle child is 30. My youngest will be 30 on his next birthday and my 1st child passed it 2 years ago. My oldest son has been married for 3 years and keeps promising to start a family but still I hear excuses. I am at the point of wondering if I will ever be a Grandmother. Maybe it’s not meant to be. I may not even get to have a ‘3-Generation‘ photo, much less one with 4 GENERATIONS because I’ll be too old to ever hold that honored position of distinction of being the FAMILY MATRIARCH in one of those. I’ve seen many within my own extended families of cousins having photos of 5-Generations and even the rare 6-Generations in other families. But in doing the calculations….in order for me to hold even 1 of my Great-Great-Granchildren, a kid of mine would have to become a parent within the year and then that child would need to become a parent at age 21; then so would their child in order for me to become a Great-
Great-Grandparent just a couple of years past 100!

GrandDad’s Buddy

Granddad and Jerry

My First-Born child also has the honored position of being the First Grandchild for my parents, as well as for my Step-Mom. He loves this distinction! However, my Step-Dad already had 2 grandkids by this time but they live in South Carolina so he only saw them a couple of times annually. He had lotsa fun being GrandDad too. My son never got to know his ‘other’ biological grandparents….the grandfather had been killed by a tornado more than a decade before and the grandmother had been extremely ‘broken’ by this same tornado so she wouldn’t have known him anyway. But since both of my parents had remarried and lived in the same small town, which was approximately 40 miles from where my baby boy and I lived, he still had two sets of grandparents and a set of great-grandparents to dote on him! I had to live in a larger town, near Purdue University, for my travel agency job but every Friday after work we drove to either my Mama’s or my Daddy’s house for the weekend and had a grand time! All of my children have/had special relationships with each grandparent/great-grandparent. For nearly the first couple years of his life, my son turned into his GRANDDAD’S BUDDY. Whenever we were at Mama’s ‘little round house out in the woods‘, every time I’d turn around, my Step-Dad had that baby laying on his tummy watching TV or reading to him or even taking naps with him!

My parents divorced when I was in my early twenties. Don’t ever believe the old adage about divorce hurting the children less if the parents wait until those kids are grown-ups. It’s just not true. My world turned totally upside-down even tho I was in college. I ran away, literally, to finish my college studies as far away from my small Hoosier hometown as I could get. My parents informed me of their decision in July and less than a month later I was attending a small Catholic college in Honolulu. That was as far away as I could get and still be on American soil. After college I returned to Indiana but not to the same small hometown. Instead I moved to the larger town 40 miles away where I could obtain work.

As it turned out, I married an Air Force Officer and we had assignments in Texas, Hawaii, and Florida before my husband decided that he didn’t want to be married anymore. So it was back to this small Hoosier hometown that I took my 3 children and our broken hearts so that we could feel the love of family surrounding and comforting us once again. My parents, even tho married to others, cooperated together to pave the way by finding a suitable house for us to rent and basically made the decisions for me at a time when my distraught mind was unable to function. My Daddy and my brother brought a moving truck to Florida and literally picked us up and got us and took us HOME, while Mama was busily getting things ready in Indiana. I do not even recall registering the kids in school and doctors and many other things that needed to be taken care of so I’m sure that my wonderful parents must have had a hand in taking care of a lot of the things that I didn’t even notice but am totally grateful for. It was a good move and a good idea. Sometimes in life a person has to trust in the wisdom of those who have lived life and already made mistakes because they are able to give advice, should anybody care to listen. My parents are a perfect example of this. I may not have always agreed with them but they wanted what ultimately was best for their grandbabies. Of course I’m sure that it was wonderful for them to be able to finally attend the various schooling and scouting and church functions with their grandkids too that they’d been missing out upon because we lived in other states! They certainly did! It worked out fine.

My Daddy and Step-Mom lived out in the country so that was fun for the kiddies. Daddy enjoyed coming into town and taking the 3 of them, or sometimes each one at a time, to do things or to go places. He even took my boys to his own barber and filled in when my daughter needed him for ‘Daddy Date Night‘. My Step-Mom always knows exactly which foods are the favorites of each family member and makes it a point to prepare everybody’s favorite. She’s kinda like ‘the cheerleader‘ of the grandbabies! Mama and my Step-Dad had moved a couple of blocks from the Elementary School so it was fun for the kids to be able to ask if they could walk to Grandma’s after school a few nights each week, where they knew that she’d have home-baked goodies awaiting! Their Great-Grandparents lived across town near the shopping area and we visited with them a few times weekly. It was a very good 4 years that we lived in that area, having all those grandparents nearby gave my kids the love and stability that had been lacking when we’d been moving around the country going from Air Force base to Air Force base!

For some reason, probably just because he’s the oldest, my Step-Dad seemed to like to teach my first-born kid lotsa stuff. Perhaps it was because he missed his own grandkids, which by now he had 4. Or perhaps it was because he reminded him of his own son at that age….they both are stubborn loveable blondes with really big eyes! My Step-Dad was a ‘tinkerer‘, always fixing or improving something, often to my Mama’s frustration. That’s how my son became his GRANDDAD’S BUDDY….my Stepdad and my boy took apart 3 junk mowers and built 1 mower rather than buying a new one. They built a model airplane and worked on other projects that always kept my Step-Dad busy. I think that sometimes he was just looking for an excuse to ‘borrow’ my kid even tho he said that he wanted to teach him something! My Mama and my Step-Dad also invited my son to watch EVERY Chicago Bulls basketball game on TV at their house, complete with carefully planned favorite snacks. My other two kids showed no interest in sports so this was a special memory for my son. He still watches basketball and is a big fan of the Chicago Bulls. He also has turned out to be a ‘tinkerer‘ too, always finding projects to work on! Yep, that’s my boy! I’m sure that my Step-Dad is watching this young man, GRANDDAD’S BUDDY, from heaven with a twinkle in his eye!

Silly Boy

043

My baby boy is coming for a visit in exactly ONE WEEK!! HOORAY!!! This youngest child of mine is the one that has oddest sense of humor and always keeps me laughing. He comes up with hilarious ‘off the cuff’ remarks that somehow seem to flow effortlessly and so quickly that I’m constantly wondering how he thinks up spontaneous retorts immediately. Daily I’m saying to him, “Joey, you’re a SILLY BOY!” He has been doing this for a couple of decades, beginning as the CLASS CLOWN in elementary school. He’s never outgrown it so I reckon that it’s just a part of his personality. He’s well-liked wherever he goes, so maybe that’s the reason.

I’ve not seen my baby boy in nearly 8 months this time. Or to be more ‘family correct’, I reckon I oughta say that my BABBY BOY is visiting. I don’t even remember when or why I started calling him that but the name has stuck. Just for me though. Nobody but his Mama calls him that, but then I suppose that mothers have cutesy names for each of their children (I surely do). Come to think of it, he’s had the most nick-names throughout the years out of the 3 of my kids. I honestly don’t think that there’s been any that he’s disliked. I often call him JoeRicky, which I think is a rather cute combo of his first & middle names that I’ve never heard anywhere else. He started out as JoeJoe as a baby and had that name for several years. I accidentally called him that, I don’t why it slipped outa my mouth, last year one time while we were with plenty of other folks. I was appalled, but he didn’t even flinch! I’ve never ever even heard him say “Mama, don’t call me that in front of my friends.” I certainly CAN remember asking my own mother NOT to do so at her many ‘pet names’ for me! Imagine my dismay when my mother came 4,350 miles from her small Hoosier home to visit me at college in Honolulu and managed to get my entire coed dormitory calling me ‘Jean Bean’! Oh, the horrors! But Joey has always liked his name. When he was young, he enjoyed the fact that his name meant the same as a baby kangaroo. I used to tease him that it was probably the reason that I had to carry him everywhere! That BABBY BOY wouldn’t walk till 3 months later than his brother and sister had. In retrospect, it was probably because I DID carry him so often that he didn’t feel the need to. With his sister less than a year older than him and his brother 2 years older than her, more often than not it was just much easier to grab the young’un and go!

My family and friends have all heard me lament over the fact that it’s really very hard when the youngest child is the first to move far away. Well, it’s true nonetheless. He’s 29 and engaged to a young lady that he’s been dating for several years. But I still miss him tremendously just the same. A thousand miles from Mama is tooooo far indeed! I’m sure he’s looking forward to some of my chicken & noodles; that’s the meal that he always asks for first! We’ll go to some of the theme parks, of course. The beach is a definite MUST; everyone wants to go to the beaches. Joey usually likes to go to a beach on both coasts: the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. That’s one of the positives of living in the middle of a long peninsular state. We’re a bit more than an hour from either coast plus we have passes to SeaWorld and Busch Gardens. Naturally we’ll go to DisneyWorld since those are free for us. He and his sister and a friend are wanting to go to Universal Studios annual ‘Halloween Horror Nights‘ but they can definitely leave this old Mama out of that one!

I’m looking forward to taking photos. My other 2 children live here in this area within 5 miles so maybe I’ll get a few great group shots of ‘my little family’. But as for my SILLY BOY, as seen in the photo above….we just never know what kinda mischief he’ll get into when I get ready to take his picture! Another example: last year at Magic Kingdom, an instant before I was to snap his photo in front of Belle’s fireplace, he quickly curled himself up INTO Belle’s fireplace! Aaahhh, JoeJoe my BABBY BOY always likes to keep us guessing….and laughing….and smiling. He IS my SILLY BOY before, still, and probably always!

Magnum Kiss

Smithsonian's Magnum P.I. shirt

Meeting and seeing celebrities has been a part of my life since the late 1970s when I attended college in Hawaii. A decade later when I returned to Oahu as an Air Force Officer’s wife with 3 very young kiddies in tow, I’d had many opportunities to teach them that celebrities have lives other than those that are portrayed on TV. We saw sooooo many celebrities that it seemed rather commonplace, especially since Hawaii is a popular vacation destination for them too. I’m thinking this is the reason that my children don’t particularly ‘go nutso‘ whenever they see somebody famous nowadays. This is a good thing because now they either are, or have been, Disney Castmembers and are once again seeing dozens of celebrities. I taught my kids not to pester famous folks for autographs (unless it’s a book signing, for example) or for photos because these people are only hoping to have an enjoyable vacation experience like everybody else! And to think that, for them it all started more than a quarter-of-a-century ago with my daughter and her ‘kiss‘….a MAGNUM KISS to be precise!

I took my children to the beaches of Oahu almost on a daily basis. There were numerous beaches to choose from so we liked to explore different areas and tried to find some of the quieter beaches. Of course we adored the ever-popular Waikiki Beach but my kiddies had a tendency to get away from me quickly there since the beaches were crowded and the children were ages 2, 3, & 5 and very quick. We also tried to go as early in the morning as possible so as not to get too overly pink; besides, the tourists were mostly still kinda hung-over from partying the night before and didn’t usually start arriving until 10:30 or later. By noon Waikiki & Kaneohe beaches are packed. So earlier was better for us. A breakfast picnic on the beach was fun and lovely!

One perfect morning we were at a particular beach, which shall go nameless for the sake of celebrities that enjoy the privacy of this stretch of beaches. I knew of several celebrities that lived in the area because of a former college job that I’d had delivering floral bouquets. So I sometimes brought the kids to this beach because it was usually very quiet and we were often the only ones there! But that morning there was a couple strolling far down the beach and my 3-year-old daughter saw them and recognized HIM before I did. She jumped up and started running down the beach towards them, hollering “Magnum, Magnum, Magnum!”. (she was too young to understand that he wasn’t actually named that in real life) I was embarrassed but had no choice but to leave our things, grab a hand of each of my boys and start running after her! We 3 were so much slower than she was by herself. Of course, by the time we finally caught up, she’d already made her way to ‘the man from the TV‘ and his then-girlfriend Jillie. So there I stood, face-to-face with THE HEART-THROB of the decade, apologizing profusely to Tom Selleck and his girlfriend while he held my daughter and acted like he honestly didn’t mind! Tom and Jillie were the nicest, sweetest people and were extremely kind to my 3 children as we chatted for 20 minutes or so. My daughter didn’t wanna let go of him but he kissed her cheek and she giggled….probably his mustache tickled!

That was a memory-of-a-lifetime for her! Me too! Oh, and by the way….my daughter’s name is Jillian. She’s always liked her name. Sometimes we call her Jillian, and often she goes by Jill. But you’d better believe that after meeting ‘Magnum’s girlfriend‘ that my 3-year-old preferred us to call her Jillie for about a year after that encounter. She was as much enthralled with Jillie Mack as she was with Tom Selleck! For MANY years afterwards, we’d ask her: “Where did MAGNUM KISS you?” and she would always coyly point to her cheek and smile. Such a precious memory to have her very first non-family-member KISS be from such a handsome man! Aaahhh….could I possibly have been jealous of a 3-year-old?

Hush Puppy!

hush puppies

Whenever I eat out at either Cracker Barrel or Long John Silver’s restaurants, I always remember to bring home a HUSH PUPPY! My daughter enjoys them. I used to like them too but I suppose my palate has changed over the years so instead of requesting that I not be served any, I’d rather bring a couple of these little cornmeal-balls home so that my daughter’s eyes will light up when I present them to her. I’m not really sure if I stopped eating them because of my health (surely there isn’t really anything nutritious about these deep-fried tidbits of cornmeal) or if it’s because my three kiddies liked them so much when they were young’uns that they ate them all before I got any! Either way, I don’t think that my tastebuds are missing much and I KNOW that I don’t need the calories, nor do my arteries need anything that’s deep-fried clogging them.

The kids got their first pup when they were in elementary school in Indiana. They named her Aria. She was half-Corgi and half-Malamute. The dog’s papa was named Amadeus so the kids wanted a musical name to kinda match the papa, thus my youngest son chose the name Aria. We’d hoped that she’d get big like her papa but that wasn’t to be the case. She had big paws and a big head like her papa but short little legs and body like her Corgi mama. It’s probably a good thing that she didn’t get large because she would’ve cost me lots in dog food! As it was, she was a wonderful first pet for my children. She was an ‘outdoor dog‘ all the way. We lived next to the railroad tracks….it literally was in our side yard, so the kids had to train the dog to get used to the slower freight trains and the quick Amtrak train. It was so very cute watching my kids when they’d command her, saying “HUSH, PUPPY!” and then they’d start giggling because of their love for the FOOD of the same name. I’m surprised that they ever got that dog to quit barking at trains because I’m sure that the dog had to be very confused as to why these kids would say “HUSH PUPPY!” and then laugh. But eventually, all worked out. The kiddies had a couple of other pups throughout their childhood, after Aria, and they went through the same thing all over again. They enjoyed the humor, this old Mama just rolled her eyes!

The photo above is from my leftovers from Cracker Barrel the other day, hush puppies and a biscuit. Still to this day, I cannot resist the urge to hand it to my daughter and say “Look what I brought you…HUSH PUPPY!” Yep, she still says “Ooh, thanks!” and has a grin on her face! That does make it worthwhile to bring home the leftovers!

Getting Pincurls

Getting pincurls like Mommy-age 3

I find that it’s certainly true that we want the opposite of what we have. Myself, well, I have rather crazy hair that has never been stylish nor have I been able to tame it into whatever hairdo seemed to be popular at the current time. Nowadays I’m not particularly concerned with the way my hair looks, but according to the photo above this must have began at approximately age 3. I’d imagine that my Mama was probably placating me at the time and I was probably excited to be GETTING PINCURLS just like Mommy had, but maybe this began several decades of unsuccessfully attempting to make my hair do things that it wasn’t meant to do!

According to early photos, I had very straight hair as a preschooler! Mama was thrilled that I even had some hair because I had quite the lack of it as a baby. She and Daddy had curly hair so it made no sense to either of them that mine was straight. If only she’d have left it alone then I probably would’ve been very happy with long straight hair, as that was the norm in the 60s and 70s. But I blame my Mama for that early perm that she gave me because after that my hair would never go back to being straight again! Luckily it was very thick, so that was the only thing that I DID LIKE about my hair. I could not use a hair dryer because it would frizz terribly; in fact, a dryer hasn’t touched my hair in more than half-a-century! I took great care in cutting off tiny split-ends, as soon as I noticed them, little-by-little in such a way so as to not cut any of the length of my hair. I’ve had short hair, long hair, and shoulder-length hair throughout the years. In the Hoosier summer sunshine, I’d squeeze lemon juice onto my hair before sitting poolside after getting out of the backyard pool. Somebody had mentioned that this would keep away that greenish sheen that the chlorination from the pool’s chemicals would tint my hair. It must’ve worked because my hair didn’t have that ugly color. I remember when I wanted bangs or short ‘sideburns’ and having to wear the pink tape at night. The next morning I’d be happy with the reflection in the mirror from my temporarily-straight bangs….however, my disappointment would return along with my curls by the time I got to school! I just had no luck with straightening my hair. I thought that it was so unfair that I could not have the popular hairstyles! I got into very big trouble one Saturday afternoon when my Daddy came home early and walked in on me and a friend ironing my long hair on the ironing board, with a pillowcase between my hair and the iron. He sent my galpal home and I promptly got a paddling, even though I was already a teenager!

My Mama has always put a lot of effort and emphasis into her hairdo and makeup. Whenever she went out the door of our house, she does so looking beautiful. I was of the generation that didn’t like makeup, and even though I experimented a bit, mostly I only wore makeup for special occasions or when Mama told me that I HAD TO! Anyway, Mama had a LOT of hair….verrryyy thick. She’s mostly kept it short, but has gone to the beautician to have it styled for as long as I can remember. When my brothers and I were young, we used to tease that we couldn’t even put a finger into her hair for fear that it’d get stuck! I am NOT kidding! Mama always knew everything that was happening too….we could never be sneaky and get away with things like we could with our Daddy or grandparents. Mama always told us that it was because that mothers have ‘eyes in the back of their heads‘ that children cannot see, but that we’d better believe that those secret eyes were there, nonetheless. Well, the night before Mama would have her weekly hair appointment, she’d give one of us kids a coin to brush out her hair. It took a long time since it was really thick plus had several layers of hairspray. Besides, she liked the feel of the scratching of the Avon brush upon her scalp. The oldest of my brothers almost always insisted upon doing this, and he performed the task ardently. It wasn’t until we were all grown up that he explained that he’d been looking for those ‘eyes in the back of Mama’s head‘ all those years and he never did find them! Tooooo funny!

When I went away to college in Hawaii, I found that my long wavy strawberry-blonde hair was suddenly very popular, especially with the Pacific Islanders. Of course, I had to forget about the frizz because August in Hawaii is a bit humid and I just got used to it anyway. But I soon found that the Polynesian boys would hurry to sit beside me in classes. After a couple of weeks of feeling like a Midwestern Oddball, my Indonesian and Samoan roomies told me that the guys hadn’t seen red hair before! Several times I’d catch someone touching my hair just to see if they were gonna get burned! I even got mad at a boy from Palau that cut a long strand of my hair without my permission; when I turned around and glared at him, his excuse was that he wanted to send it home to his grandmother because she’d never believe it! I didn’t know whether to laugh or smack his face! In my mind I was having these thoughts of a little voodoo doll of myself in a dark room someplace awaiting these strands of golden hair but I remembered that these were South Pacific Islanders and not Creoles. Instead I told them that they could’ve asked and I’d have given them some strands from my hairbrush. About that time I started wearing my hair in elaborate braids and buns in order to avoid and solve these situations. It didn’t take too many months for the warm Hawaiian sun to bleach the red outa my hair anyway. As my skin darkened into a golden brown, my hair lightened and lost the red. I looked like any beachgoing blonde!

Now I’m in my late 50s and my hair is totally white in the front. The back part is whitening. My hair is partially curly and partially straight. It cannot make up it’s mind. It’s nothing at all like when I was younger. The straight portion is as I had always hoped and envisioned but then there are these unruly curls that pop up here and there all over the place. They’re curlier than ever before. The curly-hair gene must have totally skipped my daughter. I’d always imagined that my daughter would have thick, blonde, curly hair. Well, it’s blonde, Period. Not thick. Not a tiny bit of curl or wave in sight. But she’s as blonde as can be. She got a perm once when she was a little girl and it was a mess to keep up with so we never did that again! She prefers a long ponytail and it suits her. Since my hair doesn’t do anything worthy of a style, I’ve been keeping it kinda short for the last few years. So I don’t think that either one of us will be GETTING PINCURLS anytime soon!! Maybe we’re finally accepting what we have.

Missing Daddy

ImageI’m sitting home by myself on Father’s Day, just reminiscing and MISSING DADDY. I had the best Daddio possible. I know that lotsa folks say that and I’m happy for them. I’m proud to call myself a ‘Daddy’s Girl’….always have been, always will be….even though 6 years ago my Daddy went to Heaven to live with the Lord and with his own parents.

I can hear a lawnmower outside. I hope that it’s not a father doing the work because this ought to be his special day! It reminds me of times that Daddy and my brother Alan would mow our 2-acre yard. I wasn’t allowed to use the riding lawnmower so I had to do the trimming with the clippers (and get the blisters!) just because of the ONE TIME that I actually did learn to use that mower, I accidentally lost control of the machine and shredded ALL of the bedsheets which were hanging on the clothesline! Oh well, my job took less time plus I got to plant and care for 16 rose bushes that I was very proud of!

I am the firstborn. The photo above is probably my very favorite because it shows the love in Daddy’s eyes so clearly. You see, in my father’s family there just weren’t many girl babies. They were few-and-far-between. Daddy had a bunch of brothers and just 1 sister that he barely remembered because he was 2 when she died. But she did have a son that’s a couple of years older than Daddy so he’s been kinda like another brother to him throughout his lifetime. My only girl cousin, at the time, was nearly 20 years older than me. My parents were sooooo sure that I was going to be a boy that they didn’t even have a name chosen for me! I got named after an actress that was on the cover of that particular week’s TV Guide, Jean Simmons!

Daddy and I didn’t always agree on things, he was stubborn and so am I. But now I see that my stubbornness mostly came from him. He was also wise, although at the time I didn’t usually think so. As time goes by, I find that somewhere along the way my own wisdom has increased with age. Surprisingly, it very much matches that of my father’s so long ago. He had also mellowed in his thinking by the time he was at the age that I am now, and I honestly do think that I am ‘still’ following in his footsteps. Come to think of it, so are my brothers. I reckon that’s what is meant by the word LEGACY! Rather large footprints to fill, but we each have also had our personal small adjustments to make along our own paths too. Daddy’s and Mama’s influences, however!

Whenever I have a problem or am worried about some issue, I often can search the old memory bank and come up with some scenario in the past that fits the situation and can recall how my Daddy handled it. That helps me now. Lotsa folks came to my father for help, whether it be for advice or for financial assistance, and he was willing to lend his guidance or whatever was needed for their particular need. I know that he got that compassion from HIS father, who was probably and quite possibly the KINDEST man that I ever knew. My Grandpa Harry had the largest funeral the town had ever had by that time, and folks regaled me with story after story after story of how he’d helped them during his lifetime even though he knew that he more-than-likely would never be repaid. I also learned that NOT ONE PERSON EVER heard my Grandfather gossip or say an unkind or bad word about anybody. To me, that’s amazing and I wish I could make that claim myself but I know that I fall short. Grandpa and Daddy were the very best male role models that a little girl could have had and I was extremely lucky that they were MINE! When I was young, it was fun to get to ride my bike down to Grandpa’s house to invite him for supper. He lived nearby and ate with us nearly every evening so Grandpa and Daddy were the 2 Heads-of-our-table! That’s the way it was at our house and I loved it!

So today, even though I am MISSING DADDY and Grandpa….I am feeling overwhelmingly blessed! I am fortunate that my Daddy loved me and that I was his first child. After all, I got to know him the longest! I just wish I could have some more hugs. Or better yet, to be able to climb up onto his lap like I did when I was a little girl and rest my head against his shoulder while Mama was in the kitchen and we were awaiting supper….oh my, I can almost smell those delicious aromas of Mama’s cooking now!

Silly Hats

Image

 

Hats! Hats! Hats! It seems that my family certainly enjoys hats. Myself, as I’m getting older, I find that I’m having fun with SILLY HATS. Some of them are downright corny! I have so many hats that my walk-in closet has a wall entirely of hooks and that still isn’t enough for my ballcaps. I also have cowboy hats, straw hats, sun hats, fedoras, berets, Mickey Mouse ears, etc., etc.

I’m not quite sure when I began wearing hats but I’d guess that the reason ‘why’ is because I was always fair-skinned and my folks were possibly attempting to protect as much of my face and neck from sunburn as the hat could. Being an outdoor kid in farm-country, my reason was probably fairly similiar to that of my parents: I didn’t want any more freckles! My brothers and I didn’t really have a large collection of hats long ago, we just grabbed whatever cap was hanging by the back door on our way out to do our chores or to play or whatever.

Times have indeed changed now! One of my brothers rarely wears hats but the older one is almost always seen with a ballcap. He was the sports jock of the family. Nowadays, his photos usually show him sporting a cap with either Chicago Bears or Cubs or Bulls or Indiana Pacers or Indianapolis Colts logos. My youngest son doesn’t like to wear hats unless it’s absolutely necessary but my daughter and my oldest son almost always are wearing a cap, just like their Mama….and their Uncle….and their Grandpa before!

As a college student in Honolulu, ballcaps once again made sense, especially to keep the sun out of my eyes while surfing and my thigh-length braid fit perfectly through the hole in the back while also helping to hold the cap onto my head. Besides, my family in Indiana had fun sending me ‘care packages from home’, and these often included caps proclaiming that I was a ‘Hoosier’ or from ‘Indiana’, as if I’d forget! A decade later when my three children were small and the U.S. Air Force moved us to Oahu, my fair-skinned kiddies wore lotsa hats plus sunscreen and sunglasses. I didn’t even realize the vast assortment of hats that we’d accumulated until it was time to move on to our next assignment (in Ft. Walton Beach, FL) and I started packing ALL THOSE HATS!

Ten years ago, my children and I moved to central Florida ‘just for the summer’ to become Castmembers at DisneyWorld; we’re still here! I don’t know if it has something to do with the quirkiness of the Guests that visit here from around the world, or if it’s the genuine cheerfulness of everyday life here in this area….but I’ve found that this area truly is a very HAPPY place and I really do like living around tourists and all of these asorted cultures! The older I get, the bolder and more eccentric I’m getting too. So now I have some hats that I would not have ever dreamed of wearing when I was younger! Such fun it is to put on these SILLY HATS and see what kind of reactions I can get outa my adult kids now!