Thursday, April 30, 2009

My First Swimsuit

I will never forget my first swim suit. It was so pretty. It was a one piece made of turquoise and white cotton.
Our swimming pool was an old horse trough by the pump. My mom would put water in it and let the sun warm it, then my brother and I could splash around in it. The trough was made of an old bathtub made of cast iron with little feet that had sunk into the ground. The bottom of the trough was rough from age and water and was rusty looking.
One day our telephone rang and my mother said, “Well I guess that would be ok”. She soon hung up and said, “Well Lu Anne this is going to be a fun day for you. You are going to a town pool to go swimming with some of the church kids“. Well that sounded fun, so my mom braided my hair so tight I could hardly shut my eyes. Then I put on my suit. It was too tight, the bottom was very very thin from being in the rough trough. Oh well, I thought, it was ok.
Well, the group picked me up and we drove about ten miles to a town called Holstein, Iowa that had a public swimming pool. My senses started kicking in big time. All I could smell was bleach like my mom put in the white clothes when she did laundry. It was almost overwhelming. The bottom of the pool was painted blue and it was very slippery. the water was really deep. It was four deep at the most shallow. All I could do was lower myself into the water and walk around the wall because I couldn’t swim. While I was walking around I noticed the other girl’s swim suits, they were fancy and fit them well. They made my suit look very bad. I never went swimming at a public pool again until I was a freshman in high school. I took swimming lessons then and I really wasn’t a very good swimmer, but I need credit for giving it a run for my money.
The picture of this bathtub does not give ours justice and I don't know if Keith got to go with me that afternoon or not. This may rouse some of his memories

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Noah's Ark In Missouri

Since the time I was a little girl I had definite likes and dislikes. The dislikes were mice, and wasps and bees. My mom would laugh and say they were just singing their songs and buzzing along and I should just ignore them; they were happy and I should be happy too. As far as that story went it was just a bunch of baloney.
One day I ventured out on the limb and asked my mom if God was really as smart as she thought He was. She held her tongue and asked me what I meant. I replied, “Well, if God was really smart, He would have not had Noah put two wasps and two bees and two mice on the ark.” Now I am sure if one of my kids had said that to me I probably would have burst out laughing, but Mother didn’t. She kept her calm way about her, but she did explain that everything was put on earth for a reason. I do remember when she told me that the bees give us honey, I told her that I could skip honey and eat jam or jelly. That time she did smile. I would have a feeling that when my mother went to bed at night and said her prayers she asked for strength to take care of the little girl that He had given to her to take care of for Him.
This afternoon when I took Maggiemae out for her walk, there were the bumblebees. I grumbled to myself, just once I would love for spring to come and not have the bumblebees come with it. As I walked along and smiled at Maggie as she investigated everything, I also saw the beautiful orioles and the buzzing hummingbirds. I have to get busy and refill the feeders. Fran put out the oranges for the orioles and reminded me that my beloved hummingbirds were out of food. I am really glad that God in all of His wisdom did the Noah’s Ark thing. It reached clear to Missouri! I have tried off and on all afternoon to take pictures of the hummingbirds, orioles, and the doves, all to no avail. So here you have a picture of an orange after an oriole just now looked at it and decided to eat it later. I even took this picture through the screen on the porch so I wouldn't scare them away. Oh well. The finches are pretty, aren’t they?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It Takes Two Squirt Bottles

Two pets doesn’t seem excessive for two adults to have in one house. It wouldn’t have seemed excessive just one short month ago.
As most of you know, Maggiemae came to live with us just a month ago. In that month she has learned some hard rules. She has learned, where she can and cannot sleep and what rooms she can go in and where she can’t. She also has learned who feeds her, who walks her and who plays with her. Those are two different people. She has learned that Fran spoils her and then gets upset with her when she acts spoiled. She learns that Lu gets up early with her in the morning and goes outside with her, Fran does not. In the time she has learned that we are not going to abandon her. I think that was the most difficult lesson for her to learn. Every time we left she thought it was for the last time, she would actually cry like a human when Fran put on his shirt. When we took her to get her spade, she just about lost her mind.
Maggie seemed to give us one thing at a time to deal with regarding her behavior. This week is barking. She has been barking at everything, everyone and nothing. She barks to hear herself bark and that is driving me nuts. So I looked on the computer and it said to get a spray bottle of water and spray her when she barked for nothing. So, Mertie, my cockatiel has a spray bottle that I put Listerine and water mixture in to kill mites. She loses feathers if I don’t spray her on a regular basis. So I emptied out the Listerine water and rinsed the bottle well and put in straight water. Maggie barked and I got out the spray bottle and aimed. Now I am here to tell you that that dog took off one hundred miles an hour. Her little bottom was swaying from side to side and she hid under Fran’s legs while he was sitting at the computer. She didn’t bark again. Then she barked again this afternoon, again I got out the bottle. She stopped barking and went to play with her toys. Well I got on the computer and told Melanie how smart I was, I told company we had and on and on. Well, tonight, Maggie just started barking. She had been pottied, fed, watered, played with etc. I showed her the spray bottle. Did I forget to tell you that I had not even had to spray her with water? Anyway I showed her the bottle. It did not deter her. She barked even louder and on and then I did it. I sprayed her with the water. She looked at me as if to say, “Did you expect me to quit barking because of that?” I got the giggles so bad, I almost lost some body functions. I ended up in a fetal position and Fran says, “Oh this is going to do a lot of good if you laugh when you point that bottle at her” “I am so disappointed. I had to put Maggie out on the porch. That’s what she wanted; just to be outside so she can watch the neighbors. I am not giving up on the spray bottle therapy, but I also know that Maggie is pretty darn smart, or at least she thinks she is. I think this house will be a two spray bottle house from now on.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Still In The Fifties (cont)

Like I said, we went to the sock hop Saturday night. I had a ball. I never saw so many poodle skirts and bobbi socks and little tennis shoes. The neck scarf was the feature accessory so when I got up to sing, they called me Mrs. Fifties. Everyone said, “Oh I remember putting my hair up on rollers, and I said, “Yes, but it didn’t take forty five minutes.” Everyone laughed.
Only one person remembered wearing a dog collar on her anklet, only one person had her hair in a big bouffant lacquered down. And one man I had to help who doesn’t smoke, roll an empty cigarette package in his shirt sleeve. Every one had fun and they danced more than usual. They loved the Puppy Love song. I think to tell the truth, they needed a slow song to dance to. The fifties had a lot of what we used to call “fast dances.”
They had a hula hoop contest, no winners in the sixty something age group. The youngsters could do it. No one in their sixties wanted to get in on the bubble blowing contest. False teeth do present a problem sometimes. And absolutely no one wanted to get in the limbo contest. One lady said she didn’t know if Medicare would pay for the ambulance in that situation.
As a side note, my hair hasn’t looked this good in a long time. Long live rollers!!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Still In The Fifties Tonight

Fran and I are going to a “sock hop” tonight at the club where we sing. What a big tado about nothing, right? Wrong. There is a lot of work singing the right songs and wearing the right earrings, and the right get up that we used to wear.
First of all I wanted to wear a full circle skirt like I used to wear and a couple of can cans. After I searched the internet under vintage and antique (I am beginning to hate those two words) I discovered that I needed some real cash to buy what the computer called “costumes.” So Fran drove me to several flea markets. I thought to myself after we had “visited” several of them that I had not realized how young the people are that work at flea markets and antique stores. When I asked for can cans one of them said, “Can what?”
So time was running short and I decided I would wear pedal pushers and anklets and rollers in my hair with a scarf tied around them. Fran did not have a hissy, but gently said, “Why don’t you just wear a scarf?” He is not one to draw attention to himself, so he is not getting into the fifties dress up thing. So, of course, I did not have any pedal pushers, but I did have some blue jean capris, and some red tennis shoes that I bought at Walmart for three dollars years ago that nobody else wanted. So I am sitting here in front of the computer, exhausted from rolling my hair up in rollers, and tying the ugliest scarf around them red and yellow). I have ludicrous earrings that hang down to my shoulders. I am very disappointed though because the collar on my only long white shirt is not stiff enough to stand up like we used to wear them. I am going to post a picture of me in 1959 and one in 2009. There is very little similarity and personally I think I look much better in 1959. Why wouldn’t I, I was only fifteen!!!
I am going to sing a Patsy Cline song tonight called, “He Called Me Baby” and a Paul Anka song, called, “Puppy Love.” My luck every one has chosen the same songs and so I will have to sing something else. One thing about it, I generally sing songs from the fifties anyway, so I am all set.
I don’t know about you, but I loved the fifties. The most horrible thing I can remember doing is four of us sharing a beer. Now that is down right felonious!

Friday, April 24, 2009

My Grandma's Slips

I suppose you are wondering why I write so much about my grandmother. I do because she was such an interesting character, she had much to do with shaping my life, but most of all she was the soft version of my mother. She was quiet spoken, had a sense of humor that showed mostly with smiles, had lots of hugs for little girls, and she loved me. She called my little hands paddies. She would show me her hands that were thin and showed the veins. Then she would point out that mine were soft and had dimples where eventually my knuckles would show when I got older and had no veins showing. I look at my hands now and think someday soon I will have hands that look like my grandma’s.
I have mentioned before that my grandma was frugal to say the least. She and grandpa had money, but she wanted to save it in case, “hard times” came again. She often referred to the “dole” and the “poor farm”. The dole of course, was welfare, and the poor farm was located on several acres of public land where poor people went to live. There was nothing worse in my grandmother’s eyes than to have to do that. She came from a wealthy family and that would just not do.
My grandmother had several church or Sunday dresses. She would make them look new by putting new collars on them sometimes, but for the most part if they got worn, she would cut them up, take the sleeves out, shorten them and wear them for slips underneath her house dresses that she wore for every day.
Well, my grandma was a sight sometimes because her house dresses were flowered and so were her homemade slips. As she got older, she would wear the homemade slips to church. My mother would chide my grandma and tell her to wear her good slips. Grandma would be quiet, and I felt sorry for her because mother talked to her like that. But I did notice that Grandma did as she pleased regardless of what mother said and continued to wear the homemade slips.
When my grandmother died my mother found brand new slips she had given her still in the gift boxes and tissue paper probably as a birthday or Christmas gifts. I was with mother when she was going through Grandma’s dresser drawers. She just shook her head, and put the slips in a bag for charity.
I loved my Grandma. I am sure she is in Heaven visiting the other angels and having a good time.
NOTE: This is not only the only picture, but the only time I have seen her laugh. She loved my dad more than anything in the world. He probably said something to her that made her laugh for the picture.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

So I Guess I Am A Senior

Today I was thinking about my hometown. I loved it there. Cherokee was about five or six thousand people I guess. Most people knew me or my parents or my grandparents. My brother and sister and I kind of had to watch our p’s and q’s however, just because of that.
When I was thinking about the “old days” I kind of roamed the streets in my mind. I was telling you about the Soda Shoppe the other day. There were actually three stores that had soda fountains, the other two were drug stores, one was Mallory’s which had the best hard ice cream and sugar cones, and the other one was a drug store too. Someone help me I know it started with an M.
I can remember only one shoe store, Delaplane’s. There were clothing stores that sold shoes, but they were really expensive. Mother always bought us good shoes. She thought it was important that our feet were kept in good health like the rest of our body. Delaplane’s had something really cool. It was called a fluoroscope. The person that waited on us measured our feet and took an educated guess by the tool she or he used to measure our feet. Then we got to put on our new shoes, both feet. The fluoroscope stood against the wall just waiting for young customers to show us our bones. Inside our shoes! I still can feel that thrill I used to get just looking at the bones in my feet.
I looked up the fluoroscope today. It was invented in 1924 and discontinued in the 1970’s. The reason it was discontinued was really not because of the x-ray radiation, but because what the machine showed was bones, not soft tissue. The clerk still had to feel with his/her fingers to see if the shoes were a good fit. The fluoroscope was a fifties gimmick. As I read along, there was an article that said, “If you are a senior, you will remember the fluoroscope. Well that’s all I have to say about that. Comments are welcome on this post. I would really like to know what the drug store was called that was on the corner kitty corner from the Soda Shoppe.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sibling Rivalry

When people bring a new baby home, they expect some problems from the short people that were there first. So sometimes grandparents come laden with gifts not only for the new baby, but for the brother or sister or both.
Fran and I have no children at home or so we thought. As you know from reading the posts we have a new puppy, Maggiemae. One day when we were outside, Maggie lunged at Alex, the sheltie and he growled and bared his teeth. I thought he was going to make Maggiemae his lunch. I also thought good for him. Maggie needed to learn that big brother is about one hundred times bigger than she is and she should learn her place.
Day before yesterday Alex ran away from home; and he stayed gone. He was so jealous of Maggie that he wouldn’t even look at us when Fran’s sister-in-law found him and brought him home. He had gone mushroom hunting with them because we had no time for him. He figured we had Maggiemae and on and on. His face speaks volumes.
I tried and tried to make up to him and told him how much I missed him. He looked at me just a little bit and ambled down the hill so he couldn’t see me.
About an hour later I called Alex. He did come to me this time and laid his head on my leg like normal and “talked” to me. He always talks to me, that’s what made me feel so bad.
Alex has had a really bad year; his mom, Princess got run over and killed, and now a new pup. Some things are just too much for a fella to handle.
I may add I gave Alex a great big new bone and I got no credit whatsoever for that, just a doleful look that said, “This doesn’t cut it lady.”

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Surprise Birthday Party

When I was twenty three, I was already concerned about other people and wanted them to be happy. My grandmother taught me at an early age that we are put on this earth to help others. She was a great example and role model for me. In fact her favorite hymn and one of mine is titled, “Others.” It is a very very old hymn that you don’t hear very often, but the lyrics give you a complete guide to live your life by.
I worked in an office in Sioux Falls and had made a friend there whose name was Meredith. One day she told me that her boyfriend knew this guy whose birthday was coming up and he wanted to throw him a surprise birthday party. She wanted to know if I would have the party in my apartment. Of course, I said, “sure.” I bought gifts, made a cake, had soft drinks and snacks for this guy I had never laid eyes on. I had never met Meredith’s boyfriend either. All I knew was that they were “nice” guys according to her.
Meredith told me what she had bought for the party and what time everybody would be there. The guys arrived and that’s all that came. No one else was invited. It was a blind date!
This guy ended up being my husband a few months later, and the father of my children.
I often think of that night. That birthday guy could have been an axe murderer for all I knew. We were married for twenty one years and for the most part we had lots of fun together. Wally was a wonderful man who enjoyed life, and his family. He loved to fish and to teach his children how to fish. The pictures that you see are of a proud daddy and his youngest son, Mike, with a stringer of fish and a really big catfish. I can remember Wally telling me he liked to take Melanie fishing because she could sit in the boat for hours and didn’t care if the fish bit or not, loved to take Mike to the dam in Flandreau where the catfish bit, and liked to take Joe to the holes where the fish bit really fast because Joe didn’t have the patience to wait. When we had a cabin at the lake, Wally was in his dream heaven, he could fish for our breakfast, and have fishing contests with my sister, Rosie. That was all well and good for those people, I had to cook all those fish. They were really good. Long live blind dates they sometimes end up to be fond memories.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Home Town Hot Spots

I think everyone has a favorite spot that you used to hang out at. My brother used to think he was a pool shark, which from tales told he ended up being. I don’t know if Mother ever knew he hung out at the pool hall or not.
Joan and I and a lot of our friends hung out at the Soda Shoppe. If memory serves me right, I think my mom told me that it used to be called the Chocolate Shoppe. They had a ice cream fountain and booths that we sat and laughed and gossiped and had French fries with our cokes. Joan always put peanuts in her bottle of Coke. That never caught on with me. Personally my favorites were ice cream sodas. They were scoops of ice cream with the same flavor of syrup. So if you ordered a chocolate ice cream soda, you got chocolate ice cream with chocolate syrup with seltzer water. Another one of my favorites were phosphates. A phosphate was just flavored water, but they were very pretty. I used to order a cherry phosphate, it was just as good as it was pretty with lots of bubbles.
Years ago, people used to frequent the soda shoppes for energy. Folks just knew that they felt more energized after they had had a soda so they frequented the soda shops for more. The drinks were “pepped” up with cocaine and caffeine. So to all my children, grand children, great grandchildren, your Grandma Lu like cocaine in her drinks! I do know this, Mom would tell my grandpa not to give me cokes. He liked his small bottles of cokes, and he would share with me occasionally. The smile he gave me when he did that was rare, and it was not a big one, but it was there.
When I heard that the Soda Shoppe was gone, it gave me an odd feeling in the pit of my stomach. How can I go home without the Soda Shoppe?
There is another spot or two that I will write about in future posts. Thank goodness for memories.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Marie's Memories


I think it is interesting that I have been writing another blog and have not told my readers of Lu’s Place about it. I thought it was necessary to permanently save my mother-in-law’s stories and pictures for her family.
I told my husband, Fran, she is a museum in herself of city life and what it was like during the same time I have been telling you about the country side of my mother and her stories.
Marie has left an extensive legacy just like my mother except it was totally opposite of mom’s. Some of my close friends know about this blog and my daughter is following it. Already some of Marie’s grandchildren are reading it and looking at the pictures. One of her grandchildren was the first one to sign up to be a follower. I hope you enjoy the stories and the change in flavor of the lives my mother and mother-in-law lived.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

True Confessions

My mother had a little “thing” is what she would call it. Interesting my sister would have called it the same thing. I think some of the things that we end up doing or saying are definitely learned, but we can choose what we want to do with what we have learned whether it be in our home or just in our environment as a whole.
Mom’s little “thing” was a magazine called “True Confessions” or “True Story”. She loved them both. The first time I realized that mom loved these magazines, I found one under her pillow when she asked me to straighten her bed. That lends my brain to think my mother didn’t want me to see the magazine!
I watched to see if Mom would ever read this little magazine when I was around; she did not. Well, anyone that knows me, a mystery is something I love. I was not going to leave this alone.
One day mom went out to the garden and I went to see if there was a magazine under her pillow, sure enough there was. Of course, I started reading it immediately. I was so disappointed. It was a mushy love story book. I put it back under her pillow. It held no interest for me at all. Interesting I thought that that magazine no longer was published, but here it is on the news stand evidently.
When I was a grown up all I ever saw mom read were good books like Readers Digest Condensed novels both fiction and nonfiction, the Bible, autobiographies and biographies etc. She always said she loved to read magazines too, because the articles were fast reading when she was busy. “Yes, Mother, I see that.” We all have our little “thing.”

Flour and Feed Sack Dresses

My new dresses were always so pretty. My mother made my dresses out of feed sacks and flour sacks.
Mother baked rolls, bread, cakes, and cookies for the grocery store in town so she bought flour by the hundred pound sacks. She also raised four hundred chickens in the spring so she bought a lot of chicken feed. In those days the feed came in pretty prints, stripes, flowers, etc. Most ladies in those days trimmed, washed, and set the color in the material and used it for making clothing.
It sometimes was frustrating for my mother to have to wait to get more flour when she could afford it in order to get more sacks. It was always a gamble to see if she could get flour in a sack that matched what she already had.
We had a room in the upstairs of our house called the “spare room”. In this room were boxes and boxes of material. Mother used this left over material to make quilts. My dad used to say, “ I just don’t understand why you cut it up just to sew it back together again.” Then he would grin at her.
The dresses that she made me were pretty, however they sometimes didn’t hold their shape very well. My mother would make me stand on a dining room chair to hem my skirts. It seemed like it took for ever. My legs would get itchy and it sometimes made me feel like I was going to fall over. Mother would remind me that my skirt had to hang right, so therefore, I had to stand still while she pinned the hem. I didn’t see why all the fuss.
When I was eleven years old my mother bought me a dress from Penny’s for my birthday. It was so soft. I noticed it immediately. That was the big difference between feed sack material and a “store-bought” dress.
When I was in about fifth grade, I was still wearing flour sack dresses because I can remember a beautiful suit that Mom made me that was two pieces. The dress piece said Gold Medal on the bodice and the skirt was the pretty print. Mom made a jacket that matched the skirt. It buttoned down the front. That is the outfit I wore to town on May first for a May Day festival. We all grabbed a ribbon and wove in and out of each other’s ribbons around the May Pole. Just for fun I looked for seed and flour sack material on the computer. It goes for high prices on E-Bay. My mother would just laugh and besides that, seldom can you buy anything but quilt blocks. The picture above is only big enough for about two quilt blocks.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Mouse

There he was. He was sitting on his little bottom with his paws folded in front of him staring at the elderly people having coffee in the Activity room.
I was sitting at my new desk, going through the drawers looking to see what the previous director had left for me to use to run this program. As I watched, the residents threw little tidbits of their snack to the mouse and he gobbled it up and sat back on his bottom begging for more.
You have to understand that there are several things I hate in this world, bugs, snakes, people that lie, and the list goes on, but mice and roaches head the list.
I think my face showed the surprise and hatred for this situation because the residents started to smile and chuckle. They were used to feeding this mouse on a daily basis. I jumped up and started to run to the Administrator of this building; the lady that convinced me to change jobs. The lady that said that this facility needed me. The lady that had been my friend for years.
I told Cheryl about the mouse and the impossible working conditions. She calmly said that she would have it taken care of and that every thing would be ok.
I returned to the activity room with a heavy heart. “What had I done?” I had moved to Missouri five years before and had helped clean up a facility to the point that it aced the state surveys. I knew that the residents were clean, well taken care of, and were kept busy with activities that they enjoyed.
But I didn’t know if this facility could be helped. I quietly resigned myself to just pretend everything was ok and do one day at a time, this facility would be a good clean facility some day too.
I continued my search through my desk and determined that I needed a lot of supplies if I was going to have a good program for the residents.
The activity room had cupboards and drawers that hung and covered one whole wall of the room. I was sure that they contained everything that I needed. I opened up the first cupboard drawer and roaches scampered out when the light hit the contents of the drawer. I screamed bloody murder. I again went running to the Administrator. When I approached her, she had tears in her eyes and told me she had just been shown grass growing in the shower by the new Director of Nurses that she had convinced to come to the facility. There is a word to describe a situation like that one, but it is not printable.
Other things happened that day that in comparison were trivial, but added up to a big mistake for my career. I had come from a five star facility in South Dakota five years ago. I was used to cleanliness, compassion, and happy residents. I was miserable.
When I went to my new little apartment that night, I told my husband what had happened that day. He had transferred to that facility too as the head of the Maintenance Department. He had a completely different attitude. He said the facility was such a mess that it was job security for him for years. He laughed and patted me and assured me that I could rectify the situation. He would help me get it cleaned up. It never measured up to my expectations.
I had my mother transferred there so I could oversee her care, and within a month or two transferred her out along with me.
There are times that beating your head against a brick wall will eventually give you nothing but a headache. I transferred to another facility that had an Administrator and staff that did care about their building and residents.
The mouse and I parted company. He was a happy rodent, and I was happy to be gone.

Monday, April 13, 2009

My Dad

I didn’t think it was possible to love someone more than I loved my dad until I had children.
Dad was short and round. He was soft spoken and for the most part very even tempered.
Dad left the discipline problems for his children to my mother to solve. After we were grown Mother made mention of that several times. Her direct quote was, “he always made me the heavy.” Dad never spanked me and only yelled at me once, when the “Cowboy” came to sing to me outside my bedroom window.
Dad had only one sibling, a brother, my uncle Roy. Dad’s parents died at a very young age; strokes and heart attacks come to mind. The problem that ran in dad’s family, had a strong gene factory. My brother, Keith, and I have the same problems. Thank goodness for research and statins.
My dad thought education was the answer to all the problems of life. He told me years and years ago that if you didn’t learn at least one new thing every day, that you had wasted a day. You have no idea how that has haunted me. I to this day, go to bed at night and “rerun” my day to see if I learned something new. I almost always do, but once in a great while I have to average out the days, or look up a word in the dictionary that my dad had by his side whenever he read. I cannot remember my dad sitting on the couch without his dictionary. One of the covers is now part of a cardboard box. Dad did that cover just before he died.
My dad was raised without religion for the most part. When my sister, Juanita, was killed he joined the church. He said that he needed to see his daughter again and joining the church and believing in God was the only waythat was going to happen.
My dad had a latent sense of humor. You seldom saw him belly laugh, but I made it my duty to make my dad laugh. One day I told a joke when I came home for lunch and made him choke something fierce. I never did that again. I wanted him to laugh, but not choke on his food.
My dad died thirty one years ago this June. I will always remember him in my mind, the way he looked in this picture. This picture was taken in June of 1977. He would think it was pretty cool to be on the internet. He could start his genealogy search he loved! I’ll tell you a secret about my daddy, he loved this picture and had several copies made of it for all of us.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Dinner

I am almost sixty five years old and have never had a complete flop for a holiday meal. That’s not saying that some side dishes have not had a few problems, but not the complete meal.
This year Fran’s brother’s wife died shortly before Thanksgiving, so we were on the road for Thanksgiving and had a hamburger. Christmas tradition at my house was started by my best friend’s mom who wanted baked potato soup and sandwiches and I added chili for those who don’t like potato soup. Are you starting to get the point? I did not get my turkey for the holidays this year, so I decided that instead of the traditional ham we were going to have turkey and dressing and all the fixings. We have ham frequently because Fran loves it. Anyway…..
Friday morning I took a small turkey out of my freezer to start defrosting. There was only going to be four of us so there was no need for a large bird. At the end of the day I put it in the refrigerator to finish the defrost. Fran’s refrigerator is older and has a little quirk. It freezes on the bottom shelf; that is where I put the turkey.
I was sick all day on Saturday, and to tell the truth forgot all about the turkey. I struggled to make a pie which was a disaster although it did taste really good. It just looked like a three year old made it. My mother would have been proud. She may have said something like, “Oh I have never seen a patchwork quilt crust before, did you get that out of Better Crocker?”
I find myself rambling, (which has started after I turned sixty,) I got myself some medical help and I started feeling much better. About eight thirty we went out to sing for a couple of hours. On the way home from the club I told Fran he needed to get the turkey out so I could see what size roaster I needed. He did that, the turkey had completely refroze itself. It was hard as a brick. The turkey was Plan A. Plan B was a twelve pound ham which was no help and Plan C would have been hamburgers which I was sure my ninety five year old mother-in-law would not have understood.
I broke every rule in the book, I put that frozen turkey in the oven at 170 degrees. I told Fran hopefully by the time I got up it would be thawed out enough to get the innards out of it. When I woke up at six thirty I did not smell the bird. I had forgotten to turn the oven on.
I did not have a clue what to do. I took the foil off the bird and low and behold the turkey had completely thawed out. I drained a lot of the water out of it seasoned it and turned it on. It was the most delicious turkey I have ever served in all my Thanksgiving dinners. It was juicy and flavorful. Be that as it may, I will do the turkey the traditional way next Thanksgiving even though it will not be near as exciting. Oh, and don’t worry I know that today was Easter.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter

Happy Easter, Every one. I love you all. Wish you could be here to cook my Easter dinner for me.

Progress My Foot!!!

I ordered a “newspaper” for my friend for her sixty fifth birthday. She loves this newspaper, but had no access to it since she retired. When I ordered it I thought about ordering me a subscription too, but I thought “no” I don’t need it.
My mother always got this newspaper. She ordered patterns out of it, she copied or cut recipes out of it, and I heard her discuss news articles with my dad and other ladies that was in this newspaper. It also had stories in it. The picture here is of a Grit magazine I believe in 1982
Many people ordered this publication because it was not full of blood and gore and dismal headlines like the daily newspapers were.
My friend came to visit today and gave me her first copy of her “Newspaper”. It was a magazine. I said, “What’s this?” Of course, it was obvious. I said, “Well, it looks like a magazine.” After she left, I went through it page, by page, no patterns for sewing or crocheting, or knitting. I didn’t see any recipes, however she did say she cut out two; there were no current events at all. Blood, gore, and war can be left out of little newspapers, but everything was left out but features In my opinion, that’s not progress.
Keith, featured in this magazine was pie plant, anybody know what that is? Please post your comments.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Calcimine Paint

This horrible chalk like paint was used before and during the 1930’s. I know all about calcimine paint, because I had first hand experience which was not pleasant.
In the ‘30’s they sold this paint which was not paint; it was powder in a little box. You put it in a bucket, mixed water with it and instantly you had a type of paint that would cover wet plaster. In those days they finished walls and insulated with plaster. It took a long time for it to “cure”. For the impatient and the poor, they spent ten cents for a box of calcimine and “painted their ceilings and walls.”
Well forty years later, the calcimine was still partially on the walls. It would peel in spots, but mostly stick.
Wally and I bought a house in Flandreau, South Dakota for $3500.00. To say it needed a lot of work was an understatement. It needed an army of workers. We had an army of my husband’s brothers and their wives, so we started to work.
The people that had lived there before, were American Indians. They had made their living by making pipes and other souvenirs out of pipestone rock. These things were carved and ground in the house.
When we started the walls were pink which reflected the dust from the pipestone which was pink.
I can remember my sister-in-law with a bucket of water and a rag scrubbing the dining room wall. Her rag of course, was almost red with pipestone dust.
When all the walls were scrubbed we started to paint. There was a really big problem. The roller that was full of paint remained full of paint. I applied it, and it came right back and did not stick to the walls. I put the roller in the paint again. The same thing happened.
I found Wally and told him what had happened. He did not look happy, but had a sick little grin on his face. He said, “I think it is calcimine”. Well I said “What in the world is that?’ He told me all about the powdered chalk like paint they had used during the depression.
Oh what a mess we had. We scrubbed, we sanded, and in some rooms we even had to panel over the stuff because it would not come off.
I remember the upstairs bathroom. I did not want to go through all that work. I just painted and painted until I had it covered. Little did I know that eventually it would let loose and peel off into little petals of paint and gently fall to the floor.
Calcimine was a poor man’s answer to a quick paint job or a cover that made the walls look clean for spring house cleaning.
Unlike some people, calcimine has left a legacy that many people have inherited.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Visiting Our Parents' Special Friends

My memory fades as I try to remember the special friends that my mother and father had in those days. I can remember visiting them only once or twice. I remember the lady was quiet and very soft spoken, but the man was loud and swore something fierce.
One Sunday afternoon we went to visit them. I remember they lived out in the country. The lady got ice cream and cookies for us and coffee for the grown-ups. Now I remember, the man’s name, it was Percy.
As was the norm, the children were sent to the parlor trying desperately not to spill the ice cream on my dress or the floor. While I was eating, I listened to the grown-ups visit.
I had never heard such language in my life. He swore so much, he divided words with swear words. I listened and listened and then the unheard of thing happened. I started to giggle, and then laugh really hard. The language that this man used was so profane that it was funny. I had only heard those words at church and there it was really serious.
My laughing embarrassed his wife, my mother and got me admonished for my behavior. I thought, “My behavior, If I had talked like that I would have been severely punished.” I was talked to all the way home that day. However, I always wanted to go back again to listen to that man talk.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Inherited Mom Quotes

When I was a little girl I heard the same stuff over and over. I can remember thinking, “Where is she getting all this stuff she threatens me with?”
Now that I’m old I know. Baby girls have to have some kind of computer chip planted in their heads because every mom, including me says the same things to their kids. You know kids are not stupid. After a length of time they figure you out. When a mom says, “….and I’m not going to tell you again.” the kid thinks, “good I won’t have to listen to that anymore.”
Dad’s also have some kind of an implant. My kids’ dad had one that I had to be careful not to laugh when he said it. “I’m never taking you kids anywhere again. From now on you stay home when mom and I go somewhere.” Isn’t that a good one? I can just see him leave a three and five year old home alone.
I find myself saying the same things to my thirty year old that I did to my older kids when they were little. “Make sure you wear a heavy coat so you don’t catch cold.” His remark is, Yaaaaahs Mother.” See the difference between my mother and me is that she enforced it. Snow pants were the thing for little girls to wear in the winter in Iowa. That is because little girls wore dresses to school no matter what the weather was like. Snow pants were the vain of my existence. They had cuffs on the bottom so you had to take your boots off, then your shoes, then you had to unzip them, then last but not least they had suspenders to keep them up under your coat. The suspender clip always came all the way off. Then it was a challenge to get the clip back on the suspender. And on and on it went. When I got older it made no difference. Snow pants, however, I got smarter. They came off in the bus and carried into school. I then put them back on in the bus just before I got home. That was a hassle, but at least I didn’t look like a “goon”. I can remember that was a word I loved to use that my mother just hated. It was so fun to irritate her. I think that particular trait is in the genes. My kids sure loved to irritate me.
I can remember coming home from work one night exhausted. Melanie was playing the piano. I asked her to quit so I could relax and watch television. She continued to play. I asked her again with a raised voice. She played a few more notes. I told her that if she played one more note she was in big trouble. You guessed it. Plunk came the one note. Then the chase was on. She was about fourteen and knew better.
The best quote that mothers use is: “if all the kids jump off the cliff do you expect me to let you jump too?” Now that quote came from my mother in the 1960’s. I will bet that it is over one hundred years old and still going strong. All I wanted to do is go to the drive-in theater with a bunch of kids on buck night. As I look back, it probably wasn’t such a good idea but I finally did talk her into it and it was on Wednesday night, no less.
One that I was famous for was answering one of my children’s questions with, “Uhm Hm” Now that could have been no or yes. You could agree to anything. You don’t have a clue especially when you are reading a good book. My mother did the same thing.
I think the quote that my kids hated the worst when they were little was, “You can go shopping with me, but you can’t buy anything.” I know one time my oldest son said, “Well just write a “sheck”. I think he was about four and had no idea that I needed money in the bank to write a “sheck”.
There are many “mom quotes” I still hear myself say to my grown children. They are embedded in my family to stay generation after generation because I loaned them out to my children to carry on for me.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Why Do We Always Have To Have.....

I don’t think Mother was any different than any other mother. Mothers enjoy telling stories that involve their children. Mothers especially enjoy telling those stories to their children.
When I was growing up as a teenager, our household was quite routine oriented. Mom’s parents lived with us, mom and dad both worked, Keith and I both went to school. Sounds pretty boring, doesn’t it; well it was not.
Mom hired her cousin to care for her parents while she worked at the Mental Health Institute as a psychiatric aide.
If my memory serves me right, dad always ate All Bran cereal. He often poured hot water on it to soften it. I think Mom worked from 2:30 to 11:00P.M. so she was home when Dad left for work and when Keith and I left for school. No, I don’t remember what Keith and I ate for breakfast, probably something traditional like cereal or toast. I don’t remember her frying eggs and bacon. Anyway, evidently Keith thought that life was really boring in the mornings and asked Mom, “why do we always have to have cereal in the morning.” Mom just looked at him and said, “Well we don’t, what would you rather have?” Well that kind of caught Keith off guard and said, “Well, I would like to have tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.” Mom fixed what he wanted. I am sure about the soup, not for sure about the sandwiches. Keith ate his “new” breakfast and never asked for it again.
Mother told that story over and over again. This story happened after Keith had asked Mom why we always had to have potatoes for supper. She told him because that’s what Dad wanted, therefore, that’s what would be on the table. That question was never asked again, either.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Where's My Socks?

This winter Mike stayed with us. He lives over twenty miles away and the price of gas was four dollars a gallon. His furnace quit and a multitude of problems. I cooked for him, did his laundry, and I hate to admit it I cleaned his room. Because of another person in the house, I had lots to do. I did laundry several times a week, the dishwasher was started every day, and on it goes.
This spring Mike moved back home. There is little laundry to do, not very much cooking, and few dishes.
This morning Fran asked, “Where’s my socks?”
I thought about making up a story, but the truth is, The Truth. Fran and I joined a gym and got a puppy. Those two activities are lots more fun than laundry and more time consuming than doing Mike’s laundry and cleaning.
Sorry Fran, you may have to go back to bachelor days and do your own laundry and putting away; Maggiemae and I are busy.

Making Plum Jelly

When I was nine years old I was watching my mother can vegetables. I asked my mother if I could help. She said it was too dangerous because she was using a pressure cooker. I asked if there was anything I could can that didn’t need a pressure cooker. She said yes, jelly did not need to be canned in a pressure cooker. She was busy and went to her work and didn’t tell me anything else. I had watched her go to the garden and pick vegetables, put them in jars, add water and put them in the canner for awhile then they were done. I figured I could make jelly pretty simple too.
I got a big dishpan and went to the timber and picked a lot of plums. A whole big bunch of plums. I ate some and they were so good, I just knew that they would make yummy jelly.
I brought the plums to my mother. She had a look on her face like she would like to strangle me. She was so busy. But she said, ‘Ok, you have to do what I tell you, or you can’t make jelly” I agreed. First you have to wash all the plums and check for bugs and bad spots. I knew there were no bugs, because I hated bugs. I did what she asked. Then she said I had to take a knife and take all the pits out of them. That took a really long time because she wouldn’t let me use a sharp knife. Then the plums had to be put on the stove and cooked with some water on a slow heat until the skins became loose from the fruit. She did that for me. I had to stay in the kitchen though and watch that they didn’t scorch. Once I started this, she wouldn’t let me go play and have her finish the project.
Then the cooked plums had to be put through a sieve. The colander had a heavy wooden thing that I had to use to force the cooked plums through the holes. That was so much work, I didn’t think I was ever going to get through. My mother talked me through it, but she did none of the work. Then she gave me cheesecloth to put in the colander to strain any little bit of pulp from the liquid. She said the liquid had to be so clear you could see through it. I strained and strained and finally she gave the ok to start making jelly.
Mother measured the amount of liquid and the amount of sugar that it needed, then the cooking process was started all over again for the juice.
While the juice was cooking she informed me that I had to wash pint canning jars. When I was done washing and rinsing them in really hot water, then she showed me how to put the rings and lids in pans to cook so that when the jelly was done I could put it in the jars and put the lids and rings on to seal them.
When I was done washing jars, mother said “You had better pay attention, this jelly is starting to simmer and we don’t want it to scorch or get too thick.” She showed me how to use a cup with cold water in it and to put a silver spoon in the hot jelly to see if it was coating the spoon. If it coated the spoon I could drop some of the jelly in the cold water to test it to see if it was just right. When that was done then she showed me how to use the funnel to pour the hot jelly into the jars, and how to clean the jars so they would seal.
I was done making jelly just as she was finishing up supper. I was exhausted. I had made about fifty pints of plum jelly. It was delicious, however, I never asked to do that again, even though my dad praised me for the hard work.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Out Of The Box: Part 2

Our house used to be so quiet it was on the verge of boring. Fran and I entertained ourselves by watching television, singing, and playing computer games. I enjoyed reading and talking on the telephone, but that was about it. Then one day, Miss Maggiemae came wagging her tail joyfully into our lives and everything changed. I no longer sit in my chair and fall asleep. I no longer take a nap on the couch. The pain of pounds per inch per paw (ppipp) is horrible. I am completely out of my comfort level because I have to watch the news in the living room. Maggiemae doesn’t like me to sit at the kitchen table. Those of you that knew me as a young mother are probably going “What?!!!” I cannot believe how spoiled this little waif is becoming and in such a short length of time.
Let’s talk about the change in Fran. This morning he was holding Maggiemae in his lap while he watched the news at the kitchen table. I was typing this and he started to laugh and I asked him what was so funny. He said, “She just pulled your afghan off your chair. Look at her, isn’t she cute?”
Maggie is not house trained, I am. I take her outside every two hours however, Maggiemae cries and whines to go out all the time. I have to take her in case she really has to go. She wants to play with a little limb she has found out there and with Alex, Fran’s sheltie. Thinking outside the box for these old people is exhausting, but it is definitely not boring. I can remember when the “box” was actually quite comfortable.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

We Actually Had Tin Cans

When I was growing up, we actually had tin cans. I don’t remember plastic being the majority of anything to tell the truth. We didn’t have ice cream buckets that were made of plastic, we made the ice cream ourselves. Sodas, or pop as we called it in Iowa were always in glass bottles and so was ketchup and mustard.
The A&W served their root beer in glass mugs. The other day I posted an article of Mom baking for the store in Cherokee. On the shelf behind her, was a can or two of pork and beans. I am sure they were in a tin can or at least a tin coated steel can. I can remember if my brother and I had string and two clean tin cans we could make a wonderful telephone (we thought). Now days most of our cans are aluminum. I think the majority of people now recycle those. I am not sure if it is to protect our earth, or to get some money back from our original purchase.
The other day at the gym, I needed to rest, so I picked up a magazine. It gives you an idea of the age group at my gym, when the stack of magazines on the table, was “Reminisce.” As I was flipping pages, I found a box of Linit Starch and recognized almost everything in the pictures they were showing, right down to an article about aprons similar to the one I wrote the other day. I cannot imagine enjoying the “Reminisce” magazine. I used to read this to my residents in the nursing home.
The other day Fran and I were going to go to the grocery store after going to the gym. I said, “Don’t forget the minced ham.”. He’s only one year younger than I am. He said, “What’s that?” That one little question, inspired a half hour conversation between the two of us. He laughed and laughed, whether he really did know what minced ham was, or that he was able to get my dander up, I will never know. It’s kind of like a tin can, is it real or does it just look like the real thing.
Those of you that read this blog, I would love to have you post a comment telling me that you remember minced ham; that would make me feel so much better.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Think Out Of The Box

Think out of the box, over the top, whatever, all those current euphemisms are finally becoming useful to me in the last day or two. Other things are happening to me in the last day or two also. These are thoughts like, “what did I used to do when the kids were babies?” I am not babysitting for my grandchildren, my husband and I are proud adoptive parents of a mixed ancestry, tiny, little short almost person, that only occasionally barks.
Her name is Maggie Mae. When you live in the Ozarks, people who have middle names, tend to attach the middle name to the first name to make it one word. So our little one’s name is pronounced Maggiemae.
Maggiemae is for the most part very quiet and sleeps all the time. She did not like her kennel, but when I turned the night light out, she went right to sleep. When Alex, Fran’s sheltie started barking with the neighbor’s dog, she thought she would put her two cent’s worth in. I made dire threats to Alex; that even seemed to work.
Maggiemae seems to know how to use the outside bathroom, however, Mama Lizotte is not used to going outside every two hours.
Maggiemae was supposed to be a lap dog for me, to keep me company when Fran goes fishing etc. Maggie acts like Fran is her long lost friend and will hardly let Fran out of her sight. He put his shirt on this morning to go to the gym and Maggie had a fit. That’s where the “whatever” comes from. Yes, I am a bit jealous.
I needed to give her some liquid medicine this morning she would have nothing to do with it. Fran tried to help me and that didn’t work either. So I took a small spoon of ice cream and let it melt and stirred her medicine in it and she just lapped it right up. It worked with the kids, why not the dog.
I think Maggiemae, at one time was loved, but her owners were just not able to care for her the way she should be. Right now she is “naked” because the groomer had to shear her to the skin because of the matting. To make up for the lack of fur, Maggiemae has a ice cream bucket full of toys that she and Fran play with.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Drought

The crops and the big vegetable garden were burning in the fields. It was so hot it was indescribable. The well was getting low on water, so our baths were once a week, and we all used the same water. Mother used the dishwater to coax some of her vegetables to grow. The garden helped us to survive the winter. I know this sounds like a Laura Ingall’s Wilder book, but the story is true. I was a little girl and was used to not having air conditioning, but I can remember complaining to my mother that it was so hot I couldn’t sleep. She said nothing, but made my brother and I a pallet on the floor by the parlor screen door in case a breath of air came in. It had a south exposure so I guess it was possible. Somehow we managed to get through it, but if I had been grown up and in tune with my parents’ facial expressions I am sure I would have seen worry.
One day black clouds came over the trees that surrounded our house, the wind picked up and I thought this is even worse with having hot air blowing. Then the rain started to come with great big drops of water. Then it started to pour. It rained so hard and the ground was so hard, that it did not absorb into the ground it ran away from the house. It did not rain a short time it rained hard and long. My mother, completely out of character was laughing and said, “Get your clothes off, you’re going to have your first shower.” I had no clue, but mama said. Then she put us underneath the eave spout on the porch with a bar of soap. The water was coming out of the pipe in torrents. It was so cold I was shivering, but it was so much fun. I stayed in the water until it quit. That’s all I remember of the drought, I don’t know if we lost crops, or if the garden failed. I just know that I had fun after the drought.
I was talking to my cousin, Bonnie, about the drought some time ago. She said that my parents had to have some water hauled in. I am sure that was expensive if it had to be on a long term basis.