Monday, December 1, 2014


She is the keeper of Sheep. She feeds, cares for, cleans, sleeps with Sheep. She has since Sheep entered her life.

"Sheep" is her best friend. She is a sweet, stuffed animal that I gave to my granddaughter, Abigail, at her time of birth.  Sheep has a small blue cross embroidered over her heart.....and Abigail tells me that means that Jesus lives in Sheep's heart.

Sheep must feel VERY loved. Once, when she got an injury, she spent months wearing the same bandaid on her arm, while Abigail gave her time to heal.   She travels everywhere possible with Abigail, and has for nine years.  She has gone to New York, to Florida, to Massachusetts, and back.  She enjoys those vacations, apparently, but she's actually opted out on a few of the activities, as she's propped herself up on the back of the couch, crosses one leg over the other, and with her hands behind her head, she's said, "Ahhhh....this is the life."   She has quite a personality, too.  She tells Abigail when it's time for another birthday, and tends to have three (or so) birthday parties a year! Sheep invites all the other animals to join, as well as all family members present!

I am quite amused at the enjoyment Sheep brings to her caregiver.  I never dreamed that she would be as popular for as long as she has's been 9 years now. I sometimes wonder whether Sheep will someday walk the aisle with Abigail as she goes to meet her intended!  I'm quite sure that we've got some time to wait for THAT occurence, and as we wait, we'll continue to look forward to those little adventures that Sheep brings forth!
                                 Sheep and Abigail, wearing lambs ears....about 2009

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Photographs and Memories....

Jim Croce  sang that song which is playing through my mind right now.  Those two words inspired this entry today.

I've been a peruser/user  of Facebook for about four years now, I think. Mostly it has been a very pleasant experience, but for here and there some fierce words from someone or too much political opinion sent my way.  In such cases, I ignore for as long as possible, and/or eventually just cut them from the friends list.

All in all, I enjoy the interaction with people. I know most of them, but certainly not all of them. Some are childhood friends with whom I've reconnected, some are friends who've drifted with me through the calm seas  or swam with me through the waters in the raging storms. Some of the new friends are those who went to school with my non-computer user husband, and others are those I've met on various pages with similar interests.  I'm a people person, no doubt about it, and each of these on my list are those I really would call friends if we were in the same place at the same time.

Their comments and their stories are always a welcome sight. Even more pleasant are their photos. I love 'meeting' their families, seeing their life experiences, watching their children grow, watching their lives in photographs.  It's fun for me to rehash memories with the long-time friends and giggle together about the remembrances.  

I'm so glad for the social media, regardless of the negative comments and the occasional all out uncivil behavior of some.  
Overall....those photographs and memories make my day!


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Once Upon A Time....

There was once a time when you had items that, when turned on, they would just do what they were meant to do....WORK!  There weren't 410 different settings to choose, 39 buttons to push, or 73 different signals to sound.  Golly! Whatever happened to those days?

When I went to the car dealership to check out cars a year and a half ago, I had to listen to an hour and a half schpiel about all the extra doo dads and what each did and how you made them do it. I finally interrupted our very nice salesman and said, ' Don't you have a car that you can put the key in, put 'er in gear, and go?'   Of course not! It has to have power windows,door locks, alarms, Serius radio, OnStar telephone, etc.  C'mon. I could have saved enough to buy a few tanks of gas if I could just have manual roll down windows and push down locks on the doors.  Nope, I don't buy your story of all of those radio stations and telephone being 'free for 6 months'.  Nothing's free....especially at a car dealership!

Then we have the kitchen appliances. Our house came with them, when we bought the house new.  The stove is electric...the first mistake. It runs too hot, at least, the oven does, and after 8 years of trying to adjust temperatures to get the desired doneness of things when baking, I give up.  The second mistake is that it has one of those glass cook tops. While I will agree that it's easy to clean IF you clean up a spill before it gets cooked on.  However, if you're cooking and something boils over onto the burner, there is no way that you can clean it off until the burner cools, which takes a bit of time. By then, you really have a job.  The next problem with that is that you can't scrub it with anything abrasive or you'll scratch the surface, so it actually takes some time to get it clean with a soft scrub product and soft scrubby thing, and a good amount of elbow grease!  I won't even address the issues of the appliances, except to tell you that each one has it's own alarm. 

The oven has a high pitched beep-beep-beep to let you know it as reached the set temperature. The microwave has a beeeeep-beeeeep, again high pitched, to let you know that the time is up for whatever you have in the little box.  The washer sounds a long series of beeps in another high pitched tone,  to let you know that the load has finished washing...or something else is happening, maybe a load is off kilter.  The dryer is equally demanding with its own irritating cry that it wants attention.  The drip coffee pot too, lets you know that coffee is ready, as if I wouldn't be standing over that already, with eagerness for that first swallow of morning caffeine!  Consider the possibility that those signals might all sound at one time, which might be likely in this house. It would be quite a cacophony.  The ONE appliance that doesn't sound an alarm is one that I wish WOULD. That's the dishwasher. I'll tell you, that thing runs for nearly an hour and a half from start to finish. To save energy, we try to catch it before it goes to the 'heat/dry' cycle. If we do, it will just air dry in the hot dishwasher, and we've saved about a half hour or more of time and electricity.

I could probably come up with a few other things we have that are nearly as frustrating to us, but I'll leave it at this. (If I start discussing the tv/cable and remote, I'll be here far too long!) Suffice it to say that I'm glad for all the appliances, as long as they work,( but I can live without their singing.I'm an old-fashioned gal, but I do appreciate the work savers that they are. As for my vehicle, I'd still prefer the crank on the door to roll down my windows, the hand-adjustable mirrors, and cars that don't 'talk' to you...(excuse me, your front, passenger-side tire is low on pressure.) Just let me turn the key, put it in gear and go, thank you very much.  

Those were the days, my friend....we thought they'd NEVER end.....

Monday, May 26, 2014

Wounds of Wartime

Today is Memorial Day. We know that means a day set apart to honor those who  lost in their time of service to our country. One of my Facebook friends from my hometown shared that her brother served in Korea, and was lost in the War there  As it often happens, while thinking about those things, one thought leads to another.....which leads to the writing of these words today.

We know that Wars bring casualties. We know that there are those who have returned home with their scars from injuries, who have been presented with Purple Hearts and medals.  We also know that there are many who have come home with PST, trauma that we've never known. Those people are seeing images in their heads the likes of which we'll never see.  Those men and women are recognized for what they've endured.

But, what about the many, the un-numbered others who bear the wounds of wartime?  What about the Viet Nam veterans who returned to be spat upon, cursed, and more as they walked through airports wearing their uniforms. Those individual military men and women who were greeted with disrespect after putting their lives on the line for us.  They carry that pain even today, so many years later, injuries  as deep for some of them as if they'd been impaled by a bayonet. An ungrateful population of demonstrators, some of them cowards who would run to Canada to escape the Draft, rather than put their lives in jeopardy.

What about the families who have no idea what happened to a loved one who was declared Missing in Action?  Think of the way those people must feel, kissing their son, or brother, or grandson good-bye, and never hearing from them again.  Consider the Mother who was notified by telegram, or by letter, that her son was declared dead, as was true of my friend's Mom.  How did she go on through her life, bearing such an unbearable injury to her heart and soul?

Go to the Wall in Washington, DC, and watch the visitors there. Look at the adult women and men weeping as they stand before a name of one they knew.  Notice them tenderly touching the engraved name and softly tracing it with their fingers. These are showing the wounds they feel so many years later over the loss.  Maybe one of them is a son, maybe a daughter...born while their father served in a foreign land. Those grown children might never have met their father.  They have suffered the wounds of wartime, and they carry those unseen scars throughout their own lives.

There are so many....uncounted.....who did not fight in a skirmish, yet they battle the pain that rides through their souls during their lives, things they could not control, brought about by the loss, the injury, the mental illness, the curses, the disrespect, of the ones they loved more than they can express to you.

They, too, endure the Wounds of War.  As I remember their lost ones,  I  also think of those who they left behind.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

What Can I Say?

 Today is Mother's Day. It's a day when we find something special to do for our Moms, to let them know how much we appreciate them and their efforts.  They, most of them anyway, deserve the praises and honors we shed on them. No one is perfect, but most of us will acknowledge that the woman we call our mother is the most perfect choice for us.

I can, and I have, written about my Mom and some of the stories of her that I recall with appreciation.  The fact of the matter is, there are not enough words in the human language to say how blessed I am that this humble, giving woman is my own Mom.  We have shared everything for 66 years, both good times and bad ones.  She's never disowned me, regardless of how frustrating I was to deal with.  I will never disown her, either, regardless of how stubborn and determined she can be.  She taught me to be a strong woman, and I've was infiltrated with some of her stubbornness, so there are times when we are too much alike and things
can be a bit of a struggle.  However, the older I get, the more I realize that everything that she is is what I want to be in my own life.  

Mom is a wonderful example, has always been to us, her children.  I pray that she has rubbed off on me,  or will, during the years I have left.  I long to be such an example to those who know me, and that they might learn along the way that we all must be patient, compassionate, understanding, giving...and forgiving.... people, in order to make our way peaceably through a difficult world of many different personalities and ways of life.

What can I say? Not much more than 'Thank You, Lord for the blessing of this woman in my life, this one who has taught me so much along the way. And Thank You, dear Mom, for all you have put up with over the years, all you have given to so many, all that you do still, to show us what a good servant of the Lord looks like.'  As I said earlier, there are not enough words ......

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Strawberry Shortcake, Cream on Top!

It's time for strawberries in South Carolina!  Today is the day that I will purchase some....and shortcake will be on the menu tonight!  Buy? You might ask.  Yes, buy, not pick...although there are a number of farms nearby where we could pick our own.  I have some physical limitations that don't allow easy bending in order to pick them as I did in my youth. So, I'll gladly let someone else do that chore, and I'll willingly hand over a bit more cash for the blessing!

I think strawberries are one of my favorite fruits. I'll eat my fill of them through this season as well as put as many into the freezer as possible. I might even make some jam this year.  There is nothing quite like fresh jam on morning toast, is there? 

 In my mind, I can smell those berries, and it reels back the memory film to earlier days.  Suddenly, I'm sitting at a yellow formica table, on chairs with yellow vinyl seats. There's a yellow, dial wall phone above my head, and I have to move a bit to keep the long, twisted phone cord from tangling in my hair.  The wall paper with the green ivy pattern makes me dizzy when I look at it, so I turn and face the kitchen sink where my Aunt Nita is laughing with my Mom as they slice the tops off the fresh strawberries they picked that afternoon.  I watch the operation with my mouth watering, knowing that in a few hours, we'll be eating together at the picnic tables in the back yard. The grilled hot dogs and hamburgers will be followed by mounds of berries and fresh whipped cream over the warm cakes.

When I was a child, that was the scene nearly every Sunday night of the summer. Family suppers in the back yard at Grandma's house. Of course, strawberries were there only in season, but that was my favorite time! There were 'strawberry suppers' at the Presbyterian church,too, and as a teen I was a part of the youth group which would help serve the delicious dessert to those who were present.  When I grew up, and had children of my own, the church we went to had a big 'strawberry supper' . The berries were donated by twin brother farmers, who allowed the church ladies to pick them from the fields.  Then they'd be prepared, cakes baked and the members of the church would join together that evening for fellowship together around the mountains of berries topped with cream. 

Many things in life come and go, leaving us with only memories. Happily I report to you that one thing that remains is those wonderful, juicy berries!  There will be no 'cool whip topping' for'll be real whipped cream. There will be no store bought pound cake for us, we always opt for making the cake of Bisquick.  It's only just minutes after my breakfast, and already I'm counting the hours 'til dinnertime! 

Pardon me now, while I go to wipe the drool off my chin!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

More Behind the Scenes....

Some time ago I posted a blog entry about how a picture tells only a portion of the story. I'll expand that thought today with another picture or two.

 When you see this picture, you probably wince. You wonder who was in that car, what happened to them, how the accident took place, and maybe where it did. Don't you?  

This is a car I happened to see on the back of a car carrier when returning to work after lunch, at 1pm, on Sept 4, 1997.  My heart stopped when I was it. The car was too familiar.  I began to pray...'oh no! oh no!  Lord, don't let it be......".   I went into my office and sat at my desk, shaking like crazy, and dialed the phone number for the person I feared owned that car.  No answer.  I looked up and one of my co-workers stood at the other side of my desk, and said, 'She's alright. She medically alright.'  Then she told me that it was my worst 70 year old mother, the most careful driver in the world, had been in that accident.

The rest of the day unfolded and as it did, details came out. The collision happened at 9am, less than a half mile from Mom's house. She was T-boned on the driver's side, by a large pick up truck full of lawn mowers, and towing a trailer full of heavy professional mowing equipment.  The truck was going too fast, and even though the driver tried to stop, the weight behind him prevented him from plowing into the car, propelling it another 50 feet or so, which rammed the front bumper into a tree on the opposite side of the road.

Mom was in the local hospital, and was able to talk to me when I arrived. She was not concerned for herself, but asked if she'd hurt anyone else. She asked again and again, as if she didn't believe me when I told her they were fine....which they were.  

What you don't see, when you see this picture of her car, is in what ways she was injured. She suffered 7 broken ribs, a punctured lung, a torn kidney, broken hip and a torn pelvis.  Her mind was fine, thinking completely clear. She kept over-night in order to stablize her, and the next day, after lunch, she was air-lifted to the University hospital at Stonybrook.

What you don't know when you see this photo is how determined a woman Mom is.  She was not going anywhere, although we nearly lost her at two different points in those early weeks in the intensive care unit.  What you cannot see here is the fear that I knew at that point in my life. My faith kept me on track, but there was always that needling fear in the background which whispered in my ear when I saw the machines that kept Mom's breathing regular or the tube that inflated her lung. Fear taunted me when nurses answered my calls and they told me she'd had a 'bad night'.  I had to grab fear by the throat and hand my emotions and my Mother into the hands of God. I had to allow God to do with her what He would, even if it meant I'd need to let her go.   I had to have a bigger faith than the fear I had.

What more do you not see? You don't know all that went on during the six weeks of hospital stays she had.  You can't imagine the number of people who lifted Mom up in prayer for her healing....or the miracles along the way that took place during those weeks.  But I know them all....and other things too.  I know that faith as small as a grain of mustard seed can accomplish mighty things....because it did for me.

Life brings us things that are fearful. There is no control over life, no matter what we think. We can control only the way we view those things in the moments that they occur.  We can look fear in the eye and fight, like Mom did, and like I had to do too, but having the weapon of faith will work wonders!  Things don't always go our way, but there are times when we must look beyond what we see, and know that things are happening that we cannot see.  That's what faith is about.

What else you may not know is, my Mother is still with us, at the age of 88.  She stopped driving after the accident, she thought it was a good idea.  She is healthy, in her right mind, and still living alone in her own home.   From this mangled wreckage, she survived! and she is a walking miracle! 


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Incomplete Picture

Some time ago I saw a picture of a bench overlooking a pond, with a question beneath it. "If you could spend an hour here, talking with anyone at all, who would it be?" What a difficult question to answer!  I put much thought into it, mulling it over, going through so many faces and personalities in history and life.

Would it be Jesus, who could inform me of what He plans for me? Could I choose Helen Keller whom I've always admired for her determination and spirit? Would it be one of my ancestors who could fill in the blanks for me and tell me about their lives? What a difficult choice to make!
 Finally I decided that I would choose my Mother's father.  When I could pick anyone at all, why would he be my choice, you might ask.  Because I know so little about him. I have my mother's stories, I have a few remembrances from my aunt, but since he passed away when I was less than two years old, I have no remembrance of him.

Grandpa Loper was a small man, about 5 ft 5 in. I know he was thin and slight, because I own one of the jackets that were a part of his Coast Guard uniform. It's surprisingly small!  I have many documents of his time in the service, rescuing those from the perilous seas. I see there his height, weight, eye color and when and where he was stationed during his long time of service.  

I have read the account of the 'last whale taken off Amagansett' in  February, 1907. My grandfather was in one of the boats on that day.  He was a very young man at that time. I would like to know what his thoughts were as he took part in that adventure with some of his family members. 

From the stories I have heard, he had a quick wit and a keen sense of humor.  "He wasn't around much because he was stationed in different places" I have been told. That would have left my Grandmother to raise her 4 girls alone, for the most part. However, the girls knew their father, and loved him enough to have fond memories of their time with him.  I only wish that I did.

I feel that not knowing my maternal grandfather, my life is a rather incomplete picture.  If I could spend just one hour with him, I would ask him one question. That would be this, "Grandpa, please tell me everything about yourself, your family, your life, until our time runs out?"  And I would not speak....I'd only listen.


Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Stories Behind the Visual

What do you see when you view this photo? You may guess the approximate time period, but it would be only a guess, unless you knew the people there.  Do you see a young girl and an old lady? It's  obvious that it is just that, but there are so many things that the camera's eye...or your own....cannot know when looking at this photo, and any other.  Let me tell you the stories in this one.

The picture was taken when the little girl was about three years old, which would make it 1950 or perhaps 1951.  The child is donned in a long cotton, striped skirt, which was wrapped, probably at least twice, around her tiny waist. Her Aunt Anita had been playing dress up with her, and the woman, 18 years older than the little one, had chosen her own skirt to put on the child. Then the Aunt had placed many bracelets on the tiny arm, and a string of beads around her neck.  A touch of lipstick and a hairbrush completed the look, before the loving Aunt brought her niece to the front porch to join the preschooler's Grandmother.

The older woman sat on the top step of her front porch with her first grandchild. She was enjoying a bit of the afternoon sun.  How is it that I know that the time of day is the afternoon?  I know because the woman is dressed in something other than a 'house dress and her apron' which was her before-noon attire. She did her housekeeping in the mornings, then she laid down for a rest after lunch, coming downstairs afterward in clothing and jewelry fit for guests, should they stop in.  It was her daily routine.  I know, too, that it's afternoon, probably mid-afternoon, because the shadows tell me that the sun is in the southern sky.  I'm guessing that it is Springtime, because the woman and the child do not have outer garments for warmth, but the wooden storm door is still on the front door. If it was Summer, it would not be on the house, and if it was Fall, it would not have been put on yet to shield the entry from the cold.

Some things are not obvious when we view photographs.  Sometimes there is more to the story.  I hope you have enjoyed the explanation of the hidden things that this photo tells me. How do I know these statements are fact? Because I was the little girl sitting with her beloved Grandma in the sunshine.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Generation Gap?

Yesterday I was visiting with my Mom, and I noticed that she was wearing a pair of brown, orlon socks. Those socks had been my Dad's.  That may not seem significant to you, but my father left this earth in 1985, twenty-eight years ago!  I remember him wearing those socks, that  were probably bought at Brill's store, on N.Main Street in East Hampton.  The store is long-gone, but those socks live on, albeit with a hole in the toe!

I came home to remark to my husband about those socks.  As one thought  lead to another, we both remembered learning how to darn socks. Nobody knows how to darn a hole in a sock any more. Mom taught me how to do it, I think when I was in the Girl Scouts and working on a Homemaker's badge.  Mike's Grandmother taught him the skill, although, having seen his mending of old jeans from his days as a single guy, I can't imagine how skilled his work was!  There was a tool ....little wooden 'eggs' on a handle...called darning eggs. It would be placed inside the sock behind the hole. First you  would surround the hole with small stitches. This prevented the sock from 'unraveling' further, and secure the place to begin the darning. Then you would begin the 'patching of the hole' by passing the needle, loaded with 'darning cotton' thread from one side of the circle to the other without pulling the hole closed.  After the circle had been covered with these threads going in one direction, you would turn the hole, so that the threads ran 'top to bottom', and you'd begin to weave the needle through the vertical threads in a horizontal manner. When you were done, the hole was patched.... not terribly comfortable to wear, as I remember, but patched, none the less.

The 'darning' gave us conversation of other things.  My Grandma had a 'rag bag', a handmade fabric bag  which held bits of old clothing, soft cloths, etc. which was used for cleaning or dusting purposes. It was hung on a hook on the inside door trim of the living room closet.  Sometimes I'd be sent to fetch a rag from it for some household job. Other times, I'd pick through for a pretty piece to practice sewing stitches on.

There were rag rugs in my Grandma's house, 'scatter rugs' they were called then. They were about the size of a door mat, made of strips of cotton fabrics that had been rolled to give them body, and then stitched together  to form small rugs to put in doorways or in front of the kitchen sink.  They'd be taken outside daily and shaken to free them of dust and dirt.  I don't remember, but I would imagine they were washed now and then, and hung on the line to dry.

Oh yes, and clotheslines! They are nearly a thing of the past. Many subdivisions don't allow them, which is an awful shame, I think.  There is nothing like fresh air drying for things like bed sheets!  Everything smells better when hung outside to air in the breeze, and white things are so much whiter when hung in the bright sunlight!  Grandma had a clothesline in her yard....a square that was formed by four old tall posts,  which were probably once growing locust trees.  The rope was hung high on those posts and strung from one post to the next, and tied taut.  Since the rope always seemed to stretch under the weight of wet clothing, there were long poles that  had a fork at the top to catch the ropes and were then propped on the other end against the ground, lifting the clothing to prevent any reaching to the ground.  We kids learned early to stay away from the clotheslines!  Dirty hand prints on the newly washed sheets was frowned upon.

Laundry day wasn't as easy as it is for women today. There was a galvanized wash tub on Grandma's back porch wall. It was filled with boiling water and things were scrubbed clean on a wooden framed, rippled glass, 'scrub board'.  Not only did the wash get scrubbed, so did knuckles!
Grandma had another large kettle that was placed on the stove, and in it went white things to boil. When they were clean, they'd be lifted out with a long stick, and rinsed a few times in the tub of clean hot water, then wrung out by hand, and hung out to dry.  When it was dry,  the wash was folded and most things had to be ironed.  Grandma had electricity, and an electric iron, but whatever was in the basket to be ironed had to be 'sprinkled' .  There was a bottle used for that purpose, with a cork at the top, with a cap with small holes in it.  You shook the bottle upside down, allowing a 'sprinkling' over the items, then they were rolled, so that they were damp, but not wet, all through the item.  Then they'd be unrolled on the ironing board and pressed free of dampness and wrinkles.

Things aren't the same today, for sure. For all our complaining, women have it easy today. We throw holey socks away. They don't even go in the 'rag bag'. Who even HAS a rag bag for cleaning? We have paper towels, or Clorox wipes to do the job of a rag. We rarely do hand washing, and almost never hang laundry outside anymore. Would a teen of today know what a 'sprinkling bottle' was used for if they saw one? Do they ever iron anything these days?  Life moves on.... bringing new gadgets that kids adapt to quickly, amazing things that some of us 'oldies' wouldn't know what to do with....or want to.  Generation Gap... well, I'll say!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Old House, Part 2

A few times a week, on the way to or from work, I'd drive by my childhood home to see whether someone new had bought it and moved in. Eventually, I saw things happening at the place. It wasn't things I liked seeing, nor was it anything I dreamed would happen.

A huge piece of  heavy equipment was parked in the yard.....some sort of bull dozer. The house had lost its shingles, and it had been stripped of the tar paper that used to be between the shingles and the plywood that formed the outside walls. Over the next few days, windows were removed, then plywood came off the studwork, leaving a skeleton of the house.  Just as I had watched the construction from the ground up, I was now watching a process of deconstruction.  It was upsetting.

A few days later, I noticed that there was a new block foundation on the dining room end of the house. Now what? It wasn't long before I saw that the structure that I knew as "Home" was gone. Everything about it...gone. The building,the weeping willow,  the 50 plus year old Azalea bushes, some of which had been moved from our former home to the new one, the Lilacs, the beautiful Crab Apple tree that bloomed so profusely in the front yard each Spring, all destroyed and carted away. The tall pine trees in the back yard where Daddy had fixed a long bar with swings hanging on it for my kids to play on had been demolished. The large, prolific, bright blue Hydrangeas that had been in near the house and the border of the property, crushed by the machinery.  The sunny spots where Dad had his garden and compost piles had been erased.  I felt as if my life had been eradicated.

In time, a new house was built...from the ground up. It, too, was a long, narrow, one story structure. They'd added to the foundation, but used the old one to build upon, but it sure didn't look a thing like the home I'd lived in. My curiosity got the best of me one day, and I tried to peek inside the windows.  All I could see was that the house was open from the front wall to the back one. It didn't tell me much.   Sometime later, after work, I saw that there was a workman at the house. I bit the bullet, gathered my nerve, and knocked on the door, telling him I'd lived in the former house, and wondered if I could see the new one.  He let me in, let me wonder through the unfamiliar areas.

The front door had been moved. The wall of the living room, where our TV used to be, now was the location of a lovely fireplace. On the other side of that wall used to have three bedrooms, now it was two larger ones.  The kitchen had been moved, and the house was very open. You could look through front windows clear through to look out of the back windows.  Everything was so different. The views to the back yard showed that the property had been cleared of all vegetation to the boundary lines, still marked by orange neon painted stakes left by the surveryors.  There, smack in the middle of the lawn where our picnic table sat in the shade  and where the grill had been used, was a rectangular, turquoise, vinyl, inground swimming pool. 

Yes, it was all lovely....but still, heartache filled my chest.  I left that day knowing that changes had taken place...transformations that I couldn't undo. Over time, before a new family had moved into that building, the house was sold again, and the vinyl pool  was replaced with a gunite one. A step up  patio was installed in the front of the house, forward of where Grandpa's room once stood. Then privet was planted around it, for privacy.  A garage was built on to the front left of the house and a driveway moved to that end from the other side. Today there is a tall privet near the street, blocking the house, almost completely from the road.

No longer do I worry about the changes in my childhood homeplace. Changes take place in everything. My life had taken many turns since the days I lived on that property. A marriage, a family, a divorce, grown children, a new marriage, a move to another state.  Not all changes are bad things, some bring real happiness. The days and events lived in that small ranch house my Dad built will always be a part of me, no one can change that. It is my hope that the memories made in the new residence, for the new occupants, will be as good for them as mine are for me.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Memories of the Old House

Inspired to write this morning, by the blog entry of a friend. He took a trip back to his childhood home and wrote of his feelings about it all.  My own experience was somewhat different.

The home I spent the majority of my young life in was built when I was about ten years old. It was a simple ranch house, three bedrooms and a bath. It was a typical model of the late 1950's and later.  It wasn't fancy, by any means, but it was our home and many memories were made there.  A few years later, a separate dining room, another bathroom and a bedroom for Grandpa were added on. My Dad and my Uncle Ros worked tirelessly after their day jobs and every weekend to complete the addition. 

The building of that house brought about the building of  new friendships in  our neighborhood, friendships that have lasted a lifetime. Preteen days found me spending much more time with the girls in the group than with my family members. It was the dawn of a new day for me...seeing more of how other people lived than what I knew at home. I didn't appreciate all that I saw, or come to realize until years later, how much better things were for me than I knew.

 Then came those confusing years as a teenager, new lessons to learn, new ideas to explore. I was struggling, like most teens do, to figure things out. My parents were wise and their lessons were taught to me from their wisdom. Again, I didn't always appreciate the strict rules and fact that I wasn't given permission to do what many of my classmates did on weekends.  I wasn't so rebellious as to go against what I was raised with, so I missed out on what I thought must have been the best of fun. It caused resentments, but I got over it, and came to understand that though I was kept on a rather short leash, it was for my own good.

The house was the place I introduced young men to my parents before I went out on dates with them.  It was where my first husband proposed to me. It was where I prepared for my wedding, and where I brought home our first-born child a little more than a year later, as our new house was under construction.  It was the place I ran the house and to my parents' advice when things were rocky in my life. It was where we spent our first days mourning my Dad's death.
This was the home that enveloped me while I learned about beginnings and endings.

Many years and events later, my widowed Mom decided it was time to sell that house. It saddened me. It was yet another loss for me.  What would happen to that house? I hoped that another family would move in and enjoy making their own memories. It did not happen that way. A single woman, an investor bought it, and did absolutely nothing with it for a year, when she sold it at a profit. Again, I hoped for a new family.....and again, I was disappointed. 

With a sense of grief, I came to realize that it was not 'our' house any longer. Life brings changes of all kinds. Some of them take us to places of sadness.  This  realization was one of those times.  
I watched the house to see what changes would come along.  *Watch this site to find out what those changes were. Tomorrow, it will be revealed.*