Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A to Z Challenge Finale

I know... I dropped out of the A to Z Challenge at unable.  Then my last post happened.  One of the things I listed about myself was that I tended to not finish projects.  I had done it again!  The A to Z Challenge had become another of my unfinished projects.  Even though there are some holes in my project, I am going to finish what I started with a memory about Zero Candy Bars

One of my favorite things to do as a little girl was to go swimming at Memorial Park.  On the hottest summer afternoons, we'd don our swimsuits, hop in the car, and head for the pool, where we would meet up with friends.  Many of today's pools are parks, very unlike the simple ones of a shallow and deep end with a rope designation where one began and the other ended.  I was a shallow end type of gal, unless I was trying to impress a boy.  Then I'd hang onto the side kicking my legs in the deep end - just hanging out.  Crazily, since I didn't know how to swim, I once tried to jump off the high dive.  Embarrassingly, I chickened out and had to crawl back off the board to the safety of the concrete ground.  What does this have to do with Zero Candy Bars?

Obviously, I wasn't a swimmer.  You'd more likely find me sunning on the beach towel or sitting on the concession stand benches eating a Zero candy bar.  They weren't just any Zero candy bars.  They were frozen.  Oh the goodness, sitting in the shade, biting into a thawing chocolate outside, creamy in the middle, candy bar.  So delicious.  Try it sometime.

Congratulations to everyone who successfully participated in the A to Z Challenge.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone's posts.  It was a good experience!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

I met Megan at Here I Go With All My Thoughts through the A to Z Challenge.  She was always very faithful about checking back in with me each and every day to see what memory I'd be posting about.  I'd try to do the same with her, although I don't believe I was quite as faithful.  She too had chosen the theme of remembering, so we had something in common.

Even though Megan had just begun following my blog less than a month ago, she gave me a Very Inspiring Blogger award.  I'll have to say I usually don't accept awards any more.  For awhile there were so many out there, and they were flying around from blog to blog like a crazy cuckoo.  But, it has been some time since I've been given an award, so I'm going to thank Megan and accept this one.

As with most awards, it came with strings attached:
1. Display award logo on blog.  Done.
2. Link back to the person who gave you the award.  Done
3. State 7 things about yourself.
  1. I am a breast cancer survivor.  Nine years and counting!
  2. I enrolled in college when I turned 40 and graduated with a BS degree in management five years late (while working full time).  During this time I discovered I love history, could ace any English/Writing class, and suck at math.  I also learned how to BS with the best of them.
  3. The day after my last college final I had surgery on both of my feet.  A bunion was removed from the big toe of one and an arthritic joint replace in the big toe of my other foot.  One week later I hobbled across the stage with crutches, wearing my fancy blue surgery shoes, and accepted my diploma.  No way was I going to miss that moment.
  4. I had my first and only panic attack a few months ago.  I thought I was going to die.  Really.  I don't want any more of those.
  5. I seem to have trouble finishing anything I start.  The number of projects laying around this house is testimony to that fact.
  6. I am responsible for our church bulletin.  Even though I proof read it before sending it to the copier, I (or Jim) always find glaring errors when we are in the process of folding them.  You know, when it is too late.
  7. I love Golden Retrievers.  Will you please explain to me why I have a Chihuahua?
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link back to them.
 Sometimes I don't follow rules should be number 8 about me.  I read many blogs and each and every one deserve this award.  I wouldn't be reading their blog if they didn't.  I'd love it if some or all of you would grab this award and post it on your blog.  But if you don't, I understand.
The A to Z Challenge is almost over.  I regret that I wasn't able to finish it.  I've finally given up on trying to fix my PC by myself.  I got brave and followed the repair link that Iggy provided to me and followed the directions.  It started cooking.  1%, 5%, 15%, 18%, 23%, 30%... 31% complete.  Then it just sat there.  And sat there.  It finally gave me a message that it couldn't complete the requested task.  Crazy, stoopid, computer.
Thanks for the award Megan!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A to Z Challenge - Unable

I am declaring defeat and admit that I am going to be UNABLE to complete the A to Z Challenge.

My computer is still giving me fits.  With the help of my good friend Iggy, I am making progresss.  Thanks to his super duper knowledge, I can now get Windows Updates - something I have not been able to do for quite a long time.  He had me run some diagnostics and the result was my computer has "integrity" issues.  Don't we all?  That doesn't cause us to shut down, does it?  Anyway, still working on it.  Iggy provided me with one link to try, but said I'd  have to be brave (or something to that extent).  I'm a bit intimidated, but what do I have to lose?  Going to try that next.  Thanks Iggy for helping me like this.  You are the best!  Iggy is also really good at something besides IT issues, and that is blogging.  If you have never been to his blog, do yourself a favor and click on the link.  You will be glad you did.

Speaking of the best, the folks who are participating in the A to Z Challenge are the best!  I've discovered some really great blogs as a result of participating in this challenge.  I plan on continuing to visit their blogs and hope they will do the same with mine. 

Thank you everyone who visited me each day as I strolled down memory lane, A to Z style. 

Also, thank you for all of the kind words about Uncle Cy.  His funeral was a very moving experience.  It was obvious he touched many lives, including the priest who gave his eulogy.  He had many stories, some funny and some heartwarming, about Uncle Cy. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

A to Z Challenge - S

There were so many remembering possibilities for the letter S.  I could tell you several snake stories, or remember the days of S & H Green Stamps, Sock Hops, Sponge Rollers, the Spirograph, or School.  But saltine crackers won out as the remember of the day.


To this day, the sight, smell or taste of a saltine cracker reminds me of my Grandma Hood.  Grandpa died the year I was born, so my memories of him are only in the stories I've been told.  Apparently the grandkids who were old enough to have known him, called him Grandpa Butterball.  I can't imagine where they would come up with such a nickname.  Right?

Back to saltine crackers.  After Grandpa passed away, Grandma was left to create and maintain traditions for her continually growing family.
The gathering of 12 children (one died as a child)...
Quickly turned into this gathering of something more than 12. 
So what kind of traditions can one possibly maintain with a family of this size.  It isn't like she could invite everyone over for Thanksgiving dinner, or Christmas, for that matter.  Somehow Grandma found a way to make each and every one of her children and grandchildren feel special.  I can't recall a single material gift from Grandma.  Her gift was one of herself. 
One of Grandma Hood's traditions was Sunday dinner for any and all of the families who made the trip to Tipton to visit her for the day.  She was like the Bible story of the Loaves and the Fishes.  No matter how many people showed up, there was always enough fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and fresh homemade bread for everyone.  Grandma was always there.  It wasn't like these days where you have to schedule time to be with your family.  You knew if you made a trip to Tipton, grandma would be there with her fried chicken and, if it was summer, fresh produce from her garden.
Gandma's other tradition?  Saltine crackers.
Grandma always kept a jar of saltine crackers sitting on the table in the front room. We knew we could always help ourselves to the crackers.  And that, my friends, is why the very sight of a saltine cracker creates wonderful memories of my Grandma Hood.
I will be away from the blogs for a few days. 
My Uncle Cy  passed away on Friday.  As my Godfather, he always made me feel special.  He holds a special place in my heart.  Here are a few other posts about Uncle Cy:  Uncle Cy, Visit with Uncle Cy.
Rest in Peace Uncle Cy.  I'm going to miss you.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A to Z Challenge - Q

Hi everyone.  Here were are remembering the letter Q.

This is going to be short and sweet. My laptop is sick, so I am posting from my IPad.  I love my IPad,  but I'm not a big fan of typing long messages on it.

Q is the perfect letter for a short post, because the letter Q makes me remember my love for Quiet.

In a three bedroom house of two adults and four kids, quiet was a rare commodity, but it was possible.

My favorite way to find quiet was to curl up with a book.  In my own little cocoon, lost in words, it didn't much matter what else was going on around me.  My mind was in a quiet space.

There was a space under the basement steps, where I would hide and write.  Shhhh. It is my secret.

Church was a special, quiet time for me.  I could sit and think and dream.  Sometimes I even prayed!

We had a forbidden creek behind our house (my mother had a great fear of water).  When I needed to really think or have a good cry, I'd slip away to the solitude of the creek and find my quiet.

Do you crave quiet?  I still do and, I'm sure, always will.

I apologize if I don't get to your blogs for a bit.  I will probably be reading, but not commenting like I would like to.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A to Z Challenge -

We are over halfway through the A to Z Challenge.  I've done better at keeping up than I expected, missing only two letters so far.  How has everyone else been doing?

Today I am remembering the letter P and pierced ears.

If you've been following my journey of remembering, as we trip through the alphabet, you've picked up on the fact that my upbringing leaned towards conservative and strict.  Unfortunately, my youthful mind didn't agree with all of the restrictions and rules.  This included the belief my parents had that "If God wanted you to have pierced ears, he would have put holes in them".

I was known to wail "But all of my friends have pierced ears!"  It fell on deaf ears.  When I was 16, mom considered the possibility of allowing a Dr. pierce my ears.  I wasn't too keen on that idea.  To me it seemed pretty extreme to go to a Dr. to have a needle poked through my ear lobes.  I had other plans.

There were four of us who hung out together quite a bit, Mary Beth, Elaine, Nancy, and me.  If we weren't out running around, we were usually at Elaine's house.  Of the four of us, I was the only one who had not yet taken the plunge and gotten my ears pierced.  I can't tell you how many times we had talked about just doing it ourselves.  All we would need is a needle, a match to sterilize it, ice to numb my ear, and a potato to place behind the ear lobe.  On this particular night, we had stayed in and just hung out.  At some point Elaine's older sister, who happened to be a nurse, came home from a date.  She heard us talking about piercing my ears and offered to do it.  She did it exactly like we had talked about.  I can't recall it hurting, although I'm sure it did.  I was too worried about what my parents were going to say and do, to be bothered with a little pain.  Will it surprise anyone to learn that they were less than pleased with me?  To make matters worse, one of the ears got infected.  Mom threatened to take me to a Dr., but I pleaded to give it time to heal.  Fortunately, with the help of rubbing alcohol, the infection went away.  At some point all was forgiven.  Years later I even talked my mom into getting her ears pierced.  She had a Dr. do it, in case you are wondering.

The hole in my left ear angles down, making it difficult to put earrings in, reminding me of my friends and that night over 45 years ago.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A to Z Challenge - N

Good morning!  The letter N is on the table today.  What do I remember that starts with the letter N?

I remember NO air conditioning.  I'm certain many of my older readers remember those days.

My family lived in a modest brick rancher built in the 1950's.  Air conditioning was a luxury few could afford.    Window fans, open windows, screen doors, and lots of ice tea was a way of life.  During the day we were so busy either working or playing, I can't say I really felt the impact of the heat.  When the sun was too hot to be out in it, we would lay on the cool carport concrete and play games or read books.  The unfinished basement was also a safe haven.  We had a little record player and lots of children's records.  We'd play songs like The Bear Went Over the Mountain, lots of Disney tunes, and silly songs.  One of the silliest, and therefore, favorite, was Jenny Jenkins.

"Jenny Jenkins"
Will you wear white
Oh my dear, oh my dear
Will you wear white, Jenny Jenkins?
No I won't wear white
For the color's too bright

I'll buy me a foldy-roldy, tildy-toldy
Seek-a-double, use-a-cozza roll to find me
Roll, Jenny Jenkins, roll
Will you wear blue
Oh my dear, oh my dear
Will you wear blue, Jenny Jenkins?
No, I won't wear blue
cause blue wont do.

Will you wear pink
Oh my dear, oh my dear
Will you wear pink, Jenny Jenkins?
No, I won't wear pink
I rather drink ink

Will you wear green
Oh my dear, oh my dear
Will you wear green, Jenny Jenkins?
No, I won't wear green
It's a colour of a bean

Will you wear orange
Oh my dear, oh my dear
Will you wear orange, Jenny Jenkins?
No, I won't wear orange
cause nothing ryhmes with orange

Will you wear grey
Oh my dear, oh my dear
Will you wear grey, Jenny Jenkins?
No, I won't wear grey
It's a black and rainy day


A not so fond memory of those days of NO air conditioning was the night time.  My parents were old school in many ways.  They had this thing about drafts and sickness.  This equated to not being able to sleep with our heads anywhere near an open window.  Each night we would say our prayers, kiss mom and dad goodnight, and head for bed.  My sister and I shared a bed room.  I think she might have been the good child, because every night after mom and dad came in to check on us, I would flip myself down to the end of the bed so my head was near the open window.  I don't think Kathleen did that, but as I go down memory lane this month, I'm finding a lot of what I thought were clear memories, are rather faded.  If she didn't move to the bottom of the bed, like I did, she was definitely the smart one.  Because I do remember that I almost always got caught.

My own children can tell tales of the many years that we had only a window air conditioner to cool an entire floor of our home.  It didn't even come close to reaching to the bed rooms, so many nights were spent sleeping on the living room floor.  Since Jim was a school teacher, he was home with them during the summer.  They tell tales about how he wouldn't let them turn the air on during the day, until about an hour before I was due home.   Ahhhh the good old days.

So, how many remember not having air conditioning?  Maybe some don't have it now?  

Monday, April 15, 2013

A to Z Challenge - M

Hello there.  Did anyone notice that I missed the letter L in the A to Z Challenge?  I didn't think so.  In case you are wondering, I was going to blog about Lips.  The wax kind that we used to buy at the little service station on our way home from school.  Instead of blogging, though, I was spending my time with another L word.  My Loves.  Our family got together this weekend to celebrate a late Easter, and all thoughts of the A to Z Challenge went bye bye.  I'll try to do  better, I promise.

Here we are at the letter M.  Today I am remembering McClung Park.

Throughout grade school, McClung Park was the highlight of my school year.  Our school picnic was at McClung park. It was the one day each year when we could ditch our Parochial School uniforms and wear normal clothes.  Our poor teachers were given the task of trying to teach for a few hours in the morning, until we were finally let out grade by grade to walk to the park located a short distance away (1/2 mile or so).

I remember extreme weather - either very hot or very cold and wet.  I can still remember the excitement of holding on to my best friend's hand as we walked.  Getting to the park was half the excitement.  Once we got to the park, we were each given three tickets to be redeemed for treats.  I only remember them offering Popsicles  because that is what I always gobbled up.  We would go around and round on the merry-go-round until we were staggering like a drunk on a Saturday night.  Then on to the swings, jungle gym, and rolling down hills.  Finally we would each get picked up by our parents (or walk home), only to return later that evening, dressed in our prettiest dresses, to the pavilion for the school dance.

There was nothing sophisticated about the set up.  A record player would play music and everyone would dance with everyone else.  It was one big free-for-all.   I only remember two of the tunes playing those many years ago.  We'd put our left foot in, left foot out, and do the Hokey Pokey and turn ourselves about, over and over again.  There was only one dance we'd do more often than the Hokey Pokey.  That was the Bunny Hop.  Surely the Bunny Hop was the original line dance. We would line up, place our hands on the shoulder or waist of the person in front, and do what the lyrics said, trying not to lose grip as we hopped, hopped, hopped, snaking around the room.
Put your right foot forward
Put your left foot out.
Do the Bunny Hop.
Bunny, Hop, hop, hop!
Dance this new creation
It's the new sensation
Do the Bunny Hop
Bunny, Hop, hop, hop!
Let's all join in the fun
Father, mother, son
Do the Bunny Hop
Bunny, Hop, hop, hop!
Has anyone else done The Bunny Hop?  If not, get out there and find your inner child.  Live a little!

Friday, April 12, 2013

A to Z Challenge K

Today I am going to be remembering Knights of Columbus sponsored dances.  The Knights of Columbus is a Catholic men's organization dedicated to doing good deeds.  They good deeded themselves to death for us kids when we were in high school.

Our local K of C Council would sponsor dances after the Catholic High School home football games.  This was a big deal.   Almost everyone went to the football games, because win or lose, we knew there would be a dance afterwards.  As a member of the pep squad, I'd have to wear my uniform to the game.  But afterwards, friends would get together at one house or another to change into their coolest clothes and head downtown for the dance.

The hall was located in the upstairs of a two story building only a block from down town.  Every time I stood in line, slowly climbing the stairs with the rest of my friends to the dance hall, I tried desperately  not to be the giggly teenage girl I was.  Acting out with the rest of the 15 year olds, I always failed.  The men at the door would take our money (was it 50 cents?), stamp our hands, and let us inside, where we'd enter what I thought of as another world.  There were three or so local home grown bands that played at these dances.  Right now the only one I can think of is the Oviatt Brothers.  This amazes me, considering the hours I spent making banners advertising which band was going to play on any given weekend.  They played music like "Whiter Shade of Pale", "Twist and Shout", "Light My Fire", and "I Think We're Alone Now".  Thinking back, I'm wondering if any of the adults ever stopped to listen to the lyrics of any of these songs.  The strobe lights and black lights added to the already exciting atmosphere.  As the hall filled up, the windows that surrounded the rooms were opened to let the fresh Fall breezes in.  Now that I'm thinking about it, I don't think there were any screens on those windows.  Is that possible?  Overcome by shyness, I'd often sit on the sidelines most of the night, alternating between a smile pasted on my face, chattering with my girl friends, watching out of the corner of my eyes to see if anyone was heading our way, or plastering my face with a practiced look of "I don't care" boredom.  That is until 1969 - my Senior year.  Jim and I had met that summer and quickly became inseparable.  We attended every one of those K of C dances together.  My shyness evaporated like water on a hot summer day while we danced each and every dance.  Arms high in the air, we'd clap, stomp, twirl, and sway to the music of each and every song.

Today we are still holding each other tight, swaying through the music of life.  Thank you Knights of Columbus.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A to Z Challenge - J

Today for the A to Z  Challenge, I am going to be remembering about Just Looking.

Have I mentioned that things moved a tad bit slower in the 50's?  There were no strip malls, no supercenters, no super malls, and certainly no outlet malls.  There was no internet shopping.  Oh wait, internet?  What is that? What we did have were family run down town apparel stores, 5 & Dimes, family grocery stores, and hardware stores (family owned, of course).

If my memory serves me correctly, the down town stores were open from 9 to 5 every day, Monday through Saturday.  On Wednesdays and Fridays they stayed open until 9:00 pm.  There was no such nonsense as shopping on Sunday.  That was a day of church and rest.  All of this added up to a whole lot of just looking.

We would spend Saturday mornings cleaning house.  After that we would often head to the grocery store, and, if needed, downtown.  It was always fun to tag along and people watch.  We shopped at Lee's, a small grocery store on the corner of Dunklin and High Street.  This was before it became hoity toity, moving to a larger building on McCarty street.  I liked nothing better than hanging from the bars, purpose unknown, outside the store, and watch people  Often I'd know them.  They'd call my sister and me names like Forcky (mom's maiden name was Forck), or would mix our names up on purpose because we looked so much alike.

It was especially fun when we would head down town.  Sometimes mom would shop while I stayed in the car with dad.  I'd make up stories about everyone.  In my mind the teenagers were hopelessly in love.  Women were wearing shoes too tight for their feet, causing them to walk funny.  Men were all professionals, taking time out from their busy weeks to spend time with their families.  The kids were all getting everything they asked for.  I'm pretty sure all of this couldn't have been further from the truth, other than the shoes too small for the women's feet.  That was probably on the mark.  Then we would head to Southside Fabrics.  Oh my, I was in heaven. My love for material of all kinds began at a very young age.  We'd look, and look, and look.  It might take three or four trips before we would decide on just the right piece of material.

Church was also a time for just looking.  I know I was supposed to be praying, but there was a whole lot of looking going on.  The very first row was usually occupied by the family of a local Dr.  They had a daughter who was a few years younger than me.  I did a whole lot of just looking at her and her perfect hair, shoes and clothing.  Her mom had a fur coat that grossed me out.  Pews were not reserved, but they may as well have been, because nobody else had the nerve to occupy their spot. Ladies all wore hats to church, which was another source of wonderment and entertainment.  As I looked at them there were a whole lot of "what are they thinking?" thoughts going through my head.

I'll have to say that my favorite time for just looking was when the stores were closed and we'd go window shopping.  I loved looking into stores like Saffee's, Young Fashions, Jack and Jill Shop, Kress', Woolworth's, Burkel's Shoes, and American Shoes.  When I was just looking, the sky was the limit and I could afford it all.

Do you ever go Just Looking?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A to Z Challenge - Letter I

I had two remembering words for the letter I:  Ink pens and Ice Cream Man

It was difficult to choose between the two because of my early-on fascination with penmanship and pens of any sort and such an endearing childhood memory as the ice cream man, but the ice cream man won out.

I seem to remember the music blaring was Pop Goes the Weasel. Surely his playlist was more extensive than that?   He drove this four wheel cycle affair with a chest freezer on the back.  You could hear him coming a long ways off, giving us time to plead for that magical thin dime that would buy an ice cream bar.  My ice cream of choice was a Fudge Bar.  I can still taste the cold chocolate on my tongue in the heat of the sweltering days of summer.  All of the neighborhood kids would come running to the music of the ice cream man.  We secretly felt sorry for those that didn't, knowing they were either in trouble, or they didn't have an extra dime or two to spare that week.

I've lived in the country for over 30 years.  This prompts me to ask:  Does the ice cream man live on?  If not, what a shame. Such good memories.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A to Z Challenge Letter H

This post is going to be short and sweet.  For my theme of remembering, today I am going to remember my friend the Halo. When I was a little girl, my halo was tucked in my back pocket for whenever I needed it.  Mom would say, "Did you remember your halo?" I attended Catholic School, and the nuns were always asking us where our halos were whenever we'd misbehave.

I do believe I need to find that halo, dust it off, and start wearing it again.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A to Z Challenge - Letter G

Here we are into week two of the A to Z Challenge.  Be sure to click on the logo in my side bar to read other A to Z Challenge posts.  There are so many good ones to read, and I'm making new friends along the way.  Thank you to everyone who has stopped by so far.  I appreciate you.

Today's Remembering word is the letter G.  There are three things from my past that the letter G brought to mind.

I'm remembering Games today.  Being the uncoordinated runt who was always picked last for softball at recess, I was never any good at sports.  That never bothered me, though, because I knew if I were picking, I'd pick me last too.  But I was pretty good at other games.  Games like kick the can, hula hoop, hop scotch, hide and seek, jump rope, and red rover.

There was a concrete slab in front of our school perfect for drawing a hop scotch grids with colored chalk.  I  loved hopping one one foot, then two, then one, bend down and pick up a rock, and keep on going.  I was pretty good at tossing that rock just so to the number it needed to be on.  I'd look forward to the recess bell just so I could rush outside with my friends to hop, hop, hop.

As we got older, we graduated to the much more aggressive game of Red Rover.  "Red Rover, Red Rover, send Deanna right over" I'd run as hard and fast as I could to break through the joined hands of two members of the opposing team.  I loved playing that game, even if I did usually end up getting hurt.

Even though it was a pain to haul around, I'd take my hula hoop with me every chance I could.  I can still remember the feel of the hoop around my waist, then hips, then knees, then shimmy back up to under my arms, and then over my head, and back down again.  When I got tired of those antics, I'd roll the hoop out with just enough wrist action for it to come right back to me.  Boy did I think I was something.

Jump rope! There are so many ways to jump rope: alone, alone and then someone jumps in with you, with a skipping step, one foot, keeping two feet together, fast, slow, with a friend on each end, turning the rope for you.  We'd sing song  "I like coffee, I like tea, I like Deanna to come in with me." Then the two would jump together, the second person saying the rhyme. Then the first person would run out, and we'd start all over.

The neighborhood kids played kick the can and hide and seek a lot.  Occasionally we'd get to join in.   The can would sit in the middle of the street towards the top side and one team would start kicking it to get it past the other team to the end of the street.   Some of the older boys were pretty rough and tough, making the game a little dangerous.  Hide and seek was a blast, having an entire neighborhood to hide in.  That was one game my parents absolutely didn't like, because kids were running through everyone else's yards.  It sure was fun the few times we joined in, though.

I'd play card games like Old Maid and Slap Jack for hours on end.  By the end of a rowdy game of Slap Jack, my little hands would be as red as a tomato.  It was always fun to see who could pop the most Tiddlywinks into the little plastic cup.  Although I wasn't very good with the Yo Yo, my older brother could "walk the dog" and take a "trip around the world" with the best of them.

What games did you play when you were a kid?

Oh, by the way, my other Remembering G words were GoGo Girls and garter belts.  Aren't you glad I chose games?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Film and Flash Bulbs

F is for Film and Flashbulbs.

This morning I was looking through my computer, flash drives, and SD cards for some photos.  We don't think twice about snapping a picture multiple times.  You know, just in case the smile wasn't quite right the first time.  Until the advent of the digital age, we didn't have that luxury.  Not only did you have the cost of developing (it's not like you could look at the images and choose which to have developed), but there was the cost of the film itself and of the flashbulbs.  All of these costs added up to careful consideration of what and who to capture on film.  When mom was on the downward spiral with Alzheimer's, we found that the many boxes of photos and photo albums bothered her more than about anything else in the house.  She would look at them and lament just how much money had been spent over the years on those photos.  Thank you mom and dad for valuing capturing the memories when you did - dash the costs!

My dad was a camera buff.  We owe it to him that we have so many images of mom and dad's family and our childhood.  We would troop outside on Easter morning, proms, birthdays, and other events,  for family pictures.  We have many pictures of us with our cousins, again usually outside.  Dad's camera did have a flash attachment, but the best shots were always taken outdoors.

Easter 1963 - Tony, Deanna, Tom, Kathleen

I remember when Kodak came out with the instant camera.  It was a marvel.  So easy to use.  

Make that kind of easy to use.  The roll of film had to be placed just right on one side of the camera, and then the film stretch across the lens to the other side to be secured just so in the little cogs on the other side.  Then the camera was closed and a knob turned until the beginning of the roll was reached.  It was not an exact science.  I can recall many times taking precious pictures and then at the end of the day opening the back of the camera and realize I had not gotten the grooves and cogs lined up correctly.  Disaster!

How many of you can remember the blinding flash of the flash bulb?  Worse than that was the smell.  Events like family reunions, birthdays and weddings were enough to make you want to leave the room.  The smell of sulfur (at least that's what I think it was) was overpowering.

This is one good ol' day I would never want to return to.  But I'm so glad for the people like dad who loved taking pictures back then as much as I do today.  Give me digital all the way baby!

Friday, April 5, 2013

A to Z Challenge - Letter E

E is for Eight Track Tapes.

There was only one remembering that I could think of for the letter E.  Boy is it a doozy. 

I am remembering cruizin' the Boulevard, windows down, music blaring
Want some whiskey in your water
Sugar in your tea
What's all these crazy questions they askin' me
This is the craziest party there could ever be
Don't turn on the lights, 'cause I don't want to see

Mama told me not to come
Mama told me not to come
That ain't the way to have fun, no

How dare our generation criticize the lyrics of today's music!  Three Dog Night Captured Live at the Forum was one of Jim's favorite Eight Tracks, so it became one of mine by osmosis.  We listened to everything, though.  Some of our favorites were The Carpenters, Willie Nelson, Fleetwood Mac, Journey, Hank William, Kenny Rogers, The Eagles, Moody Blues,...

Our eight track player was retrofitted on a metal rack that hung under the dash of  Jim's '63 Chevy.  It was a real knee buster.  The tapes themselves were not very reliable.  Often the player would "eat" the tape, pulling it out of the case, creating a mess that had to be tediously wound back inside - if we were lucky.  The music would skip and warble where the tape had become damaged.  But our ears forgave every little flaw as we sang to the tunes of our generation.

We've only just begun to live
White lace and promises
A kiss for luck and we're on our way
(We've only begun)

Before the risin' sun, we fly
So many roads to choose
We'll start out walkin' and learn to run
And yes, we've just begun

Sharing horizons that are new to us
Watching the signs along the way
Talkin' it over, just the two of us
Workin' together day to day

And when the evening comes, we smile
So much of life ahead
We'll find a place where there's room to grow
And yes, we've just begun

Sharing horizons that are new to us
Watching the signs along the way
Talkin' it over, just the two of us
Workin' together day to day

And when the evening comes, we smile
So much of life ahead
We'll find a place where there's room to grow
And yes, we've just begun
Songwriter(s): Paul H. Williams, Roger S. Nichols

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A to Z Challenge Day 4

Well, here we are.  Day four of the A to Z Challenge. 

My choices for today were Dime Stores, Drive-In Theatres, Dick and Jane, and Dolls.

This was a tough one because I have such vivid memories about all of them, but I'm going to go with... (drum roll....)


The magical Drive-In.  It is such a shame that it is a thing of the past.

We had two drive-in-theatres in our town.  One was built in the Missouri River bottoms and the other at the outskirts of town (which now happens to be anything but the outskirts of town). 

The first movie I saw at the drive-in was Shane.  Yes, "Shane, come home...".  I don't really remember it.  What I do remember was the excitement.  "We're going to the drive-in, we're going to the drive-in!".  Dad popped pop corn and filled a small paper sack for each one of us.  For some reason I don't think mom came along.  We went to the Missouri River bottoms theatre.  This was the "good" theatre.  The other one tended to show not so family friendly shows, if you know what I mean. This was before the G to X rating system, but let me tell you, my parents had their own system and it was a strict one. 

I remember the sounds of children playing on the playground equipment, although it was off limits to us.  I remember the smells of the concession stand, thinking how cool it would be to be able to walk up to the window and order a hamburger and fries.  But we were perfectly content with our little bags of popcorn.  I thought it was so cool when dad attached the speaker to the partially rolled down window.  Cars were bigger in those days.  I'm pretty sure we were in a '52 Chevy, although how a detail like that would stick in my mind, is beyond me.  It was hard to see over the front seat... and it was sweltering hot in that river bottom .  One of the downside were the mosquitoes, which is why the windows weren't rolled down all the way. 

Many years late, Jim and I tackled the fun times of drive-in theatre dates.  Oh what times we had!  I'll spare you most of the details (my kids read my blog, you kow).  A couple of antics stand out in my mind, though.

In those days, we had very little date money.  I do mean VERY little.  Jim drove a Karmann ghia.  It had a tiny little trunk that could be accessed from outside or inside the car.  Inside there was a little latch that dropped the back seat down.  He was known as the guy who went to the drive-in movies alone.  Since I was a tiny little thing back in the day, I'd crawl into that tiny little trunk and hide.  Once he was parked well away from the ticket takers, he'd release the latch inside and I'd climb into the front seat.  We were such juveniles.


Then it was early Winter.  Since Jim's Karmann ghia didn't have a heater in it, we had borrowed his dad's old Studebaker Station Wagon. As with most movies we went to during those teen years, I don't remember the movie at all. Studebakers had what I think of as "little rear windows" that would slide, rather than roll down. That is the window we used to put the speaker cord through. As the credits of this unnamed movie rolled, we began the process of defogging the windows and replacing the speaker on its pole outside the car. There was a huge problem. The window had frozen shut on the cord. No matter what we tried, we could not slide that window away. Finally, out of desperation, Jim took his pocket knife, cut the cord, opened the car door and replaced the speaker on the pole. We drove away fast, like we were criminals.  Like I said, we were such juveniles.
The theatre on the Boulevard where the naughty and scary movies played was located down from the Dairy Queen.  Saturday nights found the DQ a very busy place.  Our High School crowd were known to park their cars facing the movie screen and sit on the hoods slurping ice cream cones, trying to catch a glimpse of the action.  No sound was needed to understand what was going on in THOSE movies!
Up next for Day 5 of the A to Z Challenge is the letter E.  I have only one choice for remembering the good ol' days.  Any guess what it might be?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A to Z Challenge Day 3 - The Letter C

Here we are, day three of the A to Z Challenge, with my theme being Remembering.

Today my Remember is Cards in Bicycle Spokes.  What child of the 50's didn't attach cards to their bicycle spokes for the cool factor?

We lived on a cul-de-sac where children spent their summer days playing in the street.  You heard me right.  Playing in the street.  It was a much simpler time.  There were fewer cars since it was rare for a family to own more than one, so traffic wasn't an issue on our quiet little street.   I'll have to admit that we were a bit more restricted in our activities than the other neighborhood children, but we did get to play some.  One of my favorite memories is of hopping on my bicycle and peddling as fast as I could to the top of the hill, then back down even faster with the sound clicking in my ears of playing cards attached to the spokes with a clothes pin.  Some of the kids used baseball cards, which seemed to make a much louder clicking sound and increased the cool factor exponentially.

So this memory is about summer, ice cold cool aid, and bicycle cards!  There were no video games, television shows, or computers to distract us and keep us inside.  Things weren't always easy growing up, but in so many ways they really were the good old days.

My choices for tomorrow are: Dime Stores, Drive-In Theaters, Dick and Jane, or Dolls

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Day 2 (April 2) A to Z Remembering - B is the letter of the day

So how did you do on guessing yesterday's challenge choices? 

Day two of the April A to Z Challenge.  My choices were Barbie Dolls, Big Chief Tablet, and Black and White TV, and Bath Time..

Bath Time is my remembering of the day.

Since there was only a shower in our little apartment, this sink is where I bathed until we moved when I was five years old.  Above the sink (wouldn't you love a sink like this today?) was a nice big window.  As I got older, modesty set in and oh how I hated bath time.  I was so scared the cute little boy next door would look through that window.  I have to smile as I think back and wonder at myself as to what exactly I thought anyone watching was going to see.  Oh, the good ol' days.


Up next for Day 3 of the A to Z Challenge is the letter C: Candy Cigarettes, Cards in Bicycle Spokes, Cars.

So what do you supposed I'll choose? Any guesses?


Monday, April 1, 2013

A is for Apple Tree

Day one of the A to Z challenge.

My choices were Apple Tree, Aluminum Christmas Trees, and Adjustable Roller Skates. 

All three are a blast from my past, but the apple tree won.  It is one of my earliest childhood memories. 

This memory appeases all of my senses.

Our family lived on the lower level of my Grandma's house.  Outside our front door was a concrete slab where we could sit and play by a level side yard that quickly sloped down into what, at the time, seemed to me to be a steep hill.  At the bottom of that hill I could SEE the APPLE TREE.  In my young mind everything revolved around that apple tree.

I can still FEEL the roughness of the bark as I climbed up to my perch in that tree.  We spent hours there.  My older brother and sister on the higher branches and me, the youngest, on the lower ones.  We would play telephone, using tin cans on a string.

"Ring, ring.    Hello.   Not you! I was calling Tom.  Ring, ring.   Hello.  Hi Tom, what are you doing?   (I think he was usually "making things" and certainly not interested our little parties).  So, Ring, ring.  Hello.  Hi Kathleen.  Can you HEAR me? Yeah?    Close your other ear.  Now can you still hear me?    You wanna play?"  It seemed the nonsense went on forever. 
I can still SMELL those apples as they ripened.  They were small and tart to the TASTE.  I was always fearful of the ever present worms.  I seem to remember they were not good for anything other than to let them fall to the ground to rot.
Down that gently sloping (steep) hill I went as I tried to ride my brother's little bike.  My skill set certainly did not include knowing how to brake.  So, I headed straight for my friend, the apple tree.  I'm pretty sure that, though everyone came running, I didn't get hurt.  In my young five year old mind, that apple tree saved me.   And that, my friends, is why A is for Apple Tree.
Day two of A to Z Challenge:  My choices are Barbie Dolls, Big Chief Tablet, Black and White TV, and Bath Time
Any guesses on what I'm going to choose?