Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Aunt Mary

This photo was taken when I was about 9 at the end of my street, Woodland Ave., in Cheltenham, PA. It was on the first Sunday in May and we were either just going to or coming from the annual May Procession at our church, Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Only the children who received their Holy Communion that year were able to wear their veils and white dresses. The rest of us could wear our white dresses, if they fit, but we had to wear the flowers wreath. If they didn't fit, we wore our Easter dresses. It was very colorful! I have no idea what the boys wore, probably suits. The procession started by the door to the school and went around the block to the front entrance to the church. Then there was a Mass.

Aunt Mary was my absolute favorite! She was about 65 when this picture was taken, although she always told me that she was "about" 45. One memory I have of her involves jumping rope. It had to be about the time of this picture. The older girls up the street were trying to teach me to jump rope, double dutch, but I was having a hard time getting the hang of it. One day, when she was visiting, I got Aunt Mary to help me learn how to jump rope, double dutch. She didn't know how, but was willing to turn the rope. Mom turned the rope too, but she couldn't jump either. As the only jumper who was willing to jump, but could not do double dutch, I got frustrated quickly.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mountains everywhere

I have been to the west many times. Years ago, I drove over the Rockies into California from Nevada at dawn and was amazed by the mist and sunlight. Still have a hard time describing it. It was glittery and bright, then shady and moist in no particular order. The mist held close to the ground, but when it rose, it left moisture on the window that defied the windshield wipers.

This trip to the west, I expected to find the mist and coolness in Seattle. But was surprised by a lot of sun and light breezes. It did rain the last day that we were there, but we had three beautiful, memorable days. We saw Mt. Rainier from the coast of the bay. Watched the ferries cross to the islands and return. And watch some really big ships come and go in the bay.

In Utah, I was especially drawn to the mountains this time. I stopped in the parking lot at the airport just to take a good look at them. They seem to surround the area, higher in the east and north and lower in the west. I wondered if we lived there would we become imuned to their beauty? Would we use them only as a point of reference when traveling? Or would we still sit on the porch and watch the clouds gather around them and the sun rise and set on them?

The picture above is heading east out of Orem toward Sundance, just past Bridal Vail Falls. The falls were just a trickle as everything above was still frozen. We drove up Sundance almost all the way. The lifts were there, but there were no skiers. It was a beautiful day, sunny and not terribly cold. And there was plenty of snow. There was a creek that ran by the road that had a lot of ice on its shores, but was running pretty fast. Lauren pointed out where she and Beck went skiing. But the road was narrow and windy so we left.

Next time, I hope that we can go in later in the spring or summer and get a good look at the mountains. Maybe even go for a hike.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Kitty cat! Kitty cat! Kitty, Kitty, Kitty cat!

Snowy, Germantown, TN, 1989

Snowy, Germantown, TN, 1989

Snowy, Marshall, about 10 years old

Dad, with beard, Ann Arbor, and Fido, 2006

Spike, Ann Arbor, Christmas, 2008

Pets were not a big deal for us when you kids were little. We had tried a dog when we lived on Westminister, but he kept running away and that got old. We also acquired a kitten who was sickly, which we gave away not long after she arrived.

Snowy was the only pet I wanted to have. But Beth "saved" Spike and Fido from the "crack house" in Marshall. And now we have two kitties, one of whom loves Dad and only Dad. She cries pitifully when he is out of town for a few days. When he returns, she follows him, talks to him, and waits patiently for him to "spank" her. The girl needs some perspective on this "love the Dad" thing. It's almost embarrassing!

Spike is happy to be petted by everyone except Johnny-boy. When he is well-scratched and contented, he slobbers all over the place.

All in all, having kitties has been a good experience for eveyone, I think. We have learned to make sure that they are taken care of, safe, and that they don't get outside. When you were little, it helped you to identify with someone smaller and less capable than you. But Snowy and now Spike and Fido love us unconditionally, and share their purrs and softness with us all.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Nina and Johnny's Birthday

Nina's due date was at the end of 1978. That year December 31 fell on a Sunday. Dad went into church for early meetings, and told everyone that we were having a baby today (!). When I showed up later, they were very concerned. "You should be home resting." "What are you going to do when labor really starts?" "John said that the baby would be born today!" I said that John was dreaming and there was no way she would make it today. He wanted to tax break, but Nina did not agree.

She made it on January 3, which was a terribly cold day. We had three days in the hospital in a semi-private room. In those days, they provided a steak dinner on the day that you left the hospital for you and your husband. I could not sit long enough for Dad to finish chewing all of the bones and licking the plate. So, I went back to bed.

We had only been in Michigan for a few month before she was born. I was not a fan of the cold. We stayed home almost all of the time until Spring came. And even then, I bundled everyone up before we went out.

Nina was so thrilled that she was going to have a baby brother on her birthday. She was 6 at the time. She insisted that he was going to be born on her birthday. The doctor put his birthdate at December 25. Well, December 25 came and went. And Nina was still insisting. I have to admit to being a bit cranky, what with being overdue and all. Back in the day, they did not induce on your due data, if you had not delivered on your own. You waited. It is exactly 10 days from December 25 to January 3. It was a long wait. But then, on January 2 near midnight, my water broke. We raced to the hospital fearing that he would be born in the car. But labor stopped, and started a number of times. At one point, Dad said that he was very tired and he wanted go home to bed for awhile. I could call him when I was really ready to have him. No, I said, if I was there and awake, he could be there and awake. It was about 5 am when the boy finally made his appearance. We had a private room in the new wing of Foote Hospital for three days. It was again terribly cold, but we were snug and warm.