Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
I apologize for not acknowledging your comments sooner. I thought I had my blogspot set up to let me know by e-mail when a comment was recorded; such is evidently not the case because I have to go back and look at each post each day in the off-chance that someone has visited and left a message. I'll have to get that problem corrected -- the present situation is not acceptable.
Bob B. - I've just discovered your comments on Posts 8 & 2. Thank you very much. I am a great admirer of The Prairie Home Companion and Mr. Keillor, but have lived in ignorance of the fact that they have a web site. I'll visit it soon, and I'll be sure to read your entries; your writing is admirable.
Paula, CountryGirl, Ranch Wife, Jennifer, Cottonpicker -- Thanks for your kind comments, ladies. I enjoy your blogs and glimpses into a life I might have had if God had not taken me in another direction (from New Mexico to Arkansas!) A part of me misses the great outdoors, especially New Mexico, where I spent my formative years (age 6 - 16), but most of me is quite content to have worked indoors in a nice air-conditioned bank for most of my life.
I hope you're all having a wonderful weekend!
Friday, April 25, 2008
If you read my first post, you know that I am a 73 yr. old woman. Many a tub, line or dryer-full of laundry has passed through my hands in the last 60+ years (Mama trusted me with doing the family washing from the time I was 9 or 10). Until I was a teenager, however, Mama always did the family ironing.
Keep in mind, when I was a kid, there were NO wash and wear, NO polyester, NO permanent press-tumble-dry-low types of material in our clothing. Just about everything was cotton; stiff, wrinkly, durable cotton. What wasn't cotton was linen or that new-fangled rayon (which could be carefully hand-washed) or wool, which was not washed. However, about the only wool clothing in our family were some blankets, our winter coats and Daddy's suits, and I suppose those went to a dry cleaning establishment.
Oh, lest I forget -- how could I? -- there were no automatic washing machines or gas or electric clothes dryers, either. Our laundering was done in a General Electric wringer washer in the following manner:
1. gather and sort the clothes (white, light, dark, work clothes);
2. fill the washing machine with hot water (getting the hot water is another story entirely!), and the three #2 galvanized rinsing tubs with cool water;
3. grate the P & G bar soap into the machine tub, and let it agitate until it made suds (this was before Tide and the like);
4. add clothes, starting with whites, of course (each pile of clothes was washed separately in the same way) and agitate;
5. put clothes through the wringer from the washing machine into the first rinse water, pummel up and down with scrawny hands and arms-- which by the time the laundry was done were more wrinkled than the clothes;
6. swing the wringer around, wring into the second rinse tub, pummel, swing the wringer, wring into the Mrs. Stewart's Bluing rinse, pummel again, swing the wringer, and wring for the last time);
7. put into a basket and carry to the clothes line (which had to be wiped down, first);
8. hang clothes in a specific order with clothes pins, let dry, take down, fold into a basket and bring into the house.
Oh, I forgot a step -- some clothes had to be STARCHED, too! Learning which items got the Faultless Starch was an early lesson: only Daddy's shirts, and some of our blouses, skirts or dresses. I made a few misteps before learning just what did NOT get starched!
Gosh, I've just reviewed what I've written and you'd think this post should be about why I don't like to wash clothes, but I love to do laundry (thank goodness it's easier these days), but don't like to iron.
I think I'll save the ironing story for Part Two! I'm worn out just remembering all this stuff.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
We were living in Las Vegas, NM, in a ground-floor apartment carved out of the home of one Colonel Henry (the only name by which I ever knew the man.) Although I don't recollect exactly, I'm sure our quarters were small and pretty cramped, only what Daddy could afford on what he earned. Although Mama had been an experienced secretary and bookkeeper before she and Daddy married, she didn't work, of course. Married women with children just didn't, in that day and age. Besides, in the small community of Las Vegas, jobs were probably few and far between.
Mama was a church-going woman, and a Southern Baptist, to boot, so I'm sure we girls and Mama were in church about every time the doors were open. On Wednesday evening, April 9, we had a rare treat; the church pastor personally came to take us girls to the Wednesday evening service (for some reason, Mama stayed home) -- in his car, so we didn't have to walk. A real treat! Our family owned a vehicle, a 1937 black Chevy 4-door sedan, but Daddy had it all week up in the mountains at the CCC camp. After the service, the pastor drove us back to Colonel Henry's house, and I recall that Daddy came outside and spoke a few hushed words to the pastor through the open window of the car. Why Daddy was home in the middle of the week was a bit of a puzzlement, but we didn't worry about it much, because the pastor told us he was taking us back home with him to spend the night! Great treat!
The parsonage of the Baptist Church in Las Vegas was part and parcel of the church, being an apartment of sorts located in the tower of the church building. There were only one or two rooms on each floor, and I think the tower was about three stories high. Although I don't recall the layout exactly, I do remember that the bedrooms were on an upper floor, and in one of those, the pastor's wife put all three of us girls into a bed, Carol being snuggled between me and Meg.
I don't recall the passage of the night, or whether we had breakfast at the parsonage, but the next morning, the pastor drove us back home, where we were greeted by an tired Daddy, an exhausted Mama and a new baby brother, Edward Wilson Griffith!
It took me several years to figure out why Daddy was home and why Mama didn't go to church that night!
More about Eddie in subsequent posts. Ta! for now.
I've said before that certain words/sounds, etc. often trigger my Poetry Muse. While Michele's blog did not trigger anything, the title of her blog reminded me of a poem I wrote years before I discovered her posts.
Quite unexpectedly, I saw your picture
Printed in the local paper; and
Underneath, a simple statement:
"Mr. and Mrs. Jones announce
The marriage of their daughter to...."
I carefully removed the photograph and text
And placed it on the last page of our album
Just opposite the snapshot of the two of us
Standing side by side with arms entwined,
Our faces lifted to each other.
As with tear-dimmed eyes I closed the book,
I realized that even paper cuts.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Background and details:
My father's mother, Mary Varches Woodall Griffith, a widow, lived on the family farm outside of Fall River, in Elk County, Kansas. I think it must have been the practice of my father, her only male child, to spend a few weeks each year going home to help out his mama, and his sister, my Aunt Minnie, who lived with Grandma. At the time (pre-WW II), we lived in Las Vegas, NM. Daddy worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps, a sort of Job Corps organization which the government formed during the depression. They built dams and worked in forests, among other things. He was a supervisor in a CCC camp north of Las Vegas, the location of which is buried in my memory at present (well, I was only about 5 years old at the time, and can't recall ever visiting the camp.)
Anyway, this particular summer, Daddy had taken with him myself and and my younger sister, Meg, who would have been around 3 years old. I cannot imagine!! Aunt Minnie, who did all the real work on the homestead, I suspect, was probably horrified to think she was going to have two under-6-years-old children running around the place.
As I recall, Daddy's chores for that visit were to paint the barn (I still like the color barn-red) and to install electricity in the farm house. The REA (Rural Electrification Administration) had just run a main line on the county road which ran in front of the farm house; if one wanted electricity to the house, that sort of work was on your own, I suspect. At the time, after the sun went down, all the Griffith family had in the way of lighting was kerosene lamps. I remember that Aunt Minnie carried a lamp from the kitchen to the dining room table so we could see to eat supper. I know beyond doubt that the family ate three meals a day, but I don't recall any meals during our stay except this one.
At the time of this visit, which I think would have been the summer of 1940, Grandma was almost 72 years old (she was born in 1868). She was a tiny, tiny woman, very thin, and less than five feet tall. (More about Grandma being tiny, tiny in a subsequent post.) However, Grandma still made every bite of bread that was served in the house, and it was the very BEST bread I have ever eaten -- ever, ever, ever! *** My younger daughters come pretty close with their homemade bread, but they have several years of bread-making to get under their belts before they top Grandma! ***
Grandma and Aunt Minnie evidently kept a milk cow, because Grandma churned some of the cream to make butter. She didn't use a regular churn, one that sits on the floor and has a dasher that one pulls up and pushes down. Instead, she used a very large Mason jar; it must have been at least a 1/2 gallon jar (I also remember that the root cellar was full of Mason jars full of canned vegetables.) Anyway, Grandma would almost fill the jar with sweet cream, screw on the metal lid, then sit in the kitchen in her rocking chair with the jar, wrapped in a dishtowel and lying on its side, in her lap and ROCK until the cream had turned to butter! I remember standing by her side watching the cream turn to butter! I thought it was magic!
After the butter had been gathered, the remaining liquid, either still in that jar or in a new jar, was lowered into the well to cool. (No electricity, remember? Ergo, no refrigerator. I can't recall that they even had an ice-box.)
Daddy worked outside until it was too dark to see, so supper was after dark. We ate in the dining room by the light of a kerosene lamp. I can still see in my mind's eye, the red-checkered oil cloth-covered table and the glow of the lamp on the strawberry preserves. A very simple supper, but one I will always, always remember!
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Horse & Rider: Stamp Studio, Inc.
Sentiment: Rubber Monger
Paper: Stampin' Up! "Outlaw" (retired)
Ink: SU - Chocolate Chip, Really Rust, Creamy Caramel
Other: SU Linen Thread
Card is 5-1/2" sq.
One spring afternoon several years ago, I had been working at the computer for a couple of hours and needed a break. I went to the kitchen to fix something to drink. It was raining briskly and as I stood by the stove, I could hear the rain drumming on the pipe that leads from my Vent-a-Hood. At the time, I was over 60 years old, but the sound of that rain triggered a memory -- and a poem.
REMEMBRANCES OF RAIN - 1997
Rain, especially when blown by a west wind,
Plays melodious chimes on the metal vents
Protruding from my roof. I listen, and
Although I am now old, and city-bound,
My undirected thoughts leap back through time
To the loft of our tin-roofed barn
Where I spent rainy weekends
With my favorite book in hand,
Snuggled down in sweet, loose hay,
Munching on raw peanuts picked from shocks
That Dad had stored nearby.
First, I'd read, lying on my belly,
Squinting my eyes a bit to take
Advantage of the moist, gray light
That drifted through the loft door,
Turning the pages of my book in
Counterpoint to the rhythm of the rain
As it beat against the old tin roof
With the briskness of a snare-drum.
Then, when the rhythm slowed, and
Soft rain played the calm, low notes
Of lullabies, I'd doze; storing up
The memories created by books and rain,
Against the dry tomorrows of my life.
This poem will always be very, very special to me. Not because I think it's so great, or anything, but because a dear friend (my Other Mother, Mary P.) liked it so much that she instructed her only son that it be printed in the pamphlet used at her Memorial Service. I cannot begin to tell you how deeply that affected me. Mary P., who was one of the most brilliant women I've ever met, had been a great reader, but had lost most of her vision by the time she died. When I first read the poem to her, she said she could certainly relate to "the dry tomorrows" of her life.
More about Mary P. at a later time. I said these would be random recollections.
For the past couple of months, I've spend an inordinate part of my waking hours reading other people's web logs. Most have a common thread: the art and craft of rubber stamping. However, along with the inspiring photos of their creations, tutorials, tips and tricks, and "enabler" links to vendors of whom I had never before heard, most have taken time to share something of their daily life, present or past, and their hopes and dreams for their futures. Serendipitous benefits of all my browsing in the rubber stamping-related blogs have been the many links to other blogs, some of which have nothing to do with rubber stamping at all. They are fascinating!
It's the discovery of those other sites which has encouraged me to begin my own journal of remembrances. At age 73, I am still blessed to have a good memory that, at present, goes back quite a long way. I decided that while I still have that capacity, I'll jot down a few random remembrances of my life, along with some current happenings. Fear not! I'm not going to post a chronological listing of all my life's events. Some are best forgotten, anyway!
Perchance I'll even become brave enough to share some of my own attempts at art with the Internet community. I hope at some time my remembrances will be of interest to my family, and perhaps to others, as well. I don't make any assurances that they will be "fascinating," however!