Monthly Archives: March 2013
Sometimes, I get a goofy thought running around in my head, and it just doesn’t go away, until you finally let your mind go ahead and explore it. One of those thoughts that have done that for me is whether or not clouds look the same looking down as they do looking up. I’ve flown many times, but I never really gave much thought to that possible difference, until I was looking at a picture taken from a plane. When you look down on the clouds, the ground looks dark and it makes the clouds look very white. Looking at the same kind of cloud from the ground it takes on a totally different look. I suppose this is an odd thought, but if you look at the clouds, you will see what I mean.
Sometimes the clouds are so fluffy, they look like mountain tops from the air. You could almost feel like you could step out of the plane and stand on them. In fact, when my boss, Jim, Bob and I went for a trip from Casper to Custer, South Dakota, in a plane that Jim used to have, he let me fly the plane for a short time, and the clouds looked so much like mountains, that the plane was climbing, because I was lining the plane up with the clouds in the distance. It was very surprising to me that the clouds to take on that look to the extent that I had the plane climbing.
Sometimes, the clouds can be so transparent that you can almost see through them…from the ground or the air. They look like lace across the sky. Transparent enough to see through, and yet if you fly through them, they are like smoke. If you go through a rain cloud in a plane, the rain might come at you sideways, because you are going at such a speed that you go through the clouds from the side. It really is amazing. So, have you ever wondered…
Through the 38 years of my marriage to Bob, I can’t begin to count the number of knitted, crocheted, and sewn gifts our family has been blessed with. My mother-in-law had such talent and creativity. I had a heavy sweater with my favorite activity at the time, bowling on it. My kids had everything from Strawberry Shortcake to skating to unicorns on theirs. And of course, each time they outgrew one, they got a new one. Bob had one with a sports car on it. These sweaters are warm enough to be a coat. In fact, I didn’t buy a coat for any of us for years. She made afghans, dish cloths, pot holders, and so much more. We were so blessed to have all the things she made.
For many years, my sisters-in-law, Debbie and Brenda, my mother-in-law, my father-in-law, put their crafts in the multiple craft fairs around town and did quite well on sales with them. Everyone of them made things that were different from the others. And we have all benefited from all of them. It is always such a blessing when you don’t have to buy the things you need, because someone loves you enough to just give you the things you need.
My mother-in-law has been doing these things for most of her married life of 63 years, and in reality, still does them…but now it is in her memory. If you ask her what she did today, she will tell you that she made a few dish cloths. You might as well not argue with her, because in reality she did. She may not have used a crochet hook and yarn, but she did crochet the dish cloths. She uses the end of her shirt, and the oxygen tubing that she is holding. You might have to look closely, but if you do, you can see that she is wrapping the yarn around an imaginary hook, and she is very careful not to lose a stitch. If you ask her to do something with her hands, she really can’t, because letting go of her crocheting would result in lost stitches. The only solution is t o remove the crocheting from her hands, while reassuring her that you will make sure you don’t lose any stitches, and then she will do what you are asking…at least until her crocheting miraculously comes back into her hands again.
Bob’s great grandparents, Edgar and Nellie Knox, had 5 sons, and no daughters. For Nellie, that meant a lot of years around boys, and boys things. It isn’t the worst situation in the world, and she loved her sons after all, but like households with all daughters, it is a bit lopsided. Usually, the odd man out, whether father or mother, doesn’t totally mind that situation, because they often feel a little bit special. They seem to be doted upon a lot of the time. I know this, because that’s how it was in our family. My dad was the only male in the house, and while he always treated our mom like a queen, something that has always made me think of him as one of the last of a dying breed of men. As for his girls, mom, my sisters, and me, well, we always doted on Dad. When he got home from work, we were all excited. We made sure his dinner was ready, because he worked so hard. You know, just making him feel like the king of the castle. Not that we didn’t get in trouble, or rebel now and then, but we tried to make his homecomings special. Still, the thing that he wouldn’t have in his life for many years was a son, or for my dad, a son-in-law.
Sometimes, those in-laws can be a real problem. They don’t get along with the mother-in-law, or the mother-in-law really didn’t want to suddenly have girls in the family. They like their specialness. I have been blessed with a wonderful mother-in-law, and of course, she had daughters and sons, so I didn’t come as a culture shock to her either. Bob’s great grandmother was such a sweet person, as were the daughters-in-law that I have had the pleasure of knowing. They seemed to genuinely love each other.
I have talked to many people about their in-laws, and while most like their in-laws, some have said their in-laws are a nightmare. I think that is so sad…for both of them. I believe there is something good in most people. I know that there are some that are horrible, but on the average I think most are good. Nevertheless, as daughters-in-law go, Bob’s great grandmother’s daughters-in-law were wonderful people, as was she. It may have been a culture shock at first, but once they got used to it, I think it was wonderful for all of them.
My Aunt Laura was born 10 years before the rest of her siblings, and so was an only child for those 10 years. I have often wondered about the historical changes that took place during those 10 years. She was born just a 4 months after the RMS Titanic sunk, and the world was still reeling from the devastating loss of life, and trying to figure out how to make sure such a tragedy never happened again. Travel by ship has changed immensely since that time, and a lot by 1922, when my Uncle Bill was born. No, that doesn’t mean that there are no ship wrecks, and that lives lost at sea have been reduced to zero, but the people on ships have a better chance of surviving, simply because the radios are never turned off. They are manned 24 hours a day, so that emergency calls can go out and be received. Had that been the case in 1912, the 1,502 lives lost might have been saved. No one was killed in the initial collision. A radio call could have changed everything, but the nearest ship…the SS Californian never heard the distress call, because the radio had been turned off for the night. The inadequate number of lifeboats on the RMS Titanic would have been enough to ferry all the passengers to safety, had the SS Californian heard the call. That loss changed much about ocean travel, and those changes took place during those 10 years when my Aunt Laura was an only child, and her younger siblings would not know a time without those safety regulations in place…not that they would affect them any.
In early 1912, just months before my Aunt Laura turned 2, New Mexico became the 47th state, on January 6, 1912, and Arizona became the 48th state, on February 14, 1912. Our nation would continue to have only 48 states until 1959, when on January 3rd, Alaska, and on August 21, Hawaii joined the Union. Aunt Laura probably didn’t remember a time when there were only 46 states, much like I, at 2 and then 3, don’t remember having only 48 states, but nevertheless, history tells us that we lived in a time when that was so. Aunt Laura’s siblings, like my own little sisters, except Caryl who lived when there were only 49 states for a few months, since she was 4 months old when Alaska became a state, lived in a time when there were more states than when their older siblings were born.
Just one week before my Aunt Laura’s 4th birthday, the United States would be drawn into World War I. The beginning of the war was probably something that didn’t make much difference to her, but by it’s official end, on November 11, 1918, she was old enough to know what it was all about, and may have even known someone who lost a loved one in the fighting. World War I was just another piece of history by the time my aunt’s younger siblings were born, and I’m sure hearing about it through the years had little effect on them, unlike their older sister. World War II would be a very different matter for the younger siblings, as they would all be involved in that war in one way or another.
There were many things that my Aunt Laura experienced, that her younger siblings did not. Much of it was without her having any real knowledge of it, but looking back, she would always know it was so. Just like I find it very odd to know that during my lifetime, ships have sunk, wars have been fought, and states have been added to make us the 50 United States that we know today, I’m sure she sometimes marveled at the difference ten years can make.
During the Civil War, when so many of the young men were away fighting, the War Department made a call “to the Union-loving women of America on behalf of those noble fellows who have dedicated themselves to their country.” Many of the nation’s women quickly responded to the call, and the Ladies Aide Society was born. They held fund raising luncheons and suppers, where they accepted cash donations to purchase supplies for the hospitals where the soldiers were being treated. War wounds were only a part of the causes of death from the battles, in fact more than half of the men who died, were taken down by germs and unsanitary conditions. The efforts of the amazing women of the Ladies Aide Societies went a long way toward saving men who might otherwise have died.
Women had always been considered too weak and delicate to be exposed to the horrors of war, yet, they provided much of the supplies that gave the hospitals the ability to use fresh sanitary bandages and such to treat the men. Many of the women were not content to merely pine away for their men, fighting in the war, they wanted to do something to help out. Their contributions of supplies, food, clean clothes and nursing services fought disease. Something as simple as a new blanket sent from home could replace one that was infested with disease, possibly saving a life. Little did these women, or anyone else for that matter, know how important their efforts would be. What started with a few women, meeting in someone’s home trying to do something for their loved ones, grew into a nationwide effort, and in the end, no one doubted the ability of these women, who were thought to be far too delicate to see some of the things they saw.
Many young men didn’t come home from the war, because of the horrible injuries and the horrible conditions, but there were a lot more that came home than because of the efforts of these brave women who gave of themselves to make the conditions better for these soldiers. I seriously doubt if women were thought of as too delicate again after they showed just how strong they were in the Ladies Aide Societies of this nation.
Since the beginning of this country, its citizens have been moving. We are a nation of pioneers. We came from many other countries to start a new life in a new land, and we seldom settle down in the place where we started, although, some do. Some of the pioneers in this country seemed, almost out of place in their new surroundings. When I look at pictures of some of my family’s ancestors, such as Mary DeGood, my husband’s great great grandmother, I see a woman, who had the innocence of many people had who started out life in the eastern part of our country, and later a strength that comes from living in the west. Many pioneer women seemed to take on the roughness of the west when they moved in the mid to late 1800’s, and there is nothing wrong with that, because it took a tough woman to make it in the west, just like it took tough men to make it in the west. Many of the people who came out west, couldn’t make it. They didn’t have the strength of character, or the physical stamina to handle this rugged country. Those who weren’t tough enough, went back home.
Bob’s great great grandmother had those qualities, and many people seemed to realize it, because she was well known and respected in the town of Prosser, Washington. It isn’t often that a woman is considered a pioneer in a community, but she was. Mostly, it is the men we think of when we think of pioneers, but where would those men have been without their wives. While they probably wouldn’t admit it to their wives and families. They were the main reason men headed out west…to find a better life for them and their families.
Still, it was a rare man who really made a good life in the west alone. They may have started out alone, but before long they knew they didn’t want to go on alone. That was a wise man for sure. Bob’s great great grandparents married and soon headed out west, finally settling in Prosser,Washington. The people of Prosser considered them to be pioneers of their town. They were respected and revered, and upon their passing, they were given a pioneer’s send off. A pioneer’s last call.
As I have been going through the pictures from my grandmother’s album, I keep coming across pictures with life sized dolls in them. I know that all little girls like dolls, but these dolls seem to have some special significance to them, as they were so often included in the pictures, and even photographed by themselves. That seems rather strange to me, but I guess the times could have been different and different things were done. Still, when you start seeing pictures with a young man looking at the dolls, you have to wonder if there is simply something more to this. I have my own theory on it, so let’s see if you agree.
I really don’t think that most young men would want to be photographed with a doll. It just isn’t how most boys are. Still, here were multiple pictures of dolls and this one with the young man and the doll. It started to occur to me that possibly, there was one or maybe several doll makers in my family. It is probably something I will never know for sure, but the pictures do indicate a definite connection to the doll world.
It reminds me a little bit, of the way pets become a part of the family. Here we have dolls in the pictures, like they are one of the kids. And the really great thing is that these dolls even look like people. The doll maker did a very good job on them. They looked so real. I suppose the doll maker looked at it as an art. And today, with everything being mass produced and computer stamped, a doll with a hand painted face would be a very rare item indeed.
No matter where the doll infatuation came from, it seemed to be there to stay in my grandmother’s family. I may never really know why there were so many dolls in the pictures in my grandmother’s album, but in my imagination, I can picture it any way I want too. In my imagination, I can almost see a booming business, selling life sized dolls.
I have long admired this scanned picture I have of my Aunt Ruth, but until I went to visit my cousin, I didn’t know the whole story about it or about my aunt and uncle. The original for this picture was taken a long time ago, when my aunt was a young woman of 18 years, and there were no color pictures. That was a fact that hadn’t occurred to me until my cousin, Shirley told me that my Aunt Ruth had painted the color painting from the original black and white photo. I was shocked. It was so good. It really looked just like my aunt. I had no idea that she was so talented. Then to add to my surprise, Shirley told me that this was only one of many paintings my Aunt Ruth, her mother had painted. She told me that she never liked still life, like fruit bowls or vases of flowers, but preferred live subjects like wildlife, scenery, and people. I can see why that was. Still life would have been a horrible waste of a great talent. Shirley tells me that she painted a moose, a bear, an elk, and big horn sheep, as well as a painting of my Uncle Jim, that looked just like him. Unfortunately, in the years following my aunt’s death, their home was burned to the ground, and all the paintings, except this one that Shirley has, were lost. That is such a tragedy, because these paintings simply cried out to be seen.
Aunt Ruth’s talent didn’t stop at art, however. She could pick up any musical instrument and within a couple of minutes, she could play it like a pro. For anyone who couldn’t play an instrument, no matter how hard you tried, the idea of someone picking it up and just knowing how to play is beyond belief. Shirley told me that she almost felt jealous of her mother’s talent sometimes. I know how she feels, since I have the distinct talent of making an instrument sound like a sick duck, and that is about the extent of my musical ability concerning all musical instruments. They are best left to others.
And Aunt Ruth wasn’t the only one with artistic talent. My Uncle Jim used to make cabinets and cupboards that were beautiful. He could make that wood just sing. He and Aunt Ruth would design them, to give each one its own special beauty. They made a matching set of beds for their boys, Larry and Terry, that were one of a kind. I’m sure that they were beautiful, and I wish I could have seen some of them, but unfortunately, any cabinets my uncle still had, like the paintings of my Aunt Ruth, were lost in the fire that took all of that beautiful artwork. It makes me sad to think that my aunt and uncle are gone from us now, not just because such artistic talent is gone, but because they were so much more than just the talents they possessed. Even if they hadn’t had one bit of artistic talent at all, they would still have been special to me…because I loved them both very much.
Today is my sister-in-law, Rachel’s birthday, and it seemed to me a fitting day to pay tribute to the woman who gave birth to this girl who joined our family 2 years and 9 months ago. Rachel’s mother died when Rachel was a young girl, and yet I believe that the influence of her mother is alive in Rachel today. Rachel showed me this picture of her mother a while back, and told me a few things about her own life, but it wasn’t the things Rachel told me about her life, but rather the way she looked at the picture of her mother that struck me. There was such love in her eyes, mixed with a yearning for just one more moment with her mom. I couldn’t imagine what it must have been like to grow up without your mom, especially for a girl. Girls just need their mom at several key points in their life, and my heart hurt for this woman, my new sister-in-law, and the child she had been when her mother was taken from her by illness, as well as the teenager, young woman, and now the adult woman, who still felt the loss very deeply.
While I know that Rachel’s mother was not in her life during the toughest years of her life, I believe that deep down inside of Rachel, her mother’s influence lived on. As Rachel worked her way through the teenaged years, into motherhood, and beyond, the memories of the kind of mother her mother was lived on inside her. A little child remembers the way their mother was…her gentle touch, as she held them close…her perfume, as beautiful as she was…her voice, calling them in for supper…all the little things that made her their mom. I could see in Rachel’s eyes that she carried those memories into her life in the present, and the kind of mother she is to her children.
As Rachel grew, and her life moved forward, through the changes that take place, whether we like them or not, I believe that she chose to be the kind of woman her mother was, and the kind of woman that God would want her to be. And, it is that woman that came into the life of my brother-in-law, Ron 2 years and 9 months ago. With her she brought her daughter, Cassie and son-in-law, Chris; and her two sons, Riley and Tucker. Rachel’s grandson, Lucas would join their family on July 3, 2011. Rachel has made Ron’s life complete. She has brought love and happiness into his life again. Ron’s life following his own divorce was lonely and, to me, it seemed like he wasn’t sure he would ever be happy again…until Rachel came along…bringing with her the best qualities from the memories of her mother. Today is Rachel’s birthday. Happy birthday Rachel!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!
My niece, Susan was in town recently with her girls, Jala and Kaytlyn. I find myself amazed every time I see the girls, at how fast they are growing up. Jala is a tall slender girl with lots of energy, and while Kaytlyn is 6 years younger than her big sister, she wants to be all grown up like her big sister, anyway. As the girls played, I watched Kaytlyn try to imitate everything Jala did.
Still, as Kaytlyn grows, I can see that she is coming into her own too. She loves to dance, and whenever she finds herself at a wedding or other party involving music, Kaytlyn gets out there and struts her stuff with the best of them. It doesn’t matter if she has a partner or not, she can dance either way. And, she doesn’t mind teaching some other little girl how to dance too.
Kaytlyn is a girlie girl, and she likes to do things that make her feel pretty. Dancing is always something that makes little girls feel pretty. It’s funny that when kids are little, they dance without inhibition, and later, when they aren’t little, they feel self conscious, so watching these little ones dance is always so much fun. Of course, some of these little kids have pretty good rhythm, and that makes for good little dancers.
Never the less, as the evening wears on, even the most energetic kids, finally get tired, and they have to take a break. Being a dancer can be exhausting and these tiny dancers are usually in bed much earlier than the rest of us. Before it gets very late, Kaytlyn is too tired to dance any more and just wants to find her bed. There will always be another opportunity to dance at home tomorrow. Today is Kaytlyn’s birthday. Happy birthday tiny dancer!! Have a great day!! We love you!!