Friday, March 20, 2015

Worms Anyone?


Today I want to remind you of an oldie but a goodie.  By oldie, I mean the book is not terribly old, but the author sure is.  I'm talking about a book I wrote a few years ago about growing up in Vermont in the 1940s.  I would say in a small town in Vermont, but they’re all small towns.  This town happens to be Springfield, a quarter of the way up the state.  Population ten thousand during the war years because of all the machine shops, and eight thousand by the time we left Springfield to move to Connecticut, in 1954.

 
An odd title? Yes.  It refers to a trick my sister played on me when I was around ten and she was twelve.  We were walking down an enormous hill to get to Main Street (probably to go to the library) and she said to me, “Do you want to play a game?”

Well, to have my big sister want to do something with me was a big deal, so I said, “Yes!”

She said, “Close your eyes.”  I closed my eyes.  She said, “Open your mouth.” I opened my mouth.

Then I said, “Yuk!!”  I had a tree worm in my mouth.  She had seen it hanging from a tree ahead of us and decided it would be fun to “play a game” with me.

All that aside, it would appear that we lived a very abnormal life.  We were happy, well adjusted, had two parents that did fun things with us; we grew up with a good set of values and knowing we were loved. To hear people talk today, that is not the norm.  

I was born in 1940, during the Depression, but before World War II. I remember ration books and trucks pulling into town carrying sugar and flour and all the housewives rushing to get their allotment before the goods ran out.  I was brought up, for the first ten years, without television.  Horror of horrors!  The four of us sat around the living room at night and listened to radio shows.  Saturday morning, my sister and I curled up on the floor in front of the radio, our jammies on and a cup of hot chocolate in our hands, and listened to Let’s Pretend.  In the afternoon, she and I might walk down to the Ideal Theater to watch a Roy Rogers movie, or a musical, along with Movietone News, sports, and a serial. 

Did we have computers, cell phones, DVDs, Gameboys, iPhones or iPads?  No. We made our own fun and weren’t wired into anything.   We were free to let our imaginations go wild and take us anywhere we wanted to go, be it outer space, an underwater kingdom, or anywhere in between.  That my friends, is how childhood should be lived.  In my humble opinion.

This book is available at www.amazon.com or www.diversionpress.com.

Quote of the Day:  This little world of childhood with its familiar surroundings is a model of the greater world.  Carl Gustav Jung

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

March Into Spring. Please.


Since I last wrote to you, we’ve had three snowstorms.  In North Carolina.  Where it never snows.  Two weeks ago we had snow.  All Monday night the news shows concentrated on the weather.  They asked us to stay home so they could lay salt brine on the roads.  For the next few days, the bottom of the TV screen continually ran the list of what schools, businesses, etc. would be closed due to the storm.  We didn’t get a lot of snow, but the temperature dropped and the snow froze on top.  I couldn’t open my front or side doors because of the snow/ice ridge that blocked them. 

By Wednesday, I took our handy dandy hoped-we-would-never-have-to-use-it snow shovel and chopped away at the snow on the front porch in order to get the door open.  Then I ventured, very carefully across the porch, down the steps, and over to my car to go get two days’ worth of mail that had been accumulating in my mailbox.  The temperature didn’t get above freezing for days.  Finally, on Friday, it got up to 36 degrees and I once again ventured out to get milk and another two days of mail.  That was one super cold week; space heaters were on in whatever room I was in.

Last week on Monday night the screens were again filled with schools and business closings and frantic newscasters.  I woke up Tuesday to just over two inches of light, fluffy snow on the porch, car, and everything else.  It was so light, I could sweep it off with a broom.  Wednesday got a little warmer and melting was in full force. Then, Wednesday night, we were advised to stay off the roads so the brine could be spread and we were to stock up for a possible four to five days of being snowbound.  I needed groceries anyway, so I joined what seemed like the whole town of Garner at the grocery store to assure my existence.

Thursday, I woke up to just over an inch of snow.  The snow had turned to rain, leaving the white stuff heavy and crusty.  I shoveled a path across the porches just so I could get to the steps and to the trash can.  I looked out the kitchen window and had to laugh when I saw icicles hanging off the roofs of my birdhouses. Talk about a flashback to growing up in Vermont.  We used to have huge icicles hanging from the roof to the ground all around the house as though we lived in a crystal prison.  Oh yeah, I LOVE snow.  Ha.

The only person I know of that enjoyed this lovely weather was the little two-year-old next door who was outside in snowsuit, boots, mittens, and scarf, playing in the snow. 

As I write this, yesterday was in the sixties and tomorrow is supposed to be in the seventies.  I say, “It’s about doggone time!”  This is the South, after all, and it’s not supposed to get this kind of weather.  I read that the average temp for Garner for February is fifty-eight degrees.  Ha!  We barely got above forty for the entire month of February.

Have I vented enough?  After thirty years of living in San Diego, putting on a coat EVERY time I walk outside is for the birds.  Spring, I'm ready for you!
 
Quote of the Day: When men were all asleep, the snow came flying/In large white flakes falling on the city brown. Robert Bridges
 

 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

My Painted House

John Grisham wrote a book called, A Painted House.  Well, I now live in a newly-painted house and am loving it.  There are no cotton pickers or mysteries surrounding my house as there were with Grisham's; nevertheless, it is a much brighter color than it was.

 Then            Now

Obviously I can't hold a camera straight, both pictures are crooked, but you get the idea.

I had a bit of a mold problem that my daughter discovered just before Christmas. We let the office at the Indian Creek community know about it and they immediately sent men right out to clean and seal the windows, inside and out.  Then when the weather warmed a little more, they began working on my house in earnest--taking off the shingles and stripping the house right down to studs and insulation.  I had large sheets of plastic covering the front half of the house for four days. When all the leaks and bad areas were taken care of and sealed, they put new siding  on. Then ran pipe under the porch to collect the rainwater that runs down the road so it will channel off to the side, away from the house.

The shutters, gutters, porch lights, house numbers, and doorbell were taken off, and kept off, until the house was painted.  I asked the office if I could have the house painted yellow and they agreed.  For two days the painters had all the windows and doors covered with plastic as they spray painted the house.  I couldn’t see outside for those two days, but then, it was so cold there wasn’t much to see.

The shutters and gutters still need to be put back on, but I wanted you to see my bright new home.  It will look so much better when the shutters go back on and I plant roses next to the walk. 

Quote of the Day: Painting is silent poetry, and poetry painting that speaks.  Simonides