Oh, won’t you hand-me-down?


I was lucky.  I was the first-born daughter.  You can ask my sister about all the clothing hand-me-downs she had to endure.  I did have some, mostly from my aunt.  At the time, I thought them atrocious.  Now, as long as the item is in good shape and usable, I don’t mind.

But, I think not now, of clothes, kitchen tools, and other such things, so much as I think of all of my quilting tools, material, supplies, etc. – all hand-me-downs of a sort, from my mom.  These items were not given with the thought of “here, you can have this cause I don’t use it and you might be able to use it.”  No, they weren’t actually even given, so much as taken – because my siblings didn’t want or desire them, my dad certainly didn’t, and no one else in my family was interested four years after my mom died.

Yet, I do consider all these things hand-me-downs, technically.  I certainly wouldn’t have two rotary cutting mats, two rotary cutters, miscellaneous stencil templates used for quilting designs, two books of quilting design templates, several other quilting pattern books, plastic bins full of cotton material, markers, protractors, Gingher scissors, a shoebox full of DMC perle cotton of various colors, embroidery hoops out the zing zang, large format graph paper, a set of 6 completely embroidered quilt blocks completed, pins and needles galore, 12 Dresden plate blocks, a few other partially completed blocks for quilts, buttons out the wazzoo (of which I didn’t even keep them all), Grandma’s sewing machine and her cedar chest.

No, I would not have bought these things for myself, would I have?

I don’t know if you or I qualify these as hand-me-downs or inheritance, but they certainly hold slightly more, but not by droves, charm than my aunt’s old wool skirt made into a poncho with red fringe.

I don’t know if my mom and grandma are watching from heaven proud of my quilting accomplishments, or not. I’ve never done this hoping from kudos from those in the great beyond.

Yet, even though I care not to admit such, and perhaps my mom and grandma had no idea of the possibility, I do sometimes wonder – will someone take up where I have left off when I pass?  And should they wonder that I would have cared or not?

So, I’ll say it now.  I know I’ll probably never complete all my projects, or my mother’s, perhaps not even my grandmothers.  So, if my daughter or granddaughter, cousin, or friend feels the urge to take on these hand-me-downs of her own accord, for her own purposes, perhaps to finish what I started, and then finding joy and accomplishment in it herself, I can only hope that on the other side, I am, if even vaguely aware of such and able even to do nothing else, to place a spiritual hand on her shoulder and say “Well done, my sweet, enjoy your life and make it your own.”

Tearful Moments

Moved to Tears

Do movies, songs, or other forms of artistic expression easily make you cry? Tell us about a recent tear-jerking experience!


I don’t cry much, but movies, songs, tv shows, and even my own writing can move me to tears.

I cried when I saw “Saving Mr. Banks” this past weekend.

I cried a few times when I re-read “Outlander” and the second book in the series, “Dragonfly in Amber”.  I’ll probably cry several more times through the next 6 books of that series. BTW, it’s a new series on Starz, and I recommend it.  Five episodes so far, and I’m loving it.

I cry when I hear “Heaven” by Tim Grimm.  Why, because the funeral director played it for our small town and farming family visitation for my Mom and two days later for my Grandma.  We were all bawling.

I cried buckets as I wrote the first few posts on my blog recalling how I got into quilting, mostly because I wanted to finished projects that Mom had started.

I cried when I wrote the Mourning Dove poem, The Night Before He Left,  a Brief Interlude or Fanfare, and The Texas Rangers Choked, and probably a few more.

Can a photo make me cry? Yes, I think I have cried viewing pictures.  Paintings and sculptures don’t have as much emotional impact on me, however. Why is that?

I cried when I left my granddaughter knowing it would be a while before I saw her and held her again, and when I did, she wouldn’t still have that newborn feel about her.

I cry sometimes when I hear “Time” from Hootie and the Blowfish, almost every time I see “Bridges of Madison County” or “Cousins”, and virtually every time I see the episode of Friends where Ross and Rachel fight and he comes back to the cafe door.

Yes, all these things make me cry – but now I wonder, have any of my posts ever made you cry?




What’s in a name? My brother Al, or Flo?

This may be the evilest post I have done to date. Sorry, brother Alan, too good to keep to myself.

Being now a woman of leisure, okay, so I know I have to start job hunting this week, but I took a few days to get a grip on this fortuitous event, and went to my dad’s to put up some tomatoes he had for me.

While there, I wanted, still, to find out about this Chivaree that was held in his and mom’s honor on their return from their honeymoon, but somehow skipped over that info.  I did find out a tad about the honeymoon, though Dad didn’t provide the gory details, naturally, he did say where they went and such. So follows what I found out last Friday.

Dad and Mom had a rather heated relationship from about a year or so after Dad graduated (52), they started dating in 1953.  Mom’s best friend was Jane Desgranges (I probably don’t have that spelled right) and she dated Merle DeVries (Dad’s cousin or just a guy he ran around with [friends]).  Anyway, Jane and Merle set up Mom and Dad, and they started dating.

They dated from 1953 to 1955 when Mom graduated, and shortly thereafter, he proposed to her.  I want to note here that Dad asked mom to marry him and gave her the ring several months later, and then, they still didn’t set a date until months after that and even then, the date was one two or three months away.  Considering the way most people handle this today, I thought it kind of interesting.  They married September 29, 1956.

Anyway, I guess they had their ups and downs and Dad told me there were times when they would have a fight and Lucille Monke, from where he worked, would call Mom after seeing my Dad, Nelson, down in the dumps, and tell Mom he was more or less pining for  her, upset about everything, and maybe they could make up.  Yes, people back then, and probably still today, interfered in their love life.

Dad specifically relayed one time that he was so mad after they fought that he marched to his car, started it, and in peeling out spun his wheels so bad as to leave ruts in the rock driveway so that Grandpa asked Mom the next day what had happened.  He doesn’t remember the argument then (aww, too bad :(), but, as we all know, they made up, got married, had children,, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, etc.

On their honeymoon, they left after the wedding and drove a whole 25 miles before stopping on Route 66 in Farmersville.  The place they stayed is no longer there, but Dad says there is a small shack standing by I55 near where the motel was. This again, was interesting to me, because they didn’t have a special hotel or plan, just started driving and only made it 25 miles before stopping.  Was it the lust or fatigue?  The world may never know.

They went to Janesville, Wisconsin,  stayed the night and went through a cave there.  Mom had a pen pal in Iowa that she wanted to visit, so from there, they went to a farm near Waterloo, Iowa.  Her name was Shirley Luhring (I think that is the spelling).  After seeing Shirley, I think they drove back home.

Weird unusual thing, Mom died in February 2008 and later that year, in May, we found out that Shirley had died in a tornado that hit Iowa (warning, this is really sad).  I write this now only as a remembrance of all these events.

After visiting Iowa, they returned home.  The Chivaree was held upon their return and before Dad reported back for service from his leave.   Maybe next time I will get information on that.

After talking about the logistics of the honeymoon, no romantic details, we somehow got on the subject of kid’s names.  Oh, I remember now.  Dad brought up how we also in 1964 went to Oklahoma and Kansas on a family vacation, I think the only one we EVER took.  This was, again, to meet one of Mom’s pen pals, and also he had some relation in Kansas.

He then said, “You know how mom always said (my brother) Alan’s name would have been Florence if he had been a girl?” and I said, “No, I don’t remember that and if any of us had remembered it, I’m pretty sure my older brothers would have nicknamed him Flo long ago!” (Sorry, Al, I’m sure if Mark or John read this, they won’t be calling you Big Al anymore!)

He continued that is was sort of a joke because Mom was convinced that she got pregnant when we were stopped in Florence, Kansas on the way back from this trip.

So, I proceeded to ask him what all of our names would have been if we had been the opposite sex, and how they picked our names.  I wonder how many people really ask their parents about this?  I don’t remember ever asking my mom or dad before the other day. And sorry, sibs, but I’m pretty sure Mom had a better memory than Dad about these things and would have provided more detail, but what can we do about that now?

Going from oldest to youngest, here they are.

Child #1 – Dad doesn’t remember the girl’s name, but he liked Wayne (his or mom’s cousin) and Mom liked John, so, John Wayne it was.

Child #2 – They both picked Mark fairly easy, but it was Mom who picked Henry – grandfather’s, great-grandfathers – I think I once counted my great grandfather’s and great-great grandfather’s just on my Mom’s side and their were 3 Henry’s and 3 Fred’s.  A funny side note, however, Mark’s nickname now is Fred Ziffel.

Child #3 – Mom wanted Susan, but Dad has a great aunt Susan who he claims was the ugliest woman he ever knew, so he said to Mom, “Don’t name her that, I’ll always think of Aunt Susan when I see her.” so Mom compromised, and dropped it to just Sue.  Elaine came from some family name, maybe on Mom’s side – Dad wasn’t sure, and knowing what I know about my family tree, I’m not either.

Child #4 – Dad wasn’t sure if Ruth was named after one of his aunts, though I do remember the lady and she was quite nice, or Ruth from the Bible – but he was sure her middle name, Sharon, was after the babysitter.  He said, Mom really liked Sharon.  She lives in my metro area and I have seen her and talked to her a few times since Mom died, and I have to agree, she’s a nice lady, and I’m sure she was an awesome babysitter.

Child #5 – I’m not sure where Alan came from, but Dad wanted to name him Matthew, well, because of the Gospels of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).  Mom wasn’t too keen on the idea, so again compromised thereby using Matthew as the middle name.  Where Alan came from?  Dad had no idea.

Side note – Dad said if they had another boy, you know what his name would have been – yeah, Luke.

And, that concludes my recent historical talk with Dad.  One other minor tidbit totally unrelated to all this – he told me my great-grandfather, Henry, drank wine, supposedly with every meal (even breakfast).  He  had a small vineyard at the farm and would put up 5-55 gallon drums of wine each year (bottled, of course), and it would all but be gone the next year.  I figured it out, and if he didn’t give much away, he, and I guess his wife, were drinking about a half gallon of wine a day.   That’s supposing that my dad had the drum size correct, which is tough to say since Great-Grandpa was already passed when he and mom started dating.  I asked him how he knew this information, and he said, well, of course, Mom had told him. So,  take this info with a huge grain of salt, no?

Tune in next time for more family history.  Is this good stuff or what?    I’ll work on being funnier next time.

In which I’m now a woman of leisure

I chose my title today based on this one particular blog I follow.  A lot of her posts begin with “In which”, and here is just one post:

In which there was garlic. 

The title of the blog is All Fooked Up, which is kind of how I feel about today (actually started this on the 2nd) and why I chose the title I did.

I can’t go into anything except to say that I was “let go” from my job this morning.  I’m not sure if it was a downsizing, my job performance (although my boss said he’d be happy to write a letter of recommendation because my technical skills are “fine”, so why am I being let go?), but, the truth is I kind of have been wondering if it was coming and me knowing not that my job was bad or anything, just kind of boring after 8 years.

I wanted to be upset, and, who can say that being “let go” does suck, and it always does, but in truth, I was actually happier and felt more relieved than I have in a while. Not that my job was bad in any way or anything like that, it’s just, I think I have outgrown it.

So, now I’m job hunting, or maybe looking for something temporarily because I might just go to my daughter’s house come January and take care of my grandkids until Spring Break, cause I’d really enjoy the change of pace, cause it’s something I “want” to do, cause she’d like not to put her baby into daycare until she has to, cause I’d enjoy the bloody heck out of it, but when it comes right down to it, when am I ever going to have a chance to do this again!?

Now, if only I can make the financials work for the next few months, still able to pay my monthly bills, and have enough to be able to take a couple months off – that’s the question.

Not to be bragging, but I think I’m a touch “smarter than the average bear” and I hope I can figure this out or have providence step in and deal me a much needed “here you go when you may not have expected it”, or otherwise pinch and finagle my way to allow this fortuitous eveny to occur.

Let’s just say at 53, I’m rethinking my dreams, goals, and plans for the future.

At least I have time to clean and organize my house and my quilting stuff now, which I’ve been too busy to do for quite some time and it’s sorely needed!

I wish you all well.




If I was 12 again…

Daily Prompt

In a reversal of Big, the Tom Hanks classic from the 80s, your adult self is suddenly locked in the body of a 12-year-old kid. How do you survive your first day back in school?

I’m twisting this a bit, that I was 12 again, but back to me when I was 12 in 1973.

Oh, don’t we all wish we could go back to our youth, knowing then what we do now?

I’d be oh so much leary of boys, even as much as I was then, even more so if I went back to that age from now.  Knowing how silly the whole adolescent thing is, I can just imagine some of the things I would say to those young lads that would probably turn their faces green hearing such as they’d never heard from any other class mate, let alone a girl!  It might interest them even more to be sure they were my first kiss or scare the bloody pants off them so they be so scared of me never to say another word in my direction!

And the girls?  I can imagine how blunt I would be to them about how boys aren’t everything, and how they would all probably hate me, but years later see I was most likely right!

Oh, the teachers – they’d probably all be admiring me for all the learning I was rapt in attention on hearing, cause now I’d know, even if I knew now it wasn’t important in day to day life, I’d still know the importance of learning.  Course, I wasn’t a “D” student, by any means, no, an “A” or even a “B” if I didn’t grasp it well, still, I’d probably be head of my class, not 3rd or 4th.

And my parents, oh, my mom would probably wonder if I had been abducted by aliens like me and my sister once wondered about her – cause I’d be so helpful, kind and considerate, hugging and loving on her like she hadn’t seen from me since I was a toddler, and wonder why I was asking why she didn’t like doctors and trying to plant into her head, maybe they weren’t all bad even though I understand why she was leery of them, asking her about how her and Dad met, now they courted, how she felt on her honeymoon, and so many other things she’d most likely think maybe I had been abducted by aliens! She’d probably wonder why I’d was trying so hard to get her to spend time with her dad and asking about long gone ancestors with as much detail as she could provide, rapt with attention and taking notes. Yes, she’d certainly think I was ready to be committed!

And, even though I have a closer relationship with my dad now then I ever did, he’d probably be a wondering, too, what happened to this pre-teenager to make her so apt in attention, listening to her dad, and actually talking to him about realities of life, also asking questions about ancestors, his youth, his courting with mom – sure he’d conspire with mom and they’d both decide I must have gone mental!

My grandparents would most likely also think I had lost my mind and inquire after my parents as to what has become of their first granddaughter.  I’d be wanting to spend time with Grandma so she could teach me how to make peach pie, coffee cake and  numerous other canning and baking secrets.  Then, she’d wonder why I’d taken a sudden interest in quilting, as I never had before.

Grandpa would wonder why I wanted to know what all was in his shed, why he liked Stag beer, how he met Grandma and if they “fell in love”, how their honeymoon went, and if he picked  her over any other girl.  He’d wonder why I was asking so many questions about his dad, Henry and his step-mom, Louisa, the farm,  how it happened that the second house fell into disrepair, why he liked Archway cookies so much, and like Sam Beckett in Quantum Leap, I’d probably be steering him to see a doctor or quit smoking cigars.

I can’t even fathom how I’d treat my brothers and sisters!  Imagine me, a relative 53 year old, dealing with my 14 or 16 year old brothers!  They’d do their darndest to best me in verbal combat, but would most likely lose.  My younger siblings, my sister and my brother, would also probably think I’d gone soft as I wondered after them, watching over them, and leaving tidbits of my wisdom, which they would probably ignore. Years later, they’d wonder how I knew so much back then, thinking I must have been beyond my years – ha! If they only knew!

Yes, it would be somewhere over the rainbow for me, but probably more so for those around me, they’d think I was one who had been caught up in a twister and got too big of a bump on my head, most likely.

Yes, it’s probably best this scenario can not in all reality play out, because I’m sure I’d not be able to act the typical 12 year old girl after 40 years, and possibly end up in a mental institution!