A Courageous Move

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As a girl of ten years, I don’t recall much of the drive from Massachusetts to Colorado. My parents made the brave decision  to move West.  I remember being in 4th grade in Massachusetts and then living with our Aunt and Uncle for about six weeks in Raton, New Mexico while my parents drove to California where my father’s brother lived.  This was a necessary move because of the health of one of my sisters.  The move proved to be fortuitous.

All five of us piled into the car for the long journey. Another sister was on the way and was born in Colorado.  This was a bold, brave decision and move for my parents.  My mother’s sister and family lived in Raton where we stayed and attended school for about six weeks.  The next thing we learned was that we were moving to Pueblo, Colorado where our father accepted a job as an industrial engineer at the CF & I steel mill.  We rented a couple houses before we finally moved to Belmont where our father built the house.

All our furniture and belongings were left in storage in Massachusetts until the moving van brought it our final destination. It’s a vivid memory that we invented games and played “store” with empty cardboard boxes.  Imagination is a powerful device, and we never lacked imagination in inventing toys with these empty boxes.  My parents purchased a sofa bed which we girls apparently slept in until our own beds arrived.  I took everything in stride except that Pueblo was much less verdant  with only brown prairie and pinion pines to gaze at.  The summers were hot and dry.

Before moving to Belmont, we rented houses and began school at the nearby elementary school. I was in 5th and my sisters were in 3rd and 1st grades.  My introduction to the 5th grade classroom was met with “oh, no!  Not another Mary Ann.”  I looked around the room to discover there were already two other students with the same name.  I think my sister in 3rd grade fared better except for the fact that she was writing cursive which we began in 1st grade in Massachusetts.  She had to listen to her classmates tell her she “wasn’t supposed to be writing cursive yet.”  The rest of the class learned in the spring of that year.  All the teachers were impressed with our reading abilities and said schools in Massachusetts must be ahead of those in Colorado.

We learned to adjust to our new schools quickly and got involved with the local 4H clubs and activities. I began my first job at 11 which was babysitting and later cared for lawns, gardens and took in mail for neighbors when they went on vacation.  By age 13, I added another job which was church organist.  That kept me busy for the next five years and playing daily as well as three times on Sundays, and all the funerals and weddings.  We sang in the church choir.  We continued piano lessons in Pueblo.

A phone call this morning from a friend mentioned traveling through Western Massachusetts yesterday and past towns where we lived. He said it was a bold and brave move for my parents to have made i.e.  without a job in Colorado, to move the family to a better climate.  I doubt I could have made that same decision and move across the country with young children in tow.  They had great faith and trust to make the move.

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Posted in church organist, Colorado, health, Massachusetts, Sturbridge to Pueblo, traveling across the country | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Fast As Lightning

 

 

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Quick as a flash of lightning, I accepted a challenge by fellow blogger Annika Perry to try my hand at writing a fast-paced poem for this week’s blog.  It actually uses the German word blitz to describe the form.  Contained within are events of the past week.

Pomegranate and Awaken

 cut the chase

cut the pomegranate

pomegranate arils

pomegranate tasty

tasty and sweet

tasty and red

red robin bobbin’

red robin in garden

garden snow-covered

garden still dormant

dormant only parsley

dormant but for daffodils

daffodils trying to flower

daffodils not ready

ready for yellows

ready for spring

spring in your step

spring showers

showers gently falling

showers bring green

green buds

green leaves

leaves in table

leaves on trees

trees swaying

trees housing birds

birds finding worms

birds singing

singing arias

singing anthems

anthems sweet

anthems in choir

choir rehearsals

choir practice

practice piano

practice voice

voice soprano

voice coach

coach sports

coach the team

team members

team spirit

spirit renewed

spirit and souls

souls praying

souls awaken

awaken cues

awaken nature

nature

cues

 

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Snow, Snow, Snow

 

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Where are my Boots?

On my feet I glibly replied to my husband.
I continued to clean off the
car and push snow down the
driveway. Lifting is no longer
an option. Predictions for
this storm were twenty to
thirty inches of snow in our
area. We are shrouded in white.
I measured under twenty inches.

For us, spring is simply a
calendar date. Others around
the world boast of the flowers
in bloom. Last glimpse  of our
daffodils, they were about four inches
above ground. When this melts,
I’ll note their progress. The sun
is intense today. The snow is rapidly
melting like in Colorado after snow storms.

Determined to stay ahead of the
amount of snow I had to clean off
the car and down the driveway,
I donned boots, gloves and coat
hood to brave single digit temperatures
and winds whipping at my face. Good
thing I only stayed outdoors for about
ten minutes each time. Though retired, I
still watch school closings,  recalling when I

relished those presents called snow
days. Over the course of thirty something
years in Upstate New York, my husband
never had a snow day until this week.
I received a phone call announcing the County
was closing.  The State government too.
My husband was pleasantly surprised.
Stores closed early – a snow day for all.
My children charged me with the task

of taking photos of our snow to display
in this week’s blog.  My husband’s boots
are too large but come up higher allowing
me to take the photos. The yard is
too pretty to put footprints in the snow
so I leave it to enjoy from the inside out.
It has occurred to me that I might be
able to build a snowman. Maybe.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

Posted in blizzard, Nor'easter, snow, snow day | Tagged , , , , | 33 Comments

It’s a bird; it’s a plane; it’s super…

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Glue! Not Superman this time.
There was a television show when
reporter Clark Kent changed into his
Superman costume to come to
the rescue of others.

How did super glue get into
the washing machine amidst her
clothes and intimates? She was
still sleeping so I couldn’t inquire.
Tired from her return from Denmark.

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I stood staring into the washing machine
and couldn’t fathom how this glue had
made it through a load of laundry,
soapy water and agitation. I stood
glued as visions of what might have

been if the glue had opened in the
washer, or better yet, the dryer.
Manufacturers must figure in the
odds of a tube opening when exposed to
soapy water and the machine’s motion.

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Super glue? In her load of laundry?
Why had it even been in her suitcase?
Certainly it had not been on the suggested
list of items for the student trip.
Over and over I asked myself why.

What if the glue had been in the dryer?
Do manufacturers figure in
exposure to heat and motion
as the dryer drum rotates? There
I remained motionless and amazed

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at the scenario in front of me. Now
awake, I bellowed to her from the
basement. Why is there super glue in
your laundry? Oh, I forgot I put it
in there. Why was it necessary to have it?

Oh, my belly button ring broke at
night in the hotel and hurt me so
I decided to fix it with super glue.
Where did you buy it? In Denmark.
How did you fix it? Holding the ring  in my

belly button, I tried to fix it with super glue.
I got some on my skin too. How did you remove
it? Oh, with nail polish remover.  The rest
came out gradually. Did
you realize that the glue could have

leaked into your suitcase? I know,
Mom. It was a pretty stupid thing
to do, but I needed it fixed. Why bother
wearing one in the first place?
These useless questions between

mother and daughter continued.
She was home safe and sound.
No harm done to the washer.
Unlike the suitcase on the
return trip from France,

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which was held together
with mere staples.
I think Guardian Angels have
long hours of overtime work
with teens! I, too,  must have

had an Angel watching over me
yesterday when I found the bottle
of prescription medicine in the washer!
The label still on. The medicine dry.
I wonder how these things happen?

This time I have no one to blame
but myself. If only I could recall
how it came to be loaded into
the washer in the first place. I’ll
be vigilant once more until the next time!

 

Posted in Denmark, super glue, suitcase | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

A Very Unusual Day

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Penmanship Class

Swiftly slithering along the stone wall
my father built with his two hands, the
garter snake followed our journey
down the road to the school bus.
Past the swamp with skunk cabbage
and its distinct odor, past wild blueberries
hidden within its depths, my sisters and
I chatted along the mile of road.

Past Peter’s house, the boy who threw
the stone hitting me in the middle of
my forehead leaving an ugly lump.
Unprovoked and done because he could.
Past the pretty flowering apples trees
of the elderly lady who shouted from
behind curtained windows to stay off her yard.
At the end of Cedar Street was our bus stop.

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Across from the Old Sturbridge Village.
Weather was hot this June day. My
second floor classroom with the wooden
floor creaked under our shoes. Inkwells awaited
our pens for penmanship class. Our teacher
stood in the middle of the double-wide slate
blackboard and wrote a new word: ambidextrous.
She demonstrated the word’s meaning for us.

She never walked left and right as she wrote.
Standing in the middle, she began writing in
cursive with chalk in her left hand. Then she
switched to her right hand, and wrote perfectly
shaped letters in white chalk. Next we tried to
write the same way but were unsuccessful. She
wrote: “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”
Left and right hands the same. All letters of the alphabet.

Without questioning the meaning of the sentence, we
carefully wrote this in our penmanship journals.
Today visitors would come to see how
well we had learned to write in cursive handwriting.
Some of us wrote diligently, but the little boy behind
the girl with blonde braids was busy dipping her
braids into the inkwell with indelible black ink.
He got into BIG trouble for that. Our brick school

building was hot on the second floor so the
teacher opened the door in the back to the
fire escape to give us air in the classroom.
One visitor walked around and observed
our perfectly shaped letters matching the
models on the black chalkboard and commented
with uh-hums of approval as she
walked past our desks during our timed writing

session. The fox and the dog would
probably have pounced on the next visitor:
a pretty bird flew in the open fire escape door.
Confused, it flew in a helter-skelter
manner. Squeals erupted; ohs and ahs
followed as the bird flew past our heads. Total
and utter chaos ensued until finally,
one unlucky girl had a deposit made on her

beautiful cursive handwriting. Our teacher
brought a brown paper towel to clean up
the bird dropping. I wonder what grade the
unlucky student got for her smeared cursive writing?
Holding back her laughter, our teacher tried
to get us to remain in our desks. How could we
do that with our flying intruder? The other visitor
must have enjoyed this moment! Maybe we

could go out for recess now? Finally the bird exited to
tell others in its flock about the misadventure
it had in our classroom. Off the bus again, we
hurried home, paying scarce attention to the swamp
and poison ivy. No heed to garter  snakes along our route.
Excitement filled the kitchen as our metal lunch boxes banged
the countertop. Munching on freshly baked oatmeal cookies,
we told  our mother about the very unusual day at school.

 

Posted in ambidextrous, cursive handwriting, penmanship class, Sturbridge | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Wiser Today

 

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The Promise

Why do stars in the night shine so bright?
Why does the sun in the sky give us light?
Why do the buds appear and push up in the snow?
Well, I don’t know, but they are a welcome sight.

It gladdens my heart to see hints of spring.
Buds on trees and limbs turning green.
Some plants survived winter snows,
protected from the harsh cold. Nature

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beckons the birdsong once more.
The promise of what is to come, the hope.
Now at peace with the world, I rejoice
and give thanks for verdant green

abounding our plot of land. It
is good to be alive, to regard such
delights.   Wonder and awe fill me.
So this is spring’s promise and delight.

No clouds in the blue sky.
Now I know why I feel the sights
differently today. Wiser and happier.
Now I understand why.

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Photo credits to Sally Rose Dolak in Costa Rica and Emily at the beach.  Sally’s blog can be viewed at the following link:  http://rosedevi.blogspot.com/

 

Posted in nature, plants, promises, wonders | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Breakfast on a Winter Morning

Sun streams through the windows on a snowy winter morning as I enjoy a breakfast from many countries. Glancing at food labels has become a habit.  Today I noticed a large label on my honeydew melon declaring it to be a product of Honduras.  My creative train of thought paused to recall friends from this country.  Blueberries and blackberries sported labels from Chile and Mexico.  The Greek yogurt is produced in New York.  Pomegranate juice is from California.  I conjure up visions of distant places and the fruits of their labor.

Thoughts wander to earlier times when jet planes, computers and technology did not exist. People enjoyed the harvest of their own gardens and labor which were often canned and preserved to consume during long winter months.  Sometimes I add a warm oatmeal to my usual fruit and yogurt breakfast as I ponder how lucky I am to be able to enjoy such breakfasts.

Mr. Rabbit has left his tracks in the driveway which then disappear under the parked cars. I look for tracks in the snow and step outside to enjoy a rare sunny day in winter.  The newspaper reports the latest tallies in the snowfall amounts of cities across the US which are similar in size to where we live in Upstate New York. We are ahead in the race with over 100″ of snow thus far with more winter yet to come.  We are approaching our average now.

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I Wonder

What do people the world over
eat for breakfast? Bread, butter,
marmalade? Eggs, cheese, sausage?
Fruit and yogurt? Honey?  Coffee, tea?

Hearty oatmeal with brown sugar?
Milk? Grapefruit? Orange juice?
Bacon, ham, hash browns?
Donuts, Danish, muffins, bagels?

Breakfast is the most important
meal of the day, nutritionists inform.
Espresso starts my day.
I wonder why some folks skip breakfast?

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Posted in breakfast, pomegranate juice, pomegranate yogurt | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments