#tbt: Apparently it’s quite The Thing on Twitter. I’ve been thinking about reblogging some of my posts from The (Old) Stream of Conscience, and “Throw Back Thursday” seems as good a day as any, yes?
When deciding what post to reblog, I took a look at my 34 categories. How to choose? Why, my old favorite, of course, Random.org. (I also used it to pick the style for this blog.) It spewed out 14, which turned out to be the ubiquitous “Life & Musings,” i.e., pretty much any damn thing. Since the blog covered 5½ years, there were 9 pages of posts to peruse; yet, the one I chose was on the first page.
It was written on December 8, 2012, in response to WordPress.com’s Daily Post challenge, which asked “What is your earliest memory? Describe it in detail, and tell us why you think that experience was the one to stick with you.” Mine was easy-peasy. (I’ve edited only slightly.)
My Earliest Trauma Memory
And how appropriate for the season!
Harken back to a slower, quieter time: the mid-20th century, an age without digital cameras, when it took a few months to fill up a roll of film and get it developed.
Christmas day: One 2½-year-old went to bed the night before, thinking of Santa Claus on his rounds, and worried she wouldn’t be able to sleep for all the excitement.
But I did fall asleep, which made the night pass more quickly.
Of course the list begins with Marge Overholt, my own mother. Because it can’t be stated too often, she was the nicest, kindest, best person I’ve ever known. Ever!
Cassie Clara Carter, maternal grandmother, middle name included for the lovely alliteration. She once threw water on me while I was lying in the sunshine on the back stoop after lunch. Yep, Grandma with ‘tude. Nonetheless, if I’d had a daughter, she would have been named Cassie.
Margie Overholt, sister-in-law. Some people are born to be a mother. Margie was one of them. When my best friend met my nephews and niece for the first time, she said, “They really are as wonderful as you said!” I credit Margie for that as much as genetics.
Debra Overholt, “niece-in-law. ” You know how there are some people in this world you just mesh with? Debra was one of them. A genuinely sweet and loving person. She was a mother for only three years, but what a great mother she was.
Christine Forsythe, sister-in-law’s sister-in-law. Some bright and shining people leave a first impression that never fades. That’s Christine. I wish I knew her better, but her time has been dedicated to her children and family, as well it should be.
Phyllis Nielsen, my best friend’s mother. Like everyone on this list, she was highly intelligent, extremely talented, and most importantly warm-hearted. She even let me have pecan pie for breakfast one Christmas! (I was an adult, ok?) 😀
Kristen Ireland, niece. Oh no! Mother’s Day snuck up on me and I forgot to get her a card! Love you, Kristen!❤
The internet has given us a new kind of friend. We may not know them in person, but through online contact, we come to know their essence, the person without the facade. Natalie, you are one such person, and I cherish our friendship! Happy Mother’s Day!
I could not have asked to be born to better people in the world. You might not have been the best parents, but you were far, far, far from the worst. You did the best you could. I wasn’t an easy child to live with and train for the world, and for that I’m sorry.
Dad, you know how I feel. I wrote a letter to you telling you just how much I loved and admired you before you passed away. I know Grandpa didn’t understand why I didn’t return home to take care of you after Mom died. I’d like to think you understood, that you were proud I was serving my country, even after I left the Navy.
I’m sorry you didn’t get a chance to walk me down the aisle. For years I felt the pain of never finding someone who loved me, but now it’s more a regret that you didn’t get to experience it. Maybe you were right. Maybe I was looking for someone “just like my old man” (as you put it). That person just doesn’t exist.
Mom, you had a heart of pure gold. You were the nicest, kindest person I ever met. I mentioned this once to Margie’s sister-in-law; she said Margie had said the same thing. (And you thought she didn’t approve of you!) You left a legacy of good works in our little town, often behind the scenes and without glory. When Dad died, a woman came up to me at the reception and said, “You had such wonderful parents.” And even though you’d been gone for several years, she added, “Including your mother.”
I survived the home appraisal! To celebrate, I took a break from the decluttering schedule for most of the week. But I did make a date for a couple to help me remove some of the larger, heavy items from my living room.
Yesterday I jumped back into my schedule of cleaning two rooms for 15 minutes each twice a week. You know what that means? More found surprises!
Seven More Items Found While Decluttering
A pasta bowl set from Crate and Barrel, the kind that consists of a serving bowl and four pasta dishes. I don’t remember buying it and I’m not sure why I would. I already have a pasta set I love which I bought in Italy. Maybe I bought it for a wedding gift?
More old Mary Kay cosmetics. I think I’ve now thrown out all of them. It only took five or six large trash bags!
A package of scrapbooking paper. Since I’ve decided to create some memory books of my parents, I’m going to see if anything might be useable. If not, out it goes.
A nearly full box of high-quality paper for resumes and cover letters. I’ve had the paper, and the matching envelopes, for over 20 years at least, possibly as long as 33 years—that’s ⅓ of a century! They’re going out for recycling pickup.
The board game Clue. I think I tried giving it to Goodwill once, but they wouldn’t take open board games. Since Clue is my favorite game, I’ve decided to keep it. (For now.)
A bag of yarn with a partially knit sweater on a broken needle, along with a book of sweater patterns. Sorry, organization gurus, it’s staying. I’ll reuse the yarn. And I love knitting patterns—something I have in common with Albus Dumbledore. 😉
A picture of me watching the sunset on a beach in Carmel, CA. My best friend took another picture with me facing the camera. It was a lovely photo, especially since I’m not particularly photogenic. I gave it to my parents who kept it by their telephone for many years. After their deaths, I retrieved it and eventually gave it to a guy I thought might be “The One.” Turns out he wasn’t, and the creep didn’t return the photo.
And the list doesn’t include the several large cardboard boxes I broke down for recycling. I thought about keeping them to us for hauling things to Goodwill. But I’d prefer to just get them out of the house.
Yesterday I made—for the very first time—what is possibly my ultimate favorite family dish, my mother’s famous Pigs in a Blanket Famous because the recipe was published in Good Housekeeping magazine many years ago. I’m not sure why I’d never made them before. Probably because I hadn’t discovered Bob Evans mashed potatoes, and am too lazy to make them from scratch.
Mashed potatoes!?! For Pigs in a Blanket?!? Yep. Mom’s famous recipe called for mashed potatoes and not crescent rolls.
I made them not because I’d planned it, but because it’s what I had and didn’t have on hand. Had: two hot dogs left over from Memorial Day; a package of Bob Evans mashed potatoes I hadn’t cooked heated yet; and some single-sliced, individually wrapped processed cheese-like product. Had not: any buns or bread to make a sandwich.
Since I never paid attention when Mom made them, I had to wing it. Here’s what I did:
Heat up Bob Evans mashed potatoes in the microwave.
Partially cook hot dogs also in the microwave. (As a hot dog connoisseur, I prefer Nathan’s).
Slice cheese (or cheese food) into thinnish strips.
Slit the hot dogs lengthwise down the middle.
Stuff the mashed potatoes into the slit.
Top with cheese strips.
Broil the entire concoction on a broiler pan. (I placed the pan as close to the heating element as possible).
Cook until the cheese melts. Or if you’re like me, until the cheese is burned.
They tasted pretty darned good! So good, I wish I’d had more than two hot dogs. And taken a picture of them.
Where do your morals come from — your family? Your faith? Your philosophical worldview? How do you deal with those who don’t share them, or derive them from a different source?
“Here comes the only honest lawyer in Iowa!” It’s the greeting often heard in my dad’s presence.
Dad became a lawyer because he loved the law. He wasn’t motivated by money. He did a lot of pro bono work, and we were not wealthy.
After graduating near the top of his law class at the University of Iowa, he turned down job offers from “big city” law firms (“big city” being a relative term since we’re talking Iowa here). He wanted to be part of a community. He grew up in small town Iowa, and that’s where he settled.
He became a big fish in a little pond, not because he sought it out, but because civic-mindedness and “giving back” were part of his nature.
At a loss for what to write about today, I opened a photo album to a random page, scanned it, and planned to write about it. The page I opened had six pictures on it. I chose this one for a variety of reasons: 1) it was the “youngest” of the photos on the page, 2) I don’t look hideous, and 3) it accurately depicts life before digital photography, when you had to shoot a whole roll of film and get it developed to see whether the picture was centered or not.
The photo is dated November 1965, but I think it was taken earlier in the year. Both our noses are sunburned and my arms are tan, so it may have been the end of summer. If so, my brother was heading off to his sophomore year at Dartmouth.
Tell us about a tradition passed through your family.
Researchers tell us traditions are easily established in children. Meaning, you need to repeat an activity only a few times for it to become routine, or customary to child.
Case in point: my family’s Sunday night tradition of gathering in the living room for a supper of fried egg sandwiches and hot cocoa while watching Lassie. In my memory, this went on for three years. In reality? It probably happened three times.