… full of ghosts and shadows.” ”
— Joy Fielding
The weather is still warm but we are seeing dire signs of what could be a frigid winter. If and when it arrives will be a time of cozy nestling before the stove with a stack of books ready to be read.
Our family was strung like beads on a wire from the depression years to the close of WWII, meaning as your editor was the first born, being frugal was the code everyone lived by then. When baby sister arrived the initial month and year of the newly christened Baby Boomers, the war was over, jobs were available and it was time to enjoy family and with most of the war separations repaired it was time to celebrate.
That youngest sister, only six when yours truly wed the first time, has some memories of her big sister she shared recently so here they are with the child view accentuated, and some more impressions than reality.
Copied from Melinda's page on 9/28/2023 (not sure which birthday she sent this before.)
Came up in my Memories ... wrong date for Mary's birthday:
Sweet memories on your BIRTHDAY:
* You holding my hand as we trod up to the top of a sandhill.
* The crazy midnight food fight among you, Nee, and Jacquie that woke (first) me, then MomMay. (BIG trouble for you girls!)
* Handing you wooden clothes pins to hang just-laundered sheets, toes scrunched in the West Texas sand.
* You on horseback in the Quadrille, you and Curly in matching Western fringed shirt and pants, looking so sharp, maneuvering on matching horses in the Squaredance on horseback that moved so fast, intricate lacing movements where horses colliding at 30 mph would have had the impact of a 60 mph crash!
* The flower show where your last minute dill flowerhead you had stuck in a 7-Up bottle and set, momentarily, on a table at the show ended up with the biggest ribbon! (It was a spectacular bloom!)
* So many of your zany original dishes ... but maybe the one I remember most ... the pie dough circles made to adorn a fresh peach concoction on a really hot summer day on the ranch behind the rock house. Ray Ivan, Kitten, Wolf (the rescued albino wolf pup saved from the bear trap ... half one front foot lost), you and I sitting under the shade of a tree on one of the Summer days I got to spend at the ranch near Palestine.
* Staying over night in Monahans with you when Ray Ivan was just a diapered infant, hernia not yet surgically repaired. Remember? The migrating tarantulas started dropping in on one side of the (dining?) room. They never went around obstacles, merely climbed up and over.
* Another memory of a tarantula migration where MomMay and Aunt Margie Meacham, GEM (Grace Elizabeth Meacham) and I had to sit in the car while Texas Rangers stopped traffic to let huge, huge masses (looked like shadows of massive clouds moving across the gently sloping hills of South Texas) of them to safely traverse. Think we were headed to see a relative of Margie's?
* You doing chores at home, while singing opera in your amazing voice when we were kids!
* You in a lovely formal, sitting in the back of a Permian Ice truck (?) on a 300 lb. Block of ice in a 4th of July parade in Monahans. Think you were about 15 ... and SO pretty.
* The Snowcone Year. You, Nee, and Jacquie had the little kiosk set up outside Andy's Grocery on the parking lot next to the Ice Plant. I loved the grape snowcones! Then ... Audaine Terror!!
* Noralee cradling me on her lap, me able to only see in black and white after my "circus stunt" - convinced I knew how to hang by my knees on the clothesline support post, point my toes "really sharp", then kick loose so my heels would catch and I could swing on the post like the pretty acrobat had done. (I think Daddy's Lions Club sponsored the circus that year? Fuzzy memories of cotton candy, the parade of performers, hot roasted peanuts in paper bags...) My heels caught ... for one New York nanosecond before I plunged head first into the sand! Darn near broke my neck, obviously a slight concussion. And YOU ... furious with Noralee who always chose to babysit me when chores were handed out, leaving you to dishes, Jacquie to trash ... because Nee must have been daydreaming when I made my nosedive.
* The Band. My most exciting memory of football at our home stadium. I must have been about 5 because you were not yet married and marched that night. They presented the Homecoming Queen and her Court by having them in giant gift boxes, towed into the stadium on decorated and be-ribboned flatbed trailers behind fancy convertibles. Each "present" was opened to let a living Doll step out, five in all. I did not know the girls, too young, but I well remember my amazement ... thought they were real dolls come to life. MAGICAL!
* The horrible night Noralee's and your girlfriends were involved in the fatal car wreck ... Nee was grounded and, fortunately, was not with them as had been planned.
* You telling Kitten when she was almost three, "Baby, PLEASE don't HELP MOMMY TODAY!" as you struggled to get housework done and tend to Ray, still in diapers!
* Our family campouts. Especially the one where a tornado wrecked the camp. You in a swimsuit, donning some wild arrangement of driftwood and grasses, flowers, as your "mermaid crown." And, of course, the one where AG thought his arms were cramping from driving, but was having a heart attack!
So many, many memories ... sweet ones, nostalgic ones, tearful ones ... but wrapped up in my love for you sweet sister!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I LOVE YOU.
So Thank you Sis, for growing up to be our author of the Armchair Genealogy. Your continuation of the importance of DNA in Crime Detection covers a lot of ground in this issue. And with Rod still under the doctor's care, his column "Cooking with Rod" features one of your recipes, and sounds delicious.
Mattie Lennon's "Irish Eyes" does a tongue in cheek recognition of the relaxed standards of dining in public, then teases us with the new book he promises to present more about in November.
"Introspective" by Thomas F. O'Neill discusses the possibility or lack thereof for changes in major relgious icons. Judith Kroll admits that life and every living creature puts a Twinkle in her eye in her column "On Trek." Pauline Evanosky in her column "Woo Woo," opens up about getting unsought psychic impressions, and how she handles such.
Danielle Cote Serar, whose column is "A Mother's Lessons," lists the main Lessons she is finding hold primary self discipline for herself. Marilyn Carnell's column "Sifoddling Along" shares her experiment with testing the AI information received from the burgeoning new sites purporting free use for the public.
Kay Forristal brings us a couple of her poems ("Gypsy Rose" and "Wounded Child") with very different impressions from the women who inspired them. McGrath shows three sonnets, "Cremations," "In Ballyegan Bog," and "Phyllotaxis."
Walt Perryman has three poems for September with "So far this morning," "Our Cell Phone Addiction," and "Sunday Morning Sunrise." Bruce Clifford submitted "Before It Begun." John I. Blair sent a new poem "Jenny Wren." Bud Lemire's poems this issue are "The U. P. State Fair 2023" and "Mackinac Island 2023."
Bud Lemire's article launched in the September issue about his Mackinac Island Excursion was so ably presented by him that this month we draw the curtain and supply you with the link to his own recitation of it in his Blogspot. Great work, Bud.
We continue to bless our good fortune in knowing our co-founder and webmaster, Mike Craner, whose knowledge and expertise keeps Pencil Stubs Online actually online. We place our confidence in him as we have in the past and shall continue doing so.
This issue appears in the ezine at www.pencilstubs.com and also in the blog www.pencilstubs.net with the capability of adding comments at the latter.