Monday, April 27, 2015

Memory Lane

Yesterday I turned 60.  A trip down memory lane was in order.

My husband, along with my good friend and former neighbor, gifted me with:

A tour of the house I grew up in.

 The house has been empty for a while, used for storage.

The colorful pictures that are included in today's post do not hold a candle to the vibrance and space that I beheld back in those days of old...  as I looked upon my home then, through a child's eyes.

The big bathroom that my dad had built onto the house forty some years ago, (after my mom saw a snake in the outhouse and insisted), had somehow become smaller through time.

The walls seem to be closing in on the living room/boys bedroom that once was.  It is nowhere near the size that it was so many years ago.  As I remembered it, there was a couch, a chair, a black and white television set, a rollaway bed in the corner, and a pot belly stove .   It would have been magic had all those things actually fit in that one little room and yet left us with as much free space as I remember there being.  Magic indeed.

Every room is so much smaller than I remembered.

As a little girl I spent many a night finding my way into Mom and Dad's bedroom, and then sleeping in between them.  I would fear nothing then, not the dark of night...  nor sickness.... nor the unknown... for my comforters surrounded me.

Maybe they call them houses because they house so many memories long after those living in the structure are gone.

I had to ask.  "Was this really our kitchen?"

My mom and dad's 25th wedding anniversary took place in this modest kitchen and seeing it today, it does not seem possible.  Magic.

With six kids and two adults, things must have been really tight.  Much tighter than I ever realized.

The kitchen holds a lot of memories.  Mom would pack our lunches in brown paper bags and put them in the fridge for school the next day.  Sometimes she would make hoagies and cupcakes with butter creme icing.  Since the kitchen was warmer, thanks to the pot belly stove in the next room,  I'd sometimes come to the kitchen in the middle of the night when I was very cold and tuck myself inside a pillowcase and lie on two chairs put together.  By morning the coals would have burned away and it would be cold throughout the house.

There was once a porch on the outside of the front of the house, where on hot summer days mom would give us outside baths once a week.

 Summer vacation would last forever.  We played mubley peg in the dirt and climbed the apple tree in our neighbors back yard, eating little green apples till we were sick, sick, sick.

We played wiffle ball with the neighbor kids and I would dress my cats in doll clothes and pretend they were my babies.  My imagination took me on journey's far away.

I would earn a little money babysitting the neighbor kids on either side.  Then one day the neighbors in the red house moved away and not long after that the house was burned to the ground.  A cemetery was put in its place.  We now had a cemetery to the left and a cemetery above us.

My dad was an electrician and my mom worked in a sewing factory.

Dad was 53 when he died of a heart attack.

Mom was 69 when her kidneys failed and she passed away,   complications of diabetes.

Back then, the little four room house was alive with activity.

And the hill was busy...

And though the memories are recorded in black and white...

They are sharp and extremely clear.

This is the bedroom that I shared with my two sisters.

I remember that window being thick with ice on cold winter days, the wind howling and somehow finding its way through to the room where we slept.

And then...  as springtime emerged, the sound of birds singing lovely songs of hope.  Such happenings beyond that bedroom window!

 Nose to the glass, as a young girl I beheld a mound of coal for the furnace and the old wooden outhouse to the left and the chicken coop and big tree to the right.  I'd climb that tree as I got older, and sit there and read or sometimes just think about things.   I loved my simple, carefree life.

My dad would park his car right here.  As a teenager I would go outside and sit in that car, to be alone and listen to some music or read a book.

I can still see Mom wearing her cotton dress as she pulled wet clothes from the basket and hung them on the clothes line, a light warm breeze whipping the clothes in the summer sun.

 The same road where we met Dad each afternoon as he came home from work with his lunch leftovers (the bucket), was the same road used for hopscotch, bike riding, and waiting with our dimes for Mr. Softee.

 Though the pictures in this post are scattered, the old and new intertwined,  it's obvious that the faded and mostly black and white ones are those of old and the new scenes bright, colorful and vibrant.

Me with sister Angie

But today I find that the real color, vibrance, and space is in those memories from days so long ago.

Thank you Gary and Sandy, for this wonderful trip down Memory Lane!  You made my birthday very special!

Sandy was our neighbor then, and now owns our old house.    It was so kind of her to turn us loose and let us reminisce.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Simply Sweet

Too much going on here to pull together a blog post.  I wouldn't know where to begin.  

So I will focus on something simple and sweet.

Something Simply Sweet! 

I know I am bias...  but don't you think Jasper and Jake are absolutely precious? 

Thursday, April 16, 2015


I look over old blog posts and I think, how stupid.  Then I think I would like to start over.  Create a new blog and start writing smart posts instead of stupid ones.  Of course, I understand that my smart posts would likely look stupid to me in a couple of years.  

Gracie is not helping me at all these days.  She has been silent. I kneel down beside of her, "Give me something, girl.  Anything."  And she glares at me as if to say, "Don't you think I've given you enough?"

I am looking for direction here, but coming up blank.  And so..  I am going to continue on my blog until a lightbulb goes off in my head.

I will admit that it is fun to go back almost five years ago to when I started blogging and to reminisce.

But it all seems stale after a while.  And I feel really badly for those of you who are trying to be loyal and hang in there reading my stupid posts.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Purge or Pack?

I will be seriously, no,  seriously  turning 60 in a matter of fourteen days.  

It is time to think more of my heavenly home and think less of my earthly one.  They say you can't take it with you.  I get that.

I. have. seriously. become. a. hoarder. of. sentimental. stuff.  I have a real hard time throwing anything of sentimental value away.  This is crazy, especially now since three of my grandchildren are drawing pictures and sweet 'I love you Grammy' notes.  


Lots of changes going down in the Phillip household in the next couple of weeks.  Included in these changes:  Gary's uncle coming to live with us (in the rear office apartment). Loss of space.  A gigantic, huge, GIGANTIC yard sale.  Purging! Purging! Purging!

Honestly, I have nowhere to go with anything.

We have collected so much 'stuff' that when we go to look for something it is easier to buy new than to figure out where it may be.  

The stuff = GOING BYE-BYE!  

I mean it!

My closet.  Bye-bye clothes.  

I can get rid of 2/3 and still have enough to last the rest of my life .... even if I make it to ONE HUNDRED and TWO!

And so.  This project is BIG but one by one I am chipping away.  Hoping to have the yard sale early to mid May.

So whadda ya think?  Which of the following sentimental 'stuff' is  being purged and which is  being packed?

In 8th grade I started writing stories.  I put my best friend and myself in the cast of this one.  Woo Hoo!  Loved that show!

Another story.  Once again, my best friend and I were cast as main characters.  Do you remember Here Come The Brides?  Oh how I loved Bobby Sherman!
The middle son's blankie.
A list of residents in the nursing home that I took care of when I was a nursing assistant.  I blotted out their names just in case they are still alive and kicking (which I strongly doubt).
My dad's silver tie that he wore on his and mom's 25th wedding anniversary.  There was a horrific snow storm that day.  I have pictures of him and mom in our small kitchen where they were forced to have the festivities because of the weather.
In my Mom's wallet when she passed away.  The top picture is my niece Diane who just passed away this past November.
A CB radio card from friends of my dad's
Another CB radio card.  I can remember talking to my cousin on that CB radio....  like it was yesterday.  KKI 2433, KKI2433...  this is KKI 4725, do you copy?   What a thrill!
A postcard to Mom from Dad
The front of the postcard
My mom's dialyses log.  Every day.  Four times a day we would record BP, Temp, Weight, Which # exchange (fluid) to go in and how much came out.  It was an emotional time in my life.  A time where I grew stronger than I ever thought possible.
After Mom's recovery (she had been sick and close to death for 3 months), at her assisted living place...  one of her first days back home I took her downstairs to the activity room because someone was there leading songs.  I remember thinking HOW  BLESSED I AM because my Mom was still with me.  This was the sheet music.  I can still see my mom's smile as she sang these words.  She was happy to be alive.
My brother's rattle

My Dad's old glasses.  Weirdest prescription I've ever seen.  

So there you have it.  And this does not even make a dent in the sentimental stuff...  oh no, not at all. 

"NO!  Don't you dare get rid of that!  Do my puppy years mean nothing at all to you, woman!!??"