Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Book of Me, Written by You Prompt 6 - Journals and Diaries

The Book of Me, Written by You. A writing exercise that I am taking part in because I always feel like I am chasing dead people and not documenting the "alive" people. I hope to teach you a little about me as I learn about you.

I had always wished I could unearth some awesome and detailed account of an ancestor by way of a kept journal. To glean a day in the life, in detail, something we can imagine but not really grasp reality wise I expect. There are those people holding on to those sorts of treasures but I have not been so lucky. Shoot! So maybe we all carry the same writing laziness gene in my family? I do have a book with a few notes written in it and recipes from my Great Grandfather Edward Fender. He was a baker and this must have been a work book.

I have attempted during many times of my life to be a journal writer but I have a real hard time keeping with it. I start a journal, fade, find it years later and see how lame it reads, call myself a dork and chuck the journal in the garbage. Years later I feel enthusiastic about doing it again and alas, read above, the same thing happens again. I do have one very silly journal from the 80's when a girl friend and I shared a place and a few nights we went out then gave our account of the evening. I am not sure I would enjoy leaving that for my descendants though. Note to self: Find that journal, be like Mom, burn it! /Grin. I am a professional blog fader and I think this blog has been my best attempt at journaling. It has some personal things in it but not my daily thoughts and how I really feel about things. 
I do have a thing about pretty blank books. I have a few, one I carry … well, maybe it could be taken as a journal? I have a blank book that I carry in my purse. It has all my daily notes in it. Lists of things I need for the house, to do lists, contacts for things I need done at the house. I keep all my current working (home) notes in it and always have it and a red pen with me. I do save them, I am on my second book, and those I would keep so I could reference them again if needed. So I perhaps future generations will try to decipher what this meant:



Book of Me, Written by You Prompt 5 – Your childhood home

The Book of Me, Written by You. A writing exercise that I am taking part in because I always feel like I am chasing dead people and not documenting the "alive" people. I hope to teach you a little about me as I learn about you.

My childhood was a transient childhood. When I was born I was brought home to a rented half house on Portage Drive in Akron, Ohio. Shortly after that I was moved to Germany for 3 years, then back to Portage Drive in Ohio, my grandmother lived there. When I was 6 my family moved to the Rochester, NY area and there was an apartment in one town, then another apartment in another town then we moved to another town were we lived in a real house on a horse farm. My father didn't work for the farm so once they hired a foreman for the farm, we had to move again and this time we at least stayed in the same town, just down another road and renting another house on a dairy farm. I think out of all the places I lived as a child that was my very favorite house. We stayed there a couple of years and then after my mother remarried, we moved to our final family home. A real house in a real neighborhood in the town that has become my "home town". I have always envied those people that lived in one place for year after year or taken on the house they grew up in. Even in my adulthood I moved and moved and moved, all local to Rochester but I never seemed to stay anywhere longer than 2 years until my husband and I bought our house. I loved and was so happy in that house and lived there for 8 years. I just couldn't keep it after my divorce and never really recovered from that loss. Again to the apartment dwelling, convincing myself that I didn't want to own property. Recently I bought a house and have never been happier and I intend to stay here until I die. This house.. home.. has been a long time coming.

My favorite childhood house was the dairy farm house in Scottsville, NY. Just a small two story farm house on a county corner. Two corners were corn fields, the third a cow pasture. Now those are my kind of neighbors! I was a free spirit during that time. Running and playing, mini bikes and jumping out of barns, hay bale fights. Kids just being kids and healthy and vibrant. We drank so much milk living there that I will probably never have a broken bone! Some of my friends had horses. I was never a good horse person and they can usually tell they intimidate me so you can probably tell how my riding went and the skills I didn't garner from this time in my life. Looking at the house there was a front porch in the middle and two windows on either side of the porch. One side was my parents' bedroom (the left two windows), the center porch was where the front hallway and dining room were and the two right windows was the living room. Behind the dining room was the kitchen with a door out the left side of the house and a door out to the garage that was behind the kitchen. Behind the living room was this huge walk in closet and then a pretty large bathroom. I didn't care then like I do now but all the floors were wide plank hard wood floors that just gleamed. To have floors like that now! I love rustic and homey. My parents had a very high huge bed so my sister and I would run from the living room, through the dining room, through the hallway into their room and vault over the bed smacking into the outer wall and giggling like mad as we plunked to the floor. Between the kitchen and bathroom was the staircase going upstairs and once up you turned left and would walk straight into my bedroom or turn left, then turn left to walk down the hallway to my sisters bedroom. One day my sister and I decided to "live together" and I moved all my stuff into her room. By day 2 we were fighting and we had hung a rope across the room with sheets hanging. It proved to be a problem when I couldn't use the door and she couldn't get to the closet without either of us crossing enemy territory lines. My mother said enough and told me to move back to my room. 

Our bedroom windows were dormer like and were square and opened inward to the side. I used to climb out those windows and run around on the roof when my parents were away. Once I trip and flew off the roof and ended up snagging the lightening rod with the hem of my blue jeans. Thank goodness for bell bottoms! I smacked against the side of the house hanging upside down holding onto my pants until my friends could pull me back up and guess who never "ran the roof" again?? :)

In the front yard there was a huge lilac, I am betting this thing was 25 feet around. We would run around and around chasing either other around it. Two wild plum trees were at each corner of this white house with green trim. Those trees fell very easily to storms. By the road was a buckeye tree. Yes, we and the boy next door were the children throwing buckeyes at passing cars. Until one night one very angry man chased us down and into the house, I was never more terrified and that was the last time I ever pinged a passing car.

In looking for pictures for this post I used Google Earth. It is so sad to see the condition of this sweet little house.


I left home when I was 17 years and 4 months old. I left the safety of my parents' home and moved to Muldraugh, Kentucky where my new husband was a private at Fort Knox. That started my next transient lifecycle as an adult.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Secrets of a Jewelry Box

I have a fascination with my Mother's jewelry boxes. I can't possibly explain why but I think most women, as little girls, have stories of sifting through their grandmothers and mothers jewelry boxes? I was always in my grandmother's jewelry and came from her room smelling like 4 different perfumes at the same time when I was little. Since my mom died I can't tell you how many times I have pulled out all this pretty ugly jewelry (haha) and sat sifting through it all. Basically it is costume jewelry, some of it is sentimental, and I usually end up pulling out a bracelet to start wearing (confession, today it is 6 bracelets)… I have this thing about bracelets. Oh, and two rings.


So yesterday the electrician came in and put the ceiling light fixture in and I am … finally… after a month of owning a used monster size Stickley desk, putting my office together, or should be. I collected the jewelry boxes from the dining room to put them in a box to store for now but there I went looking through the boxes instead of my "moving in" office project. I can't help it.

This time I stood looking down into this jewelry box (something I have done a thousand times if once) and I noticed something I had never noticed before. See it? I will give you a moment. Out of 3 boxes and three gallon size plastic bags of costume jewelry there is one single item that is different. And more importantly, how on earth did I see past it every single time. I seriously never noticed that pair of used tickets. So now I am writing a blog post instead of moving my office from the dining room to the office. I am so glad I can stay on task…. 


My mind immediately starts conjuring up all sorts of things about these tickets. Knowing my mother as I do, that pair of tickets meant something incredibly important to her. When she and my birth father split up she burned everything that had anything to do with him. And I seriously mean burned, that woman was a pyromaniac if ever. When I started on my DAR application quest every single document I asked my mother for was gone, destroyed…. Burned. Lol. (I can laugh now.) She left no trace of her life with a man she was married to. Luckily she left some photographs in tact though she did destroy her wedding album. I understand the why of her actions, I have that rage gene too, but I wish she had kept my and my sister's family history intact. So while I derailed my objective of this paragraph, let me get back to the point. That pair of tickets had not a thing to do with my birth father. The tickets are from Ohio and $1.25 so had nothing to do with her period of life with my wonderful step-father.

When my mother died there were two personal items in her bedroom. One was a 1964 letter from a man I think she was in love with and I think he was the love of her life. Or perhaps he was the one she let go and regretted.  It was a letter that was telling her he was going to get married and yet still talked about how he had felt about her.  So it was a love letter in a way and a goodbye letter in another way.  Everyone keeps "that" kind of goodbye letter.  But that it was easily accessible to her speaks the importance of that letter to her and helps me understand her and her life a little bit more.  The second was that pair of tickets tucked away in her jewelry box. Other than that she didn't leave much about her as a person. I mean, we had a house of "stuff" to deal with but not a lot of paper proof that defined her as an individual. We never did stumble upon that box of love letters that everyone hopes to find.   Those tickets were kept for a reason and my intuition is telling me it has everything to do with the man in the letter.  And I can't believe I missed them!  So we have mystery documents and probably no answers but it is fun to imagine; to dream. Were those tickets from the date of her dreams?  Where they their first date?  The last time they saw each other?  I would love to know.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Book of Me, Written by You Prompt 4 - Favorite Season


The Book of Me, Written by You. A writing exercise that I am taking part in because I always feel like I am chasing dead people and not documenting the "alive" people. I hope to teach you a little about me as I learn about you.

My absolute favorite season is AUTUMN! Spring comes in a close second but I love everything about fall accept that it is so short and then we have Winter… it's not my favorite.

Fall, to me, is the harvest and the richness of the bounty from a long period of summer work. It's the colors that spring to life in reds, oranges and golds. It's the feeling, that internal clock, that you can feel when the garden slows down and starts to go to its dormancy to sleep. I am out there with that last zucchini plant and that one almost big enough zucchini to pick saying come on, come on, give me this one last zucchini! It's trying but it would rather grow on a 85 degree day not 50! It's about the rows of jarred tomatoes, all the jams from sweet smelling harvests, salsa's and fruit butters and the freezer full of every vegetable your garden could imagine this year. It's the melancholy was we trim back those herbs and perennials we take so much joy from as they bloom happily for us all summer long and telling them I will see them again in spring. It's catching the last whiff of mouth watering fragrances of basil and thyme, sage, rosemary and that delicious smelling pineapple sage. It's watching the birds quickly devour every last minute seed and berry but they know I will take care of them all winter with plentiful seed. There is that pang of sadness as the hummingbird I bonded with stuck around as long as she could. She has been gone a week and a half and I miss her, she is very playful. It's the slowly turning and vibrant beauty of the leaves beginning to turn… it seems like it will never happen and then suddenly it is over. It's feeling that breeze turning cold and watching those big fluffy clouds with the dark grey bottoms scudding across the sky. It's yet too early to whisper that four letter word… s.n.o.w. It's the wood stoves and fireplaces cranking up and that homey smell of wood smoke in the air.. I am a nester… Autumn fits me like a glove.

I remember as a child my sister and I would spend what seemed hours making a pile of leaves to scatter them in a matter of seconds and then we would do it again. Fall is about Halloween, pumpkins, and corn mazes; a holiday that has turned out to be my children's favorite. I made it special when they were little and they haven't forgotten. They still love to dress up. It's about Thanksgiving, a holiday that has turned out to be more important to me than I can ever express. It just seems to me that this is the one holiday a family can come together, repair and dare to dream of more wonderful holidays to come.

As I close my eyes and let my senses take over… these are some of my favorite things:
The crunch of dried leaves under my feet.
The cold air that just smells so good.
The sound of a rake (in honesty, the sound of someone else raking).
The crackling sound and smell of a roaring fire.
The taste of apple cider, donuts, apple pie, apple butter (most likely a good apple harvest year!)
The silence in the wee hours of the morning, those little birds are sleeping in now.
The sense of accomplishment I feel with all I harvested, foraged at farm markets and created to carry the summer season along with me.
A snuggly blanket and a good book, something there is not much time for in summer.