Monday, September 01, 2014

1949 … my one and only foray to the famous FILENE’S BASEMENT …



In 1908 Edward A. Filene came up with a great shopping idea. Instead of simply having a clothing sale every once in awhile (as his famous dad had been doing) why not sell the surplus and overstocked merchandise of the department store on a full time basis? A year later Filene’s “Automatic Bargain Basement” opened it’s doors and it was as overnight success.

I was 16 in 1949 when I made a visit to that famous discount store. I remember the long line of frenetic women waiting for the doors to open and then using all my strength to hold my own against the push of all those bodies. Once inside I elbowed my way to one of the tables and was thrilled to see a peach colored cashmere sweater in my size and at an incredibly good price. I held it high in front of me to inspect for flaws & before I knew it a hand reached out and snatched it from my grasp.

This was not an auspicious beginning so I decided to step back and reconnoiter. I saw that the savvy shoppers had large Filene shopping bags. They would quickly scan a table and shove anything that seemed of interest into the bag. When they had their fill they would retire to the end of the room where large mirrors were hung. Then they would take their time inspecting their choices…keeping everything close and out of reach from the other shoppers.

Soon I had the maneuver down pat and, at the end of the day I’d spent very little and had quite a bit to show for it. However, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was worth it. Even at age 16 I was exhausted and I realized that both my dignity and my body were bruised. To this day, and unlike a lot of my female friends, I have never enjoyed shopping for clothes and I bet it has a lot to do with that first and only trip to Filene’s Basement !

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Not Cheap … just thrifty !

As a lot of you know my daughter and her husband have an antique and used furniture business in New York state. I make at least one visit to them yearly and while there I often take some of the older items they have and hand paint them in hopes that it will make them more salable. This kitchen chair is an example…
…it is one of a set of six. The chairs, although solid and comfortable, were an ugly green and badly in need of refurbishing. So, to make a long story short I made up a design and you see the finished product here. I was pleased with the result and liked them enough that I talked my kids into taking them off the for-sale list and bringing them down to me on their next trip South …which happened to be last week.

They really fit well in my kitchen but were lacking cushions so I went on line to see what was available. When I totaled up what it would cost for 6 of them my old New England thriftiness kicked in and I decided I really didn’t want to spend that amount of money for something that I felt I could do myself.

I found an inexpensive piece of material on sale at our local fabric shop and that was all I needed to buy since I already had plenty of filling on hand.

After I finished the cushions I realized that they looked good but were very slippery and I didn’t want that to cause problems so I went in search of some chair grippers. Once again my thrifty side took over when I saw a 4x6 rug gripper and realized that it would make 6 2x2 foot squares and all I would have to do would be to cut off the 4 corners and they would be just the right size for my round cushions.


And it worked perfectly. I sewed them to the back of the cushions and they really do the job. There’s no slippage now and, best of all, with everything included it cost me less than $3 per cushion !!!

I told you I was thrifty…

Friday, August 22, 2014

August 23, 1958 …

56 years ago today I married the sweet man that you see here. We had a lovely wedding in NY City and looked forward to a long and exciting life together. As fate would have it things didn’t turn out quite like we envisioned. Sickness, (Type 1 diabetes) was the culprit and it took over Dick’s life.

In 1978 we moved from NY to North Carolina and in the mid 80’s Dick’s health deteriorated rapidly. He had a hard time sleeping and would often be up very late at night. I was working in the ER of our local hospital then and had to leave the house by 6:30 in the morning so, needless to say, it was hard to communicate.

It was during this time that he started leaving little notes for me, which I found in the morning. They were always accompanied by cartoon-like faces and I saved and framed a few of them in remembrance... along with my favorite picture of him on his horse Thunder.

Dick died at the young age of 59 but we had 32 years together and I will always treasure the words that he wrote: Bless this house for relaxation, recuperation and restoration
 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

I’m trying …

…or as a friend of mine at work used to say when I told him I was trying … “yes, you are very trying !”

But, all jokes aside, I am trying hard to accept these senior years gracefully but, at the age of 81, I’m finding this is not an easy task. Luckily I do not suffer from depression but I do get discouraged. I also get mad at myself for being caught in that trap so today I decided to do something about it.

I went back and reread what I had written in 2009 about a study on aging. It was conducted by two doctors who had made a five year study of 40 seniors who had arrived at the age of 100. These people were active, mentally alert, living on their own and able to care for themselves. They all came from the United States but were from widely varied economic backgrounds.

The doctors made an extensive documentation of : daily habits, lifestyles, ethnicity, weight, eating preferences, race and genetic backgrounds, as well as spiritual and religious leanings and, at the end of the five years, these two doctors did a comparative study of their findings and came up with some fascinating conclusions. They found that it mattered little what the people ate or if they were prone to exercise…although they did point out that all their participants were moderate in these areas.


The exciting thing about their study is that ALL of the 40 people had four things in common …

1. A sense of humor.
2. A positive outlook on life.
3. The ability to bear loss.
4. A total dedication to something outside of their daily life.

Isn’t that amazing? I can honestly say that I have all of those four attributes…but they do me no good if I don’t use them. This was a good reminder and I vow to get back to practicing them …starting today !



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A lesson learned … about BOREDOM !

When I was a youngster I complained to my mother that I was totally, totally bored. I will never forget her answer and how it has affected me for the rest of my life. She said, “did you ever stop to think that bored people are very boring?” I didn’t like that answer. Not only did it make a lot of sense … it made ME the boring one !

Then my mother suggested that I take a plate of homemade cookies to our elderly neighbor Mrs. Whitely and, reluctantly, I did so, wondering how this had anything to do with my boredom problem.

Mrs. Whitely was surprised and pleased to see me and she insisted that we have a “tea party” to go along with the cookies. She told me to make myself at home while she steeped the tea so I spent the time wandering around the room. I felt like I was in a museum and, in actuality, I was.

To make a long story short that was the beginning of an amazing friendship. Mrs. Whitely was in her 80’s and, although she had been widowed for many years she recalled how she and her husband had traveled the world for his business. Everything in that room was in remembrance of those years and she was thrilled to share it all with me.

When I told her how “totally bored” I had been before coming to see her she (gently) scolded me, saying: “Boredom is a luxury that millions of people in the world do not have. They spend every hour just trying to survive. You must never squander that luxury.”

Now I am the one in my 80’s and I reminisce about those magical days spent with Mrs. Whitely. She was a very wise woman, as was my Mother. They taught me that boredom is a trap and the best way to avoid it is to get out of ones self … like visiting a neighbor perhaps ?

 

Thursday, August 07, 2014

A new look to an old standby …

 

A friend and I spent a lovely few hours this week at the Pik ‘n Pig, a restaurant in a nearby town that specializes in homemade barbecue. It’s not my favorite food but it’s fun to sit outside and watch the small planes land.

I hadn’t been there for a few years and was very surprised to see all the changes that have been made. As you can see in the pictures two memorials and a replica War plane are now on display. One plaque is in memory of a Moore County native son, James McConnell who fought in WWI and the other honors  Lt. Robert Hoyle Upchurch, a WWII airman who was a member of Chennaults “Flying Tigers” prior to the United States entry into the war.

Here we are…Olive and me, after a very hearty lunch complete with fried pickles !





 
 
 


 

A new look to an old standby …

 

A friend and I spent a lovely few hours this week at the Pik ‘n Pig, a restaurant in a nearby town that specializes in homemade barbecue. It’s not my favorite food but it’s fun to sit outside and watch the small planes land.
I hadn’t been there for a few years and was very surprised to see all the changes that have been made. As you can see in the pictures two memorials and a replica War plane are now on display. One plaque is in memory of a Moore County native son, James McConnell who fought in WWI and the other honors  Lt. Robert Hoyle Upchurch, a WWII airman who was a member of Chennaults “Flying Tigers” prior to the United States entry into the war.

Here we are…Olive and me, after a very hearty lunch complete with fried pickles !



 
 
 


 

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Pursuing her passion … despite all odds.


Back in February of this year my blogger friend Syd posted an entry about a young lady who had a passion to become a registered nurse. She is 21 and you would think this a normal and reasonable dream. However, in her case it was anything but normal.

She was born into a poor family in a small town in Mexico where an ambition such as this is seldom fulfilled. When she was 9 she came to the United States and joined her family working in the fields of South Carolina picking tomatoes.

With sheer will and determination she changed from a young girl who spoke no English to a High School student graduating at the top of her class. This was in 2011 but she was unable to pursue a higher education because her citizenship status was still being processed. She didn’t sit still waiting for this to happen however. She worked in various jobs ( child care, housekeeping, elderly care) and her passion in nursing just got stronger until finally in October of 2013 she was granted citizenship.

She had saved what money she could but it still wasn’t enough for college so, not wanting to lose her dream, she posted a fund raiser on the internet. Because Syd knew her and her family I didn’t hesitate to send her a contribution and I am happy to say that Syd told me this week that she has started her clinical work and is doing great.

She could be an artist too judging by the lovely charcoal sketch that she sent to me as a “Thank You”. I am thrilled for her and if you want to know her whole story just click on here: http://www.gofundme.com/63l40s