Saturday, February 26, 2011


“We’ve got plenty of room in our regular coop but it’s only fair that we get a day out once in awhile … we like to get a change of scene too, you know.

We’ve heard there’s a force in numbers, so here we are, bunching together to let them know we want to go along this time…AND IT WORKED ! They’re getting the traveling case ready for us. Whoopee.

We knew that on a beautiful day like this they’d take pity on us. After all, if the dogs get to go why shouldn’t we?

And here we are … not quite “free” but at least we’re in a different place and there’s a bit of green grass coming up for us to chew on. Ahhhh…life is good.

I guess they’ll be expecting some eggs in return; but, it’s a small price to pay for our big day out.

Now .. If we could just get Ginnie to stop calling us “Chicklets” we’d be really happy ladies !”

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Peanut Necklace … 1939 World’s Fair

Every time I hear the resonant tones of “Finlandia” by Sibelius I am transported back to the 1939 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, NY. It was probably 1941 and I would have been 8 at the time. I don’t remember much but one memory is clear as a bell.

I recall standing in a long line in front of the Planter’s Peanut exhibition. They were giving away necklaces with a little “gold” peanut attached and I made the entire family (4 sisters and my parents) wait while I stood on line. I was determined to get one and I’m so glad that I did.

Here is a picture of the necklace and you can see that it is not a cheap little item like what you would find in a Cracker Jacks Box. It is gold-toned and very sturdy. I have never seen another one like it and wonder if this was the original Planter’s trademark before the little peanut guy of today with the cane and top hat.

Back in 2006 I wrote to Planter’s and they could not give me any information, nor had they seen anything like it. I came away with the feeling that they didn’t believe me but I can assure you that I was there and my necklace is proof of that.

My only other memory of that magical day was watching the famous musical fountains display. Each night, as the sun went down, the crowds would gather at the pool. The haunting strains of “Finlandia” would fill the air as enormous jets of rainbow colored water sprayed higher and higher into the sky.

Then the finale …a barrage of fireworks exploding into the darkening sky. A sight that was almost too spectacular for this little girl to absorb… but one that I remember still.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Today a blogger friend asked if I’d seen any signs of Spring yet. He only lives 4 hours South-east of me so you would think we’d be on the same weather schedule but that’s often not the case. He is on the ocean and that makes a huge difference.

Anyway, I can report that it’s still a bit early in my neck of the woods to have any overt signs of spring, except, of course, for the robins. However, yesterday and today the temperature rose to over 70 degrees and they were the nicest days we’ve had for a long time.

My daughter and her husband, on the other hand, (who are staying with me until April), can report a far different story for their home in New York. Recently his brother made a ride-by to check out their house and he took the following picture. It’s a bit blurry but you can see the snow and the doe ogling the photographer. What is not clear is that the snow was actually over two feet deep and encrusted with a thick layer of ice. The deer’s weight is spread across the entire body so she didn’t sink down to her knees like his brother did !

Our United States has had a topsy-turvy weather year and none of us have been safe from Mother Nature’s wrath; but, here in North Carolina we’ve been very lucky on the whole and I’m truly grateful for that.

Thanks for asking, Syd.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A perfect blend … My BIRTHDAY GIFTS:

As I grow in age I find that I need less and less. That is why it’s so hard for me to let my children know what I want for gifts. At Christmas and on my birthday they always ask and I never have a good answer.

The easiest thing, of course, is a gift card and I really love those … especially the ones for Panera Bread. I like their salads and soups and the Asiago breakfast bagel with egg, cheese and bacon is a favorite of mine, as are the little quiche‘s.

Soooo…I received the standard question this year as my date of birth approached and I (as always) asked for the gift card. My son groaned but he and his daughter honored my request … so I am set for some good eating for quite a while to come, thanks to them !

My daughter and her husband, on the other hand, refused to go along with that and I was shocked and thrilled to get something that I can really use but would NEVER have asked for. It’s a Black and Decker Leaf Hog blower and vacuum !

My little house is surrounded by trees and, no matter what the season, I am inundated with leaves and no amount of raking seems to make a dent in it. Not to mention that the raking kills my back !

I’ve already put it to the test and I find it easy to handle and very efficient. I will finally be able to stay ahead of the leaf deluge and what a difference it will make in keeping a neat and tidy yard. I’m sure my neighbors will approve.

Now I can blow or vacuum to my heart’s content and then reward myself with breakfast or lunch at Panera’s. A perfect blending of gifts from my almost-perfect kids !!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Once upon a time a little old lady in her 80’s decided that life in a nursing home was way too tame for her. She decided that streaking was the way to spark up the place and that’s exactly what she did. She stripped down to her “bare facts” and took off. Two old geezers watched in astonishment as she approached and passed them in the nude. “What in the world was that?” one of them said. “I don’t know”, replied his friend, “but it sure needed ironing !”

Isn’t that silly? But, it makes an excellent point. As we grow older we DO start to wrinkle and it‘s a total body take-over. Not a happy thought but one that I faced recently. I was looking at my hands and I saw the enlarged knuckles, the prominent veins and the sprinkle of brown spots and I found myself wondering, “when did this happen?”

It made me think of my Mother’s arthritically crippled hands and how I would watch as she massaged them under hot water to relieve the pain. Her knuckles were very swollen and she couldn’t have removed her wedding ring if she’d wanted to. I suddenly felt lucky that my hands are merely wrinkled and unattractive ... but not painful. It seemed to give me a proper sense of perspective and I could actually laugh at myself.

Of course the years have taken a toll and every wrinkle and spot attests to that; but what a wonderful journey it has been, and that‘s something I had forgotten until I took up blogging almost 5 years ago.

There’s something magical about blogging and I think it’s the support and affirmation that is freely given by strangers from all over the world. So many of you have relived the events of my past 78 years with me and your comments have made me see my life in a different light.

Truth be told I had completely forgotten about my early years and it wasn’t until I dug deep and recreated those events on my blog that I realized how exciting they actually had been.

And now I am in the quiet phase of my life and I realize how lucky I am. I have had ups and downs in my long life but I have basically been blessed. I have a loving family and a multitude of friends … which includes all of you who read these words, whether you comment or not.

Once again I take a look at my hands and I smile to think of how many years it has taken to sculpt them as they are. These are my hands. I have earned them fair and square and I marvel that every wrinkle and swollen knuckle is the culmination of those years that I had almost forgotten !

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mystical dates … 1/1/11 … 1/11/11 … 11/1/11 … 11/11/11

I’ve always had a fascination with dates and interesting time combinations. If you keep an eye on your digital clock you come up with all sorts of them. For example twelve thirty four will give you the sequence 1234. Or, how about this ? … if you add twelve minutes to the numbers 1:11, 2:22, 3:33 or 4:44 you will get these runs … 1:23, 2:34, 3:45 and 4:56.

And, of course, there’s always the eleven minutes after eleven time slot that gives a digital reading of 1111. It also leads me into the main gist of this blog entry.

I recently received an email message that read:

“This year we will experience 4 unusual dates.... 1/1/11, 1/11/11, 11/1/11, 11/11/11 ......... NOW go figure this out.... take the last 2 digits of the year you were born plus the age you will be this year and it WILL EQUAL .... 111.”

Being a born skeptic I had to try it out. I was born in 1933 and will be 78 this February. So 33 and 78 do, indeed, add up to 111.
Then I applied it to all my children’s birth dates and, lo and behold, it equaled 111 every time.

Magic??? Of course not and there’s a fairly easy mathematical equation that explains how this works. But where’s the fun in that? I’d much prefer to chock it up to some sort of psychic phenomenon ! (Eerie music playing in the background as I write this…)

Numerology is the study of occult meanings of numbers and their supposed influence on human life. Those that study it believe that events linked to the time 11:11 appear more often than can be explained by chance or coincidence… and New Age philosophies believe that the repetition of the number one signals a spirit presence and that mystical powers are associated with it… (Eerie music continues …)

I can’t go quite that far but I can go with the idea that 11:11 is a reminder that life’s patterns do repeat themselves. Or, on the other hand, I could just accept the fact that it’s eleven minutes after eleven, and be done with it !

Sunday, February 06, 2011

A tribute to Dick … 04/03/30 to 09/22/90

This is my favorite picture of my husband, taken in 1971. I have others that are more in focus and technically superior...but they don’t capture Dick’s spirit as this does.

My childhood was practically idyllic compared to Dick’s. His reads like a Dickensian novel. His 34 year old Dad died of a brain aneurysm when he was a young boy. His mother came from Ireland on a “potato boat" in the early 20th century and it wasn’t until years later, after both she and Dick had died, that we found out that she was actually a serving girl in a fancy home in Nyack, NY and that Dick’s father was the youngest son of that family.

It seemed to be a happy marriage until the death of his dad. At that point the family turned their back on Dick’s mother. A very wealthy woman in town took pity on Dick and his older brother and she paid to have them go to private schools. This left his mother on her own and she went to NY City, where she worked for many years as a clerk in one of the large department stores.

Dick did not have the temperament for private schools and was constantly getting into trouble. He was actually thrown out of Exeter and returned to NY City where he attended Stuyvesant High while living with his mom. This proved to be a good move for him since it was one of the most innovative schools in the nation at that time and he graduated with honors.

He had some college (NYU) but decided to jump into the fray and in 1954 he became an intern at “Life” magazine. He worked and traveled with such greats as Eugene Smith, Eliot Elisofon, Alfred Eisenstadt and Margaret Bourke-White. This is the portrait that he took of her and she actually wrote to thank him, declaring it was her all-time favorite.

In 1958 (when we met) Dick had decided to leave “Life” and to try his luck as a free lancer. He had a special knack for photography and did well for the first few years that we were married but it was not to last. It was a sad day when he had to give it up due to poor health, (type 1 diabetes). He needed a more stable life style and we moved to the country where he opened a Real Estate office.

There had been many changes in his young life and there would be many more to come...but his indomitable spirit always triumphed. He wasn’t easy to live with. He had no tolerance for compromise and he expected us all to be as hard on ourselves as he was on himself, but his love for our little family was total and he dedicated his life to us, until his death in 1990 at the young age of 60.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

TINY TIM Tiptoes thru our small town BIG TOP

If you think that Tiny Tim the musician,(??), with his ukulele and his falsetto voice singing “Tiptoe Through the Tulips“, is a bit bizarre then I’m here to tell you; “you ain’t heard nothin’ yet”.

In 1985 my little town of Vass, NC, with barely 700 residents, played host to a small time circus to raise money for a local charity. People from near & far came for the one-night performance and Tiny Tim was the main attraction. He sang and joked around and the people seemed to love it. I couldn’t stay, however, because I had to be up very early the next day to get to my job in the ER of our local hospital.

Imagine my surprise upon arriving there the next morning to see a familiar looking figure dressed in a long, dark overcoat, at the front desk .It was Tiny Tim. He had a small paper bag with him and was pleading to have the ER Dr. see him “in private”.

He refused to be registered so we called the Supervisor. She finally determined that he was carrying a urine sample that he swore he had obtained from a girl in Vass (!) She, according to Tiny Tim, was accusing him of getting her pregnant and he wanted the Dr. to prove her wrong. Remember, this was back in 1985, long before you could get a pregnancy test kit from a drugstore.

This whole scene was getting more and more bizarre. Both the Dr. and the nursing supervisor tried to tell him that it was way too early to determine anything but Tiny Tim just became more agitated and obnoxious. He started yelling about “my rights as a citizen” and “people taking advantage of me because I’m a star”, and it was at this point that the news photographers arrived.

In retrospect we could clearly see that we’d been conned. He managed to get a front page spread in the local newspaper, as well as mentions in the Raleigh and Fayetteville ones too. The un-named girl from Vass “conveniently” disappeared and Tiny Tim, with a big “gotcha” smile on his face, tiptoed quietly out of our lives.