Friday, August 12, 2022

Miserable Tykes, UK (1920's), USA (1938)

This is a copy of a blog entry that I posted in 2006.  It seems strange to read this since all of  my sisters are now deceased.



In 2006 my blogger friend Big John from England posted a blog entitled “A not too neat and tidy trio” and he featured the picture that you see here. I found it very amusing and I especially loved the expressions on the three little tykes.I left this comment: “It reminds me of the Staples TV commercial…that shows the Dad racing around the store gathering school supplies for his kids. He is ecstatic because school is starting and he's singing (to the Christmas tune) It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year and then the camera trains on the kids and , I swear, they have expressions on their faces just like the two older children in your photo. Priceless!”

Now, imagine my surprise when my oldest sister, Mary, (age 80) sent me this photo for Christmas. She had it framed and wrote, “Merry Christmas, Joy & Peace” across the inside ! You can see that she retains a good sense of humor. I immediately thought of John’s picture and how similar they are.

I am the youngest of 5 girls and when I asked Mary where our middle sister Nancy was she said that none of us wanted to have our picture taken that day, but only Nancy was brave enough to stamp her foot and run off. She was, and is, the rebel of the family.

I guess children have their miserable days just like we adults do… but somehow you don’t expect to see it in family photos. There is something very appealing about these two pictures, however. You can almost hear the big sighs and read their thoughts…”you can make us pose, but you can’t make us smile !”


Monday, August 08, 2022

A RABBIT’s TALE….stranger than fiction.

In August of 2004 I was in Duke Hospital undergoing the removal of a brain tumor. It was benign, but, because of the location, it was imperative that I have the operation or take the chance of losing my hearing. I was very positive about the outcome but, I gave my best friend a letter with my wishes written down just in case I didn't make it . They were simple, just a memorial service and the reading of part of “Watership Down”. This is a remarkable tale about a group of rabbits and their quest for life. The main rabbit, a male called Hazel, lives to a ripe old age and the final pages tell of his death.

He woke to realize that there was a rabbit lying quietly beside him. ....'Do you know me?' he asked  and Hazel answered 'Yes, my lord.'  'Then If you’re ready, we might go along now' said the stranger. They went out…where the sun was shining and it seemed to him that he would not be needing his body any more, so he left it lying on the edge of the ditch…strength and speed flowing out of him and into the sleek young bodies of his rabbits.

'You needn’t worry about them', said his companion and together they slipped away, running easily down through the wood, where the first primroses were beginning to bloom.”

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Since I'm writing this you know that it all turned out well.  My friend 
was the only person who knew of my wishes in case it had not. So, it was a great surprise when my daughter told me this:

After you were taken to the operating room we all settled in for a 5 hour wait. At one point Brian and I went outside for a breath of air and found ourselves in a large area that was being remodeled. It was a type of courtyard with walls on all four sides and no greenery because of the construction. We sat on some cement blocks and drank our coffee.

All of a sudden we were amazed to see a small rabbit come hopping across the tarmac and, although it looked completely out of place, it was not in the least bit shy. It seemed to study us for a few seconds and then it hopped off. ‘How strange is that?’, we said to each other.”

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Strange indeed…..stranger than fiction?  

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

“BOB & RAY”, 1949



The comedy team of “Bob & Ray” was catching on like wildfire in 1949, the year that I was a Junior in High School. Their wacky radio show, “Matinee with Bob & Ray” aired on WHDH, Boston, and I couldn’t wait for the daily 15 minute segments to begin.

Their format was typically to satirize radio and TV (which was just emerging) with off-the-wall dialogue, usually presented in a deadpan style.



Another spoof was their game show entitled, “The 64 Cent Question” and my favorite segment, the cowboy singer who did rope tricks on the radio

Bob was usually the interviewer and Ray would take on different accents and voice tones. He had a wonderfully flat tone that he used for all his female characters, especially Mary McGoon, a home economics advisor who shared her bizarre recipes with the audience. 

By 1949 they had been airing the show for three years and, although their popularity was growing, they hired the Ad Agency that my Dad worked for to promote it even further. Dad made plans to attend a live broadcast and he took me with him. It was my first time to watch the inner workings of a radio show and it was amazing to watch how they made the sound effects and other technical ends of the business.

I was just 16 years old when I attended that with Dad and little did I know that "live radio" would  be a large part of my life too.  As was said in those days "keep tuned."   


Friday, July 29, 2022

LIVE RADIO SHOWS in the 1940’s

 

In the early 1940’s World War II was raging and the live radio shows of that era provided a much-needed respite for the families waiting at home and for the boys on base. “The Jack Benny Show”, “Edgar Bergan and Charlie McCarthy”, “Burns and Allen” and “The Great Gildersleeve” were only a few of the shows that brought their home-spun humor into our lives.

I was 9 yrs old in 1942 and I can remember many a night that we gathered around the big, wooden radio in the living room and laughed until the tears flowed. There were also nights when we cried as we listened to the news of our brave boys so far from home. The radio was our lifeline for good news or bad.

By 1946 my taste in radio shows had changed dramatically. I was now a teenager and my “romantic” self couldn’t get enough of “The Lux Radio Theater”. Their format was to air one hour radio versions of motion pictures, often using the same cast as in the movie. (examples of these were: “Jane Eyre”, “I Remember Mama”, and “Miracle of the Bells”.) The only problem was that my bedtime was before the show came on. Not to worry. We now owned two smaller radios and I, simply, connected a long extension cord to one of them and took the radio to bed with me!

My folks never reprimanded me, or even let me know that they were aware of what I was doing. But, I recall many nights that I fell asleep mid-show and woke the next morning to find the radio miraculously turned off and set on the floor beside the bed.

Friday, July 22, 2022

...a spider orb web

 


This is an orb web that a spider weaves at night to catch its prey and here is a web construction diagram that shows the intricacy of the design and how it is achieved.


The spider releases a sticky thread to a spot where it sticks & the first bridge is formed. After this the spider constructs a loose thread and constructs a Y shaped thread. Then a frame is constructed to attach the other radii.

After all the radii are completed the spider starts to make the circular threads. The spider can span the distance between the threads the width of her legs. The web is completed with non-sticky radii and sticky circular threads and now the spider can rest and sit in the center of the web with her head down ... calmly awaiting her dinner ! 










Monday, July 18, 2022

PLUM ISLAND, Massachusetts……1937

 

The date was 1937 and my sister Nancy and I are enjoying a fun time at Plum Island, Mass. I am balancing a bottle on my head and seem to be very proud of myself. As I gaze again at that picture I can’t help but chuckle. Little did I know then that “putting the cork in the bottle” was to play a huge part in my later life. I certainly didn’t seem to be worried about it then !

It was a big treat to be spending our summer there.  The "great depression" was still with us and we had little money to spare but a friend of the family offered us his cottage on the island for the summer. We 5 girls ranged in age from 4 ½ (that was me, the youngest) to 13 years, so we would be able to care for ourselves and enable Mother to get a well deserved rest.

Our get-away was spent in a tiny cottage named “Alice”. It was one of a group of compact little wooden structures and was directly on the beach. Although we had a rudimentary kitchen there were no bathroom facilities and our community of families shared an outside shower and an outhouse.

There was a small store, a run down board walk and an open-air building where we could play games, listen to music and work on jig saw puzzles. I'm sure that the youngsters of today would be less than happy to spend a whole summer in such rudematary conditions ... no TV’s, cell phones, or other distractions ... just lots of sun, sand and ocean.  

In other words...HEAVEN!


Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Hitchhiking to North Carolina 1977

 


In the summer of 1977 my 17 yr. old son and a friend were hot and restless and looking for an adventure. They came to me with a plan and, after a lengthy discussion, I reluctantly agreed.   They had decided to hitchhike from Dutchess County, New York to Pinehurst, North Carolina … a distance of approximately 750 miles. My Husband and our younger son were already there working on a small building project and the boys couldn't wait to surprise them.

As I watched them trek down the highway the next day I wondered if I was crazy to let them go. They looked like Mutt and Jeff… my son being 6’3” and his friend barely 5’ 10”. With tears in my eyes and trepidation in my heart I drove home and waited for their call. Of course I was a nervous wreck but that call did come 4 days later and they were fine. They’d completely surprised my husband and younger son and the plan was for them to stay for the next two weeks and then they’d all drive home together. I remember being so happy that it was a tame adventure and that my fears were boundless … they were safe and sound. 

It would be years before they shared the actual facts of the trip ! 

They had a little money with them but even that was rarely spent. They concentrated on getting rides to big cities along the route.   Then they’d find the busiest hotel in the vicinity and pretend to be registered there. They’d swim in the pool, which cooled them off as well as acted as a shower and, after lounging for a bit, they’d wander to the lobby and check out the billboards. There was always an eating event of one sort or another listed and if not they'd check out other hotels until they found what they were looking for.  Then, with the hubris of youth, they'd wander in and eat to their heart's consent. The amazing thing was that they were never questioned, not even once.  

Then, to add insult to injury, they’d take the elevator to the top floor and bed down on the roof !! One night it rained and they settled for a deserted corridor.  So the only expense they incurred was for food and I’ll bet that wasn't much either. I'm sure they weren’t shy taking  “doggie bags” from those free dinners they attended. 

So, that’s the “rest of the story” and when I think of the “what if’s” I can only agree with the old adage … IGNORANCE IS BLISS !