Sunday, December 28, 2014

Life in the ‘40’s … simple but memorable.

My last blog entry was about the year 1933 and it got me to thinking about the years that followed. In particular it brought back a memory of a favorite meal that my mother used to make. We could only have it during the harvest months since tomatoes were the main ingredient. We children would gather them off the vine from our vegetable garden…still warm, ripe and juicy.
Then we would cut them into cubes and combine them with home-made mayonnaise, ketchup, herbs, salt & pepper to taste. We would do this early in the day so that it could marinate all day in the refrigerator. At supper time we would have two big bowls on the table. One bowl contained steaming hot, white rice with chunks of bologna and the other was the bowl of juicy and chilled, marinated, tomatoes.

It sounds strange in these days of plenty ... but that was a feast as far as we were concerned. We’d heap our plates and always came back for seconds. Over the years I’ve tried to reproduce that recipe but it’s never been a success. I’m sure it has to do with the tomatoes. The type that they sell in the stores today have little in common with the ones that I remember.
Last summer my daughter brought me a few heirloom tomatoes from her own garden and I couldn’t believe how delicious they were. I saved the seeds and am determined to see if I can get them to grow ! If I do you can bet that my first meal using them will be the one I’ve described here.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

My first Christmas, 1933

This is the Christmas card that my folks sent out the year that I was born, 1933, and I thought I’d send it, along with my best wishes, to each and every one of you reading this.

I was just 10 months old when that photo was in Plainfield, New Jersey with my four older sisters. Of course I don’t remember that Christmas but I do remember many of them as a child. We would wake to find a Christmas stocking at the end of our beds filled to overflowing with tangerines, nuts, raisins and candy mints. Of course we ate our fill and that sufficed for breakfast.

The actual opening of gifts would come when Mother and Dad had joined us. We had far fewer gifts then and each one became a treasure. Dad would play Santa and Mother would collect the ribbons, bows and wrapping paper. It was a “waste not, want not” era then and Mother would carefully fold everything and put it away for the next year.

When I remember those Christmas days in the 30’s and 40’s I realize how simple life was then. We had seven mouths to feed. It was a time of our country’s depression and then World War II. We had few frivolous possessions but we lacked for nothing. Love, laughter and respect for each other were in abundance and it is those things that I wish for all of blogger friends.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


When my father died in 1960 my sister Barbara inherited his large stamp collection that included a box of Christmas stamps dating back to the early 20th century. About 15 years ago Barbara sorted through the box and found that there were many duplicates. She decided to make use of them and very creatively designed the plate that you see here.

Barbara started with a clear glass plate, glued the stamps to the bottom of the plate and then covered it all with red felt. It was her Christmas gift to me that year.
I did some research about Christmas seals and found that it actually started in Denmark but became a national program here in 1908. The seals were sold at post offices for a penny each and the proceeds went to the Red Cross and the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis. The Red Cross withdrew from the arrangement in 1920 and from then on it was conducted exclusively for TB. President Roosevelt, who suffered from Polio, endorsed the campaign in 1936 and it took off from there.
Today, since TB has become curable, the Christmas seals benefit the American Lung Association and other lung related issues

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A special gift … lost and found !

Six years ago my good friend Bud gave me this lovely necklace for my 75th birthday. He knew that it was the name of my blog and he had it made special order for me. I had convinced him to try blogging also because I knew he had an interesting background and thought he would enjoy sharing it with others.

Well, long story short, he did set up a blog and posted about 6 or 7 entries. He was even getting some good comments but his love of golf took over and he let the blog go.

About a year after Bud gave me the necklace it went missing. I couldn’t find it anywhere and every time I saw Bud I was reminded that I’d lost his gift and I hoped he would not ask about it and why he never saw me wear it.

Imagine my surprise today when I found it in my sweater drawer ! It was actually stuck to the inside of the sweater I chose to wear and I would never have thought to look there. I am so happy to have it back and, since I see Bud most Sundays I intend to wear it tomorrow.  Unless he reads this blog entry he'll never know about the loss ! 

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

1940 ... The wild animal attack !

This two generation picture was taken in West Brattleboro, Vt. in 1940. My Mother and Dad were enjoying a rare moment alone with my maternal grandparents. Our family, by this time, consisted of 5 little girls (I was the youngest) and it was rare for us to be separated from Mother & Dad. We were living in Plainfield, NJ at that time but we were able to get to Vermont on a few special occasions. This was quite an ordeal because we didn’t own a car and had to make the journey by train.

My grandparents home was not large and usually my parents would stay there and we five would be parceled out to friends and relatives. We were with our cousins when this picture was taken. They lived nearby in a large farm-type colonial located in the center of West Brattleboro. I remember that big white house and, in particular, the bedroom where the attack took place.

I had been assigned to the lower bunk of a two-tier bed and it was here that I woke to a horrible scenario. A wild animal was clawing at me and my screams just made the unknown attacker more frenzied. I was flailing my arms and trying to protect my head when my cousin finally turned on the light. She was shaking me and trying to figure out why I was screaming. As I started to calm down I noticed a large cat sitting on the foot of my bed. He seemed to have a sly, “gotcha”, smirk on his feline face and I realized that this was my “wild animal”.

Of course my cousin explained it all. The "innocent" cat sleeping with her and then jumping down from the top bunk and landing squarely on me, scaring me out of my wits. Did I buy that? Not on your life...that cat was out to get me and his big Cheshire smile proved it!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

A wink and it’s over …

It seems like Thanksgiving came and went so quickly that I hardly had time to take it all in. My family was fairly wide spread this year so I thought it would be fun to make some comparisons.

My daughter’s husband took this picture from their front porch on the Big Day.

They live in Columbia County, New York and actually had Thanksgiving with a dear friend the day before since they knew this was coming.

My niece is also a New Yorker and is lucky enough to have friends who have a small penthouse apartment in the city, just one building off the park. She writes that there was a good view of the Macy's parade, looking down on all the floats and giant balloons.

My oldest son spent the day with his girlfriend and her family here in North Carolina. There was a bit of a chill in the air but not at the table !

My middle son and I took off for Tampa, Florida for a fun filled 4 days with his daughter, my granddaughter, and her fiancé. We had a wonderful time and you can see by this photo how different that was from all the others !