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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Readin', Writin' (No Arithmetic!)

Writin':  on the inside cover of a cookbook (below) to my Mom from her sister-in-law, (my) Aunt Bobbie.

Readin':  We wouldn't DARE give this for a gift these days. It's all about healthy...

...and inside this book was a hand-written recipe of Mom's.

So!  Do you notice anything???
Their handwriting is quite similar.
My stepmother's looks like this too.
I call it "Boarding School Script."
A lot of women I know that were brought up on the East Coast have this roundish, delightful penmanship.
To my current East Coast Friends:
Do you?

 (A man's penmanship is an unfailing index of his character, moral and mental, and a criterion by which to judge his peculiarities of taste and sentiments.)   -Philip Dormer Stanhope                             

Friday, July 30, 2010

Celebrate Good Times...

(The backyard at 7:30 pm)


Friday evenings may be my favorite time of the week.
My Guy loves weekends (i.e., AWAY from work) and we've always celebrated our weekends.

Tonight is different.  We're not going on a date but are putzing around the home and in the garden.
He and #2 Son worked in the backyard while I worked INside.  It's very rewarding - team work.
I am most thankful for the past week.  And celebrating by dancing around the house to my music.
(Thank goodness the guys were one witnessed such folly!) 

So I lift my glass to YOU!  Here's to a weekend of rest, joy, and being on the same team...
(with whomever you're celebrating life with!)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

His Story

(Heart-felt words from #2 Son at 20 years old)

The Lost Man's Prayer

I'm sorry...sorry for all the pain.
I never meant to drive this family insane.
We always strived for better, for more to gain...
All the energy we had is gone, down the drain.

Down the gutter.
I didn't mean to curse out my mother.
And for my father, those words I never meant to utter.
Every day I wonder what life would be like if there was no thunder - throughout this family.
Would I be smarter or dumber, would I still to this day be by my Dad's side as a runner?

Would I look forward to each and every summer?  Is it possible that I would wake up feelin younger?
...with no stress or is it all a test...from God, where life is a challenge and you have to figure it out like chess?

Yes, my whole life has been a mess.
But please don't give up, we will all make it, Wes.
This is all for the best, soon we will figure out what I was doing wrong.
We won't have to guess and from then on we will do good.
Just like we should.

My whole life I have felt misunderstood, but family, we will be okay.
As long as every day I cross my hands and pray.  Amen.

(June 23, 2010)

Friday, July 23, 2010

What goes around...

July 1956

...Comes Around!

Dad's ensemble would still fit in today AND how I'd love that handbag!

    (#1 Son resembles Dad so much, it's eerie!)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Heavenly Haven

I'm having a moment.  I was sitting in bed; piled high with all my books - intent on journaling, meditating, soul searching...and then I hear it.  The mourning dove's coo. And tears stream down my face.  Not sad tears.  I'd call them tears of gratitude. 

The "coo" is one of three sounds that instantly transport me back - to summers in Long Island.  I've mentioned the crunch of gravel and then there's the whistle of a train. 

I closed my eyes and crawled deeper into my nest of ironed, crisp, luxurious sheets.  The window is open and I hear someone walking the driveway.  It's probably the gardener.  He walks the grounds, babying the roses and dressing them for the day.  He snips a few for Mimi's breakfast tray and various vignettes around the house.

It dawns on me how summers there were not only vacation but a much needed respite (def.: "an interval of rest or relief").  As a young girl I knew I needed it.  Craved it.  But NOW I was a relief.  Such a relief to flee from the tension I felt at home.  This is my perception - my memory.  Recently, one of my brothers and I reminisced and learned we had varying and VERY different perceptions of our childhood. 

Thankfully we stopped before the hurts hurt more but I should have said how dare you?  How dare you tell me what to think, or what to remember.   I know what I know:

Getting away from home was heaven.  Summer at Mimi's was a haven

A 9 or a 10!

Me, Dad, #1 Son and Mimi, oh about 20 years ago...

Even on a casual Mimi
 "dressed to the nines."

Lipstick:                        check
Manicured nails:            check
Immaculately coiffed:   check
Classic jewelry:             check

"Dressed to the nines" origin is unknown but may be a reference of scale.  Who IS a 10?  In my mind Mimi came close.  She certainly was a good role model!

I hope your daughters are blessed to sit at an older woman's feet.  SO MUCH LIFE there!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Boys Will Be Boys!

Two heads are better than one.  Brother #2 just called and we reminisced of "days gone by."  I was laughing my head off at his memories.  Below is an email of his:

I remember Brother #1 and I being banished to the servants quarters over the garage (the greatest punishment EVER), being driven to "The Club" every morning, and killing dozens and dozens of cotton tailed rabbits on Mimi's front lawn.  I also remember the Sun Room and you forgot the hand rolled butter balls.

Miriam, The Cook, had two paddles that she'd roll to make the perfect butter ball.  Brother asked:  "Why do you do that?"  The answer:  "Your grandmother prefers her butter this way."

Our dad hunted.  He had two sons and thought they'd like pellet guns.  One morning both my brothers went a-hunting.  Brother #2 recalls nabbing 50 bunnies.  And then Mimi and her bridge group returned for lunch.  Needless to say she was furious.  Dad  tried not to laugh.  And you wonder why they weren't allowed to stay in the main house?

The three of us had breakfast in the kitchen.  At the same time every morning, the buzzer (The Annunciator Box) would sound (loudly) in the kitchen.  Said buzz announced Mimi was ready for her breakfast.  Miriam prepared the tray - and it looked precisely the same every morning.  A plate of toast, sliced on the diagonal, covered with a silver cloche.  There was a vase with a single bud, coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice.  And up the stairs, Nester would go.

...and then it was our turn.  We'd go in to pay our respects to Mimi.  Brother #2 says it was much like paying tribute to The Queen.  The Boys were  not "allowed" to linger.  "Boys, the car is waiting."  ...and down the stairs they'd go.  Nester drove them to "The Club."

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Butlers? Who Needs Them?

Nester.  Hearing his name makes me stand taller.  Nester was Mimi's butler and he stood tall with perfect posture.  Just as you envision The Perfect Butler.  His wife, Miriam, was The Cook.  Mimi and Eddie (her 2nd husband, our step-grandfather) lived the summers in Long Island.  We made the pilgramage to The Hamptons every summer when I was a child.  If memory serves me correctly I went through my 16th year. 

As mentioned in a previous post, Brother is working on our family tree.  (I've dubbed him The Research King).  In his surfing, he unearthed a blurry photo of Mimi's home on Further Lane.  When I looked at it; memories flooded every fiber of my being...and I just had to blog about it. 

Do YOU have a place - a memory - that when you think of it - you have to be still?  And go dream.  I do.  It's Mimi's.

I've a love of gravel crunching.  The driveway was long....and deliciously crunched under the wheels of our (always) slow approach to the house.  It seems we'd turn in the drive; and the cares of life would ooze on out.  Summers were slow.  Intentional.

Nester would greet us in a very proper way.  So different from ME if you were to ring MY doorbell.  I'd scream "woo-hoo, you're here.  Come on in."  Nester:  "Welcome.  Please do come in."

Another love of mine is The Cocktail.  For me, it's more the "word" than the drink.  I just love saying:  "Let's have a cocktail."  "Shall we meet in the lobby for cocktails?"  Back then, Nester would announce:  "Cocktails shall be served in the library at 7 o'clock."

My Brothers and I were under age but were invited anyway.  For Ginger Ale.  Most often I'd sit on the floor so my view was of a silver tray as an extension of Nester's arm.  Beautiful glasses of amber "liquid" tinkling with ice.  To this day that vision takes me back.  I was bent on sitting by "the secret drawer."  Mimi kept it stocked with Life Savers.  The Brothers and I always had lovely breath.  And then... "Dinner is served."  The grown-ups would move to the very formal dining room and the three of us were relegated to the kitchen with Miriam and Nester.  After our dinner, we'd move to their TV room and watch a little Bonanza, Hazel or My Three Sons. 

There was one dinner I won't forget.  We were invited to join them in the dining room.  Nester brought us "finger bowls" between courses.  You do know about finger bowls, don't you?  Well, at that age we did not.  One of us (????) brought the bowl to our lips for a drink.  So not the thing to do.  I tell that story today in my etiquette classes.  It usually brings a giggle.  I don't think Mimi and Eddie giggled.

My summers were filled with life lessons.  Mimi was my biggest fan and took it upon herself to mentor me.  I loved every single minute I spent with her.  She's the one that told me to (only) marry for love & laughter.  I did.  She always had a book in her hand - told me reading could be as good as any education.  I am surrounded by books.  Her home was layered with treasures...that meant something to her.  Mine is too.  I'll never have a streamlined, uncluttered home.

(Fall '78 or '79.   I was newly married to My Guy.  He and Mimi met.  It was a beautiful thing.) 

And so while we're still climbing our family tree nostalgic and wonderful memories bombard me.  I just had to tell you about a few.  It enforces my desire for my family to have (good) memories.  Thirty years from now, at boys can read my blog.  I hope they'll have fond and loving memories of My Guy and me.

I don't have a Nester but ummm, My Guy is pretty amazing around the house.  We don't have a chateau in The Hamptons but our home is filled with love.  I'll take My Guy in the Texas suburbs anytime and am grateful for enduring, loving memories of days gone by.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Glue Guns are a Girl's Best Friend!

Blogging has replaced my many (now deceased) shelter magazine subscriptions.  While surfing, I ventured to the exotic resort of India Hicks.  Several fun "musts" of hers ended up on my list.

I do believe my toes might sport turquoise soon.  Essie's, Turquoise & Caicos put a smile on my face.  Note, FACE...not the toes...yet.

And then Ms. Hicks and I have something in common:  a printer's tray.  How many of us had these in the '70s or '80s filled with country kitsch???  Check hers out here.  Mine is above.

I'm the least crafty crafter around; but containers filled with shells and a glue gun, voila!  The coolest part about my shells is that they mean something.  I collected every one of them...some on a beach in Saudi Arabia about 30 years ago, others from my favorite beach in Long Island.  Turkey.  Galveston.  The sand dollars were a gift from a friend in the Carolinas. 

It's really fun to repurpose - now to find a place to hang it.

Hope this weekend brings a bit of joy to each of you!


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fun on the Fourth!

Bare feet, boating, fun and fish = Fourth of July!

Happy 4th!