Fandango’s Flashback Friday: February 12

Fandango’s Flashback Friday: February 12

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year. How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year?

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This post was published February 12, 2019 as an entry for Irene Waters’ “Times Past” Challenge. I always enjoyed participating in these “look back” challenges, as they fit right in with my diary 2.0 theme. With this one in particular, I am struck by how “tales of fear” from parent to child have changed over the years. Now there’s a virus added to the ever growing list.

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Tales of Terror: Times Past

Irene Waters’ “Times Past” prompt challenge topic for February is: Tales of Terror

Can you remember any tales of fear that your parents used to stop you going out of bounds. Please join in giving your location at the time of your memory and your generation. 

~~~

jungle gym
on top of the world circa 1962

As a baby boomer growing up in the USA suburbs, I basically roamed the tree lined streets of my working class neighborhood. On foot. On my bike. On my skateboard. On roller skates. I specifically remember the house I lived in from the age of 4 to 11. There were woods to explore at one end of the street before it curved uphill to circle around to the next block. Houses lined up close together and near to the street.

My mother issued two clear directives to keep me safe:

 Don’t take candy from strangers.

This was in the context of a stranger driving around the block, who might stop, open the door and try to lure me into his car with a Nestle’s Crunch. I would then never be seen again. And terrible things would happen…which were never spelled out in any detail, but an implied tale of terror just the same.

I will admit I considered possibly grabbing the candy and making a run for it. However the opportunity never presented itself.

Being the immortal child that I was, I was unafraid to ride my bike for hours at a time…for long distances that perhaps would have been prohibited if I had advertised my adventures. Which I didn’t.

A favorite trip: to “the little store” on the other side of town…saved my allowance and bought my own candy. Smarties, Mary Janes, Mounds, tiny wax bottles (remember those? argh), button candy, Bazooka Bubble Gum. No strangers needed. Sometimes I let my younger sister tag along, swearing her to secrecy.

Interesting side note: when we first moved there, my sister was 3 years old. One day she packed a lunchbox with napkins, hopped on her tricycle and took off…without telling anyone. Her destination: where we used to live…a long car ride away. A dozen houses later – almost a quarter mile – she arrived at the far end of our road, about to pedal down the cross street. A dangerous intersection at the crest of a hill. The neighbor on the corner stopped her in time and called the police.

So my sister got a ride in a police car…which is where she was eventually spotted by my frantic mother. Who had grabbed me and my infant brother and probably went looking for strangers with candy. An actual tale of terror thankfully averted.

Don’t go near Tony M.

Tony was a mentally challenged teenager who lived a couple of blocks away. At least I think he was a teenager…to my young eyes he could have been in his twenties. He lived with his parents and sometimes wandered around looking somewhat disheveled.  It was never explained to me what he might do. Or say. But the look in my mother’s eyes spoke fear. My questions about why went unanswered. I rarely saw him, but when I did he mostly looked lonely and sad.  I wonder what happened to him.

554 calvin 1958030
Family gathered safely on the front porch – 1958

Kindred Kind

BeckyB’s October Squares: Kind

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Cincinnati, Ohio – circa 1914

I really love this photo of (as my Grammy from Tennessee would say) my kinfolk. I discovered it in a musty box full of envelopes and files labeled “old family photos” – which might as well say Treasure Chest! I was kinda excited, to say the least.

The photo was taken when my grandfather Opa was about 8 years old. There he stands front and center, squinting and smiling at the camera. His grandparents stand behind him. The others most likely include his parents (in the back), uncles and aunts, but I am not entirely sure.

I was thinking of Opa and my other grandparents when I was writing yesterday’s post about life during the COVID-19 pandemic (and wondering how they would have dealt with the same crazy issues I was). I realized that he and Oma were 12 years old when the 1918 pandemic hit. My other grandparents were 26 and 32 years old. None of them ever mentioned it, even though I imagine it must have been a traumatic time. When I was growing up, Opa was full of stories about the “old days” but surprisingly (I think now) what happened during the 1918 pandemic was not among them. I wonder why.

I recently asked my cousin if our grandmother Grammy had ever mentioned the 1918 flu epidemic. She said no, Grammy never talked about it…except for one fact…my aunt (my cousin’s mom) was born in 1918 and was infected by the virus as a baby. As a result my aunt (Grammy’s firstborn) developed lifelong cardiac problems.

My cousin also told me she has read that once the 1918 epidemic was over, nobody ever talked about it. Nobody wanted to. Perhaps it was easier that way.

Still…I wish I had asked more questions.

Sprinkled

Double inspiration this week…

Lens-Artists Challenge #95: All Wet

I hope you’ve enjoyed my departure from the everyday challenges of our COVID-19 world, and that you too have some archived wet images to share.

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #95: What a Child Knows

This week, let’s tune into the wisdom of children, or look inside to reconnect with our inner child and innate wisdom.

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If you own a home…with a yard…you often end up with a lawn that gets a bit finicky every now and then, especially in the summer.

In other words it gets crunchy in places.

Back in the days of such situations…when rain became elusive, we dragged out the green 25 foot garden hose and attached our sturdy “oscillating” lawn sprinkler. It needed to be positioned just right – in order to direct the much needed drink of water to the thirsty spots on our lawn. This took patience.

You also had to calculate exactly when to dash out of the way to re-position the sprinkler when necessary.

No sense in soaking yourself, the driveway or creating a river into the street.

Just the grass needed to get…All Wet…

With special attention paid to the Brown Spots.

sprinkler

 

Children meet up with a lawn sprinkler…and it’s a whole different story.

Never mind the grass. Or crunchiness. Who cares about brown spots? They sure don’t.

Water shooting high into the air out of a rotating metal bar with holes in it…is not about soaking the grass. Not at all.

It is really just a mechanism designed to get them all wet and cooled off in the hot summer sun.

Including a variety of delightful shenanigans…

Enjoying every sunlit moment.

They know.

backyard001

Easter Time

Today is Easter Sunday.

In 2020, it almost seems like any other day. Being on the inside looking out.

In the interest – and satisfying the desire – of connecting to the familiar, I am re-posting an edited version of a 2018 blog post about Easter traditions and memories…

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When I was growing up, the Easter Bunny always left baskets for me – and my sisters and brothers – to hunt for on Easter morning. We each got straw baskets complete with the requisite Easter “grass” which ended up…everywhere.

Inside we’d find jelly beans, foil covered chocolate eggs, a chocolate bunny and those marshmallow peeps – which were just as bright neon colored then as they are now.

easter baskets

My younger sister and I often wore matching dresses and Easter hats. I actually got a kick out of the hat – I remember one had small red fake flowers around the brim. Patent leather shoes completed the look. It worked for my sister much more than me, as I’d just as soon run around the backyard and scoot up the jungle gym, Easter finery and all.

 

easter 1959040 copy

 

A few days before Easter we dyed hardboiled eggs different colors using the wire holders, still stained, from previous years. The kitchen table was covered in newspapers to limit the mess we’d make and the smell of vinegar permeated the air. When I was older I was allowed to drop a different color pellet into each cup and watch it dissolve.  Sometimes we used wax crayons to draw designs on the eggs before coloring them. We were each allowed about 6 eggs to decorate and we took our time.

Screen Shot 2018-03-30 at 4.47.25 PM
TV dinner containers…recycling in the ’60’s

My best childhood Easter memories were when my grandparents came for the day (or sometimes the night before and slept over). We’d play cards…Parcheesi…Sorry…checkers. We always saved the black jelly beans for Opa. Those were his favorite.

One last thing…

Easter is the subject of my most treasured book from childhood.

It has the sweetest illustrations and I love the comforting story. Nobody is perfect – not even the Easter Bunny. And sometimes things don’t go as planned…and it’s okay.

This book made the cut when we downsized. The paper jacket has long since disappeared and the binding is loose and fragile.

But precious all the same……

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IMG_5808      FullSizeRender 11

To all who celebrate…Happy Easter!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Find Something Red

Inspired by Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #81: Find Something Red

…If you wish, you have the option of “visiting” your photo archives….Capture shots which feature the color red… 

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Find Something Red

When I was a young mother with a 5 year old daughter, I had my second child – a son – who was altogether different from my firstborn. No big surprise really, but even so… shockingly (to me anyway – I considered myself experienced by then) it required multitasking on an entirely new level.

One example: when we all went on outings of any kind, my son was likely to let go of my hand and run off. Or wander off. Precisely when my daughter and I were otherwise occupied. Perhaps being the big sister, she was less likely to do the same.  I’m not sure why, but I was most grateful at the time.

Two children to take care of and keep safe…a whole different ball game.

This brings to mind what Dr. A, our sweet pediatrician at the time, once said to me while trying to examine my son as he slipped from my lap and tried to crawl up her leg. As I described how my parenting techniques were not always successfully transcending to child #2.

She smiled that smile reminiscent of people who don’t have children…The first kid is for practice! I think parents should just throw the first one out. Ha Ha Ha.

She was just kidding of course. Although I kind of got the point.

But back to finding something red…

In order to keep track of this very lovable – and speedy – bundle of energy (once compared to a Great Dane by his first grade teacher) outside the confines of our home, I often dressed him in something red. It helped enormously if I needed to locate him in a crowd. At a park. A store. A playground. Since he was tall for his age, a red baseball hat usually worked quite nicely as I quickly spotted his head above the rest. Red shirts and jackets? He was a Chicago Bulls…and then later…a Red Sox fan. Done!

Never one to let winter’s chill keep him from basketball practice, a red snowsuit helped me keep track of him one January day when he was 5.

red ball031 copy
Age 5

A red baseball mitt lit him up on the ball field playing catch at 4 ½.

red ball030 copy
age 4 ½

Little did I know how quickly the time would come…when those flashes of red I’d see in the crowd at a neighborhood park would be someone else’s bundle of energy streaking by.

red ball033 copy

With a parent in hot pursuit.

Photo a Week: Babies

Inspired by Nancy Merrill’s A Photo a Week Challenge: Babies

Super cute, super funny, super whatever, human, animal, or whatever, we want to see your babies!
IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO (OR TWO OR THREE) THAT FEATURES BABIES.

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I don’t need much inspiring when it comes to baby pictures. And there’s no way I can limit this post to three photos. Be warned.

I have always believed that babies are the most fascinating subjects for photography. They are just…who they are. Their faces…their expressions…. Transparent. Open.

Happy. Sad. Tired. Bored. Sleepy. Curious….the list is endless.

Choosing just a few family photos for this challenge was…challenging! They were all taken with a Canon 35mm (film) camera – except for the last one which was with an iPhone.

When my kids were babies, I took a weekly photo during their first year. I think they got used to it…all I know is I got some interesting glimpses into their personalities.

For instance, my 10 month old son first thought it was hilarious…then not so sure……then I’m outta here.

My daughter loved getting her picture taken anytime, anywhere.

kris baloons

Although easily distracted by rug or blanket fibers.

Which soon became an afternoon snack…fine motor skills already well developed.

When my grandson was 10 months old, he enjoyed his first tour in a shopping cart up and down the toy aisle with Grampa and me.

shopping

He was clearly amazed at the experience.

 

 

A Memorable Tradition

 

Easter Sunday was for dressing up…when I was young: “fancy” pastel colored dress, white socks and black patent leather shoes.

And a hat.  An Easter Bonnet type of hat. The kind your mother wrapped in tissue and stored carefully in a cardboard “hat box.” Whisked away from your sticky little hands and tucked on a shelf, safe until the next holiday. They were often made of straw… decorated with artificial flowers. Secured on your head with a ribbon or scratchy elastic band.

I was never a dress-up kind of girl.  My hat was much simpler than my sister’s…and was usually perched askew on my head. I actually kind of liked it. Simple. Primary colors.

Along with the hat came a “Spring Coat.” Also only worn for Easter and going to church. Maybe Mother’s Day. Not real comfortable for playing outside; which was my preference. But easier to wear than the dreaded itchy wool “Winter Coat.”

One Easter – when I was 5 and my sister was 3 – we needed to pose for a photo on the new backyard swing. Complete with our traditional Easter outfits. I’m in the red coat. She’s in the yellow one.

Apparently it took a few minutes to get seated…

easter 1959-1 copy
easter 1959-2 copy

easter 1959038 copy

 

This Easter tradition continued for a few years with my daughter, who at 5, was also in the spirit…with a hat passed down from one of her aunts.

easter hat 1987 April
My daughter – age 5

 

Happy Memories.

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This morning at church, I noticed children in their Easter finery…including one white straw hat.

Easter Sunday…still a day for dressing up.

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Inspired by April photo a day challenge
Today’s challenge: Tradition

Also: One Word Sunday
The theme: Memory

 

 

Egg

This post inspired by Ragtag Daily Prompt

A timely prompt…egg…as it is almost Easter.

In our house, while raising our children, coloring hard boiled eggs was an Easter tradition.

As it was when I was growing up…

easter-eggs.jpg

At the kitchen table.
The smell of vinegar in the air.

Easter as a child: the anticipation…first the eggs. Then the wait for Easter morning and the hunt for hidden baskets. Chocolate bunnies! Jelly beans! Marshmallow Peeps!

The same wire holders. Newspapers spread out to catch the inevitable drips.

Tiny color pellets – one for each custard cup (in my childhood) – teacup (for my kids). Dissolving into what seemed like magical colors. Dip the egg in quick or let it soak. Or maybe dip in halfway. Turn it over and try a different color for the other half. This took practice.

Mastering the balancing act…without dropping the egg on the floor…an Easter rite of passage…

My daughter and son…each at 3 years old…experts!

 

easter eggs1992
Ages 10 and 4 – Go Team!

 

Last year around this time, I wrote a post about Easter.
I described my favorite book from childhood…featuring Easter eggs and the Easter bunny…who overslept.
The sweetest story…
And the illustrations…sigh.
Well worth mentioning again.
If you want to check it out…Almost Easter 2018

 

 

Tales of Terror: Times Past

Irene Waters’ “Times Past” prompt challenge topic for February is: Tales of Terror

Can you remember any tales of fear that your parents used to stop you going out of bounds. Please join in giving your location at the time of your memory and your generation. 

~~~

 

jungle gym
on top of the world circa 1962

 

As a baby boomer growing up in the USA suburbs, I basically roamed the tree lined streets of my working class neighborhood. On foot. On my bike. On my skateboard. On roller skates. I specifically remember the house I lived in from the age of 4 to 11. There were woods to explore at one end of the street before it curved uphill to circle around to the next block. Houses lined up close together and near to the street.

 

My mother issued two clear directives to keep me safe:

 Don’t take candy from strangers.

This was in the context of a stranger driving around the block, who might stop, open the door and try to lure me into his car with a Nestle’s Crunch. I would then never be seen again. And terrible things would happen…which were never spelled out in any detail, but an implied tale of terror just the same.

I will admit I considered possibly grabbing the candy and making a run for it. However the opportunity never presented itself.

Being the immortal child that I was, I was unafraid to ride my bike for hours at a time…for long distances that perhaps would have been prohibited if I had advertised my adventures. Which I didn’t.

A favorite trip: to “the little store” on the other side of town…saved my allowance and bought my own candy. Smarties, Mary Janes, Mounds, tiny wax bottles (remember those? argh), button candy, Bazooka Bubble Gum. No strangers needed. Sometimes I let my younger sister tag along, swearing her to secrecy.

Interesting side note: when we first moved there, my sister was 3 years old. One day she packed a lunchbox with napkins, hopped on her tricycle and took off…without telling anyone. Her destination: where we used to live…a long car ride away. A dozen houses later – almost a quarter mile – she arrived at the far end of our road, about to pedal down the cross street. A dangerous intersection at the crest of a hill. The neighbor on the corner stopped her in time and called the police.

So my sister got a ride in a police car…which is where she was eventually spotted by my frantic mother. Who had grabbed me and my infant brother and probably went looking for strangers with candy. An actual tale of terror thankfully averted.

Don’t go near Tony M.

Tony was a mentally challenged teenager who lived a couple of blocks away. At least I think he was a teenager…to my young eyes he could have been in his twenties. He lived with his parents and sometimes wandered around looking somewhat disheveled.  It was never explained to me what he might do. Or say. But the look in my mother’s eyes spoke fear. My questions about why went unanswered. I rarely saw him, but when I did he mostly looked lonely and sad.  I wonder what happened to him.

 

554 calvin 1958030
Family gathered safely on the front porch – 1958

 

Bologna Pie

Thanksgiving = Turkey
Christmas = Roast Beef
New Year’s Day = Bologna Pie….say what?

When I was a kid, my parents often hosted an Open House on New Year’s Day. Neighbors and friends streamed in and out all day long. Eating, drinking, laughing, talking, smoking.
Lots of drinking. Eggnog (2 pitchers: labeled “with” and “without”). Punch with fancy shaped ice floating in the center.
Conversations morphing into a dull roar.
Alongside music from my dad’s hi-fi.

My younger sister and I helped prepare the party food the day before…
…and that’s where the bologna pie comes in.
It was (and still is?) slices of bologna with cream cheese spread between each slice.
The higher the stack, the better. Cut into pie shaped wedges – hence the pie label. And there it was.
We always sampled the greasy concoction as we made the pies…and I hate to admit we really liked it.
How times change.

Loaves of miniature rye bread were transformed into chicken or tuna salad mini sandwiches. Sometimes toasted french bread topped with canned crab & cheese dip was on the menu.
Always delicious.

One memorable January 1st Open House was worth an entire diary entry:

jan 1 1967020
January 1, 1967

 

I have no photographs of these Open Houses.
Which is probably just as well.

Happy New Year!