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February 20, 2014


That was the last question on the cards.  I have answered all the questions on Grandparent Talk.  Do any of you have any questions that you want to ask me?  I don't promise a professional answer but I will give a thoughtful one in an effort to help.

My next post will be on my family history.

What brings you the most enjoyment in life today? has that changed over time?

Spending time with my children and their families brings me the most enjoyment.  Singing comes next.  Being alone with my dogs is another thing that brings enjoyment.  The internet is another source of enjoyment and information and it also saves me steps looking for things that I want or need.
Thirty years ago these wouldn't be at the top of my list.  In fact, they would be at the bottom.  Then I wanted adventure.  I wanted to be out with the public working and meeting new people then coming home to unwind and relax.  I enjoyed travel.  Heading out for a music convention or on a sales trip.  Heading north to visit my mother and siblings.  And, again, glad to come home again.

Gardening is one thing I have enjoyed all my life thanks to my gardener father.  Making is another thing I still enjoy.

I still enjoy traveling but only to visit family.  I am not the tourist anymore.

February 15, 2014

What kind of toys did you have?

To start, we didn't have anything electric, electronic or required batteries.  We had dolls and stuffed animals but usually only one.  We designed and made clothes for our dolls rather than having tea parties.  Stuffed animals were to sleep with not play.  We had paper dolls that again we designed and made clothes for.  Yes, we had crayons but not markers and we were allowed to use scissors.
We played mumbly peg with kitchen knives.  Mom always knew where her knives were.  We would hear a call and run back inside with the knives.
We had jacks and marbles and would have some serious competitions with them with one of us going home without their marbles.  Maybe, that's where the expression "lost all his marbles" came from.
We had baseballs and rubber balls and a hundred games that we invented to play with these.
Roller Skates were there to take us on longer adventures.
Ropes were for skipping and sticks were for hitting things to see who could hit it the farthest.
Vacant lots were for exploring and dreaming up fantasies about how this land came to be abandoned.
Trees were for climbing and jumping from. 
Basically, anything had the possibility to become a toy for us.  We spent our time being children.  We weren't bombarded with adult themes and violence.  We could go outside for hours without fear except of our parents if we should accidently break something.  I sincerely regret that my grandchildren will never know that freedom.  Will never know how to make their own toys and invent their own games.

February 12, 2014

What hobbies did you have growing up? What hobbies do you have now?

When I was very young, my only hobby was playing as much as possible and escaping from Mom's watchful eye.  Mom would fasten my older sister and I to the clothesline while she was in the house taking care of the house and our baby brother.  She put harnesses on us that buckled in the back not realizing that we could unfasten each other and escape at will which we did.  She would come out to get us for lunch and we would be gone.  We couldn't go to far since we were quite young but we could usually make it to the neighbor's yard to play with their children who were older than us by several years.
As I matured, I liked playing baseball and exploring the town we lived in.  I would get on my roller skates and skate all over town.  The town had sidewalks throughout town and paved roads so it was not a problem to go from one end of town to the other in an hour or so.  It was a small town of about eight hundred people.
When I was in eighth, I discovered Pearl Buck's books.  Reading became my hobby.  I read all of her books that I could find and then went on to other authors reading each of their books and moving on to another author.  I read current books and classics, short and long, all genres,  If it was a book written in English, I would read it.
In high school, the reading continued along with other hobbies,  There were more things offered in high school such as music, drama and public speaking.  I took advantage of these offerings.  At home, I would sew.  I learned to sew in 4H club and continued as it was cheaper to make my clothes than to buy them and I was good enough that no one knew that I had made them.
After high school, I continued with these hobbies.  When I was married and had children, the sewing came in handy since children's clothing was quite expensive to buy but not to make.  I was still reading and music was still a part of my life.
Now that I am a grandmother, I still read, sing, and sew. Another love has entered my life.  I love to teach.  I teach religion to third graders currently but I have taught seventh grade and kindergarten.  I am so glad that I have that opportunity in my golden years.  Grandchildren can be a hobby too.  A wonderful one.  To be able to watch them grow and change into responsible adults, that is a joy.
All of my hobbies I enjoy greatly and am blessed that I can continue doing the things I enjoy.  Sewing is more difficult because my eyesight is not as good as it once was but the technology was waiting for me to need it to be able to see to thread the needles.  My skills have declined from lack of practice but hopefully, I will start to sew again.  New books are being written every day.  Singing can be done anywhere if it is quiet enough.   I do think I will have to give up baseball and roller skating.  Baseball because none of my friends want to play and roller skating because there aren't enough sidewalks and there are too many cars on the roads.

January 29, 2014

Did you participate in any religious groups when you were young?

In high school, one of the maiden ladies of the church decided to form a group for the high schooler's.
She called it the Fighting 69th.  With the 69, standing for the sixth and ninth commandments.  It wasn't until much later that I realized the humor of this name.

Did you go to a place of worship when you were growing up? If so, what was it like?

Oh, Yes.  We went to a place of worship.  Every Sunday we walked to church.  We only lived a few housed away from the church so it wasn't a hardship for us.  We also went to religion classes on Sunday.  These were taught by nuns in the early grades and by the priest when we were in high school.
It was an old church that had been built by our grandfather and his brothers.  It wasn't a big cathedral just a brick building that was big enough for the congregation and any visitors who might come by on a Sunday.  We didn't have the vigil mass then.  When you came up to the church, the first thing you would notice was the entryway which was a three sided cement set of steps which led up to a double door.  After going through the doors, you were in a vestibule and had to go through another set of double swinging doors to get into the sanctuary.  Or, if you went left, you could climb the curving stairs to get to the choir loft.  That was my favorite place to sit.  My sister and I were recruited for the choir when we were quite young but not for the most charitable of reasons.  There was a choir member with a very strong voice which was never on the same note as the rest of the choir and we were recruited to help drown her out.  I don't think we did but we enjoyed being above the rest of the people and we could see everything that went on.  I will explain this later.  Let us go back down the stairs and walk to the other side of the vestibule where there was the baptismal font.  It was later moved into the sanctuary.
Entering the sanctuary, the first thing I noticed was the beautiful window over the altar and the stained glass windows.  The altar was quite large and was very impressive all white and gold with many carvings at the top and the bottom.  After Vatican II, another smaller altar was brought in and placed in front of the existing altar to conform with the new regulation for the priest to face the congregation when celebrating mass.  The altar area was carpeted in deep red plush and it looked very elegant to us since we had linoleum in our house.  In front of the carpet, there was an altar rail with a long white covering hanging from the top of the railing to the floor.  When we would come up to receive communion, the cloth would be pulled over the railing.  On either side of the altar, there were statues of Mary on the left and Joseph on the right with flowers placed at the base of each statue.
There were two sections of pews with three aisles.  The windows were stained glass but I don't remember what scenes they depicted.  I do remember that there were names printed on them denoting who had donated them.  In the back of the church behind the pews was the confessional.  There were three doors.  The one in the middle was for the priest and on either side for the penitents.
 There was a basement where classes were held.  There was also a restroom. 
To the side of the altar, there was a room where the priest and acolytes dressed and where the wine and hosts were stored.
The church has been redecorated since I was a child.  It used to be blue and gold and now it is green and gold.  It is still beautiful.  It is the place where I was baptized, confirmed and married.  It is the place where the funeral mass was said for my parents and extended family.
It still stands after a hundred years and it is still beautiful to me.

January 27, 2014

What were some of the fashion trends when you were younger?

Before high school, the fashion trend for me was whatever my mother bought for me to wear.  School pictures show me wearing dresses with puffy sleeves and gathered skirts.  Mom made our clothes.  I don't know where she found the time to do that with the three of us children, husband and a large house without modern conveniences.

High school was puffy hair and pencil skirts(they were called straight skirts then,).  Skirts were mid calf and we wore our cardigans buttoned up the back(we were rebels).  Then there was the poodle skirt which was a felt circle skirt in black with a poodle appliqued to the front.  I was so proud of mine.  Today, I would feel foolish wearing it.

The trend in fashion is to repeat but I hope those trends stay back in the fifties.