Category Archives: birthday

Exclusive Membership

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Do you belong to any clubs, organizations or places of interest?

This is a short post that holds three pieces of history.  They are

smaller than a 3″ x 5″ index card. Each has elements of nostalgia,

excitement, childhood memories and personal information.

 

I was looking through a stack of my parents’ postcards.

I found items belonging to my mother tucked in between.

Each is rather

fragile and

intriguing.

 

Item # One:

FRONT OF CARD:

Bright red,

Yellow details,

Unique wording

made of rope lasso:

“Hi – Yo Silver”

 

No. 13240

 

Picture of familiar

cowboy

with

black eye mask.

 

Date: 4/20/39

 

“This is to certify that

Rosalie Mattson

is a duly qualified

member of the

Bond Bread

Lone Ranger Safety Club

for Boys and Girls

~ The Lone Ranger ~

Sign your name here  ________________. ”

 

BACK OF CARD:

 

“The Lone Ranger Secret Code

 

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

 

BCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZA

 

The top line of letters is in Regular order.

The bottom line is a second alphabet,

EXCEPT it starts with the letter, “B”

and ends with the letter “A.”

Using the Lone Ranger Secret Code

the word “BOND”

would appear as,

“CPOE.”

 

Copyright 1939, T.L.R., INC.

East Bond Bread . . . 3 Times A Day!”

 

My mother would have been 11 years old,

when she got this Lone Ranger Safety Club

card for boys and girls.

I wonder what the

bread card

entitled

her to?

 

**Any clues to share about this

card would be of interest to me.

 

Item # Two:

The next item is quite tiny,

size of a ticket for a raffle.

It holds a lot of information

on this pale dove-gray ticket.

 

“Fort McHenry

National Monument and Historic Shrine

Baltimore, Maryland

Inner Fort Admission. . . . . 10 cents

Federal Tax. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 cents

Total. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 cents

U. S. Dept. of the Interior

National Park Service

International Ticket Company

Newark, N. J.”

 

**Can you imagine such a small

charge for such a treasure and

hallowed place in history?

 

A yellowed library card,

The East Hartford

Public Library card

Rosalie Mattson

17 Oakwood Street

East Hartford,

Connecticut

May 19, 1940.

 

There are multiple dates

stamped on this card.

 

When I think of childhood,

I remember my pride in

carrying my Brownie

membership card.

 

My Sandusky Public

Library card around.

They were kept in a

tan leather wallet.

 

I remember one of my close friends, Amy, having a Mickey

Mouse Club card. I also know she carried around a Blue Birds’

membership card. These were kept in her red leather wallet.

 

My Dad belonged to several clubs, but took quite a lot of pride

in his being a Boy Scout Leader. He was also a member of Bay

Men’s Club and the Ancient Astronauts Society in Chicago, Ill.

He carried around a “Diner’s Club” card and belonged to the

“Brown Derby Birthday Club.” Dad joined the Rock and Roll

Hall of Fame when it opened its Cleveland establishment, 1983.

 

These days my grandchildren belong to Webelos, Cub Scouts,

the Delaware County District Library, Chuck E. Cheese birthday

club, Dora (or Bob the Builder) Nickelodeon, Jr. club and more.

 

My own three children had 4 H membership cards and pins.

My son stayed in Boy Scouts up through elementary school,

while my oldest daughter stayed with Girl Scouts through her

Delaware Willis Middle School years. They belonged to PBS’

“Sesame Street Club” and did not join the Barney Fan Club.

 

I get my gas and produce my Speedway Rewards card and

belong to the same Subway Club the commercial man, Jared

belongs to. I like to receive free birthday burger from Ruby

Tuesdays and print out coupons from other restaurants.

I am a proud member of the Godiva Chocolate Rewards club.

 

It doesn’t have to be an ‘exclusive’ club or organization

to make it a fun place to be. It can be a fishing or running

club, it can be one which includes your circle of friends in

your faith, who gather and label themselves, a “Bible Club.”

 

Would you mind sharing a memory of a special designated

card, a piece of nostalgia or whimsy, something from your

collection of memorabilia or a current ‘club’ you belong to?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Still There?

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When author, Lisa Genova, wrote “Still Alice” she was hoping to

express the feelings of someone who had early onset Alzheimer’s

Disease. Julianne Moore is up for an Academy Award for her

authentic performance as Alice, someone who wishes to be still

heard and recognized, whether or not she is able to reciprocate

the recognition back to the greeter or family member.

Julianne is a gifted actress who studied and met many people

who were struggling with the challenge of having this disease.

There is a genuine quality I feel while watching her in any of her

various roles. I had recently watched “What Maisey Knew,” and

had mentioned this in the Golden Globes post which held a trio

of events which were meant to cheer the reader up. She played

a rock and roll star who was going on tour, putting her little

kindergartner on the back burner of her life. This has other good

actors and actresses in the movie. It is just my recent movie with

her in it. The one you may wish to seek out at the theaters is

called, “Still Alice.”

Julianne Moore, in an interview in the recent January/February

paper “AARP Bulletin,” she shared her experience of meeting both

caregivers and those who have A. D.  When she met some of the

victims of this ravaging disease she said they still had not lost

their own identities yet. “They were still present.” That is the point

of the title of both movie and book, sort of like saying, “I am still

here.”

Julianne Moore’s thoughts about “Still Alice:”

“People have been so touched by it (the film). There’s a great deal

of shame associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.” (Especially, she

focused and mentioned early onset A. D.)

“Suddenly you have your intellectual capacity diminished at such

a young age, it is embarrassing.”

On the  front page of the January/February “AARP Bulletin” there

are a series of rows of black and white photographs of famous

people who have dealt with and some passed away with, this topic

of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Here is a list of those faces featured:

President~ Ronald Reagan

Author~ Iris Murdoch

Singer~ Perry Como

Secretary of State~ Cyrus Vance

Boxer~ Floyd Patterson

Artist~ Willem De Kooning

Actor~ Beloved Jimmy Stewart

Prime Minister~ Margaret Thatcher

Senator~ William Proxmire

Singer~ The fabulous Etta James

Action Star~ Charles Bronson

Actor~ Peter Falk (“Columbo”)

“Washington Post” editor and journalist, Ben Bradley

Advice Columnist~ Abigail Van Buren of “Dear Abby”

Actor~ The legendary Charleston Heston

Go ahead and add a first or complete name of someone you know.

The numbers and cases are soaring. . . but the funding is dwindling.

Inside the January/February “AARP Bulletin,”  you will find the

devastating facts about this rampant disease.

Including an estimated 5.2 million Americans had this in 2014.

Two/thirds (2/3rds) were women.

The poignant article covering this topic is titled,

“Where’s the War on Alzheimer’s?”  by T. R. Reid.

I have not seen the movie, “Still Alice,” so I am not reviewing it

just featuring it to go along with the AARP information.

Interestingly enough, I sought out the Academy Award-nominated

historical trio of films I have mentioned in other posts. I chose not

to see (yet) “Wild,”  since Reese Witherspoon’s  mother and  the

author of the book, “Wild,” dealt with the deaths of mothers. Reese

used her own mother’s younger self’s angst and her vague childhood

memories of her mother crying over her grandmother’s death as her

inspiration for her portrayal. I was not ‘ready’ to sob or think about

the frailty of life, especially with my mother still here. It will be an

inevitable sorrow I will face someday.

My mother has not been diagnosed with A. D. but has been told her

memory loss is due to low thyroid levels. She is on her medication

and I am doubtful she will ever recuperate fully in her mind. She

is ‘still there,’ most of the afternoon and evening. Sometimes doing

strange and forgetful things so I was not yet prepared to watch,

“Still Alice,” nor read the book.   I will someday.  I  strongly will

recommend the Oscar-nominated film, as both critics and audiences

have found it a true testament to the spirit of those who have A. D.

I think the reason that I respect the movie and subject matter of

“Still Alice,” is due to my working experience of four years as the

Activity Director (1995-999) at a local nursing home. I had taken

the necessary coursework to be prepared to handle all sorts of

debilitating diseases, especially learning about aging processes,

including Alzheimer’s Disease.

I wish all people to treat the elderly, whether or not they know them,

with respect and dignity. Each has such fascinating lives, simple and

complicated lives to share with us. Their stories may not be famous

but they come to life, once you take the time to listen to them.

I still enjoy meeting the few elderly inhabitants of  my building,

having made friends with “Dee” who is in her 70’s,  yet is a helpful

volunteer driver for “Meals on Wheels.” “Delores” tells me rambling

stories about her childhood. I enjoy the one where she dressed up

a piglet to be her ‘baby’ and placed him in her mother’s perambulator

(baby carriage) to take him for a ride! My apartment building has

adults with Special Needs and Ohio Wesleyan University students

here also. I am blessed with many different people housed within.

There is a Dayton, Ohio caregiver and daughter of a mother who

has A. D. and she has a short list of good ideas, to spark ones of

your own to add here in the comments’ section:

1. To get her mother to wear disposable underwear for incontinence,

she calls this her ‘girdle.’ I can picture her saying, “Mom, let’s put on

your girdle” as she helps her to get dressed everyday.

2. She grew tired of arguing with her mother and struggling with her

to take her medicines so she pushes the pills into the soft filling of

her mother’s favorite cookies, fig bars.

3. She incorporates her mother’s past interests and occupation into

her daily routines, crocheting and using a simple math workbook,

(she had been an accountant.)

4. Her mother and she enjoy lighting the candle she bought at Yankee

Candle, called “Sparkling Snow.” It also masks odors at certain times

of the day, she delicately added.

The article inside Jan./Feb. “AARP Bulletin,” was the source for this

information, along with several other suggestions called,  “Being a

Family Caregiver Isn’t Easy.” You will find more to read there. . .

I am encouraging an Open Forum for discussing about anyone

you love or care about, those you have contact with or have

experienced dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease.

I would also like to mention a fellow blogger who writes about this

very subject. Marylin is someone who shares daily wonderful and

meaningful activities she participates with her mother. She writes

such lovely posts about her mother. Her mother has dementia and

her father had Alzheimer’s Disease.

Thank you, Marylin Warner for the gift of numerous special posts.

Marylin includes links to articles and is very informative, while

being a warm and caring blogging friend to many. I am sure she is

a source of comfort to many who have been dealing with elderly

family members with different varying degrees of memory loss.

http://warnerwriting.wordpress.com

Her blog is called, “Things I Want to Tell My Mother.”

And due to not being able to produce another award nomination

post so quickly after my last one, I would like to thank Rashmi for

her nominating me for “Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.”

I encourage you to read about her perspective, positive and poetic

writing along with her international travels. I have enjoyed her

safari posts immensely! Thank you for taking us on your travels,

as well as lifting our spirits, Rashmi!

Please check out, Soul n Spirit, if you have not already done so!

http://soulnspiritblog.com

A sincere thank you for giving me the award!

On a lighter and happier note about those who are ‘still here’

sending a huge hug, big smiles and lots of love out to

BETTY WHITE!

Happy 93rd Birthday, dear BETTY!

I had a comment that Ian made about a poem/story about

a couple who met in a nursing home. They shared so much

of their present time, although the woman could not tell much

about her past due to her memory loss. It was such a well-

written post that I would hope future visitors will check it out:

Please read Ian’s post titled, “George and Marg” on:

http://aussieian.wordpress.com

Thank you, Ian!

Let’s have a conversation here since it is the weekend.

I plan on being able to respond on Sunday

after the library opens at noon!

Resolve: January Monthly Post

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Resolve: it means a few different things to each person. Sometimes,

it means what will get you to keep a few of your January “New Year’s

Resolutions.” I also like the meaning of being strong and sticking to

one’s convictions. This definition fits this the best: “Decide firmly on

the best course of action.” Following through is implicit in this one.

Great attributes to pass on to your children, while others around you

may see this outstanding characteristic in yourself. It is not pointless

to set goals, I believe. It means you are going to try something new,

let others know your choices for change and set personal expectations

of your goals.

This ‘resolution’ can be something you have added to your resolutions

annually or can be a brand new one. Life is busy. Never so much so to

not fit one more activity, exercise, habit or ‘tradition’ into your routines.

After all, you may have doctor appointments and job responsibilities, but

you may just open and see your  2015 calendar  as a ‘blank slate,’ ready for

exciting and new possibilities.

 

JANUARY, 2015

Flower: Carnation           Birthstone/Gemstone: Garnet

Already, I like the month’s flower, which has such a great and unique scent.

The color of garnet is red, which is also vibrant and snappy for this colorless

month we are facing in our Midwest. Hope your corner of the world will have

both color and beauty in it.

 

January 1-

Happy New Year!

 

January 2-

Bank Holiday (Scotland, England/UK).

“Statutory Day” or “Stat Day” for New Zealand and possibly Australia.

 

January 5-

Full Wolf Moon.

 

January 6-

“Epiphany” or when the Three Wise Men reached the manger to see

the King of Kings, some who worship Jesus Christ will find this day

a special remembrance. Thanks, Doris, for the important reminder!

Feliz Navidad!

 

January 8-

If Elvis Presley had lived, this would be his 80th birthday. I listened

to several of his Gospel songs, some with Christmas in them, over the

holidays. He was a fantastic singer with a lot of heart. If you happen

to live close to Tupelo, Mississippi, you may go enjoy a piece of

Elvis’ birthday cake, served at 1:00 p.m. This was where Elvis was

born.

If you live closer to Graceland, you may go there almost all day, to

receive a piece of his 80th birthday cake, starting at 9:30 a.m. when

the cake-cutting begins! (You may enjoy this live streaming from

http://graceland.com )

 

January 10-

Celebrate Rod Stewart’s #70 birthday. Happy Birthday, dear Rod!

Last year, 2014, while on his world tour, an interviewer asked him,

“Do you ever tire of singing some of your classic songs?” (I still love

listening to ones like, “Maggie Mae.”)

Rod answered,

“I still love to sing ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?’ and added: ‘It’s so joyous.'”

 

January 13th-

Last 1/4 Moon.

 

January 16- The Persian Gulf began in 1991.

 

January 17-

Benjamin Franklin’s birthday.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac suggests in celebrating Ben, to purchase a

Benjamin fig plant/tree, which helps to remove toxins from indoor air

spaces. (Ficus benjamina).

 

January 19th-

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Schools, public offices, the Post Office and libraries are usually closed

on this day in U.S. I have attended city and town breakfasts which give

the money for the meal to needy causes, in MLK, Jr.’s honor.

 

January 20-

New Moon.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac, (2015) suggests this month to “plant bulbs

and destroy weeds during full moon times,” then during new moon to try

a different kind of house plant during the winter months. This month’s

featured plant, the air plant. This is like Spanish moss in its ability to

survive without much care of nutrients. Plant nurseries and some shops

have glass globes which can be suspended in small offices, along with

homes on clear plastic ‘threads’ of varied lengths. This creates a very

decorative and appealing January sight. Care includes, ‘light misting’

and feeding using a folian fertilizer, along with placing where it will

receive bright, indirect light. (Fluorescent offices are perfect in this

respect, while you may separate ‘offspring’ to create more plastic or

glass globes, helping spread positive oxygen into spaces.)

 

January 21st-

Evil Squirrel reminded me this is Squirrel Appreciation Day,

wherever you live in the world that has squirrels!

 

 

January 27-

Australia Day.

Celebrate with the Aussies you know!

 

January 29-

Celebrate Tom Selleck’s #70th birthday, with a viewing of one of

his older performances in “Magnum P.I.” (television series), one

of his ‘new’ performances in “Blue Bloods,” with a fine and well

rounded cast of policemen role models, along with a character

that plays his father as a past Police Commissioner and his

‘daughter’ is the District Attorney. This television show is one

which has a huge following, among whom are police around the

country. Tom’s fun character in “Magnum” made him a fixture

in our household television shows and now, “Blue Bloods” is part

of my Mom’s (and when I am home on a Friday night) my own

favorite shows. You may have followed Robert Parker’s mini-series,

where Tom played “Jesse Stone,” from R.P.’s past books. Sadly,

the author, Parker, died so the series must end. This can be found

at the library, in individual. Jesse Stone releases. I like the setting

of New England and there are a couple ‘bizarre’ murder mysteries.

In his personal life, you rarely hear anything about his life, since he

married his wife (Jillie Mack) in 1987. He is not known for too many

controversies, although, he has stood up for the N.R.A. which means

he supportsgun rights.

As far as movies with Tom Selleck go, my all time favorite has to

be the fun one he made with two other special men, Steve Guttenberg

and Ted Danson, called, “Three Men and A Baby.” My children and

grandchildren are very amused with this wild and unbelievable plot

line, but it is also heart-warming and sweet. I liked him in the comedy,

“Her Alibi,” while “Lassiter” and “Quigley Down Under” are good

action movies. (This became a rather long monthly tribute to the actor,

Tom Selleck!)

Happy 70th Birthday, dear Tom!

 

As always, you may add some dates that mean something to you or

your country in the comments for the month of January.

Thank you for making this monthly visit a fantastic one. I enjoy

all the additions I received last year to this monthly post.

 

Sir Basil the Great quotation:

“He who sows courtesy, reaps friendship.

He who plants kindness, gathers love.”

(Greek Bishop who lived from 329- 379 A.D.)

 

What challenges will you set out, for you or even your family?

Help get us motivated by sharing this with us, please.

 

I will make a friend out of an ‘enemy’ or one who I have had past

disagreements with.  I will give to a new, special charity, along

with continue to find more positives in my life than negatives.

 

A time of new beginnings, promises and resolutions is emphasized

in this Flavia, (poet and inspirational writer) 2003 quote:

“Our time on earth is woven of infinite moments,

Each holding a promise and its own exquisite beauty.”

 

In honor of the New Year of 2015,

Thanks to T. S. Eliot:

 

“Not fare well,

But fare forward, voyagers.”

 

 

 

Joyful, Cheery Sounds

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On my way into work this morning, while there was frost on my

windshield and rear window, I blasted my heater and I was once

again, thankful for the warmth and the sound of the air coming

out with a whoosh! The radio was playing one of the most cheery

songs, with a country twang in her voice, Brenda Lee was singing,

“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” The radio announcer was

using a pleasant, vibrant sounding voice, “Good Morning and let’s

all say, ‘Happy 70th Birthday to . . . Brenda Lee!'”

The first recording of this rocking song was in 1958, written by

Johnny Marks, for Decca Records.

 

While driving behind the school bus, the air brakes squealing and

the door opening on London Road,  to admit busy and excited

high schoolers, (yes, I am up that early!) I felt the movement in

my feet tapping to the music on the radio and the emotions of

the students, too. I usually wish I weren’t ‘stuck’ behind a school

bus, since this means two stops on London Road, along with the

longer stop at the railroad where we ‘catch’ the train, having to

wait for it to pass by. The train whistle blew, the steam was puffing

out of the ‘chimney’ and I felt the rumbling of its approaching

and then listened to the rattling of the clickety-clack.  That is how I

would describe the repetition of the sound.

 

Once I got into my building, several people call out my name, some

who are going off to sleep, (third shifters) and those who are on my

own shift, greeting me. These are happy people since our bosses

had decided to pack our day with ‘heavy’ work and include our half

day’s worth of work we usually do on Friday and complete it today.

This means a three day weekend! Hurrah!

 

At first break, I told my two friends, Tammy and Karen, about Brenda

Lee’s birthday. We agreed the song was still a popular one, the way

it has a lot of joy and glee in its words. Then, Tammy told me she has

been enjoying listening to Harry Connick, Jr. and Lady Antebellum’s

Christmas albums. Karen stated she loves her older albums, now on

Cd’s which include those familiar voices which bring nostalgia into

her home and heart. She likes Bing Crosby, Dean Martin and Burl

Ives.

I started making a list in my head, of the songs and people they were

talking about and decided to also, include some of my own personal

favorite songs and carols, along with some memorable sounds of the

holiday season. This is a compilation of some of my favorites, along

with some coworkers’ suggestions:

SONGS:

1. Harry Connick, Jr. singing, “Sleigh Ride,” which begins with the

words,

“Just hear those sleigh bells jingling,

Ring, ting tingling too…” (Thanks to my friend, Tammy.)

 

2. Dean Martin singing, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,”

which was written in 1951, by Meredith Wilson.

 

3. Bing Crosby singing, “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.” This

makes me sad, thinking of those who are in the armed services who

may not make it home for Christmas. The thought of the Bob Hope’s

USO holiday celebrations overseas for years and years, quickly cheers

me up again. This tradition carries on still through the help of the

USO.org. There was a lovely photograph of Idina Menzel with some

military families representing the USO. I hope the troops have a lot

of fun and the jokes make them laugh out loud, like Bob Hope would

wish this to go. “Thanks for the memories, Bob!”

Here is a short schedule of locations they are expected to be

entertaining the troops:

Dec. 7-16, 2014:  Japan, Guan and Hawaii, with the Dallas Cowboys

Cheerleaders.

Dec. 13- Clare Bowen (Hostess) at Tinker Air Force Base,  Oklahoma.

Dec. 16- Anthony Hamilton (Host) at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.

Jan. 3 – 9, 2015:  Robert Irvine (Host) at Japan and Okinawa.

(Thanks to my friend, Karen, for reminding me of both Bob Hope

and the USO, along with Bing Crosby and Dean Martin’s songs.)

 

3. Whitney Houston singing the hymnal carol, “Do You Hear What I

Hear?”

(Thank you to Melvin, my coworker, who suggested this version but

I enjoy Carrie Underwood’s ‘take’ on this lovely song also. )

Here is a bit of the history of the song:  It was written in 1962, by a

married couple who were moved by seeing children on the streets

of New York City (babies in strollers) and what the lamb might have

heard in the manger scene. This was on the cusp of the Cuban Missile

Crisis, which is why there are words imparting a message of Peace.

The lyrics were written by Noel Regney and the music was written by

his wife, Gloria Shayne Baker.

 

4. John Lennon and Yoko Ono, “Happy Xmas/War is Over,” which

begins with the words, “So This is Christmas.” It was written in 1971,

with tongue in cheek, by John and Yoko, in protest to the Viet Nam

War. It is also said they were thinking of their future children and

what children would ‘inherit’ in the world, with war still going on.

(Their son, Sean Lennon, was not born until 1975.)

When this song was produced, the voices of John, Yoko, the Plastic

Ono Band (with instrumentals) and the Harlem Community Choir

were beautifully blended together. The flip side of this single was

called, “Listen, the Snow is Falling.” The cover of this is ‘vintage’

looking in sepia brown and beige, with the children’s choir, ages 4-14,

included on it.

This song was also played a lot, after John Lennon was murdered on

December 8, 1980; 34 years ago this week.

*This is one of my own personal favorites.

 

5. Nat King Cole singing, “The Christmas Song,” also recognized as,

“Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.” This lovely song was written

in 1944, by Bob Wells and Mel Torme.

*Another of my favorites, since my parents played this on their stereo.

 

6. Bruce Springsteen’s version of the old classic song, “Santa Claus Is

Coming to Town.” This is the 2nd oldest song on the list today. It was

written in 1934, by John F. Coats and Haven Gillespie. It was presented

for the first time on the Eddie Cantor’s Radio Show. Later, in 1935, it was

also recorded by the Tommy Dorsey Band. My parents listened to this

version on the stereo and radio.

*I love the way Bruce ‘rocks this one out!’

 

7. My friend Cheryl thought the carol, which to her sounds like it belongs

in a church with a choir, “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” sung by

Julie Andrews, is her favorite song of all time.  This hymn was written

by a Unitarian minister, Edmund Sears, in 1849. He lived in Wayland,

Massachusetts. There are various versions of music to go with his

moving words.

Here are a few unusual ones to share with you:

Sergio Franchi sang this in 1965. He was an Italian opera tenor, who

died in Connecticut.

Eric Burdon and the Animals used the music from “The House of

the Rising Sun,” to accompany these lyrics.

Stefan Borsch, (Sweden) performed this in his native language.

The Lettermen performed and put this on a Christmas album in

1987.

Darryl Hall and John Oates included this in a Christmas album.

Anne Murray sang this in 2001, which I feel this would be simple

and beautifully done.

Josh Groban, who is known for singing operatic style, sang this in

2007. He does a fine performance of the song, “You Lift Me Up.”

 

Cheryl is feeling much better about her grandson’s recent death,

since she enlarged a favorite photograph of Christopher when he

was only 6 years old, with her mother, his great-grandmother. She

likes to say often, “Christopher is up in Heaven with my Mom.”

Last Christmas, you may have noticed, Cheryl had me write down a

short message/poem she had written in memorial of her mother’s

fifth anniversary of her death. We are close to one another in the way

we get emotional and are sentimental. She is my one coworker who

cried and held my hand, while we watched the first Inauguration of

President Barack Obama. If you did not read the one night I wrote,

“I have to go,” over and over on a post, you may not know that her

grandson died in his sleep, due to his weakened body, his having both

a combination of the flu and a cold. The autopsy of this fine 23 year

old graduate of Delaware High School and Columbus State student

will not be completed until after the first of the New Year. Cheryl takes

comfort that he had put up his Christmas tree the day of his death and

had also called her to tell her he was putting on some special family

ornaments she had given him when he turned 21.

 

Here are special sounds that are permanently etched into my own

memories:

1. A fire in a fireplace crackling. The logs making a ‘thump’ when they

fall into one another. There is peaceful serenity in listening to a fire.

2. A little child whispering in your ear. This almost makes the hairs

on my arms stand on end. It is magical, whatever words are told.

3. The ‘clink’ of a crystal or glass against another one, while a toast

is being given. The sound of the repeated ‘clinks’ at weddings, to get

the bride and groom to kiss, makes me smile.

4. Dogs bounding towards the door, barking or yipping loudly,

announcing the arrival of guests.

5. The door slammed. I imagine those who have little children saying

to themselves, “Oh, how annoying…” and following this with a lecture

to their children, “We never slam doors in our house.” Somehow, one

day it will come to this, you will wish to hear the door slamming with

the following sound of the words, “Mommy/Daddy. . . I’m home!”

Trust me on this.

6. Baby lambs in the country kitchen of my first babysitter, Mrs. Auble,

“Baa-ing” or ‘bleating’ for their milk bottles, followed by the slurping

noises of their drinking and pulling on the bottles, furiously tugging.

7. Hearty yells.  Across sledding hills, neighbors greeting each other

across streets and yards, and the one voice, that would bring you

running home for lunch (summer) and dinner (winter).

8. Leather boots or rubber boots crunching through the snow. The

sound of the crunch makes you stop talking and ponder in wonder.

9. Birds chirping and singing despite the weather. They always seem

to not be concerned with the cold, brisk air. Their songs echoing in the

early morning air. (Particularly, for me, the cardinal’s message.)

10. The sound of a familiar voice coming across the air waves, now

on cell phone. Back then, on a heavy, black rotary dial phone, of

loved ones (grandparents) far away.

 

Those are my carefully chosen Top Ten “sounds,” will you please let us

know what sounds make you happy, particularly around the holidays?

You may mention a song or a personal memory. . .

 

 

 

 

 

Thrift Store and Road Trip Adventures

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The road to almost anywhere seems to take you much longer than the

trip home. My brothers give me directions around Cleveland, forgetting

my crooked path that began on the lake which I call ‘home’ to the small

towns I have lived in and then back again, to visit again. The total number

of years away are much more than the years I lived at ‘home.’ I had lived 6

years in Bowling Green, Ohio, four while attending college and two while

young, newly married and teaching middle school. I spent 5 years farther

south, in Lancaster, Ohio, and a big chunk of 28 years in my chosen (picked

it on a map) location of Delaware, Ohio.

So, we valiantly set off to a short distance away to go shopping. Mom and I

were off on another one of our adventures, traveling around the city streets,

some I have forgotten their names. “Fasten your seat belt, Mom! Hold onto

your hat, since the windows will be down it is such a beautiful and warm

day!”

Mom and I ate lunch out at a casual location, fortifying for our shopping

expedition. So serious, that Mom had made a list and so had I! We were

heading towards Lorain Road (one town over, North Olmsted) from Center

Ridge Road (Westlake). We located the Dr.’s office we would go to on Wed.,

along with the Dr.’s office we would head towards on Thurs. Then, we were

on Busy and much traveled, Dover Center Road. We passed the church where

my early days of Girl Scouts had met, along with a house of where one of my

Mom’s favorite fellow Westlake (Demons) teachers had lived. They live out

West in Colorado, writing letters and exchanging cards with Mom.

When we arrived on Lorain Road, I traveled East first; nope!  Wrong direction!

I saw an outstanding and extraordinarily low priced familiar gas station, where

there were several people, one elderly man who may have been retired, chatting

by the door of the place. It is one where Brazilian coffee has joined the hot brews,

along with my favorite cappuccino mixes. Having had three days of the Senior

Apartment brewed coffee, a little above average and the Maxwell House instant

coffee my Mom drinks all day, I decided to grab a flavored ice tea for Mom and

pre-pay for some gas. I left my Mom’s windows open and locked her in. We gave

a little laugh, since she knows I worry a lot about her memory and her safety, too.

I was told I was only a few hundred feet to get to Dollar General and only two

blocks away from Giant Eagle, whose plaza has a huge Volunteers of America

Thrift Store. I thanked the men who were gathered on the step of the gas station,

and gave the elderly, very genuinely concerned man a brief but sincere hug. He

laughed and said, “You made my day, Honey.”

Once we got in the doors of the V. of A. Thrift Store, we checked carefully for the

“Colors of the Day” chart. I repeated them twice to Mom, since the color of orange

meant 50% off the price tags of that color, the color of green meant a whopping

75% off.

We spent over two hours searching for our own respective list of ‘clothing needs.’

Which for me usually includes dark and patterned shirts and jeans that are ‘not too

tight’ for my warehouse job. She was fascinated by the Halloween decorations, I had

to insist she had her ‘door and shelves covered with October décor.’ Once I had her

steered towards the relaxed pants and turtle necks part of the store, I could head off

into the misses and juniors areas.  I went back to her twice, to find her cart piled

high in clothes she WISHED she could wear. I loved the attitude coming from her,

really like her sparkling belief that she can still wear pants with belts and shirts

with buttons. We had to put the black pin striped suit she wanted to wear ‘to go to

meetings in’ back. I got her to go back one row over where the pants were elastic-

waisted and the shirts were pullovers.

This time I headed off to the Sundries department. It makes you think of a garage

sale or one of those big flea markets that are set up on fairgrounds. Twice I had to

stop people to ask first, for the frames area and then, for the photo albums area.

I found five albums for my grandkids’ photos, various covers and styles from a

big pile of these. I liked the ones I found for the girls, one with flowers, another

with a geometric design and the ones for the boys, one had a red ‘leather’ look

for my oldest, Skyler and another had a green ‘leather’ look for Landen. The

others will be ‘jazzed up’ like I do with dollar store albums, using stickers and

little bit of acrylic paint designs. So much money saved and I may have told you

this summer I printed out 700 photographs, dating back to Fall, 2013. Yikes!

Blogging has taken me away from my usual careful seasonally printing off the

pictures and individually separating them into 6 distinct albums. My grandies

have looked more into their past, then their recent happenings, when they go

to my four foot stack of photo albums, one for each season of their lives.

The other great find was a beautiful mahogany or cherry antique frame to put

my #86 Birthday Gift to my Mother in. I know how much she loves Autumn

leaves and found a beautiful branched photograph, with multiple leaves of

brilliant shades to place a male red cardinal on and the step below him, a

female yellow cardinal perched on a branch. I painted this in watercolors,

starting in early October. The frame was a ‘firm’ price, not one that will be

reduced by its tag, $3.99. What a bargain! I gave my Mom her gift early, since

we have plans for dinner Wednesday with my youngest brother and his wife,

then on Friday with my ‘older’ brother, just 18 months younger than I. (We

ran around in a ‘pack’ from childhood through high school, 3 born in 4 years.)

Here were Mom’s purchases in a list:

1. Four pairs of elastic waist pants,

*Pink ones made of denim material, brand new condition. Mom’s favorite color.

*Blue jeans, a nice dark denim with large, deep pockets. She acknowledged their

benefits by saying,

“Robin, I can put tissues and my keys in this pocket and the doggie bags in the

other one. Some may call them doggie doo doo bags… but I also put her treats

from my dinner in them, too.” (Not at the same time nor same bag, may I add!)

*Black soft cotton material pants with pockets. They may resemble sweat pants,

but she wears this style to bed and to answer the door in the morning.

* Black sturdier, some acrylic/polyester material pants that look ‘dressy’ and less

worn. Mom exclaimed about her next three purchases that would be worn with

these same pants,

“Robin, look at this beautiful jacket for the holidays, this red turtleneck and this

red cowl necked sweater! You will not believe how lucky I was at finding them!”

 

 

Here is the best part of the red plaid wool jacket labeled, Norton McNaughton,

with its black velvet color and such a Scottish printed plaid:

It was marked “99 cents” and happened to be a green tag, so take 75% off and

Mom paid only one quarter for this jacket, with its freshly dry cleaned tag attached.

 

The trip back home was short and sweet, we sipped our tea, (Mom’s) and coffee,

(mine) quite content to bask in our wonderful purchases. We stopped on the way

home to sit in the woods of Bradley Woods Park, looking at the busy squirrels, the

chirping birds and sun glowing colors of Autumn. I pulled out of my purse two

Milky Way bars and two little dark chocolate Hershey kisses. We felt like we were

almost in Heaven.

 

A flyer in Mom’s door had a religious message but I loved the

quote:

“The Clock

The clock of life is wound but once,

and no man has the power

to tell just when the hands will stop

at late or early hour.

To lose one’s wealth is sad indeed,

To lose one’s health is more.

To lose one’s soul is such a loss

That no one can restore.”

(Author Unknown, found on a religious tract)

 

*As far as I am concerned,

in this poem, the word,  “soul”

can mean our enthusiasm and

sometimes Grace. ~Robin E. O. Cochran

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lara’s Blue Rose

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When Lara ‘graduated’ from her Schulz Elementary School, to

head off into what is now Willis “Middle School,” I talked to her

about finishing well in fourth grade and how proud of her I was.

The family all were very excited about her test scores and the way

she had handled school thus far.

If you grew up in the period where sixth grade was the year you

advanced to Junior High School, that is the way it when my

children, ages 28, 32 and 34, were young. They went from

fifth grade ‘graduation’ to Willis Middle School, where it was

sixth through eighth grades. Then, the last child, only stayed in

middle school for sixth and seventh, advancing to Dempsey

Junior High were she went to eighth grade. Have I confused you

yet?

What grade does your small town or big city school system

“change up” or move on, passing from elementary to a different

school?  What label do they give to the next level of education?

 

Lara’s birthday celebration was held in June, reaching the ‘big’

milestone of a ‘two digit’ number: 10! I gave her clothes for her

birthday and a craft kit to make a variety of jeweled and braided

bracelets.

 

Recently, Lara found my latest name pictures that I had drawn,

used pen and ink then ‘coloring’ in the letters, decorative items

and the little children in the pictures, with watercolor. She asked

me about the one I had done for a past friend, a mother of three

children now.

She wondered if the baby was going to like it, when she grew up?

This comment came due to the fact the baby was in a basket. She

noticed this was different; instead of my usual design that includes

an active child or a resting child. I like to make the child around 4

or 5 years old, since that is about when they will notice the framed

picture on the wall, with the letters of their name included in the

design.

I had not wanted to make Lara sad, but I told her the baby was in

“Heaven,” that she had died last year. I went on to tell her how I

came to make this picture for someone I really knew much better,

in the past.

I ran into this woman, who once a long time ago, in her high school

years, had decided to volunteer at a nursing home that I worked at

as an Activities Director. This young woman, Michelle, became quite

involved with the program. I became involved in her life. She was

living with her grandfather, but she liked when we had lunch in the

summer months and for us to run by the hospital to see her mother,

Fay, who worked at the little coffee shop there.

Along with my picking her up and dropping her off, for after hours

events and trips, we went by my house one day. I ran in and asked

my oldest daughter if she had any dresses Michelle could wear. Our

nursing home was ‘strict’ and as long as we were in the building,

we weren’t allowed to wear pants. The Director of the nursing home

also liked the female volunteers to wear skirts or dresses, too. I only

had my son, Jamie and one other young man, volunteer in the four

years I was in activities. They were asked to wear khaki pants or

dress pants, plus a collared shirt. No t-shirts allowed!

I also rummaged through my closet and allowed Michelle, to check

out a variety of clothes, then we bundled these and Carrie’s up into a

garbage bag, for her to go home and try on.

 

When I ran into Michelle at Mingo Park, I hugged her, as I always do.

This is a habit to greet all the many young people that have come and

gone from my life.

I had been pleasantly happy and amused when my coworker, Felda,

had often mentioned that she had a ‘best friend’ she met at Goodwill,

who was named “Michelle.” (Never using her maiden name, just her

married last name.)

Soon, I “met” her at the parties held by my friends and coworkers

from the Philippines. They insist we call them Filipino and they love

us to try their foods. Michelle and I have sat together at the baby

shower for Zach, his Christening Party and also Felda and Jason’s

house-warming party. I take my grandsons, who share a babysitter

with Felda’s kids, if they wish to go. Recently, my M & M girls have

chosen to attend Kridia Dawn’s birthday party and other functions.

 

We were in ‘touch’ but Michelle had never shared with me about the

loss of a baby, until we were at the park in early July. She and her

husband were with their 3 children. They were running around with

my two grandsons, Micah and Skyler who were also having fun on

the playground equipment.

 

Michelle showed me pictures of a healthy baby girl, full term, who

weighed 8 lbs. 2 oz. She was named, “Katie Mae.” She had fair skin,

like her sisters Lily and Anna. Also like her blonde brother, William.

The children had held their new baby sister, last summer. Michelle,

who started to cry throughout this visit, told me that Anna had

kissed her sister many, many times. Lily was happy to help get

diapers and bring her blankets. William had held the baby for a

minute then had asked to have her given back to her mother.

The baby cried a lot after she came home from the hospital with

her mother.

Lara was absorbed by all of this, she and her brother Landen, had

been a ‘family’ once with a Dad name Kevin and their mother,

Trista. The parents got divorced, my son met Trista when Lara

and Landen were preschoolers and married her.

Lara has been a wonderful ‘big sister’ to Jamie and Trista’s girls,

the M & M’s. This, along with two more brothers, from her Daddy

Kevin’s second marriage.

Lara wanted to know why the baby died?

It is hard to explain, but Michelle says the baby got a red rash on her

second day home from the hospital, she worried and called the doctor’s

office. The doctor’s nurse called back to suggest a different formula.

She suspected an allergic reaction. The parents went out and got new

formula, this time the 2nd night at home, was filled sadly, with the

baby’s shrieks.

They bundled their children into their clothes, wrapping little Katie

carefully up.

She just seemed ‘tender to the touch,’ Michelle explained.

At the hospital, they were in the waiting room for quite some time,

but once inside one of the E.R. rooms, the intern was very kind

and blood was drawn. He thought it may be an allergic reaction

but was concerned about the way the baby was shrieking, not

wanting to take the bottle, the redness and rash was bright and

splotchy. He prescribed a baby’s antibiotic, sent them home.

There would be a call the next day, the diagnosis possibly of a

blood disease, a different prescription to pick up.

The baby went to sleep quietly, eerily, after first being held by

each parent. Katie looked solemnly into her father’s eyes. Next,

Michelle held her carrying her to bed. She says Katie “searched

her face.” She remembers Katie studying her eyes.

There are many photographs, but the one that stands out most

to me, is heart-wrenching. They managed to capture Katie looking

straight into her Daddy’s eyes. It was a profile image, which is so

precious.

This was her third night at home.

Michelle nodded her head when I exclaimed,

“Katie is looking at him like, ‘Why can’t you make me feel better?!'”

This was the last picture they took of Katie. She died on her

fifth night of life.

(The coroner found cause of death to be, “Undetermined.”)

 

Lara wants me to make her a new name picture, it has her

name in ‘cursive’ with a blue rose above it, with cheerleading

pom pom’s on the sides, a football with Cleveland Browns

written below it, with an ice cream cone, one scoop of mint

ice cream and one of vanilla. She was adamant about the blue

rose.

I will share what I found out about blue roses. I want you to

know, all of you literary people, that I right away visualized the

scene in “The Glass Menagerie,” where Laura is called, “Blue

Roses,” by the brother and by the visiting ‘gentleman caller.’

This is due to her having pleurosis, which I thought was ‘pleurisy.’

Wikipedia says Tennessee Williams’ real life sister was named

“Rose” but did have ‘pleurosis.” I remembered the blue roses’

reference from that 1944 play.

Then, I looked up the way that genetic engineering has created

blue roses. In the past, blue roses were ‘made’ by putting white

roses into blue food coloring or sprayed by a blue vegetable dye.

 

I had made pictures in the past years of Lily, William and Anna’s

names years before. I delivered Katie’s to Michelle’s family, on

Sunday night. The three children, Katie’s sisters and brother,

wanted me to see their bedrooms and their toys.

In the picture I made, I had added a pink rose above Katie’s head

on her little blanket and one on where the blanket crossed her

chest, there are blue forget-me-not’s in the grass and a white

bunny lying by the basket. There are tall sunflowers and tulips

in other places on the picture. I had included a sun bonnet, with

purple violets hanging on one of the tall letters.

I mentioned to Michelle and Kevin, quietly, that I lost two babies

before they were born, one at 4 1/2 months and one at 4 months.

My children and I had a tradition that I started the year the last one

died, which includes reading a special book to and putting an angel

ornament on the Christmas tree for each of their 2 ‘lost siblings.’

I told them once I had been to hear a country gospel group, The

Greens, sing at Ohio Wesleyan University, in Gray Chapel.

One of the sweetest songs I heard that night was called, “There’s

A Rocking Chair In Heaven.”

We nodded, words left unspoken.

We hugged.

Musical Legend: Mavis Staples

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Wishing an early “Happy Birthday to Mavis Staples!” Her birthday will be

July 10, 1939. Wow! In her 75th year of singing a rich and still fresh

combination of blues, soul, folksong anthems, and Gospel music, she

just put out another album in 2013!

Way to go, Mavis Staples!

Mavis’ newest album is titled, “One True Vine.” I learned more about

her personal journey through her life and also, a definite proposal

and romance I had no idea existed! You may not guess which famous

singer asked her “Pop’s” for permission to have her hand in marriage!

Mavis’ “Pop” put together the family singing act called, “The Staple

Singers” long ago, while she was at the tender, young age of 8 years

old! While the Peace Movement and Civil Rights Movement were the

ones who ‘took her there,’ the popular song, “I’ll Take You There,” was

what got the group on the top of music charts!

Listening to the lyrics, knowing it was originally a gospel song that

was intended for the listener to believe in going to a place called

“Heaven,” makes it even more spiritual and inspiring.

During the sixties, being on stage with Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King,

Jr. made her inspired and gave her so much encouragement for the

world. Her life was spent traveling around to big cities, performing and

feeling the wave of love and hope rising amongst African Americans.

On an interview with CBS Saturday Morning, (5/17/14), Mavis said that

being around MLK, Jr. was to feel ‘unbelievable joy.’ To be in his ‘presence’

brought her so much meaning to her life.

During this timely period in the United States, there was another

young ‘mover and shaker’ in the music industry. Mavis spent a lot of

time with that curly haired, good looking Bob Dylan.

There came a time, Mavis recounted that,

“Bobby told my Pops, ‘I want to marry Mavis.'”

Pops responded,

“‘Don’t tell me, tell Mavis!'”

While grinning happily, telling the interviewer this love story,

he asked with some excitement,

“What did you say to Bob?”

She reflected, smiling and said,

Well, remember I was very young, so I told him, ‘Let’s wait awhile.'”

She went on to say (the essence of this moment being the real meaning

in her words, paraphrased here):

She wondered what changes her life would have had, how marrying Bob

Dylan would have impacted her life and then used a phrase that I will

tell you the interviewer had to ask her to repeat and explain.

Mavis wondered what it would have been like to make ‘chrome-crushers’

with Bobby.

The words meant, children or babies with him. She was pondering this

and looking happy, still. She felt that she had been attractive, I

forget if she called herself a ‘fox’ or what, but he was definitely

someone she had love for and a huge crush on, too!

Mavis says that her life was spent ‘coming at it with her heart.’

When Mavis Staples won her first Grammy, she remembered that her

Pops had said not to worry about that but they were (basically)

singing for the Lord and “to reach people.” It was a great piece

of philosophy, not to worry about your awards in life, just what

actions you do and how it effects people.

At the 55th Grammy Award ceremony in February, 2013, Mavis Staples

won the Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award, looking very

stunning and vibrant. If you punch in her name and Grammy 2013, you

will see her the way she still looks. So beautiful inside and out!

She performed, by the way, in a tribute to Levon Helm, with the ‘likes’

of Elton John, Zac Brown Band and Mumford and Sons that fantastic

evening show to remember!

Mavis laughed, saying that she did, “Buy a stand for that Grammy,”

though!

The upbeat tone in her speaking and singing voice wins you over,

despite her vocal range not being as wide as I am sure it was in her

‘heyday!’ She has two songs that were very special to me.

I have sometimes, like many people do, worried about my appearance

and this song, “I Like the Things About Me,” including her comments

in the song disparaging her hair and her lips. She uses this verse,

“I like the things about me, that I once despised…”

“There was a time I wished my hair was fine…”

“There was a time I wished my lips were thin…”

In the end, the message was similar to today’s artist, Lady Gaga’s.

Mavis’ lifetime of having racial hurdles to overcome, make her

simple songs even more powerful. And timeless…

“Love yourself.”

(The essence of the lyrics was she came to the point in her life,

when she could accept ‘the me that I am.’)

The lively and pretty song, “Freedom’s Highway,” still has a world

wide application. As she mentioned the children (girls who were

kidnapped in Nigeria) and ‘everywhere looking at America to see what

we will do.’

“March each and every day,

Made up my mind and won’t turn around,

Made up my mind and won’t turn around.

There is just one thing,

I can’t understand, my friend.

Why some folk think freedom

Was not designed for all men,

Yes, I think I voted for the right man,

Said we would overcome.”

She repeated that ‘the whole world is wondering why America

is not stepping in to help those girls.’

Mavis Staples’ songs to look up on Youtube and listen to are:

“You Are Not Alone,” (2010)

“Eyes on the Prize,” (2007)

“One True Vine” (2013).

I was uplifted by Mavis’ energy and her loving nature shown in the

interview this Saturday morning. I needed only to see her face, to

remember that, not too long ago, Grammy Awards Show.

Where I had really listened to Mavis Staples’ singing and messages.

Adding to everyone’s loving voices raised in tribute to Levon Helm.

(If you were a fan of “The Band,” you were listening to his drumming

and percussion skills.)

Now go out, sing dance and march to the music!