Category Archives: knitting

10 Ways to Stay Young

Standard

I received Mom’s card, that she bought in the downstairs area of her senior living

apartments, at the end of last week. This is called the ‘library’ where you can choose

to borrow, return or give books and pick out greeting cards. There is an ‘honor code,’

where you go to the nearby Front desk to pay for the cards or check out the books.

This card, and its message, really made my day this week!

It was one of those simple ones that talk about friendship. She vacillates between

saying that I am her ‘best friend’ and missing her faithful little dog, Nicki, (her ‘other

best friend.’)

These notes, I realize I have mentioned, hold important feelings that she shares

with me, her only daughter. I am touched with her added embellishments, sincerely

expressed ideas and loving memories of our special ‘girlfriend’ visits and shopping

trips.

She writes to many people, her words are less descriptive and their clarity may not

always be there. Time has taken some of her training in spelling, grammar and English

usage away. But the essence of love shines through to all of her recipients of letters.

Her good friend, Joyce, who will always be known as “Pooky” to those who love her,

wrote her a long typed (on the computer and printed out) letter. In this, she was

supporting my Mom’s asking to be able to have her dog back. Nicki is residing with

my brother and sister in law, with multiple dogs, on a ‘better, healthier’ diet and

regime. Their main concern was that Mom had fallen, so they felt with her new

walker, therapy visits and trying to manage Nicki with the walker may do more

‘harm than good.’  “Pooky” lives in California and I have written her notes to

keep her abreast of my Mom’s current health status, along with over the years,

many holiday cards. She is a good and true, lifelong friend of my Mom’s.

“Pooky” sent a clever list which has some fun, but often expressed, ideas about

growing older, includes positive life lessons and ways to stay young.

On the top of the first page, my Mom had handwritten these sweet words:

“You know all of these, my Robin, but it never hurts to be reminded of them. . .

To my best friend in the world!”

“How to Stay Young

Friend to Friend Advice”

1.  Try everything twice.

On one woman’s grave, the epitaph reads:

“Tried everything twice. Loved it both times!”

2.  Keep only cheerful friends.

The Grouches pull you down.

Keep this in mind, if you are one of those Grouches!

3.  Keep learning.

Don’t stop!

Whatever it is that stimulates your brain cells and keeps

your mind active.

4.  Enjoy the simple things in life.

The little ‘details’ can make you happy.

5.  Laugh often.

Belly laughs, long and loud.

Laugh until you gasp for breath or tears run down your face.

If someone produces this level of joy, spend lots and lots of

time with them.

Be silly!

6.  Sad things and tears happen.

Unfortunately.

Endure, grieve and move on.

The only person who is with us, our entire life, is ourselves.

Live while you are alive.

7.  Surround yourself with whatever you love:

Family, pets, keepsakes, music, art, crafts, plants. . .

Make your home a retreat or refuge.

8.  Cherish your health.

If it is good- preserve it.

If it is unstable- improve it.

If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

You are still here.

9.  Don’t take guilt trips.

Take instead trips down memory lane, to the mall or to a new place.

If you can afford to, travel far and wide. If your health does not permit

this, wander through countries in books or on the Internet.

10.  Tell the people you love that you love them every time you see them.

Every opportunity, try to show your gratitude towards them.

(Author Unknown, some embellishments are my own added to the list.)

So here goes, I am following the ‘rules’ laid out in the life list! I wish to tell you

again, that I appreciate your being part of my life. I think that our community

of fellow bloggers satisfies many things on the examples mentioned. So, in

honor for #s 3, 4, 7 and 10, I am thankful for your enhancing and enriching

my life!

You fill in the gaps in my life, helping me to utilize my brain daily.

We talk, through our posts and replies, about things and share our worlds.

Your thoughts and feelings bring us closer together. Sometimes more than

my friends I spend time with. Maybe it is the safety of being separated by

time and space. Maybe it is due to being sojourners in a world of our own

making.

Fellow bloggers you brings my inner thoughts and respond positively, for that:

I thank you!

Maybe it is the way we bounce off each other, spurring each other to reach out

and connect on a different level than most daily interactions.

To those poets out there, thanks for treating me to your beautiful (sometimes

angry, distressed but always meaningful) words. You have inspired me to try

my hand at writing poetry. It is a different way of writing than I am used to!

To the artists out there, whether using paint, pen and ink, photography or

other creative and artistic ways you lead your life, I appreciate your sharing

this with me. The ‘details’ of life that you give to me, through your art and

music, are limitless!

To the ones who incorporate animals, healing solutions, share your faith and

other ways to connect and feel whole; your posts make me feel good and lead me

to peace in my heart and soul.

Those nature lovers and healthy lifestyle believers, you make me want to be

more interactive in environmental issues and eat more healthier. The cooking

blogs and vegan choices are certainly ones that I copy down suggestions and

feel that I have become more aware of what I am ingesting!

Then those who have traveled or are out there, living in different countries,

letting us know what is happening, Thank you!

It makes the world come together and become a ‘smaller’ place, uniting us in our

common interests:

Wow! The inspiration in the gifts you all share, continue to amaze and challenge

me to be a better ‘me!’

 

 

 

 

 

One Christmas during the Depression

Standard

My Mom was reminiscing about the period of time called the Depression

in the United States. She was remembering with fondness one of her

favorite Christmases. It was not one she received a lot of gifts nor a “big

ticket” item. It was all about how each of her family members worked

very hard to listen to what the others in the family were wishing for

and then, how they tried to make each other’s dreams come true.

My Mom wished for a lovely red velveteen jumper that would be

worn to school and church. She had already a special cream colored

blouse that her mother, my grandmother had stitched lovingly for

her “back to school” outfit. She did not need the black tights nor the

boots to wear with this special outfit that she had seen in a major

department store advertisement.

My Mom heard her younger sister wishing for a special matching

outfit for her doll and she to wear to early elementary school. We

may call it the ‘primary grades’ these days. She wanted to be able to

bring her old doll, all “spruced up” in a green corduroy or (“even

better,” Mom recalls, “a green satin dress with a ruffle attached.”)

My grandmother heard my grandfather wishing to have a nice hearty

meal with a roast of some kind and also, wishing for a cherry flavored

tobacco to put into his pipe.

My grandfather heard my grandmother wishing for a nice tablecloth

and a new apron, that would not be made by herself. She liked to

get dressed for Sunday services and afterwards, head home to wear

a pretty apron over her ‘Sunday best’ clothes.

My aunt heard my Mom’s wish and it was all about hair bows and a nice

mirror and brush set, seen at the Five and Dime Store in Middletown,

Ohio.

When her family awakened on Christmas morning, often the Christmas

tree, while my Mom and her sister were sleeping and young, would be

decorated. This was a tradition that changed when they got older and

what my Mom felt was more responsible and would not break the lovely

glass ornaments nor set the house on fire with the candles that were

placed upon the tree in their holders.

The years they did get to decorate, as older and more careful girls, they

had many glass ornaments, pipe cleaner angels with faces painted on

pink beads and golden or silver pipe cleaner wings and halos. There

were wooden ornaments of snowflakes, sleds and little houses, too.

Mom exclaimed,

“Amy and I were never again to see the candles lit on the tree, once we

became the ‘decorators of the tree.’ Sometime, along the way, my Dad

decided to invest in electrical multi-colored Christmas lights.”

Mom, known as “Rosie,” and her sister, Amelia, known as “Amy” woke

up on one Christmas morning to smell the nice, wafting and intermingling

scents of a braided kuchen with cherry filling and vanilla frosting, the cherry

tobacco smell of their father’s pipe and the smell of strong coffee floating on

the air. I have researched the recipes for kuchen and they often list

peach as the fruit to be found inside this sweet yeast dough coffee cake.

My grandparents grew only a few plants on their property, but there

were several cherry trees to pick and ‘can’ for later use. We often

would have cherry preserve, my brothers and I almost thirty years

after this story is written, on our breakfast toast. We also enjoyed the

treat of fresh out of the oven, German made kuchen.

They ran down their hallway, wearing thick pajamas, robes, socks and

shoes, as they did not have slippers and the floors were not very warm

inside. Amy and Rosie paused to take in the wondrous sight of a fully

decorated and mysteriously “delivered” Christmas tree! It was not until

after they began to doubt in the reality of Santa Claus, that they realized

this was a parental gift to them, as well as the gifts in their stuffed stockings

and few wrapped parcels under the tree.

Mom mentioned while retelling this story to me, that the presents would be

wrapped in fabric scraps from “future items of clothing, so as not to ruin the

surprises inside, tied with ribbons or string. This was also, during this period

of time, another way to save money: very cost effective.”

In the presents, usually in past years of the Depression, there would be

“practical” gifts of sweaters, socks, mittens and other handmade items.

Grandma Mattson could knit, crochet and sew, as many women of these

hard times did, to make things look special. The challenge would be to hide

it in the process of making the items!

Mom said the stockings were stuffed with unshelled nuts, fruits and wax

-wrapped candies and fudge. There would be a pair of socks and a hair

barrette inside, too. She says while recalling the joyous moments, that she

never thought until this moment, while I was asking her for some Christmas

memories, of all the hours her mother must have spent while her sister and

she were at school, making and hiding these ‘treasures.’

All the gifts that were wished for, the wishes were ‘granted’ this year! She

wore her red velveteen dress to school, her sister, Amy, wore her green,

shiny satin dress with the petticoat trimmed in lace underneath it. Mom

remembers her sister twirling and twirling in circles in the excitement of

wearing her brand new (homemade with love) dress. She also, recalls

that the both of them wore these dresses in a photograph, where they

both have black hose on, with big sister Rosie, straddling little sister,

Amy, in front of her. The two of them, wearing the bright dresses now

displayed in the framed black and white photograph on my Mom’s

dresser,  look so completely darling!

The roast for dinner was pork and the after dinner desserts were Spritz

and other sugar cookies served with cocoa and coffee. The lasting effect

of everyone’s wishes coming unexpectedly true was apparent once again,

relived today on my Mom’s glowing face!