Saturday, March 4, 2017

Life In A Fishbowl

I would hate being famous, or even moderately well-known, and feeling as though I were always being watched (and judged) by others. I can't even imagine being an artist or politician especially in this day of instant images and sound bites being broadcast all over the world. Life in a fishbowl; not for me!

I'm referring to real fish; actual fishbowls. I remember those prizes you could win at a carnival.
Not that I ever won any because Mom wouldn't let us try - but I always wanted to. I thought having a goldfish would be great.

Eventually my Mom did have a goldfish bowl with two goldfish in it. I'm thinking by the time my little brother came along she relented and he either won some or she bought him some. He also had a turtle or two which he kept in a dish/bowl and caught flies for.

What I remember most about her fishbowl, long after we were grown and gone, was how scrupulous she was about changing the water and keeping the bowl clean.

An all-time family favorite photo was this one of my nephew, Michael, trying to reach the fishbowl.

In later years Mom had an even bigger fishbowl. I remember her telling us that the fish would grow larger if you put them in a bigger bowl. She had some beautiful fantail goldfish.

She never cared about living life in a fishbowl, either.

Friday, March 3, 2017

To Travel By Shanks' Mare

The older I get, the more I have trouble remembering things. Like this morning I have been trying to remember if the five and dime store was on the east side of main street (not capitalized because the real name of the street where most businesses were located was Davis Avenue - we just called it main street) north of the Candy Kitchen before it moved to the west side and a block south.
I have a distinct memory of going into the store and buying a sleeveless, melon colored, cotton blouse for $l.00. Yes, one dollar. I remember a yellow one, two, but the melon/coral one was my favorite.
I also remember a fabric store on the west side of the street across from the five and dime which I remember as being "Rittel's". I recall it being operated by a husband and wife team and her name was Audrey. The 1957 Corning Centurama book helps me out on this one - the store was the C.R. Anthony store with W.W. Rittel its manager. It also lists the P.M. Place Store under 'Department and 5cents to $1.00 Stores'. Unfortunately, it doesn't give the address for either.
And a Google search tells me that the Anthony stores were headquartered in Oklahoma with 300 stores in 20 states. Also that they were department stores selling clothing and shoes, too, not just fabric.

I found this photo online of one of their fabric departments (not the one in my hometown). It looks like fabric might have had a big share of the floor space, maybe that's why I thought they were a fabric store.

None of this has anything to do with shanks' mares - that was just another memory that popped into my head this morning - something I hadn't thought of for years but heard often as a child, usually in relation to walking to school.

Most days we were out of the house and on the road about the time our neighbor came along taking her boys to school and she would stop and pick us up. But once in awhile we missed that ride. Which is when we tried to get Mom to take us to school. Rarely did she do so, telling us instead to go by shanks' mare - which means we had to walk that mile to the one-room school. Or, as I thought of it, trudge my way up the road.

Thinking about walking to school made me remember the time my older brother went by shanks' mare and walked all the way to town - a distance of five miles! I don't remember why he did that. I wonder if he does? Maybe he did it just to be doing something.

I wonder if he remembers Place's being on the East side of main street when they first came to town?

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February Book Report

Eleven books read this month which includes two of the ones I bought at the Friends of the Library Book Sale last fall. I am so guilty of reading the books I check out of the library first and putting off until later the books I actually own!

Here is my February list of books in the order read:

Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance - recommended by my son, Douglas. "A memoir of a family and culture in crisis."

Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick - Historical Romance

The Amateur Marriage  by Anne Tyler - three generations of mis-matched marriages and their consequences.

The Truest Pleasure by Robert Morgan - one of my truest pleasures, reading books set in North Carolina after the Civil War. Morgan's writing is eloquent. Ties with the next five books as my favorites this month.

Deborah Crombie is my new favorite crime fiction novelist. I love her mystery series set in the United Kingdom and featuring Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James. The five I read this month are:

Now You May Weep - A cooking weekend in Scotland for Gemma and her friend. Enjoyed the background history of whiskey distillary.

Necessary As Blood - Features London's East End and the changes brought by Muslim immigrants.

No Mark Upon Her - Olympic rowing contender trying to make a come back found dead in Thames River.

The Sound Of Broken Glass - Crystal Palace locale of South London.

To Dwell In Darkness - Bombing in train station of London borough.

Nutshell by Ian McEwan - Usually a favorite author but I didn't care for this latest book of his as much. Told by an 8-month fetus whose mother and uncle contrive to murder its father.

Cakewalk by Rita Mae Brown - One of her Runnymede books. Set at end of WWI. Cute, clever, small town petty rivalries. I still like her Sister Jane series the best.

March reading is going to begin with some more of Deborah Crombie's books including her latest.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Time Is Not Measured By Clocks

"Time is very slow for those who wait,
Very fast for those who are scared,
Very long for those who lament,
Very short for those who celebrate.
But for those who love...
  Time is eternal."
     (William Shakespeare)

My Mother had a travel alarm clock like this one. She took it along whenever she was going to be staying somewhere overnight. Seldom was it because she needed to set an alarm to arise at a certain time. It was more because if she awoke during the night she wanted to know what time it was.

I am the same way. I awaken several times in the night and always look to see what time it is. I'm always glad when it is close to five a.m. so I don't have to try to go back to sleep.

I didn't keep Mom's travel clock - I wish now I had. But I did keep the electric clock she kept next to her bed - it now sets next to mine. It's old and sometimes I mistake which hour and minute the hands are on. That wouldn't happen with a newer digital clock but then I wouldn't have the connection I keep.

The watch was her's, too. It is a Timex Indiglo I gave her. I should have kept her old Bulova watch too, for sentimental reasons. It no longer kept time but Dad gave it to her and she valued it highly.

"Time is not measured by clocks but by moments."

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Winter's Last Hurrah?

Spring is less than a month away. The spate of lovely, warm (70+°'s) days we had made me think it was here. It also made me remember a similar February several years ago when I was so sure it was spring I planted some early garden; never did that again!

But it is Iowa and you know what they say: "If you don't (or in this case, do) like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change."

So yesterday, after the temperature began dropping, the rain changed over to snow.....

..... and the winds blew.

A cardinal and the snowbirds had to scratch for something to eat.

The snow didn't bother the geese - I'm sure the water was warmer than the air temperatures.

Of course the resident squirrel showed up for a bite to eat!

The cardinal flew away to this brushy area. I looked and looked for a flash of red before realizing that post helped make this a lovely, muted, winter tableau.

Things are much calmer this morning. Sunrise turned the pond pink. Temperatures are to start rising again. This snow will soon melt. Perhaps to be seen no more until next fall/winter?

In the meantime, I spotted one more bird in yesterday's snow storm....

..... a sure sign of spring!

Friday, February 24, 2017

A February Day in Maryville

I've mentioned before how much I enjoy the internet and the ease of being in 'instant' contact with friends and family. For me, being on Facebook has added even more to my life - seeing pictures not only of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but also those of cousin's - sometimes distant, not only in miles but lineage, cousins.
And, as unlikely as it may have once seemed, it has put sisters-in-law from first marriages more than fifty years ago in my 'friends' list. A couple of years ago one of those sisters-in-law asked for my snail mail address saying she was going to sort through her photos when she retired and had some she wanted to send me.
They arrived this week. There weren't as many as I had thought she might have, but I'm grateful for them. Most are of one Sunday in February in 1966.
The weather was similar to what it has been here the last few days - very mild. The occasion was one last family dinner before she and my brother moved to Colorado. They were living in Maryville, Missouri at the time.

Almost every farm home had a cave for food storage and storm shelter. Their's made a good perch for picture taking. Our son, Douglas, would have been three and a half as he posed with his father Kenny and me. What strikes me is how dressed up I was - a good dress, hose and heels - times have changed.

Same pose for my sister Betty, her husband Gene and their son, Mike, who had just turned two that month.

Betty, Mike, Doug and me in a less formal pose.

And another of Douglas, Michael and Betty.

These four are the only ones she sent that relate to that day. I have others, some in color, that were taken by my parents that day and include everyone in various groupings.

But I am glad to see these black and white ones as well as being grateful for my Facebook friendships.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Long And The Short Of It

I've always enjoyed idioms, adages and proverbs - most likely because I grew up hearing them. And Mom would usually explain the meanings if I didn't understand them.

The long and the short of it is an idiom meaning the most important point; the summary of the matter.

Today, however, this post's title refers to something I did a couple days ago:

The long:

And the short of it:

I don't know why every year or two I think I want to grow my hair out long enough so I can wear it up in a bun (or top knot) again. I go through the growing (out) pains just to decide I prefer my hair short.

That's it: the long and the short of it.