Thursday, December 31, 2009

Judy Reading Pinnochio

Where did the hat come from?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Judy Posing

Note the book Judy is reading. How did that ever get in the house? Also Soils and Men, the 1939 Yearbook of Agriculture which got hauled around wherever we lived, can't tell titles of the other three books. Clipper ship bookends.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Last of Christmas Past

Here's the requested picture of a totally exasperated Dad trying to make the train work and exasperated once more because they couldn't afford a decent one instead of a cheap mechanical train.

Oh Christmas Tree, and Save the Tinsel! Plus Liz on Bike

Oh boy how I remember hauling the Christmas tree out to the front porch so we could preserve the image through immortality.  Plus I never got a fancy truck in my life. We've all seen these but recycling doesn't hurt anything.

I always regret not taking more pictures inside the house and more pictures of everyone. But film and developing were precious.  We see so many details of our life in photos like this one.

Who says Liz can't ride a bike? This one needs flipped, but who cares?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Mystery Mail

The mailman brought a wonderful surprise today, and I am not sure who the sender is. Did I order it? Is this a book Dwight said we should all read and so I obediently ordered it months ago and it has just found its way to my mailbox? Did Santa send it? Whoever sent it my way, thank you. The reading is wonderful, descriptions done masterfully, and our lives along the Stinking Water (sounds so authentic, anyone can call it the Shoshone River!) seem within reach.

Who Knew She Couldn't Ride it?

Liz was always obedient

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Steve's Education

I remember making several contributions to Steve's education and his ability to cope with life and be a success.  Among these educational increments are the following:
  • The aforementioned Grandma's Lye Soap.
  • The touching ballad "I won't Go Huntin' with you Jake"
  • The lesson in physics about centrifugal force by teaching him to twirl a full slop bucket full of goodies overhead without spilling a drop.  Awesome.
  • How to take care of the bike I loaned him and Ann while I went to Bozeman and had paid for with my 75cent an hour bathroom cleansing job.  As I recall, the next spring all that remained was a broken chain, a few bent spokes, and a dilapidated carcass.  Oh well, for a good cause.
  • The wisdom gained from my stack of "funny books" which I fervently wish I had saved for posterity.
  • My boy scout manual which I expected to inspire him to be an Eagle Scout since I was never able to get past 2nd class on account of the swimming stuff which I couldn't exactly master in the irrigation ditches.  Which he generously returned to me 100 years later.
  • How to be extremely quiet and not move a muscle, thus irritating big brother since Steve was not supposed to be in my private room anyway.
  • I never thought of throwing garbage through the hole in the wall from the door handle.  It took the genius of A & S to do such diabolical deeds.
  • How to behave on the school bus, get to the school bus on time, and how to be respectful at all times.
As you can see, the above fund of information was about all any one would ever need to get through life and I know that it has stood Steve in good stead.  Though I firmly believe A & S committed more egregious deeds and got away with  it than the righeous big brother.  Life just isn't fair.

Who Remembers Cherry Chocolates?

Do you remember that once a year Dad treated himself to a box of cherry chocolates? I think these were his favorite, but he shared one or more with all of us.

And we all know that the Whitman's Sampler box in Mom's dresser drawer was a treasured possession in which she stored her most valuable possessions.

Our Christmas stockings were the first evidence of a Christmas miracle and, in some years, virtually most of the evidence of a Christmas miracle.  But our stockings never ceased to charm and amaze us.  Full of lovely things like an orange, some peanuts, ribbon and hard tack candy, unshelled nuts, and some times a little surprise of one kind or another.  These things were so precious because we would never see any of these things any other time of the year, while today all of us keep most of these things continually in our pantries.  We rationed the candy and the peanuts, saved the orange for a special moment, cracked a hard nut now and then, and squirreled the stocking away with its treasures for another magic moment.

There were elements of severe inequity, however, especially in our younger years, since the dear sisters all wore lovely and becoming long brown cotton stockings, while I had a short Rockford sock with a red heel.  To rectify this egregious misallocation of Santa's loot, the much maligned Christmas event occurred when, wisely I thought, to even out all of these years of deprivation, I cut a hole in my sock and put the top lid of my typewriter case beneath it.  For this, I, a good boy, was rewarded with a load of coal.

One reason why Christmas was so magic to us as young children was because Dad always came home for Christmas, though he had to be away so very much of the time trying to earn a few dollars here and there to keep his growing family in food and clothing.  Dad brightened our lives, and usually managed to find a few other goodies somewhere to add to what Mother had already acquired.

I think, looking back over through the cloudy lens and tears of time, that Christmas for us was a transcendant feeling of awe, and expectation, and happiness.  Because of this aura surrounding our humble abode when we were little, and surrounding our little tree with its scant paper and homemade decorations and tinsel that was saved from year to year, like birthday cake candles, I don't recall that we ever felt deprived on Christmas.  What we felt was more important than what we got.  And we received much love and caring from our parents and from each other.  I know that our parents grieved to themselves about not being able, ever, to give us more abundant and expensive gifts, but they gave us all that they had and could give, which was more abundant than just enough. 

And, by the way, Ann and Steve look deceptively innocent in the header photo.  Beware.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


May our Christmas journeys be safe and filled with warm memories of those gone by.
Love from Steve & Mary Lynn

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Music

Thanks to Laura, may you all enjoy this bit of Sunday music (came out in 1952)
Do you remember grandma's lye soap?
Good for everything in the home,
And the secret was in the scrubbing,
It wouldn't suds and couldn't foam.

Then let us sing right out of grandma's, of grandma's lye soap
Used for - for everything, everything on the place,
For pots and kettles, the dirty dishes, and for your hands and for
your face.

So we'll now sing the second verse.
Let's get it with great exuberance, let's live it up.
It's not raining inside tonight.
Everyone, let's have a happy time.
Are we ready? All together, the second verse.

Little Herman and brother Thurman
Had an aversion to washing their ears
Grandma scrubbed them with the lye soap.
And they haven't heard a word in years.

Then let us sing right out of grandma's, of grandma's lye soap.
Sing all out, all over the place.
The pots and kettles, the dirty dishes, and also hands and also f….
(clapping fades)

Well, let's sing what's left of the last verse.
Let's have a happy time, everyone.
The last verse, al-l-l-l together.
Ev-v-v-very one!

Mm-m-m-m. Thank you kindly, kindly,
M-m-mrs. O'Malley, out in the valley,
Suffered from Ulcers, I understand.
She swallowed a cake of grandma's lye soap,
Has the cleanest ulcers in the land.

Then let us sing right out of grandma's, of grandma's lye soap.
Sing right out. All over the place.
The pots and - the pots and pans, oh dirty dishes,
And the hands…….

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Another Celebration-Anniversary is on its way!

Since I got caught short by Bob and Judy's 50th wedding anniversary, I thought that I'd be beforehand with Dwight and Velna's 57th (right?) anniversary coming up on Friday. As Dwight's younger siblings, we felt such a part of his "romance" with Velna, because he was home one spring, doing the plowing and other work on the tractor. Regardless of which field he was in, when Ez came down the road with the mail, he would leave the tractor, and get home extremely fast, hoping for a letter. Also, he would serenade us as he drove the tractor - the sound carried extremely well over the sound of the John Deere. When we knew that they were to be married at Christmas time, we were all excited. Dad had to stay home to milk the cows, so Mother and I set off for Laramie to pick up Dwight. I hadn't learned to drive the car yet, so Mother had to do all the driving - I recall her pulling over in Wheatland to take a long nap. The day was dreary and cold, and everything looked brown. (If only it had stayed that way!). We made it into Laramie, went to Blacks' new home on Sully, and saw the apartment where Dwight was living and where he and Velna would make their home after the wedding. I remember that they had received a toaster as a wedding present, and Dwight loved to make toast. When we got back to Black's, I made things a little exciting by fainting, but I think I was just so excited about everything that it was too mcuh. Both Mother and I went to bed, ready to begin the trip to Salt Lake with Dwight in the morning. Unfortunately, the weather did not stay just cold and brown - heavy snows came, and our trip to Salt Lake with the nervous groom was pretty hairy. (Velna and her parents went on the train.) We had to be in Salt Lake in time for them to go to the courthouse to get their marriage license - and, as I recall, we just made it. And, after that long, hard day fraught with nervous tension, we went to Dwight and Velna's room in the Hotel Utah, where Mother and Dwight changed clothes, and left to walk over to the temple. I can remember looking out the window of the room, down on the temple walls and grounds - the snow was still falling, and the lights glittered - everything looked like a fairy land. The only snafu was that I had a pounding headache that didn't leave until the next day.
After the ceremony, Dwight and Mother came back to the room. (Where was Velna? I don't remember?), Dwight gave Mother a big hug, and we were away, to find a place of our own to sleep. And the place Mother found was a doozie. It was a motel somewhere in Salt Lake City, with paper thin walls. Mother soon fell asleep, probably from exhaustion, but I stayed awake, fostering my headache, and listening to all the goings-on around us. We woke to a new day, and clearer weather, and headed south to Provo to pick up Louise to take her home for Christmas. Provo seemed like summer, compared to what we'd just been through. We found Louise, loaded her into the car, and headed up Provo Canyon to Rock Springs and South Pass. Louise got in the car and slept ...and slept...and slept...I don't know what she'd been doing before we came, but, obviously, it didn't include sleeping. We stopped in Basin to get gas, and they had little Christmas trees for sale, so Mother bought one. tucked it in the trunk of the car, and we went on our way home.
The only thing that would properly finish up this tale would be to have the beautiful wedding picture of Dwight and Velna standing in front of the fireplace at the L.D.S. Institute in Laramie.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Very Important

I suspect all have received the notice from their JoAnn Fabric email this morning, but just in case you missed it, i.e. Dwight and Steve, they are having a senior citizen discount day on Wednesday, December 9. With the coupon you can get 15% off your total purchase all day long. However, if you read Pickles on Sunday (do a search on line to find it, if you didn't read it), there may be a little hesitation before returning to the fabric store. Please do not let that slow you down! Happy shopping.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Happy 50th Anniversary

Ok, so I am a little late, but there has to be some acknowledgment of Bob and Judy's 50th Anniversary on Penrose Mornings. Steve asked me to look and see if I had any other photos of Bob and Judy that might work, but I think this is worth posting once more. May the years ahead hold good things, peaceful times, flowers to grow, projects to do, and lots of calm moments. It is definitely a time for celebration, or a train ride or -------. Love you both.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy Birthday To Ann!!!!!!

Last night as I was shutting down the computer, Legacy had the following message:  "Kathryn Ann Blood will be 67 years old tomorrow."   Tomorrow has come and we get to celebrate our sister's birthday.  67 seems so young!

I love this picture of Ann when she was little......up climbing and poised for what was ahead. And so her life has been.  And we have all benefited because of her tender ways, wisdom and fore sight.  ("Here's whatcha do.") What a special role she has played in our family.   Some day she is going to be rich when I return all of the letters she wrote to me in college, and she gets them published.  
May this be a happy birthday with lots and lots of years to follow with the same.  And may she know how much she is loved.