Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hot Hot Hot

I don't care that my weatherman has said we only got to 94.  I can't wait for June.  Yes, I can. 

I feel the Caribean heat!  This usually makes me get up and dance, but I think not this time.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

150 Years Later

This year marks 150 years since the Civil War ( War Between the States or when we were living in South Carolina, The War of Northern Aggression was preferred in Charleston. )

This is the White House of the Confederacy in downtown  Richmond, Va.  This is the view of the back of the home.  Even it's days of being home for Jefferson Davis's wife Varina and their children, the front of the house sat on a busy, dirty street. Guests would walk into the home and out the back to the porch and the gardens. One of his sons, at age 5 fell off the porch, during the war, and died.  Very much like Lincoln losing a young son during the war as well.  ( I am struck by how much these 2 leaders of men look alike too.)

 Today is is virtually engulfed by "city".  I had visions of Mt. Vernon when we went in search of the house.  No.... that's not where it is.  There is a huge hospital to the right of it with the parking structure and the Museum of the Confederacy all connected.  To the left, either more tall buildings or still the hospital, I'm not sure.  I was disappointed it has been swallowed up by progress, but I am a history romantic at heart.  It only had an acre of land to begin with, which was owned by the city of Richmond, not the Davis family.  (He was mid fifties when their children were born  She was 18 years younger.)

(This is Google photo)  I couldn't take one myself, but if I could hop on a time machine, I may very well try it.
From the House and the Museum, we went to Hollywood Cemetery where the first soldier to die in the war is buried along with 3 presidents, Jefferson Davis, J.E.B. Stewart and Pickett.  This is the Gettysburg section. 

                   George Edward Pickett (January 16, 25, or 28,[1] 1825 – July 30, 1875)

I have an affinity for the women that stood with the men.  Look how long she lived and how much younger she was than him.  Jefferson Davis had been married to 21year old, Sarah,  daughter of Zachary Taylor, for only 3 months before she died of either malaria or yellow fever.  He had been in mourning for 10 years when he married Varina.

                            Jefferson Davis 1808 - 1889           Varina Davis 1826 -  1905 After his death to moved to New York City and supported herself as a writer.  Far to the right is a marble angel.
Angel guardian over Winnie Davisdaughter of Jefferson and Varina Davis.  To the left is the marble guardian over Margaret Davis Hayes and Joel Addison Hayes, daughter and son-in-law of the Davis's.)

Being an history fanatic, I am intrigued by the statues in cemeteries. In fact, ever since I saw that statue from the book " In The Garden of Good and Evil) I look for the stories.   2 of my 3 daughters appreciate the beauty in them as well.  I've had those girls walking cemeteries from Charleston to Deadwood.  You can learn the history of an area by reading the stones.    If you are a historian as well, here are a couple of the most beautiful, I think.

She is from the Memorial of Jefferson Davis.  To me she represents the sadness that was that war. But out of that sadness rose so much hope and promise. 
I have complained and bitched and whined about being so far away from my daughters and grandsons but if I hadn't had this experience, I wouldn't have had the chance to see and walk amongst the history I love.  This is my cup, half full.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Thanks For All You Do

Going into Memorial Weekend, I just want to say Thank You to our brave men and woman  ( past and present) who have served this country so that we may gather for reunions and picnics and family dinners.  Thank you to my nephew Adam in Afghanistan right now. 

On our recent trip to Washington D.C. I saw many monuments and memorials that all expressed the same thing.  That was this country's gratitude to those who served.

                                                     Part of the Korean War Memorial

                                Isn't that so true in every war we have been in?  ( accept the Civil War ) This Memorial is probably the most haunting to me.  It was a grey misty day when we were there so the statues of the soldiers in their rain gear seemed so appropriate.

I saw quite a few World War II veterans being pushed in wheelchairs that I really wanted to photograph.  They were the stories.  Each one having his own experience that you could see in their faces as they moved around this memorial.  I wanted too but I didn't because I thought it would be an intrusion.  When I see a photo like that I usually think "what a great shot" but I can't do it.

 Vietnam - The Wall    I've lost count of the number of times I've stood  in front of this memorial. 
It never fails to move me.

My war........Sadly, my daughters have one too.   When we first started going to D.C. to see The Wall, the names and how to find them were in a notebook sitting on a stand at the entry to the Memorial area.   Now there are park rangers with some handheld electronic,  looking that up for you.

                                     A fragment of the Twin Towers now at the Smithsonian.

There will be another Memorial built.  I hope I'm still here to see it.  The WW II was a long time getting there for "the greatest generation".  

So my flags are flying and I will toast a glass of wine to all our enlisted and vets but I think Adam would rather it be a beer!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Pair of Train Wrecks

I was watching the trial for the train wreck that is Casey Anthony on TruTV this morning. My plan had to been to follow the news updates but I'd not seen much. With all the tornadoes hitting lately there is really not time for much other news, other than maybe Obama and Israel.

I tried to watch some of the "Issues with Jane Velez Mitchell"  but both her voice and Nancy Grace's sound like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.  Why do they have to scream and beat to death a question before it's answered.   This trial is just now getting started.  Little Caylee has been dead since June of 2008 and it now late May 2011.  3 years later.  What the heck took so long?  I've gotten 3 jury summons in my life and was dismissed in questioning.  I would have a difficult time sitting on this jury.   I couldn't be impartial.

The other case I've been following is Amanda Knox in Perugia, Italy.  In 2010 she had declared guilty  murdering  her British roommate Meredith Kercher in November, 2007.  She was convicted, I feel, on shoddy DNA evidence.  In my search just now, I see that the appeal trial is over and the family is hopeful but that the decision may not be reached until September.  Both she and her parents are charged with slandering the police department, saying that Amanda had been abused by police while she was being questioned. Knox's parents are also due to stand trial separately in July for this.   I don't believe this girl is guilty of the murder or of slander.  I believe the appeal is a court decision, not a jury one.

Lizzie Borden was acquitted.  OJ was found not guilty.  Not being a fly on the wall, we have to go with what the juries decide.  I'm glad it's not me.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Summer's Close

Terry and I were on our way home from flea marketing on Saturday when a country song "Old School" by Chuck Wicks ( best known to me for dancing with Julianne Hough on DWTS) came on. Of course, I think he's 12, but still, the feeling of  his memories of summer are not vastly different from mine.   It is  a cute summer song.

When I think of summer songs I have to say I have a one ( ok, maybe two) guilty pleasure and that is Kid Rock's  "All Summer Long".  I am from Michigan and Terry is from Northern Michigan and grew up on a lake.  We can relate.   I can say I have sung my share of  " Sweet Home Alabama " too. 

I didn't live by a lake, but I did live close to a gravel pit that had a man made beach where teens gathered. It had a concession stand and for a short time hosted beach parties at night on the weekend. My most vivid memory was going with girlfriends and sporting my new red and white flowered bikini that had "surfer jams" with it.  Remember those?  They were like long shorts that matched the suit, with ruffles around the knees.

  On one occasion, wearing that suit, I got up off my beach towel, left my best friend behind to go get drinks for us.  I got a few looks along the way and thought I was really rockin' that bikini.  When I got back and set down with the drinks, my "friend" reached over a plucked a big red hot candy she had put in my belly button.  Now girls have belly button rings, but not back then.  I was mortified and knew then what people had been looking at.

No matter which state you are from, you have your own memories of when summer meant fun and limitless possibilities of adventure. 

So get ready for summer.  It's almost here.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

These Haunt Me

We have been in North Carolina for about 2 1/2 years now.  I have always loved the history of the colonies and particularly the southern ones.  In our travels I have seen so many interesting buildings and homes that have been deserted.  I want to know their story.  Who lived their loves there?  Where did they go?  What happened?

This is a big house that must have been a beauty in it's day.  There must a been a big family living in it. 

I'm thinking this was a school, but it is a pretty fancy one.  It was a little down the street from the house.

While the houses peek my interest, these haunt me.  Where are their families?  What was their story?

These and many other graves set at the side of the road.  They must have been part of a family farm at one time but now they are abandoned.  I have seen so many just as desolate. 

The historian in me lets my imagination run wild.

They are such a mystery that they pull at my heart strings. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pleasantly Exhausted

We're back from our road trip to D.C.  Every bone in my legs and feet ache.  Both of my daughters had sore feet from walking all over D.C. for 3 days, but neither Middle Daughter's boyfriend or Terry seemed to be affected.  I just don't think they admitted it.  We even bought the two day passes for the tour mobile that is so worth the $37.00.  We've used this the last 3 or 4 times we've been tourists there and I highly recommend it.

On Friday, our first touring day, I was sitting on a bench on the Mall, which is the grassy area between the Capital and the Washington Monument, that is the home of all the Smithsonian Museums.  The others went the the Air & space Museum and I didn't care to go this trip.  Zooming down toward the Capital were about 20/30 police motorcycles and about 20 police cars, all lights and sirens blaring.  Being a news junky, I immediately called my other daughter to see if there was anything on CNN, Fox, etc.  There wasn't.

We later learned in 1962 President John F. Kennedy declared the week of May 11 National Police
Week and May 15 National Police Officers Memorial Day.  They have a Memorial like the Vietnam Memorial holding the engraved names of fallen officers.  There were more than 10,000 officers in D.C. for this, all in their dress uniforms or with their shield on chains hanging around their necks.  We were in Arlington when one of the Changing of the Guards placed their flowers at the Tomb of the Unknowns.  The official cerremony was on the grounds in front of the Capital on Sunday am.

Chicago had lost 5 officers last year.

I didn't know that our police officers were honored this way.  My BIL retired from the Michigan State Police in April.  I know his wife is glad he's home.  The older I get, the more I am amazed at how much I don't know.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Road Trip Time

We leave tomorrow, Thursday, for Washington D.C.  Terry is at work right now and I am beginning the organizational aspects.  I am a list maker so as I gather things, I check them off.  Camera, got it, extra batteries, yes.  Even doing this, I have forgotten things.  I've left clothes hanging on the door and forgoten my toothbrush.

I cannot tell you how many phone chargers we have left in hotel rooms.  I need to tie a big red bow on it so I won't over look it in the final sweep of the room. I think I need to take that list and check it at the hotel too.

We, like many, have our road trip traditions.  Most of them started when Terry had accepted a promotion in South Carolina, in 1991.  It was Daughter #1's Senior year in high school  so he moved (from Michigan) and we girls stayed so she could graduate with her class of 92.  It was an extremely difficult year.  ( Then 3 years later, he was one of 25 people downsized, in one day, and walked out under armed guards....but, that is another story.)  He tried to come home every couple of months and those that he couldn't, I would take the 2 younger girls out of school and we would be off on a road trip.  They were 7 and 9.  For those that know me, that was huge.  I have no sense of direction. None... Zilch...Nada...Nothing.  Now I have a Garmin, but not then.  I also get migraines, usually brought on by stress, so for me to drive from Michigan to South Carolina with 2 little girls was a difficult thing.  But, it was worse not to be together, so off we went.  A lot of the time Middle Daughter, my navigator,  would sit up front in that packed minivan, with the road atlas on her little lap, telling me which town was next.  Daughter # 3 was buckled in the far back, with her Barbies, in her own world. 

So, for road trips we have certain in the car snacks.  Twizzlers and pretzel rods.  I have to have a fountain Diet Coke from the gas station.  A bottle or can of Coke won't do.  No, it has to be a fountain drink. They just taste better. Then a couple of hours down the road, we have to stop so I can go to the bathroom..... and get a new fountain Diet Coke.  Etc., etc., etc.  Those 2 hour stops were to allow little girls with little bladders potty stops.  (Unlike my cousin, a man, who carried a potty in his car so his daughters had to use that. We still raze him about "his rules" being so ridged that no one wanted to ride with him.)  Now, those 2 hour stops are good for my old bladder.   Giving up my drink is not even an option.  

We also need road music.  Even with satellite radio I have to bring some favorite CDs to listen to:  John Denver,  The Eagles, Bob Segar, Rod Stewart, Kenny Chesney, Jimmy Buffett, Hank Jr.,  and Willie.
(Of course, all of this "stuff" is at my feet.  Being the Mom I have never traveled with foot room.)
Willie has the perfect road song.  You can bet it will be playing when we pull out of the drive this time too.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Washington D.C. Memories

On Thursday morning we will be leaving very early to drive to Washington D.C. to meet our 2 younger Michigan daughters.  ( And Daughter # 2's boyfriend)  It is a much shorter drive for us, about 6 hours versus their 12, so we will take in some sights along the way.   Right now it looks like Fredricksburg, Va. going and then Richmond, Va. on the way back home.  I am a history nut so all this Civil War stuff is plentiful here in the south.

I just realized as I started writing this, that the first time we took the girls, they were 6 and 8.  Today they are 26 and 28. 

This is Terry trying to explain the Vietnam Memorial to 2 little girls.  Sadly they would grow up with their friends fighting their own war. 
When were were there, years later, there was an exhibit in The American History Museum of all the things left at The Wall.  Packs of cigarettes, a battered Army helmet, a bottle of Jack Daniels, a can of Budweiser beer, a yellowed snapshot of a teenage boy in uniform, standing with his buddy, in a jungle
This photos shows Terry looking at The Wall offerings from these years. Everyone  of those things has it's own story to tell. 

Vietnam strongly influenced the music I was listening to.  From Country Joe and the Fish's famous song sung at Woodstock " Fixin to Die"  rag  to  John Lennen's "Imagine".  My personal experience was a navy blue t-shirt with an American flag printed in the shape of a dove on the chest that said "Let It Be".
I wore it to death.  Most of the dove print had cracked and flaked off.  I loved that shirt.

This is an excerpt from  "Fixin to Die"  by Country Joe and the Fish.         I won't post the YouTube video because there is a "naughty" word in it that I will admit, I  sang loud and proud, back in the day.
Yeah, come on all of you, big strong men,
Uncle Sam needs your help again.
He's got himself in a terrible jam
Way down yonder in Vietnam
So put down your books and pick up a gun,
We're gonna have a whole lotta fun.

And it's one, two, three,
What are we fighting for ?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam;
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

So that is one of my many Vietnam memories triggered by our upcoming trip to Washington D.C.  I'm sure there will be other memories popping up as the days go by.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day to Us

Because I live states away from my daughters and will not be able to spend the day with them, I thought I would share this space with these ladies.  This is my grandmother holding my mother.  Mom was born in 1930,  at the beginning of the Depression, in Leachville, Arkansas, but grew up in Kennett, Missouri.  There is no information on the back of the photo.

They are both gone now but they are probably having unsweetened ice tea together.  Maybe sitting in a garden .  Grandma liked vegetable gardens but Mom liked flowers.  I think they'll work that out.  On Sunday, when I'm having my tea, I'll toast those ladies and say thanks for all they gave me.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Random Thoughts

1.  Is it just me or is anyone else wondering:   Bin Laden in a "million dollar" compound. Really?  Did anyone see the pictures before reporting that? It looks like cement block and plywood. Hussein's palaces, yes.   He who shall not be named...no.

2.  After 25 years on the air, I will miss Oprah's show when she retires. (Just 15 episodes left)   But, not, I don't think, as much as the book publishers.

3.  The in place to shop was The Chess King for men's clothing and Foxmoor for women, in the 1970s. 

4.  Love "Mad Men".   My parents never had cocktails.  Only at holiday time did my mother, sometimes,  buy Mogan David wine.  I remember the flippy hairstyles and the waist fitting dresses.

5.  Are there more commercials and less program now?

6.  As a teen, I had a dentist named Dr, Hollar.

7.  Grit Magazine

8.  One of the houses I lived in,  had both a laundry chute and a milk door that the Twin Pines Milk delivery guy could open from the outside, set the bottles in the cubby,  and my mother could open from the inside to retrieve.

9  Arsenio Hall's "Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmm?"   segment on his 1980s show.

Please do leave your random thought.  Sometimes they just don't fit anywhere else.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Update for Aunt Minnie

I have to give a big shout out of thanks to 2 of my blog friends, for setting me on the path, of finding a new home for Aunt Minnie, here with her family.

Blogs "Far Side of Fifty" and  "Forgotten Old Photos"  are the same wonderful woman.  She got in touch with a blog friend of hers that is a superman at tracking down relatives.  His blog "Intense Guy" are on my list of blogs I like.  Do check them out.  He, in turn, sent much information I could use.

This morning I called Bessie's ( The little girl on her Daddy's knee)  oldest grandson, Tim.  He was thrilled to hear about the photo.  "Intense Guy" had emailed me a copy of her oobituary so I knew she had passed away in 2005.  Tim was able to tell me she was 94.  She had gone out on the porch to feed the cats and  had somehow fallen.  Minnie also was in her 90's at the time of her death.  Both were well loved ladies.

So Monday I will get the photo and other materials in the mail to their new home.  I can get a copy made of the picture and keep that one instead.  I'm sure the original will be cherished.
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