Just Call Me Goldilocks

Just Call Me Goldilocks

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Remember the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears? Goldilocks wanders into the bear’s cottage. One chair is too soft. One is too hard. And one is just right. One bowl of porridge is too hot. One bowl is too cold. And one bowl is just right.

I was driving to work a few weeks ago, and caught myself feeling like Goldilocks.

There I was, cruising along in the slow lane, safely driving the speed limit. Cars in the fast lane (it’s only a two lane highway) were zipping along at a speed much higher than the speed limit. It was slightly drizzly, and some of those cars barely had a car length between them. There I sat in my car (oh, so self-righteous) berating the speeding drivers. Imagine, driving in such a reckless manner. So dangerous.

And then, I ended up behind a driver that was poking along, going much slower than the allowable speed limit. Can’t they find the gas pedal?

The speed I was going was just the right speed.

Thinking about how anyone that drove either faster or slower than I did was out of line, and my driving was just right, had me laughing out loud, alone in the car. Another instance in my life came to mind, where my way is the right way too.

That’s with the tidiness/messiness issue. In prior relationships, I’ve always been ‘the messy one.’ Oh, the house wasn’t horrid. It was usually fairly clean, and most often company ready. As long as they could ignore the not-quite-squeaky clean floor or the piles littering my desk. But my exes – two of them – that liked things neater and tidier were the ones in the wrong. They were ‘anal’ and ‘obsessive.’ They couldn’t just go with the flow, like I could.

But now, the tables have turned. After fifty years of being ‘the messy one’, I’m now ‘the neatnik.’ Now I’m the one wanting to have a living space that’s cleaner, tidier, and more sparkling than what I moved into. Now my better half, who has different cleanliness standards than I do, is ‘the slob.’

Just like my driving. Anything more or less than what I do is wrong. The way I do things is the right way. See – am I not Goldilocks?

By now I was only half laughing. Some of it was still humorous, but I realized that there was a lesson here I needed to learn. That part wasn’t so hilarious.

Then I got to thinking about age. How is it that with driving or cleaning, my way is the right way? Yet, with age, it isn’t so. With age, I am not content with my age. I find myself yearning for the energy, agility, and non-wrinkly skin from years past. Why can’t I take this attitude and apply it to my age – where the age I am is just the right age?

Yikes. More lessons to learn.

Here I am, 60-years old, and I’m still discovering how much I have to discover about myself, life, and living an authentic life of joy and fulfillment, leaving others to learn and grow in their own time and space.

 

I was reading a book and discovered that I’m not alone in this ‘just right’ dilemma.

In Poser: my life in twenty-three yoga poses, Claire Dederer has much the same attitude, although she mentions it in relation to parenting.

“I judged Lisa and any other mother who came within my range. The next-door neighbors put their kids to bed too early; the people down the street put their kinds to bed too late. The friend who lived near Green Lake was overly fussy about organic baby food; the friend on Queen Anne Hill was not fussy enough. Friend A dressed her baby in designer clothes, which was ridiculous. Friend B let her kids go around looking like slobs. I felt there must be a happy medium to parenting, and I felt that I was the very barometer of that happy medium. Anything that someone else did that I did not do was, to me, excessive and probably crazy…”

 

It always feels so good when I discover that I’m not the sole member of ‘The Just Right Club.’ It’s nice to know there are others.

The driver speeding along in the fast lane is probably griping about what a pokey, slow driver I am. Because their speed is just right. The one watching me approach in their rear-view mirror is probably calling me names, for being such a speedy, out of control driver. Because their speed is just right.

There’s so many place we can look at our lives and see where Claire Dederer’s “very barometer of that happy medium” comes into play. Saving money. Spending money. The foods we choose to eat – or not eat. The amount of fast food we eat – or don’t eat. The amount and way we exercise. Or don’t. The kinds of cars we drive. The kinds of houses we live in. The number of children we have – or don’t have. The way we treat our parents. The way we treat our friends. The way we treat our grandchildren. The animals we have – or don’t have. Oh, the list appears to be endless.

This is most likely a lesson I’m going to have to work on for a bit. After all, I have an attitude to correct that’s taken me 59-years to get set in place. But that’s alright. Because one thing is clear – tonight I’m going to bed knowing that I’m just the right age!

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Look for the Good in Every Day

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A new year is before us, ripe with opportunities and promise. I love the feel of ‘the new’, and while the slate isn’t totally clean that we start with, it still brings with it the feeling of freshness and new beginnings.

For several years I’ve chosen a word of the year to focus on. Last year I couldn’t make up my mind, so I chose three: authentic, action, and joyful. Towards the end of 2018, knowing this chance to pick new words to focus on was coming up again, I started writing down words that I was drawn to. I had a post-it note on my December calendar and when I’d run across another word I liked, I’d add it to my list. By the last week of the year I had several words to pick from – balance, peace, delight, nourish, healthy, grateful, blessed. I liked all of them. Any of them would have been a great word for me to laser in on. My life would be richer with any of those words magnified in my life. I couldn’t choose.

While driving between the stores I service in my day job, my mind usually wanders and drifts as I travel the familiar route. One day a phrase popped into my mind and I knew immediately that this was my 2019 focus.

Look for the good in every day.

Somehow I jumped from three words to seven. But I knew that I needed this whole phrase. I think I’m usually fairly optimistic – probably more so than many. But yet, I still see how I’m starting to fall back into patterns of grumblings and under the breath mutterings. Too much for my own peace of mind. So I need to regroup and notch up the positivity. Gratitude and thankfulness amplify positivity – as does seeing the good in every day.

As an aside, I thought of making the phrase – find the good in every day. That’s only six words, instead of seven. But it didn’t feel as spot on for me as the words I initially thought of. To me, ‘find’ implies a more passive thought. It seems like it’s recognizing the good that is there, but only if I happen to run across it. To ‘look for’ feels more action oriented, something I have to actively search for with the intent of finding it.

With that thought in mind, I’m thankful that the hours this week are a little lighter than the past few weeks have been. That gave me the time – and the energy – to be home this afternoon to write this post. While the past few weeks were heavier in hours than usual, I’ll be thankful for the larger paycheck. I’m thankful for the health that’s carried me through a hectic holiday season and all the loved ones in my life that I was able to send Christmas packages to. And I’m doubly thankful for the past few days that have been close to 70-degrees. Now, that’s my kind of January winter day!

AYes, life is good and I’m looking forward to a magnificent 2019 filled with family, friends, love and a multitude of blessings. Wishing the same to you all!

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The Son of My Heart – Excerpt from Mothers of Angels

“…people die twice: when they physically die,
and when we stop telling stories about them.”

Carol LaChapelle, from Finding Your Voice Telling Your Stories

This has been a favorite quote of mine for many years. I used to think of it as I’d write my ancestors stories, feeling a satisfaction that I was keeping their memories alive. But the people we want to keep alive in this one small way aren’t always our ancestors. Sometimes they’re our children.

In Mothers of Angels, due to be released at the end of the month, over twenty authors gather in a collaborated effort to pay tribute to children that have gone from this earthly plane far too soon. Some were children that never drew breath, or lived long enough to learn what sandy soil feels like beneath a bare foot. Others brightened their family’s lives – yet were taken when they were still learning to live the life of a growing child, never getting the chance to become an adult, to drive, to vote, to get a job and earn a living. Other tales are shared of children that became adults – in the turning-18, legal sense – yet, they too never had the chance to show the world what they could become. Our babies, no matter their age, no matter if they had children of their own, are still are babies. They aren’t supposed to die before we do.

Despite the pain we feel as parents that lost our angels too soon, despite the difficult journey we travel as we learn to live and love again, beauty remains from the short lives of our angels. We remember their smiles, their cheerfulness, and their sweet spirits. They left tracks on our hearts. They leave the world with lessons and a legacy.

As parents, we learn to live with a new normal. Our lives will never be the same. We all grieve differently. The circumstances of each child’s death are all different. Tips and advice for newly grieving parents are included in this book, along with resources for further help and consolation.

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Through the month of May, you can get your copy of Mothers of Angels at a special pre-publication price of $9.99 (regularly priced $15.99) or get a PDF for $4.99 the week of May 28th, before the book is available on Amazon.

Here is an excerpt from Mothers of Angels, The Son of My Heart.

 

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In Memory of
Mark Aland Gloyd
November 25, 1981 – December 28, 2004

The Son of My Heart

By Trisha Faye

The beginning of the end is so vivid in my memory. The rest of the journey as we watched Mark’s young life trail to a close isn’t near as clear – most likely because I’ve semi-blocked out the painful months that followed.

Mark became my son the easy way. I didn’t birth him. I didn’t potty train him. I didn’t teach him how to tie his shoes. When I met Mark, he was 16 years old and already driving. Another plus. I didn’t have to navigate the treacherous waters of being a parent of a just learning driver!

This third son of mine was just older than my two boys. One of my favorite pictures is Mark starting to back out of the driveway on the first day of school. Chris, was a freshman that year and Mark drove them both to the high school. Justin was still in junior high and had to suffer by walking the few blocks to the junior high. In the picture, Chris throws up his hands in mock embarrassment – Oh no! Mom’s taking another picture. Meanwhile, Mark, enjoying his role of chauffeur was grinning from ear to ear.

Thus began the journey of Mark blending right into this family of sorts. Older than my boys for a few years, with his youthful zest for life and his spirit, he and the boys soon bonded into my trio of offspring. He and Chris being closer in age were especially close, while Justin was closer in age to Mark’s sisters.

Mark was his dad’s Mini-Me. Those two were so close. I remember back and it’s just like yesterday when he’d amble into the house, harassing his dad – most often on purpose, just to see if he could get a rise out of Dennis. Mark was a Police Explorer for many years and loved every moment of it. His favorite show was COPS and Walker: Texas Ranger. I couldn’t begin to count the hours that he and his dad sat on the sofa watching every episode they could. All I need to hear is a few bars and ‘bad boys…bad boys…what’cha gonna do?’ comes hurling through my mind, taking me back to the years before the horror.

The beginning of the end. Chris had graduated by this time and moved in with his dad, Greg; the two working together as electricians. They took Mark on, who basked in his new role of learning the electrical trade. With the early mornings required at construction sites, Mark often spent most of the week there to avoid the hour-long drive up and down the hill to his grandparents.

In August 2005, Mark got sick. He was so sick he couldn’t work and couldn’t even drive to come visit his dad and I. His dad, Chris and Greg all urged Mark to go to the doctor. Stubborn kid. He wouldn’t go. After a few more days, Greg called me. “Mark needs to get to a doctor.”

I called Mark’s cell phone. “Your dad and I are coming to pick you up. We’re taking you to Urgent Care.”

He couldn’t argue with me. Sick boys can’t argue with their mama’s – even if we’re not the one that gave birth to them. We carted him to Urgent Care where the diagnosis was a kidney infection, potentially more serious because he only had one kidney. The doctor prescribed medication and he had to go to his primary doctor the next day. The primary doctor gave him another prescription and then wanted some lab work done after 4-5 days

Since we lived a block from the hospital, the night before Mark’s blood work, he spent the night with us. That early evening Dennis and I were sitting on the front porch chatting while Mark showered. I heard the screen door open and looked up to see a bare-chested young man standing there in his boxer shorts.

“Is one leg bigger than the other?” he asked.

I swiveled my head and about fell off my chair. His left leg looked like a telephone pole.

Instead of the routine blood work, Mark ended up at the hospital having a battery of tests done. It turned out that he had a large tumor in his left, upper thigh. The mass had put pressure on a vein, which formed a “rather large” blood clot, which caused the swelling. They inserted a filter for the blood clot and started blood thinners. Less than 24-hours later we got the devastating news that the tumor was malignant and the lives of three families changed in an instant.

Cancer is not a death sentence anymore. Many people survive and thrive and live to an old age after a cancer diagnosis. And many don’t. Mark was one of the statistics. In August he was a young man. By Christmas of that year, the family was taking turns spending time with him in the hospital, knowing he wouldn’t make it to the approaching New Year. Just barely after midnight on December 27th, Mark’s mom, his dad, and I sat around him holding his hands until his struggle was over, a month after his 23rd birthday. He fought for four months. The longest months – and the shortest months – of our lives.

Fortunately for us, we had the best support possible. My friend Becky, lost her precious Sarah at the young age of 24 just three years earlier. She and Herlin were amazing. They knew what to do. They knew what to say. They knew what not to say. Immediate family and other close friends were also terrific. I don’t know how people without an emotional support system get through trauma like this by themselves.

But yet, even with all the pain, tears, and grief, there were still a few who didn’t understand. “But he’s not your real son,” I heard more than once. A year later I refused to go to the work Christmas party, because the one year anniversary, marked by a major holiday, was just as painful as if we were experiencing this loss and death for the first time. And there were those few who still didn’t get it. I’d like to be mean and think ‘Wait until it happens to you. Then you’ll understand.’ But I can’t. I couldn’t wish this on anyone.

It was many years before I could find joy in Christmas again. Chris got a tattoo on his arm honoring Mark. After all his years of being the big brother, he finally got a big brother – and then he lost him.

In 2012, a friend went through her files of emails that she’d kept. She painstakingly cut her email address out the copies and returned the emails to her friends. In the stack she gave to me, I found a few emails that I’d sent her in 2004 as we were traveling this rocky path with Mark. It was interesting to see a lot of the details that I’d pushed out of my mind.

On December 22, 2004, I’d updated her on what was happening. I won’t share it all here. But on December 3rd, he’d finished another round of chemo. On December 8th, things took a turn for the worse. Back to the hospital we went. Another surgery. More transfusions. Then to isolation. Then to ICU.

With all this going on, we still had four other children to think of, my two sons and Dennis’ two daughters. They were devastated too, but as parents, you still try to make things ‘normal.’ At the end of the email I closed with:

“We did get a tree Monday afternoon, although it’s still sitting there undecorated. There are packages wrapped, but no holiday decorations other than my string of Christmas cards draped across the wall. It appears to be Christmas, and the calendar pages say that it will be here in three more days…but it just doesn’t seem to be Christmas. Regardless of all the “STUFF” (and you know I really meant another word) that we’re going through over here, we are thinking of you all and wishing you all the best. Thank you for your support over the past few months and we appreciate all those that have kept us in your prayers. It really has helped to have so many shoulders through all this.”

Life does go on, whether we want it to or not. At first, you don’t see how it’s possible. I remember the morning after my brother died at age 35. I remember waking up and seeing the sunshine and thinking, ‘How dare it! How dare the sun continues to shine on a day like today?’ But it does. And we go on. One step in front of the other. And now, it’s been 14 years since Mark’s soul left his earthly body.

Yet all it takes is one song, one television program, a COPS show, an unexpected rerun of Walker: Texas Ranger. I remember the passing gas and bathroom jokes he used to make in typical boyhood fashion. Or I hear a Fleetwood Mac song and remember the day when Mark walked in the house (early 2000-something) so excited about this ‘new’ band he’d just heard…and there I am – sent right back in time to the days before the unthinkable happened.

I lost my son. I didn’t carry him in my belly for nine months. I didn’t watch him learn to toddle around. I wasn’t there for his first day of kindergarten. But he was still my son, my third son that I got the easy way. He stole my heart and will have a piece of it for the rest of my life. Until I see you again one day, (singing along) you ‘bad boy…bad boy…’

The Baby of the Geritol Group

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April is the A to Z Blog Challenge. We’ll be posting to a different letter as we work our way through the alphabet. I’m posting snippets from a Work in Progress, Embracing 60, scheduled for release this June. Thanks for joining us! Come back tomorrow for thoughts on the joys, delights, and sometimes aggravations about reaching milestone birthdays!

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The Baby of the Geritol Group

Last year, through my part-time job as a retail merchandiser, I was filling in for a co-worker that needed some time off. I’d been working in the large retailer for about four months, working six to ten hours a week, and had started getting to know some of the employees at this large chain.

One day, George, in Electronics, and I got in a conversation. As he had to get up from the floor, nursing a bum knee, he commented on his age and how getting older was starting to tell on his body. “But you wouldn’t know about that, being such a young lady yourself.”

I laughed. “I don’t know about the young part. I’ll be turning the big 6-0 in a little over a year. A year and a few months…but who’s counting?”

It turned out that George was a little younger. I was 58 and he was 56. And like me, staring in the eyes of the upcoming 60, he was not looking forward to it and had decided to celebrate this milestone birthday instead of dread it. He was saving for an Alaskan cruise and planned to commemorate this big year in a big way.

A few weeks later, my co-worker Paul came back. We ended up at the store on an overlap visit as I filled him in on what had transpired over the past few months. George wandered through the back stock room and stopped to chat, excited to see Paul back again.

And somehow, the conversation turned to age again. Paul commented about not being able to get up and down the ladders as easily any more.

“But you’re just a young pup,” I said.

“Young pup? I’m 54!”

I chuckled. “Fifty-four? George and I have already compared notes and we’re ahead of you. I turn 59 in two months.”

George piped in. “And I’m 56. I’ve got you beat.”

I turned to Paul and swatted at his arm. “Why, you’re just the baby of the group.”

Lines furrowed in Paul’s brow. “Yeah, maybe so, but being the baby of the Geritol Group certainly isn’t any consolation.”

Laughter bubbled up as I turned to leave. In my book, a good dose of laughter is just as good as a dose of any vitamin supplement any day.

 

Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder

April is the A to Z Blog Challenge. Every day during the month, except Sunday’s, we’ll be posting to a different letter as we work our way through the alphabet. On Trisha Faye I’ll be posting snippets from a Work in Progress, Embracing 60, scheduled for release this June. Thanks for joining us! Come back tomorrow for thoughts on the joys, delights, and sometimes aggravations about reaching milestone birthdays!

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Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder

I received this in a forwarded email a few months ago. (Thank you, Joyce! At least I think you’re the one that sent it to me. As I’m much too often afflicted with this syndrome, I don’t really remember.) I tried to find the origin of this, to give the author credit, but it’s been circulated around the internet so much, I couldn’t. The earliest post I found was dated 2006, but to be honest, I didn’t check all 48,700 results. Despite its origins, I hope this gives you a chuckle or two. I’d probably be laughing a little harder if it didn’t hit so close to home.

Recently, I was diagnosed with A.A.A.D.D. – Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.

This is how it develops:

I decide to water my garden.

As I turn on the hose in the driveway, I look over at my car and decide my car needs washing.

As I start toward the garage, I notice that there is mail on the porch table that I brought up from the mailbox earlier.

I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.

I lay my car keys down on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table, and notice that the can is full. So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the garbage first.

But then I think, since I’m going to be near the mailbox, when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first. I take my checkbook off the table, and see that there is only one check left. My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the can of Coke that I had been drinking.

I’m going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I don’t accidentally knock it over. I see that the Coke is getting warm, and I decide I should put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold. As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye–they need to be watered.

I set the Coke down on the counter, and I discover my reading glasses that I’ve been searching for all morning. I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I’m going to water the flowers.

I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly I spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table. I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I will be looking for the remote, but I won’t remember that it’s on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I’ll water the flowers. I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor. So, I set the remote back down on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill. Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do. At the end of the day:

—-the car isn’t washed,
—-the bills aren’t paid,
—-there is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter,
—-the flowers don’t have enough water,
—-there is still only one check in my check book,
—-I can’t find the remote,
—-I can’t find my glasses,
—-and I don’t remember what I did with the car keys.

Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I’m really baffled because I know I was busy all day long, and I’m really tired.

I realize this is a serious problem, and I’ll try to get some help for it, but first I’ll check my e-mail.

One Liner Wednesday #1LinerWeds

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I’m joining in Linda Hill’s One Liner Wednesday fun. Check it out. It’s free. It’s easy. It’s lots of fun. One line…that’s doable. To make it even easier, I cheat a bit and find a meme with a quote that I like. Voila. Done. Here’s my ‘one line’ for the day.

Blessings to all!

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Sharing the Love – of Mothers and Sisters

Valentine’s Day focuses on expressing your love – greatly for romantic partners, but also for friends, family members and other loved ones in our life. Two of my anthologies share many stories by a diverse group of talented authors of the love for their sisters and mothers: In Celebration of Sisters, and In Celebration of Mothers.

To share the love, during the month of love, for the next ten days, you can purchase a set of both books directly from me and SAVE $10!

One of the essays included in In Celebration of Mothers, ‘OMG! I’m Becoming My Mother’, takes a humorous look at the things that pop out of my mouth as I get older. Originally published on Scary Mommy, it’s reprinted in this anthology. In In Celebration of Sisters, I highlighted some of our many differences in ‘Not Two Peas in a Pod.’

For a few chuckles to lighten your day, here is OMG! I’m Becoming My Mother!

OMG, I’m Becoming My Mother

Trisha Faye

I opened my mouth the other day, and my mother popped out.

This was not supposed to happen, ever—at least not when I am still this young.

My sister and I used to joke together, back in our younger days (like, in our 30s) about how our mother was turning into Grandma. We’d chuckle that self-righteous laugh, because we knew that was never going to happen to us.

But somewhere along the line, we grew older and slid into another decade. We didn’t recognize that fact, at least not out loud and not to one another. After all, those odd stray gray hairs appearing at the most inopportune moments can be covered up. That “middle-age stretch?” Well, that’s what blousy tops and jeans with spandex are for. We can still rock it with the best of them…mostly.

Then one afternoon, after a particularly aggravating argument with a teenager, my lips parted, and my mother came hopping out: “Jason Patrick Dean (name changed to protect the not-so-innocent), if all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?!”

Oh my God.

There are no appropriate words to describe the look on my face when I recognized the momentous event that had just happened. How many times had I heard this same exact phrase throughout my own teenage years? I called my sister to commiserate. “I know,” she said. “I’ve already heard Mom’s words come out of my mouth too.”

For the record, although she is several years younger than I am, my sister started her family earlier, so she was slightly ahead of me on this downward slide. “I was afraid to say anything. I hoped it wasn’t happening,” she said. As we started talking and comparing notes, we came to the conclusion that we’d been guilty of this for more years than we cared to admit.

“Don’t make me come in there!”

“Don’t use that tone with me.”

“It’s for your own good.”

“I know all. I have eyes in the back of my head.”

“As long as you live under my roof…”

“Close the door. Do you live in a barn?”

“Do as I say, not as I do.”

“Do you think money grows on trees?”

“Because I’m the mom.”

“Because I said so.”

The statements varied with the ages of the children. There were the standard responses we used on the younger ones, and then as their years advanced, we gradually slipped into the intermediate course of Mother Talk, rapidly earning credits that would have us graduating with honors.

The day when that first phrase leaps out and you recognize that it’s your mother talking instead of calm, rational, grown-up, independent you–I think that’s your graduation day, the day you take the mantel (whether you want it or not) and carry on down the road. That’s the day when you realize you’re on a long, slippery slope and you’re sliding down it much faster than you ever expected to.

Not that we’d ever wished to move on down this road. During our 20s and 30s, we thought we were immune to this syndrome. We were strong. We were invincible. We were our own women, not ones who would parrot our mother for the rest of our lives.

“I’m going to give you to the count of three.”

“I’ve had it up to here!”

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

The memories of words spoken long ago come drifting back through my memory. That’s when I realize I’ve been my mother all along. This change didn’t magically appear in my 40s. I’ve been her. I’ve just dressed her up in different clothes and makeup to disguise something I didn’t want to acknowledge.

“I’ll treat you like an adult when you become an adult.”

I guess I am now officially an adult.

I’m sorry, Mom. I’m sorry for all the times we laughed about how you were becoming more like Grandma Jones every day.

While we’re on the subject, I may as well apologize for all the times I talked back to you. For the times I didn’t clean my room—instead, I shoved everything under my bed. For the times I lied to you about where I’d been or what I’d done. For all the times I didn’t appreciate you or the sacrifices you made to give us what you could.

“If I told you once, I told you a thousand times…” Yes, you did probably tell us a thousand times, just as we’ve repeated to our own children.

I take a look in the mirror. A slight twist, a slight squint of the eyes. Yes, there she is—my mother. Maybe this growing older part isn’t all as bad as I’d thought.

***

Did you miss getting these books when they first came out? Here’s your chance to pick up a set of them – and Save $10! FOR TEN DAYS ONLY!

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Iona Mae Burk, the mother that inspired these words

My Dad’s Books

My Dad’s Books

Every day I sit at my desk and glance up at a shelf filled with treasures. Among the many items there – a stack of aprons Mom made, candy dishes from Grandma Jones, a clock Grandpa Jones made, a puppy vase from Genevieve, a purple candy dish from Bea and Pauline – are three of my Dad’s books.

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I brought them home a few years when my sister and I were visiting him in Arkansas. He’d been doing a cleanup of his office and was getting rid of some things. He graciously let my sister and I pick through what we wanted, as we also enjoyed the morning looking at all of his old photographs of him as a young boy and from his time in the service. No, we didn’t get the chance to bring the photos home, but we had so many other goodies that we weren’t complaining.

I brought these three home. I could have brought a lot more home. If anyone walks in my office and sees that there are five burgeoning book cases and books are still overflowing with no room to give them a proper place, they might think I’ve hit book overload and shouldn’t get any more. But, no. I am a mere apprentice in the book arena. I learned from a master book collector – my dad.

Now these three books aren’t ones I chose because I wanted to read them. They weren’t on my ‘To Be Read’ list. I wouldn’t have gone looking for them. But they were my dad’s. The Star Book for Ministers (1957), The Simple Life (1904), and Fishers of Men, (1904). Inside each there’s small address labels, claiming the books as his, from the home I grew up in until we moved in 1969.

The reason I chose two of the books, is because of the little white letter on them. An ‘M’ and a ‘G.’ Those two letters so carefully painted on the base of the spine, throw me right back to childhood. I look at those and I’m transported back to Glendora, California. Dad built a huge bookcase in the living room. Huge to me at the time, but a mere shadow of the bookcases he has in his large office now.

We children had a small section on the bottom shelf where our books and Highlights magazines went. There was a hardcover series or two that we had at the time. I only remember my favorite book about Indians. The encyclopedias were near our books, and made for great reading, opening up fascinating new worlds. Once I learned to read I devoured books, and haven’t stopped yet.

But my favorite part of these early memories is the letters that Dad painstakingly added to his books. He had his own filing system, keeping books in order by categories, and these little white letters were the key to his organization.

Now I know they don’t pertain to titles or authors. Fishers of Men by Rev. B. T. Roberts has an ‘M.’ And the Star Book for Ministers, by Edward Hiscox has a ‘G.’ Dad must have grouped his books by certain subject matters. Maybe Ministry and Gospel? That’s just a guess. (And yes, Dad, if you’re reading this…you’ll be getting a phone call!)

Fortunately my Dad is still alive and I can call him and ask. Or email. Or ask when I visit him in a few months. Sometimes though, we don’t have the chance to go back and ask questions like this. I remember all the times I’d listen to stories from Grandma Jones – much too often tuning her out because my mind was on the kids, or I needed to wash a load of diapers, or what was happening at work. Yeah, yeah, yeah…I’ve heard that before. And now that Grandma’s gone, what I would do to have one more day with her, to ask her questions and just listen to her stories.

That’s part of the reason why I created three new journals. My Family Heirloom Journal is a place to record information and stories about different treasured pieces. I want to write things like this down, recording the memories in a place where my boys and grandchildren and read them later – years down the line when maybe they’d be wishing I were around to tell one more tale. Once I’m not here to tell them about their Grandpa organizing his books and the letters he’d put on them, or about my Grandpa Jones making a clock and the memories of watching him work in his small garage workshop, it can all be written down here.

Hmmm…maybe this isn’t such a good thing though. Now my boys really won’t be wanting to listen to my stories one more time. They’ll just wait for the printed version that they can scan through later.

Family Heirloom draft front only.jpg

heirlooms pic for cover.jpg

 

Books from Dad, candy dish from Grandma Jones, clock from Grandpa Jones, hand-towels with crocheted edge from Mom, quilt in background from Grandma Cline.

 

My Family Heirloom Journal, along with My Museum Journal and My Historic Homes Journal, have a pre-publication sale during February. Until February 10th, you can get them for $6.99 each (regularly priced $10.99), or all three for $20. After the 10th, they’ll still be on sale – each one $7.99 or all three or $23. If you’d like one, now’s your chance to grab one (or all three) and save!

Gratitude #JusJoJan

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I’m participating in Just Jot It January, a fun word prompt exercise organized by blogger Linda G. Hill. It happens all month during January. Today is the last day of fun. Wednesday’s are ‘One Liner Wednesday.’ Here’s my one line for the day.

One can never pay in gratitude; one can onlypay _in kind_ somewhereelse in life..jpg

 

Knights, and Peasants, and Kings…oh my! #JusJoJan

Just Jot it January badge

I’m participating in Just Jot It January, a fun word prompt exercise organized by blogger Linda G. Hill. It happens all month during January. And it’s not too late to join in the fun. Check the details out here. The word prompt for today is ‘knight.’

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Knight…what to write about a knight? Before I knew it, I was deep in the midst of Renaissance Faire memories and missing them. I used to go every year – or at least most years. Then I moved to Texas and have only been once, probably 2009 or 2010.

I love the atmosphere that permeates renaissance fairs – the joy, the laughter, the revelry, and yes, the knights. Now that we’re deep in the digital age, with cell phones that do everything for us, I should be able to pull up pictures from that last fair in a snap. But with the digital age comes technology snafus. A crashed hard drive and a failed cell phone took hundreds of pictures with them in their failures.

Thankfully, I have a friend that made us all scrapbooks one year. It was probably twenty years ago, long before the days when cell phones snapped every memory we wanted to document. But because of her thoughtfulness and her knack of this ‘old-school’ craft, I could walk to the bookcase, pull out a photo album, and instantly be transported back to a day when we all went to the Renaissance Faire in Devore (CA) together.

Much has changed from this long ago picture. The husband is now an ex. Both boys are grown, with children of their own. (The youngest turns 30 in a week!) And the mother (now a grandmother) sports quite a few more wrinkles than she had here. But the beauty of the Ren Faires is that they don’t change all that much. You can copy and paste people into any scene and you’d never know what year it was. Wenches and peasants, nobility, kings, and knights – all in place to take us back to medieval times.

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