Monday, May 28, 2012

Pom Pom Girl

 I absolutely loved growing up in my hometown of Friendly, Maryland. I lived on Old Allentown Road, the road to take if you were going any place important. It took me upon my bicycle each morning to Friendly Sr. High School, home of the best football team in the county, The Patriots. We were the Bicentennial Class of 76, our school colors; red, white, and blue.

Fridays in the fall were my very favorite days at school when we would be dismissed early to attend home games. I loved everything about Fridays from buying my ticket at lunch to sitting in the stands as close to the Pep Squad as I could. I wanted so badly to join, but this was the last chance group, and I did not want to be a last chance girl.

 I would look longingly at the uniforms of the Pom Pom Girls. These were the most popular and attractive girls in school. They wore short navy blue sleeveless shifts, white short boots with red tassels, and carried over sized red pom poms. They were the Size 5 girls.

There were also the cheerleaders, the band, and leading everyone, our Majorette, Bonnie. She had the straightest, most beautiful honey-colored hair that hung below her waist. She had such a beautiful face. Bonnie was also very heavy through her waist. At each football game she would lead the band in her red sequined costume not at all bothered by her rather egg shaped body and skinny legs. She was a magnificent twirler never missing her high toss. She smiled so beautifully despite taunts from the boys in the crowd about her shape.

Watching Bonnie on Fridays changed my life. If she could be confident enough to present herself in front of an entire school in a leotard, I could muster the courage to join the Pep Squad. I signed the join-up sheet and wrote Size 11 by my name. This was the group for size 11's. Our uniform was a twisty twirl red skirt to the knees, a navy blue sleeveless vest, a white button down shirt, white knee socks, and saddle shoes.

I was never so happy than on Fridays. Our school won the State Championship, I was there in my uniform. I thank Bonnie for this.


Saturday, May 26, 2012


It was a revelation to me when I married and moved to northern Michigan that many of the older population traveled south to Florida for the winter. This did not occur in the state I called home where we waited for the summer months to travel to the ocean's shore.

I was soon to find out that my husband's own Uncle Roy and Aunt Dorothy traveled to Florida every single winter. Uncle Roy considered himself an aficionado of Traveling South in the newest mode of trailer park transportation available.

We were invited to their home for a walk-thru of their brand new fifth-wheel camper. I had never in my life seen anything quite so large that was legally allowed to be driven by non-professionals. Uncle Roy assured me his many years as the owner of Denoyer Bros. Moving & Storage did in fact make him overly qualified to drive this "rig" safely south. My new mother and father-in-law would be accompanying them. A pleasant time was expected by all.

I absolutely giggle to think of the many times my father-in-law would regale me about this transport to Florida alongside his sister's irascible husband. It seems Roy became possessed once behind the wheel of this overlong camper.

He was insistent upon "making good time" and would rarely stop for "necessary" reasons. His over-the-road days had given him the ability to "wait" for ten hour stretches at a time. If the tank didn't need fill'n, his didn't need empty'n! At this point in the story, my father-in-law would lean in close to whisper in my ear, "That Roy was a sun of a gun!"

My mother-in-law Ruth always chimed in at this point to finish the tale. "Do you know we never did get to sleep in their new camper. Roy unhitched that monstrosity, got back in the truck's cab, and drove us all the way back to Michigan. And he nearly never stopped for necessary reasons!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

For the Love of Fla.

Oh My Goodness! Doesn't every craft room need a little bit of Florida? The answer is "yes" if you love this peninsula shaped state as much as I do.

I have loved the State of Florida since I was old enough to hang over the backseat of my family's car and play "Name that State" with my father as we drove to and from church each Sunday morning.

"What state has alligators?", "FLORIDA", "Which state grows oranges?", "FLORIDA"! On would go the game until my father could not stand another moment of my brother and I arguing over who had yelled, "I know!" first.

My brother and I were obsessed with eating oranges in our childhood, I know, because of this game and our fascination with such a place where our favorite fruit could possibly grow in your own back yard and be picked anytime you were so moved to do so.

When I was dating my soon to be husband, I was thrilled to pieces that my parents let me vacation with him to the Sunshine State. Although our destination was to the newly opened Disney World, I cared more about glimpsing my first orange tree.

Upon crossing the official state line, we stopped at a Visitor's Welcoming Center. It was love at first sight to be greeted by the most adorable orange bird offering us a taste of Florida's orange juice in tiny little paper cups.

Relatives and friends who know that my husband has traveled the world, will ask me where it is that I would like to visit. I always smile and answer just as enthusiastically as I have all of my life, "FLORIDA"!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Newlyweds and Mothers

My sweet Twirly Swirl Girl and Joe have now celebrated their six month anniversary.  That they have barely known each other a year makes this milestone one measured carefully by mothers wanting the best for their own offspring.

You can tell by our postures when we are together that each of us is ready to defend the twenty something years our children have lived on this earth that we have been responsible for. We each know that we have been good mothers.

We have now hosted each others families in our home, a measuring by our own standards spoken of to our husbands on the long drive that separates our homes.

Our differences in beliefs will always keep us at arms length, but on one very important detail it seems we will be a united front. Both of our children have stepped out of the light of the tenants of religion. Both do not share the beliefs of their parents. Both mothers are waiting for them to hear the call of God.

We both agree that it can not have been by accident that our two children should have found each other. Each mother hoping for someone who would draw their own child back towards God. Each with children convinced of their own convictions.

With two mothers sending the same prayers to Heaven before they close their eyes, there can only be a happy ending for newlyweds, Joe and Kellye.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

By the sea, by the beautiful sea

The summer of my eighth year of childhood is indelibly transcribed in my memory file folders, the one labeled PARENTS. It was the summer both my father and mother volunteered to participate in the Girl Scout Jamboree.

My father was given the responsibilities of swimming instructor and life guard. My mother was assigned  director of the Arts and Crafts tent. My young brother and I spent our days tagging behind senior scouts who didn't shoo us away.

Our days could not have been more idyllic. Sun browned arms and legs, the Aegean Sea blue under cloudless skies. Evening campfires, my mother's voice in song. Army cots with criss-crossed wooden legs, wooly green blankets against a starry night's chill.

I acquired my love of crafts this special summer alongside my mother who could fashion the most amazing things from nearly anything found. I was continually puffed with pride from overheard compliments about my mother from the girls in green.

I know it is because of my mother that my blog has been filled with crafts that can be easily made and shared with children. Flower Fairies, a perfectly perfect spring craft!

Hair is made from thin strips of felt about 2 1/2" long. Use a thin beading needle to gather the strip accordion style, go back through pleats several times to secure. A knot is not needed. I have punched from an old greeting card to a daughter the inside signatures, "Mommy and Daddy" to make bases for the faeries to stand.

For so many years I kept tucked away in my jewelry chest, Plaster of Paris pins that my mother had painted scenes on to remind us of the Jamboree. Red and blue bathing tents with the blue sea beyond, colorful flags flying at their peaked tops. Sailboat sails caught by the wind, figures swimming in the sea, beach towels drying on a makeshift line.

I don't know what became of the little pins; so this is why I am so glad to have my Memory Files.  My mother and father were so happy together at this Jamboree, and I felt so lucky to have them as my parents. I hold this summer very close to my heart.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Garden Club

My mother-in-law Ruth was a woman who loved bric-a-brac. There wasn't a surface of her home that was not filled with items that had caught her eye over her many years of window shopping.

Ruth was very particular about her favorite finds and didn't like for anyone to move about her carefully placed displays. She didn't cull through her mementos as seasons changed or a new item was purchased, rather she found yet another perfect spot to best enhance her newest acquisition.

One day, as a new member of Ruth's family, it occurred to me that the cabinets and buffets that offered her bric-a-brac a Place to Be must themselves hold treasures yet revealed to me.

I mustered my courage to ask, "Ruth, what do you keep inside your Hepplewhite?"

Side by side on our knees on the floor, Ruth pulled from the deep recesses of her buffet a multitude of cups and saucers and rather small plates. Each delicate in shape, each a different color, each a different pattern. "These are my Garden Club dishes." she said.

I was absolutely charmed as Ruth told me about the group of women who gathered together once a month at each others homes for over thirty years. Each woman had their own collection of mismatched cups and saucers. The woman of the club always admiring the set placed before them.

Ruth has been gone from us several years now leaving only one surviving member of the Garden Club. My mother-in-law's wonderful collection of luncheon ware has been divided among her daughters, favorite patterns chosen. On this day, May the first, I think of Ruth who called this day Decoration Day. Again something new and unexpected to me, absolutely charming.

Please do not Pin pattern to Pinterest.