Monday, May 26, 2008

Fun Monday - Return to Paradise

Alison of RDH Mom Picking Away at Life is this week's Fun Monday hostess. For our task this week, Alison has asked us to tell about our favorite vacation.

What place should I tell about? Which vacation was the best? Should I tell my childhood visit to the magnificent Niagara Falls? Should I relay secret details of our honeymoon and the scratchy sheets at the Palmer House? Or should I recount the many trips to Florida to visit my retired parents in the lovely city of Naples? Should I tell of the educational trip with our sons to our nation's capital, Washington D.C. ? Should I tell of the summer Daddy D and I traveled the state of Indiana taking pictures of wildflowers fulfilling my Lilly Teacher Creativity Fellowship proposal?

All of those places are fabulous. However, one of my favorite vacation spots is the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. My family traveled to the UP when I was a child. And in 1971, Daddy D and I went to the peninsula before our sons were born. On the shore of Whitefish Bay in Lake Superior on the grounds of the Whitefish Point Light Station, Daddy D and I had a stone throwing contest. Daddy D purposefully let me win the contest. My prize, if I remember correctly, was a return trip to Whitefish Point. We did visit the western part of the Upper Peninsula with our oldest son in 1973, but we did not return to the shores of Whitefish Point, which is on the eastern side of the UP, until June of 2005, 34 years after our stone throwing contest.

Camping with Our Son in 1973, Copper Harbor, Michigan

Several changes occurred at the light station since our first visit. The Edmund Fitzgerald sank off the shore on November 10, 1975. The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum was constructed on the grounds. The quarters at the Light Station were opened for overnight stays to the public. So on our visit in 2005, we visited the museum and stayed overnight in the light station quarters. Watching the ore boats in Lake Superior cross Whitefish Point from the window of our room was awesome. Whitefish Point by the way is just past Paradise, Michigan. If you are looking for beauty, solitude, history, and nature, visit the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Daddy D at Whitefish Point Light Station

The video shows Daddy D skipping stones in the beautiful blue Lake Superior.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Fun Monday - Collections

This week's Fun Monday challenge has been issued by Mariposa of Mariposa's Tales. Mariposa wants to see and to hear about our collections. Although I do not think as myself as a collector, I do have a few collections. My first collection, I started many years ago. After a woman at my church gave a presentation of her extensive cross collection, I started collecting symbols of the crucifixion of Jesus.

1. This is my oldest cross in my collection. I received this for my first communion and confirmation in May of 1957.

2. This is a mother-of-pearl Jerusalem cross. This cross is also called The Crusader's Cross and appeared on the coat-of-arms the Templar Godfrey of Bouillon, Duke of Lower-Lorraine. There are a variety of interpretations of the Jerusalem cross. One interpretation is that the four smaller crosses represent the four corners of the Earth, and the cross itself represents the spreading of Christianity throughout the world. Another common explanation of the cross meaning is that the larger center cross represents Jesus, and the smaller crosses represent Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

3. This enameled cross with a depiction of the fish and loaves of bread is perhaps my favorite as the cross is symbolic of Jesus's life and ministry rather than simply a reminder of the death of Jesus.

4. Like the others listed this cross is a gift from my parents. I think that the cross is ivory made in a time when using ivory was not illegal.

5 and 6. These silver crosses were graduation gifts from the church that I attended as a child. The larger cross is a Trefoil cross although I think that my church called this a Trinity cross. As a member of the Junior Choir, I wore a this cross on a red ribbon as part of our choir garb. The smaller cross is a Celtic Cross. This sometimes is called the Anglican or Episcopal cross.

7. The silver crosses around the number seven were gifts from my husband, Daddy D.

8. The M.A. Hadley pottery cross is gift from my friend, Gawilli of Back in the Day.

One of my other collections is my small self-indulgent collection of Molly books. The first book is an antique, The Melting of Molly, a romantic novel written in 1912 by Maria Thompson Daviess. The collection also includes the classic, Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe and a somewhat racy novel by Lawrence Sanders, The Passion of Molly T. The other books in the collection are children's books including three of the American Girl books about Molly of the 1940's, a book about a girl named Molly, Pirate Girl, and an interactive early childhood book, Molly Mouse Goes Shopping.

I also have a collection of mice.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Allerton - My Mom's Story

My mother, Laura Gray Thompson, who was born in 1917 in the little town of Allerton, Illinois was a bright and essentially self-educated woman. When I started college in 1964, my mother expressed regret for not attending college. I suggested that she could start college at that time. She did begin taking classes at the newly built campus of Indiana-Purdue University in Fort Wayne. Eventually, she earned both a bachelor's and a master's degree in English. Even before her college days, my mother was a great story teller. The following story written for one of her graduate level classes retells her childhood experience with the Orphan Train.


“Get up, get, Ida! It’s today! It’s today! Dancing around the bed of the older girl was a tiny tousled haired girl of four, clutching a small gray flannel elephant against her worn nightie. Soon Ida was scrubbing the little face, brushing the coal black and shiny hair, buttoning the little pearl buttons down the back of the starched blue and white checked gingham smack, with the matching blue and white checked bloomers. Away they went, the strange pair, the big, heavy, slow girl in her limp and faded blue dress plodding along and the little girl in her crisp smock darting ahead now scuffling through the dusty road, now running through the grass along the edge. Clackety-clack went her stick in her hand against Grandma Miller’s white picket fence that enclosed an English garden, redolent of sage and lavender, fragrant with roses. Clankety-clank went the stick against the iron fence around Rachel’s big house, with the iron deer in the big yard glowering out at the passersby.

It was because of Rachel that today was to be such a glorious one. Rachel was a big girl, bigger than Ida, though not fat big, just old big. Rachel had gone away to school and now worked for a funny old lady in a place called “Hull House.” When the morning train came in, Rachel would be on it, and greatest of all, so would children from the “Hull House”. And everyone was going to get one to take home for their very own for two whole weeks. Mothers and Fathers said that it was to fatten them up on good country cooking and to show them the grass and trees and flowers and everything that didn’t grow in the city. In the city, the roads were hard, not this lovely dust that squooshed up between your toes. But Tot knew that wasn’t the reason they were coming at all. They were coming so little people would have somebody to play with!

Down the dusty road they went, the two so different sisters, under the hot brassy sun that beat down through the dusty leaves of the plane trees. Past the white Presbyterian Church Tot ran, singing her tuneless song. “Mine will be a boy and I’ll teach him how to roll down the hill in the park and we’ll have tea parties with my tin dishes and I’ll read The Little Red Hen and Chicken Little to him and I’ll help him write a letter to his Mama on my very own letter paper with blue lines to help you write better and straighter, with a pretty pictures of Peter Rabbit at the top. Oh, it will be such fun to have a little person to play with.”
Tot and Ida finally arrived at the magic place, the little green wooden depot with a shiny steel tracks in front making a ladder to the distant skyline. The blinding sun glanced off the tracks into the eyes of the waiting people. All the townfolk and some of the neighboring farmers had turned out to see Rachel’s kids. It was a big event in a little town where nothing much ever happened. The whistle of the train at Broadland’s crossing brought a cheer from the milling crowd, and soon the train snaked into sight and slid up to the wooden platform. From the other side of the tracks where Tot and Ida waited, the view was better.

It was hot and it was dusty as Rachel and the children stepped down the wooden stepstool onto the platform. Tall Rachel and her yellow tablet was the center of attention. Names were checked off the yellow tablet; children were parceled out to the waiting families and all scattered to the various homes.

“Where is my boy? Where is my very own boy? My small person just like me.” Tot jumped up and down in sheer frustration, tears running down the now grimy face.
---Why didn’t they tell her? Don’t she know we’re poor? How can we have a kid around the house with Mom out the Allerton Ranch cooking for the thrashers. I know that she is lonely with only a fourteen year old brother and a sixteen year old sister to play with ---and both of them to busy to pay any attention to her. Good thing Sam taught her to read and write, even if she is only four. Gives her something to do.---“Don’t cry, Tot, don’t cry.”
“ ‘n’ I was going to show him the chickens. Bet he never saw a chicken. I want my boy. Everyone else got one and I never got one.” Tot sobbed on.

--- I’m going to get out of this damn town and I’m going to see that Tot will sometime get something she wants.---“Don’t cry, Tot, don’t cry.”

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Baby Shower for Karmyn

Karmyn of Dreaming What Ifs is having a baby very soon. The awesome Swampwitch of Anecdotes, Antidotes, and Anodes is hosting a virtual baby shower on Friday, May 9th. The beauty of a virtual party is that the guests can attend from any place in the world. Of course, we will miss the ooohs and aaahs as Karmyn opens each precious gift.

First, I wish for Karmyn's little one (and for us all) a lifetime of joy, peace, and happiness. For the presents, every baby needs his own copy of the classic, Pat the Bunny.

Additionally, today's modern baby will delighted by the wonderful illustrated books by Sandra Boynton, for example Oh My, Oh My Dinosaurs!

I think all moms could use some help in the house after childbirth so I would like to provide full-time maid service for Karmyn for three years. After Karmyn recuperates from child birth, my final gift will be an afternoon at the spa complete with massage and any other pampering that Karmyn desires.

For Grandma Pamela of Dust Will Wait, I wish a beautiful electronic scrapbook for all those fabulous pictures that she is going to take of Karmyn and her family.

Now, for the game, which is a classic at baby showers...let's guess how many pieces of toilet paper it takes to surround Karmyn's gravid tummy. My guess is 18.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Indiana Wants You

This afternoon, one of the candidates running for president of the United States of America made a campaign stop at the same fire station where I will vote tomorrow. The candidate is not my first choice for president, but I did go down the street and stood on the curb for two hours to try to catch a glimpse of Hillary Rodham Clinton. I did hear her speech from outside and the introduction by Indiana's handsome Senator Evan Bayh.

Even though those of us standing outside the fire station did not actually meet Senator Clinton, I did enjoy the camaraderie and exuberance shared by my fellow constituents. And even though I will cast my vote tomorrow for Barack Obama, I was interested in Hillary's speech. If my first choice, Senator Obama, does not win the nomination, I will definitely be voting for Hillary in November.

Generally, because party candidates are usually selected before May, the Indiana primary has little or no bearing on the selection of national candidates. However, this year Indiana's voice or at least the voice of the democratic electorate will be heard and may make a difference in the outcome of the nomination of the Democratic candidate. Both candidates and their spouses have made several visits to our usually forgotten state.

On the eve of the Indiana primary, this interest in our state and the fact that my party is about to select a woman or an African-American male to be the nominee of the Democratic party encourages me, refreshes me, and inspires me.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Prom Night - 2008

Sunshine, entrepreneur, model, television star, who blogs at and the pursuit of happiness is sponsoring the second annual Blog Prom. Daddy D and I are going to the prom together again this year. If you want to go to the Prom too, visit Sunshine and tell her that you want to go to the Prom. Send Sunshine a picture of you in your prettiest formal or finest tuxedo. Last year's prom was great fun. I even won a prize, and Daddy D and I were voted the most likely to leave the prom early to have...well, you know.

Daddy D and I met a month after I graduated from high school so we both attended our high school proms with other dates. However, since Daddy D and I are school teachers, each year we have an opportunity to attend the prom as chaperones. We usually pass on this great honor, but one year in the mid-eighties another teacher convinced us that we should go. This picture is from that event. Daddy D is wearing his Johnny Carson suit, which he would have and probably wear today if I did not give the gem to the Salvation Army.

If you are looking for a good time, visit Sunshine and tell her you want to go to the prom, which is Friday, May 2. Now, I have to pick out a dress and have my hair done. No wait, this is a virtual prom, and I hardly ever have my hair done professionally though I do have nice nails painted with Opi's Curry Up Don't Be Late, which is an exotic pale gold color. What do you think...a slinky black number for the big night? See you at the Prom.