Questions I Wish I Had Asked My Parents

In this year of celebrating the 75th Anniversary of D Day and remembering all the years in our past, I have been thinking a lot about my parents. They have both passed on now and I have so many questions I wish I had asked them while they were still able to give me the answers.

My parents knew each other their whole lives. They were born in the same town four days apart. My mom was the youngest of all girls and my dad the youngest of all boys. My two grandmothers were in the hospital together and joked about how they should trade babies so they would have a different sex child in the family.

And those two babies grew up and got married. (I always thought that was a great premiss for a movie) So where are all the stories of growing up together? Going to school together? Seeing each other around town? Knowing each other forever? I wish I had asked.

And I don’t know exactly how they got married. They didn’t date in High School, so it must  have happened during WWII. I wish I had asked how my dad proposed and how they planned the wedding. Did they have a honeymoon? What did they wear? How did they know they were right for each other? I wish I had asked.

I wish I had asked what prompted them both to enter the service. My dad tried to enlist and found out he was color blind, which meant he could only go into the Seabees – Construction Battalion. My mother, believe it or not, was a Marine. I think she enlisted because of her sister Irene, who also joined the Marines. But why the Marines? I wish I had asked,

I wish I had asked them how they felt about the war. Were they ever afraid, confused, proud, ashamed or conflicted as an American? Were they glad to be in the Military? Sorry they joined? I wish I had asked.

I wish I had asked them how things were after the war. They were married and started having children right away. My dad was in college on the GI Bill. I think they were living in a mobile home park. Sounds like an “I Love Lucy” segment, doesn’t it? That couldn’t have been easy. But how did they manage? Was being a veteran a proud thing? How did they feel? I wish I had asked.

I wish I had asked them about their thoughts of early parenthood. My mother had three children in three years while my dad was going to school. And she had no family nearby. But I never heard the stories. Were they too horrible? Just forgettable? What? I wish I had asked.

How I wish I could sit down with both of them and ask these and other questions. When I had the chance, I didn’t think of it or it didn’t seem necessary. Now that it’s too late, I’m thinking of so many things only they can answer.

My advise to others – ask the questions NOW!! Don’t wait!! And if you are the elder in your family, write down all the stories for the younger ones. Don’t wait to be asked. Don’t wait until someone else thinks of it. Don’t wait for the perfect time. Just don’t wait Do it NOW. Because then it will be too late and they will say – I wish I had asked.

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Forty Thank Yous

All the forty days of Lent I have been trying to stay in an attitude of gratitude by writing a thank you note to someone each day. It started out easy with all the people closest to me getting a thank you.

I was mindful of all the love and care I was getting, aware of the close friendship and daily reminded of the loyalty and patience of each dear one I was writing to. At first I was being reminded of the kindness of people I had known for years. The names and memories were there at the tip of the pen every day. I thought this is going to be so easy.

But now I’m getting to the people I don’t know as well or don’t know at all, who have done me a kindness. This is certainly harder and more inconvenient. I think I’m finally getting to the real lesson I’m supposed to be learning in this Lenten season.

I’m supposed to see gratitude everywhere and in everything, not just the simple, easy and convenient things. Even when things go wrong, there is a lesson to be learned, for which I can be grateful.

And all the people in my life are there for a reason, a good reason. For that, I am also very thankful.

And so today, my sweeties, is your day!!!

Thank you so much for just being you, for reading my blog, for leaving comments, for sharing it with others.

Thank you for your loyalty, your patience, your humor, your common sense.

Thank you for all the kind words you have sent to me and about me.

Thank you for being the best readers ever!!!!!!!

 

Mother’s Cookbook

Does this book look at all familiar? It sure does to me! It is my mother’s cookbook! She bought it in 1968, the year it was published. I grew up with this wonderful fount of recipes in her kitchen daily.

It was used on the stove, on the counter, on the table and in her hands. Sometimes I held the book while she read the directions and cooked the dish. This pretty red and white number has withstood many a spill, spoon and steam over. It has been dropped, slammed, cut, burned and soaked. But it has survived to be cherished by a second generation, a third and now a fourth.

One of the great things about this cookbook is the basic information it has on the inside covers. I can’t tell you how many times I have used these substitutions in my cooking. Do you see all the rub and wear marks on the page? How many times has this cover been opened and closed over the last 50 years? I cannot even imagine!

The  Chapter I remember the best is the one on Pastry and Pies. Mother was the best baker I knew and made the best pies ever. I think about her most often during the Holidays when I am making my pies. While rolling out the dough made with her recipe, I have conversations in my head with her. I tell her all about the happenings of the year, what the kids have been up to, the good, the bad, everything really. I trully believe she hears me up there in Heaven, where she is making angelic pies for the saints.

I learned to cook with this cookbook. Basic things and complex things too. I started with cream sauce. This exact recipe seen here was my first dish. I added a can of tuna and poured it over saltine crackers. I loved having pictures to follow. It was mistake proof at the time.

Years later I made this for my family. The kids loved it! My daughter still talks about it being one of her favorite dishes from her childhood. Who would have guessed?

For many years the magazine Better Homes and Gardens printed recipes that were to be used in the cookbook. This recipe was printed in 1972 and was to be filed under Meats. My cookbook is jam-packed with dozens of these stuffed under their proper headings. Most of them are award winning recipes, but very few of them are low calorie.

Most of them are wrinkled and torn but that just adds to the charm for me.

What cookbook nowadays has a chapter on Table Settings and Entertaining? Well this one does! Look at all the headings. Is that wonderful or what?! What a great gift for a new wife!

Take a look at these suggested menus! I’m very interested in Crab-artichoke Bake, but who does Hot Fruit Compote anymore? And isn’t that stain at the bottom of the page as sweet as can be? Is that broth or soup or tea? Could it be meat drippings or vegetable stock? What memories are in that little discolored spot on that page in that old book.Have a gander at their idea of the ideal kitchen. I have to say I love all the blue! But where are all the windows! It is way too dark for me. And who needs a rotisserie anymore, really.

Mother’s cookbook symbolizes so many things for me. It is a great repository of recipes, memories, nostalgia, good times. It continues to teach me lessons about cooking, life, sharing, relationships, old math principles and good housekeeping.

My daughter saw me cook with it and now my grandson Mac is getting to use it. Fifty years it has been our family, teaching its many lessons to four generations of cooks.

It is a tough little book with tender ways. No matter how many mistakes we make, it continues to forgive and forget.

It sits patiently on the shelf until needed. It always has the answer to any question asked of it. It never makes demands and only has suggestions for success. It never wears out and seems only to get better with age.

Mother’s cookbook. Ready for another fifty years of devoted service.

 

What Can Be Done With A Piece Of Blue Fabric

Recently I went to the Houston Quilt Show and the quilts I saw there were spectacular.  Of course I was drawn to the blue and white ones because that’s just how I roll. And I began to think of what could be done if you had just one piece of blue fabric. Maybe not dozens, but just one. Not a shopful , just one.

Well some people are really good at answering that question. I started to see some of the quilts in a new light. Here are some of the pretties I saw in one day.

Is this one wonderful or what?  It is a garden with bugs and all.  Here is a closeup of the ants.Too cute, right?

I adore this one!  All the different baskets and the handles at all different angles. This one reminds me of whirligigs. Maybe I’m showing my age and some of you don’t know what whirligigs are, but they look just like this quilt.  Tee Hee!

How fantastic is this?!  It’s like looking through many little stained glass windows. Or maybe a dozen or more blue snowflakes. Anyway this one is truly great! I really like the assymetrical look of this quilt. I don’t usually think that way, but I love it when others do.All the blue here is in the background. Another thing I seldom think of, but love it when others do it.What a great illusion this creates from a distance. And all those tiny pieces! My goodness!I can’t even imagine how this quilt was made! I’m so impressed! The Flying Geese are beyond spectacular!Another quilt where most of the blue is in the background. Love that starburst!Here is my favorite blue and white. Can’t go wrong with the standard color combination. The piecing that went into this beauty is beyond my imagination. It looks 3-D. A very modern looking design but the blue and white coloring draws me in.There are no words for this one! It looks like it is moving! Hard to accomplih with pieces of fabric. But very well done by this quilter.

And this was not all the ones that were there, just the ones that I saw. What a lovely day! My blue and white love was well met by the wonderful quilters at Houston.  And I wish to thank each one for filling my heart as well as my eyes full of beauty and craftsmanship.

If this much can be done with blue, can you imagine what can be done with  all the colors of the rainbow?

Retreat Revisited

Ah quilt retreat! There is nothing like it. Four days of sewing, chatting, sharing, laughing, eating and maybe some sleeping. There is lots of humming of machines, questions like “Does this border go with this fabric?”, answers of “I prefer the blue!”, whirring of rotary cutters and even some quiet times of hand sewing. One person can be absorbed in reading directions, two people can be sharing a new technique, three people can be giving an opinion on placement of blocks for a quilt and any number of people an be taking a class on a brilliant idea or some new sewing notion.

A retreat is many things and can be anything to one person. Maybe it’s a chance to finish that project . . . . finally. Maybe it’s a chance to start a new project . . . . finally. And maybe it’s just time, time to sew and sew and sew on anything and everything you have. It’s the freedom to do whatever you want.

Ah quilt retreat! Looking forward to it is a joy. Experiencing it is true heaven. Even the memories of it are a blessing. Here are a few of mine.

This is just one block for a quilt done in appliqué. Can you imagine how spectacular that quilt will be?

This quilt looks like it was woven. And it is made out of flannel. What a coy hug it will give on cold nights.

A beautiful Christmas tree already for the holiday.

A beautiful quilt done in squares. Very modern looking.

Is this too cute? I love the baby penguin!

A wonderful red, white and blue star quilt. Love those stars!

This quilt is big, beautiful and not even done yet. There will be more poinsettias when completed. How perfect will that be?

A quilt of foxes is being worked on here. How adorable!

A little Christmas village just got finished here in this cute quilt.

Several of us took lessons on making stars the Inklingo way. Here are our results.

This spectacular one is made from a zillion little pieces of fabric applied to the background. Isn’t it wonderful?

 

I love the brightness of this quilt. Must be all those primary colors.

This is going to be a great quilt when it is done. Don’t you agree?

Another very interesting quilt. The blocks are going in all directions. Love the clocks!

This quilt is very soft looking. I bet it is very comforting too.

Here is a special quilt of several blocks of the Lady of Guadalupe. It was made for a special friend. Lucky lady!

This is not exactly a quilt but still a real cutie. It is a wool mat for a platter. It is all done by hand with much embellishment.

A complicated quilt that is very lovely to behold. Can’t wait till this one is done.

This one looks very hard but actually it is the fabric that is printed to look like 36 square blocks. Interesting, right?

This is all I can show you of the marvelous retreat I went to. The best parts are the  intangibles. They are the relationships we all have and the history of many retreats and gatherings over the years. They are the hours spent in each others’ company through good times and bad. They are the words spoken between us over coffee, tea and wine, sharing meals, ideas and feelings.

All these things we carry in our hearts until the next time we meet. Be it tomorrow or next year. Nothing is lost or forgotten. Retreat is forever!