Tag Archives: Memories

Memories of New Mexico~Part 10

30 Apr

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 More random memories….

 

I remember going to what is called “Old Town” in downtown Albuquerque. It will always hold a special place in my heart. It has become quite a tourist attraction.

 

Credit Google Search

The official website states:

Centered around the plaza, Albuquerque’s Old Town encompasses about ten blocks of historic adobe buildings.

 

Just to be technical, this is what the back of this postcard I’ve scanned says:

Founded in 1706 by Don Francisco Cuervo y Valdes, he honored his patron saint, Francisco Xavier and the Duke of Alburquerque, Viceroy of New Spain, by called the villa San Francisco de Albqurquerque. The first “r” was later dropped, and the town became Albuquerque. The official website states: Square at the point where Spanish Governor Cuervo y Valdes officially founded Albuquerque in 1706.

 

 

There is a “plaza” in the center of Old Town with a gazebo – that is occasionally used as a bandstand. According to the official website: Plazas were a common feature of Spanish colonial towns.

 

 

The back of this scanned postcard informs us:

This view of Old Town Plaza shows the bandstand and the famous San Felipe de Neri Church, founded in 1706. The original adobe church was destroyed by fire. This church was built in 1793 and still serves the spiritual needs of Albuquerque.

 

 

 This scanned postcard tells:

Built in the early 1700’s, shortly after the villa of Albuquerque was founded, San Felipe still serves the spiritual needs of Old Albuquerque.

While the gazebo is at the center of a small “park,” the park is ringed with shops and eateries (and the church) that were former houses made into shops.

 

Karen and Janet in a shop in Old Town

 

There were two Mexican restaurants there, side by side, that were my favorites. It seemed like there was always a running competition between them. And at point in time, one would have the best food, and then later, the other one would have the best food. And we would never be able to tell which one was running high at the time we wanted to dine there.

Each of them had wonderful Indian/Mexican artwork on it’s walls. I seem to remember that both of them had living trees growing in several of the rooms. And I remember that, in the corner of the main entrance to La Placita (the Palace – actually it was the Governor’s Palace for a while), there was a small fireplace. They usually burned pine wood there, and the fragrance was wonderful! Perhaps they added something to make the smell so good, but that is a fragrance that I looked forward to inhaling.

The other restaurant was La Hacienda. I remember the Native Americans sitting under the canopy of the restaurants, along the street, with their beads and silver jewelry on display for sale to any and all who walked by. Perhaps this is not unique to the Indian/Mexican culture in Albuquerque (I think this tradition is also in Santa Fe). This scanned postcard tells us: Indians display their good for sale outside the famous La Placita Dining Room in Old Albuquerque.

 

 

 

 

They had some really beautiful things there, too. Here is a photo that I took, just before we headed to Germany for our second tour. It was June 1979, and our girls were quite young. In any case, this shows how the items for sale were arranged.

 

Janet looking at some Indian wares

 

Another event that took place in Old Town happened on my 18th birthday. It was on a Sunday that year, and we had gone to church, as usual. Following the service, there was a world-renown violinist that was to give a concert in our church that evening, and he was practicing in the sanctuary. Mom and Dad wanted to stay and listen for a while, since they would not be able to hear the concert. We stayed for 15 minutes or so, and then headed out. They asked me to drive from the church to Old Town, and we had planned to eat at La Placita. I let them out to get a table while I parked the car. When I entered the restaurant, the host led me through several rooms until we found our way into one of the larger rooms. As I turned the corner – about 12 of my best girlfriends began singing “Happy Birthday” to me! I was in shock! What a surprise my parents had planned for me! But a happy surprise, for sure.

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memories of New Mexico~Part 9

23 Apr

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

More random memories….

 

A fun memory is of the winters in Albuquerque. It can get quite cold there,

 

 

and when the milkman delivered the milk to our back door – we would find that the liquid had “frozen” and the cream on top had pushed the cardboard liner out of the neck of the bottle, and it was standing several inches above the top of the bottle – with the paper cover on top! We always got a laugh out of that!

 

Daddy shoveling a pathway to the street.

18″ of snowfall this time.

 

While there was a doorbell button outside the front of the house, if one passed through the screened area, then you had to knock on the wooden front door to enter the house proper. Another interesting point is that there was also a doorbell button at the back door of the house! I had never seen that before – or since. It had a little different tone to it, so we knew someone was at the back door, rather than the front door.

I remember there was a huge weeping willow tree in the back yard. I remember it, especially, because when it was time for me to get a spanking, my parents made me go out and “pick out” the “switch” with which I was going to get my spanking! And if the switch wasn’t to their liking, then I had to go get another one! Fortunately, I don’t remember getting too many “switches” like that! When my parents put in the concrete fence, they moved the clothes lines to behind the garage – and it gave the back yard much more open space. And the weeping willow tree was gone!!

I remember starting piano lessons the day I started first grade. I would ride the bus from near our house to my piano teacher’s house – by myself at age six – clear across town. Of course, “across town” wasn’t too long a ride then. It was somewhere around 10+ miles travel. And remember – times were simpler then – and safer. My parents had no problem with my riding the bus by myself. It was a great adventure for a 6-year-old child!

 

Me at our old upright piano – notice my hair in pigtails!

 

Eventually, my teacher persuaded my parents to let her come to our house and teach the “northeast heights” students at our house. She wouldn’t charge for my lessons. So my parents purchased our new piano (which I still have), and the lessons began.

 


Our beautiful new piano

 

For the most part, I think my parents were glad to have them there. The only time they didn’t like it was when one of the students put an apple core down the toilet and plugged it up! What a mess that was!

 

I seldom saw my mother afraid of anything, but one time I did, and we had a good laugh out of it – after she calmed down. I’ve written about our cats – and especially the one who stayed with us the longest, Boots, or Bootsie, if you were baby-talking to him. He was a good old cat, and we really loved him. He was both an inside and outside cat, and back in those days, cats were not declawed, so he had his full complement of claws. For many years, Daddy had an apricot tree back behind the garage. Boots would go out and just sit and wait for the birds in the tree. Eventually, he would catch one. I never saw him actually catch the bird (my brother, Bill, says that he would shoot the birds with his bb-gun, and then Boots would pounce on it), but then Boot would bring it to the back door and just yowl until one of us – usually Mother – would find it, praise Boots for being such a good boy, and then he would kill and eat the bird.

 

Bill, myself and Boots

 

All that story to say that, there was one evening, after dark, Mother and I were coming home. As she parked the car in the driveway, we thought we saw “something” streak up and over the fence onto the patio. But neither of us were sure. That is, until she opened the back door – and in ran a mouse! Mother was absolutely dancing from foot- to-foot trying to get away from that mouse!! The funniest thing then happened: Boots came out of nowhere – and that mouse ran right into his mouth!! All you could see was that tale swinging back and forth! He took it outside – after we had praised him effusively – and made quick work of that mouse. And that is the last mouse we ever saw in our house!

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

Critter in the Attic

19 Apr

 

A Slice of Life

By Bill Lites

DiVoran and I moved to East Central Florida in 1965 and bought our first brand new house. At the time, the area was booming with the Manned Space Program, and the construction industry couldn’t keep up with the demand for new houses. Our new house was located in a small new sub-division, and was typical for the time and area; concrete block construction, with pitched roof, jalousie windows, and minimal insulation.

 

 

Having both been born and raised in the southwest, we were not used to the heat and humidity here in Florida. As a result, I spent a lot of my spare time during those first several years in the attic building board walkways, installing lights, and wiring ceiling fans for every room in the house.

 

 

There were stories of how the contractors were cutting corners to meet their schedules and reduce costs. We didn’t pay a lot of attention to the stories at first, as we were just happy to have been able to find and buy a new house in such a “Buyer’s Market” so quick. However, working in the attic gave me a good idea of some of those shortcuts.

 

 

For instance, the attic insulation was very flimsy. It was made of Aluminum coated corrugated craft paper! Try to imagine, in the picture below, that the top and bottom layers are corrugated craft paper (somehow bonded together) with the aluminum coating on the outside surfaces. The aluminum coating, we were told, was supposedly to reflect the radiant heat from of the sun. The open area between the top and bottom layers was an “insulating air space” to keep the heat from reaching the ceiling. I can’t imagine how any building industry standards organization could have ever approved such a flimsy and ridiculous design. But, there it was. And of course, there was NO insulation of any kind over the garage area.

 

 

DiVoran and I always had pets while growing up, and of course we had to have a pet to go with our new house. Our beautiful long-haired gray and white tabby’s name was “Pepper” and he was a very active in-door addition to our family. I can’t remember just when the following episode occurred, but suffice it to say it was some years after our move to Florida.

 

 

In the middle of the night, I woke to hear what sounded like a small critter in the attic above our bedroom. It sounded like it would scurry around quickly, on that flimsy craft paper insulation in the attic, and then it would stop and I could hear it gnaw on something. Then it would scurry around some more, and then back to gnawing. For the next few nights, I pondered on how I was going to get rid of that pesky critter. I could just see it gnawing through the insulation on an electric wire and starting a fire. And, I didn’t want it to make a home in our attic and start raising a family to add to the potential problem. Then I believe God gave me an inspired idea!

 

 

The next evening I put Pepper in the attic and closed the access door. He circled the access door a few times, meowing. When he finally realized I wasn’t going to open the access door and let him out, I heard him walking across the craft paper insulation to the vent holes in the soffit.

 

 

He kept moving from one vent hole to the next, looking for a way to get out of the attic. He progressed around two whole sides of the house until he got to our bedroom, when his movements stopped. All this time our pesky critter had been busy gnawing and scurrying around its usual area of the attic, just above our bedroom light fixture. There was silence from Pepper for a full minute, while the critter kept gnawing. Then there was a loud thump! And then complete silence. We heard no more sounds from the attic for the rest of the night.

 

 

The next morning, I opened the attic access door and called Pepper. It took him a while, but then I saw him walking toward me on the walk-way board, meowing all the way. I lifted him down and he seemed happy to be back in the house with his family. As it turned out, we never had another problem with critters in our attic. Who knows, maybe Pepper left his scent up there, and it deterred any other adventuresome critters from making a home in our attic. Whatever the case, we are happy they have stayed away. Just in case you were wondering, we did put some real insulation in our attic not too long after that.

 

 

 

—–The End—–

 

Memories of New Mexico~Part 8

16 Apr

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

 

More random memories….

 

Our house in Albuquerque wasn’t really all that big. I’ve just looked it up on Google, and am informed that it was built in 1940 (we moved into it in 1945) and has 1,056 square feet of living space. I didn’t realize it was that large. But it had three bedrooms and one bath, separated living room from the dining room, and a kitchen.

 

 

It is near an elementary school and a middle school (a Junior High School in my day), and not too far from the University of New Mexico (UNM), from which my husband, Fred graduated. Unfortunately, I flunked out of UNM….but that’s another story (too much Fred, not enough study).It was always a nice neighborhood to live in, and grow up in. There were a lot of children within that entire area, and we all went to the same schools.

I’ve mentioned before that my parents really worked that house and yard, until it was a thing of beauty. Perhaps not the largest house, but my parents made it a home, and we were quite comfortable there.

I remember that the sprinkler valves were right by the front door, off to the side. We had a long metal pole that we used to turn on or turn off the sprinklers. We didn’t have to use our hands, and we didn’t get wet while doing so. I also remember my father purchasing sheep manure to spread on the front lawn every Spring. I’m sure the neighbors hated that time of year – because our yard smelled so bad! But boy! did we have the best-looking yard around!

Sorry about the double-exposure! But this shows the lush front yard we had, and the forsythia bush under the window

I know it’s not my house anymore, but I’m almost distressed to see, by the pictures on Google Zillow, that the current owners have completely done away with the front lawn grass, and put in rocks (xeriscape). I know that saves on water consumption, but…. There are a few flower pots in the yard, but no lush grass. The tree my father planted in the front yard is still there, and is a beautiful shade tree. The pampas grass is completely gone as well.

There were large evergreen trees on each side of the front of the house, and they are gone. Mother had a lovely forsythia bush under her bedroom window – but it’s gone, too. And remember when I described the screened-in front porch where we would spend so much time in the summers? It is now glassed-in. I’m sure it makes for more useable space, but I really liked that screened-in area.

I do see that the city has done away with that house-to-street concrete sidewalk requirement, and now the new owners have a lovely stone walk. I liked the original one we had – it was made from slate stone and curvy, however.

 

Note the curvy sidewalk

 

While the front yard wasn’t terribly large, the back yard made up for it. It was quite large. From this picture, you will see that, when we first arrived, there was the stereotypical white picket fence in the back yard.

 

Bill, Daddy and me by the back door…notice the picket fence

 

At some point, my parents put in a concrete-block fence. They also made a little “cut out” in the fence for the garbage cans. The alley way was behind the house, between our house and the house behind us. I kind of liked that.

 

My brother, Bill, with his young daughter in our back yard she loved to “swim” in Grandmother’s galvanized tub clothes line to the left; garbage can cutout to the right peach tree behind Bill that Daddy pampered.

 

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

 

 

What’s in a Name

5 Feb

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

Have you ever considered your name? I mean, really thought about your name…why you were given the name you have…if you were named after someone…if so, who and why? And do you think that you were only given a middle name so you would know when you were in trouble?

In olden times, names were given to a child, and that child was expected to “live up” to the meaning of that name.

Perhaps because I’m older now, but I wonder about things like that. I remember asking my in-laws to give me their childhood memories. My Father-in-law started in with the statement “Don’t you know that within five generations you have a million people? There’s no way I can give you that!”

When I explained that I didn’t want those millions – I only wanted his memories, and my Mother-in-law’s memories, and he said, “Oh!” And that’s how the memories book came to be. They were true to their word and we have some wonderful memories about themselves, that would have been lost if I hadn’t insisted.

 

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Within that memories book, are the stories of how their four children were named. When my husband was born, Fred’s mother wrote: We took a long time deciding on his name, but we finally decided to name him for his two grandfathers. They both had the name Charles, so we took the Charles from the Wills side and Frederic from my side (Dad Wills had an initial only for his second name! His parents could not agree on Henry or Harry so named him Charles H. Wills!)

 

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And because both Grandfathers as well as Fred’s Dad were named Charles, they called him Fred. So he is Fred today – except for the military. They insist on “First name, Middle initial, Last name.” No exceptions. It was sometimes difficult, since both of their names were Charles F. Wills.

I do know that Fred’s middle sister is somewhat named after Fred’s mother. She was Charlotte Emily, and Fred’s sister is Emily Ann.

 

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Within Dad’s memories, he told of how they named the twins, when they were born. He wrote: ……made a friend in the person of the Company Commander of Company L, a First Lieutenant Earl S. Eaves…… He became a life-long friend: our twins, Larry and Sally, are named after him and his wife, Sally. We gave his name Earl to Larry as his middle name.

 

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Fred’s Mother told me once that there was actually a fourth daughter born in her family, Lillian Elspeth. But she only lived to be two years old, and then died of spinal meningitis. Sally was named Sally Elspeth. When I told Sally about this, she was surprised, as her Mother had never told her that story.

On my side of this family, my maternal Grandmother was Addie Mae.

 

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She named her first daughter Jessie Mae.

 

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My Mother was named Agnes Anita,

 

5c

 

and they named me Judith Anita.

 

5d

 

I also remember my Aunt Jessie telling me that sometimes, when Granny was upset with either of them, she would get exasperated and yell “Jagnes!!” They weren’t sure just who Granny was upset with, but they both knew they were in trouble!

My father was one of 13 children, and they named him William Jacob.

 

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When my brother was born, they named him after my father, version 2.

 

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When my brother’s son was born, they named him William David (David after my sister-in-law’s brother).

 

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All-in-all, we decided that, if we had sons, there would be NO Charleses and NO Williams! There had been enough of both in our families. But we only had daughters, so there was no problem!

So…..what’s in YOUR name?

 

 

Tied up in Knots

15 Jan

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

In previous musings, I’ve mentioned that I really enjoy crocheting. My favorite thing to crochet is an afghan, in shell stitch. I use big, thick yarn, and a large hook. It goes quite fast, and I like the way it looks.

I have tried knitting – even took lessons at one time – but I could never get anything to fit! Even after making a sample swatch, when the product was finished – it just didn’t fit. It was either too big or too small. Every time. So I gave up on knitting.

And then there was another “phase” that came through – macramé. I never really tried my hand at it, but did enjoy some of the items that my friends made from that. Along about Thanksgiving time, I did a post on the macramé pilgrim that hangs on our front door. He’s rather adorable.

 

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A former sister-in-law made a large purse for me, out of black macramé yarn. I carried it all around Europe on our 3-year-tour there, and really enjoyed it.

My best friend’s husband was in the U.S. Navy for a while, and learned to tie all those knots – and the names for them. When she told him she would like a plant hanger, he got to work and actually made her a lovely, hanging “table” – made with those “knots” – where she could put her plants, and hung it from the ceiling in their family room. I was so envious!! It was gorgeous!!

Okay, all that to say that I am not very savvy about knots. I do know that to make a really secure knot, you must make a “square” knot – and I’ve learned how to do that.

 

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I know about “slip knots” that I use in my crocheting. So I know a little bit about knots.

I can’t remember just where I first saw a cleat with a rope wrapped around it, so that the boat would be anchored at the dock. But somewhere I saw it once, and it caught my fancy. I thought it was a rather interesting way of wrapping a rope – in a figure-eight, but it would definitely make it secure to the dock.

 

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Credit Google search

 

Remember now – I am NOT a boat person! So why this caught my eye, I don’t know. However, it stuck in my mind. Some time later, I was visiting a good friend and her family, and they decided it was a nice time to take their boat out for a spin. When we docked, she handed me the rope and told me to tie it around the cleat as best I could. The memory of the way it was wrapped popped into my mind, and I just wrapped it as I remembered seeing it. When my friend’s husband went to untie the rope, he stopped and nearly shouted – “WHO TIED THIS ROPE?” I thought to myself, “I am in deep trouble now!” I meekly said, “I did.” He looked at me and said, “where did you learn to do this?” He nearly flipped out when I told him I had just seen it….once. He sputtered, “ONCE??…YOU SAW IT ONCE…and you can tie it like this?   I’ve been trying to teach Lynn to do this ever since we purchased the boat!” That certainly made me feel pretty good about myself! I had learned something about “knots” just by observing it done once.

Sometimes this old brain really DOES retain important “stuff!”

Why I Joined the Navy

28 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

It all started one day when my friend, Bud, and I were complaining, to each other, about how hard it was to get the attention of the girls in town. The problem, as we saw it, was that we had too much competition. You see, we lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and in the mid-50s, there were two military bases located there. Sandia Base (AFSWP) was situated on the southeast edge of town, and Kirkland Air Force Base was located on the southwest part of town. Between the two bases, the number of guys seen in U.S. Air Force uniforms, on any given day, on the streets of Albuquerque was overwhelming.

 

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We were both approaching draft age, and were worried our number would come up soon. Bud’s idea was to kill two birds with one stone; 1, we would join the branch of service of our choice (and avoid the Army draft). This would allow us to legally wear a military uniform on the streets of Albuquerque, and greatly increase our chances of attracting the girls. And 2, as it turned out, since the Navy was our choice, they had a reserve unit right there in town (much different uniform). As we saw it, we would only have to go to reserve meetings once a month (how bad could that be?). Then after the meetings, and still in our uniforms, we could hit the streets on the prowl. Great idea, right? Well, as you might have guessed, the Navy welcomed us with open arms. Just sign on the dotted line “Dummy.” Right away they issued us these swell looking uniforms. Sexy, looking aren’t they!

 

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OK, so white uniforms looked a little sloppy. It’s hard to make a skinny kid look smart in a loose fitting uniform, without the leggings, belt, white gloves, and the pretty orange scarf. Now you do have to admit, the dress blue uniform looks a lot smarter, with all that extra gear. But hey, we were just kids playing around! What did we know?

 

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The things the Navy didn’t tell us, when we signed up, was what we would have to do at those monthly meetings; like all the marching we would have to do out on the “Grinder” in all kinds of weather; the many shots they gave us, for every kind of disease known to man (some made my arm sore for a week); having to learn how to tie all those crazy looking knots, and each one of those knots had a name we had to learn; then there was the Morse Code system we had to learn, and that crazy Signal Flag Semaphore system. It was worse than high school, with even more homework! And what was worse, when we stopped at the A&W Root Beer drive-in to check out the girls, many of our friends laughed their heads off. They couldn’t believe we thought we were going to impress the girls in those silly looking uniforms.

 

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It wasn’t long after I joined the Reserves, that I met DiVoran. And what do you know? She really liked my uniforms, and thought I looked great in them. That made the whole adventure worth it. However, it didn’t take long for me to realize that this Reserve thing was not just a game that I could quit any time I wanted to. I was stuck with what I had signed up for and was going to have to see it through.

 

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Of course, I don’t think my friend, Bud, had ever intended to see it through. When he found out that the Navy uniforms didn’t get the kind of reaction from the girls he had expected, he stopped going to meetings. The next thing I knew, the Navy was looking for him. He disappeared from the area, and later I heard the FBI was looking for him. Some friend, huh? I eventually got tired of all those Reserve meetings, and went into the regular Navy, to fulfil my required active service and get it over with. And that is about the gist of this story. You’ll have to read the blog series, “You’re In The Navy Now”  for the rest of the story of where this foolish idea led me.

 

—–The End—–

Out in the Cold

18 Dec

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

I was a stay-at-home mom for over 20 years while my husband, Fred, was active duty in the U.S. Air Force. I had worked in an office setting all the years before, but once our daughters started to arrive, we decided we could live on one salary – and we did.

 

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Credit Google search

 

However, once Fred retired from the Air Force, jobs were difficult for him to find, so I considered dusting off my typing skills and look for a job for myself.

I thought that I would try temp work first, just to get my hand back in the work environment. So I contacted Kelly Girls (now Kelly Services) – and they essentially told me that they didn’t want me. Big blow to my ego. So the next step was Manpower. And they welcomed me with open arms.

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Credit Google search

I took a typing test at their facility – and we were all amazed that I still was typing about 70+ correct words per minute!

The first office where they placed me was with the Colonial Williamsburg mail-order center. I was mainly there to file, but at least it was a job.

 

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Credit Google Search

I found it rather interesting, and became quite impressed with the quality of product they shipped. My Aunt Jessie was an antique nut, so one time I sent her a catalog of all the furniture that CW had – but without the price list! I just wanted her to enjoy looking at all that beautiful, re-created furniture.

At that point in time, we were existing with one car, so Fred usually drove me to work and picked me up after. I went to work one morning, with a weather report of an ice storm approaching. By about 10:00 a.m., the storm hit, and all the employees were told to head home. I tried time and again to reach Fred by phone (we had no cell phones at that time in our lives), but he never answered. I had determined to wait outside the main gate until he came to get me. However, when the maintenance guy found me about the head out into the storm (in high heeled shoes and a puny coat – no raincoat or gloves or hat), he insisted that we wait inside until Fred arrived.

 

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Credit Google Search

We waited for about 45 minutes before Fred finally called. He said he had been sitting on the “parking lot” of U.S. 17 for all that time, and was just finally able to pull off in Yorktown to call (that’s only about eight miles from our house!). So I told him to get on the Colonial Parkway and come up to Virginia Route-199.

 

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Credit Google Search

There was a hotel there, not far from where I was working, and I would wait there for him.   That allowed the maintenance guy to lock up and head to his own home, and Fred wouldn’t have to drive all the way into Williamsburg for me.

And so we did. He dropped me off and headed home, while I went inside and got a cup of coffee. I paid $2.50 for that cup of coffee – and I don’t really like coffee!!

The next work day (two days later), I picked up a cheese tray to take to the maintenance guy as a thank-you, and for his family for waiting for him.

It’s a memory that has stayed with me. God certainly had me in His hands during that situation, and I’m grateful.

 

Christmas Dinner “Take Out”

15 Dec

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

The Christmas dinner I wrote about last week, gave me an unexpected “take out.” I didn’t ask for it and would have gladly left it there, but alas, it was somehow sent home with me and for the next twelve days I found myself changed into a cough factory. To complicate matters, I decided to bring out my stubborn panties and refused to see a doctor. After nine days, I waved the tissue of surrender and visited a walk in clinic. And voila, three days later I am on the mend.

As I am writing this, the sweet Holy Spirit tapped me on my heart, reminding me that the nasty cough is a learning opportunity. The next time I get my panties in a wad, don’t wait until I am miserable before taking the problem to the ultimate physician.

Ok, moving on… At our home in the North Carolina mountains, I like to celebrate the seasons and my favorite way is with an entryway display. I am not a crafty sort of person. Well, I can be devious, but I am talking about being crafty in an artsy sort of way, so this is a stretch for me. Over Thanksgiving I asked Rebekah to help me do something special for Christmas. I have an old Windsor chair that is the central piece. ( I think my mother rescued it from a trash heap)

Usually, I add a woven basket and fill it with shiny Christmas ball and pinecones, but this year I wanted to change it up. Our town in Florida recently was blessed with a Hobby Lobby store and the abundance of Christmas stems had me itching to use them.

I wanted the items in the display to have a story and as my mind make a mental inventory of items I could repurpose, I remembered a butter churn that came from my grandparents farm. It was old and dull and the paddle was broken. It lived at my parents home. One year my mother and husband worked together to give it a fresh coat of paint and fashion a new paddle. They gave it to me as a Christmas gift, a labor of love and I have treasured it. I decided it would make a perfect “vase”.

Rebekah helped me choose white, glittery poinsettia to go with the rather dashing red and green spray-ish  stem I had chosen to give it height. In some leftover Christmas supplies I found  red mesh ribbon and we tied it around the churn and attached a glittery bow ornament. ( Can you tell I am in a glittery phase) Now the poor paddle looked naked and lonely, so I rummaged through discarded tree decorations and found some tightly wound tinsel. We wrapped it around the paddle handle and it looked good, but was missing something. Rebekah pulled out a tree topper that was too heavy for our current tree. It is made of beaten metal and the lights gleam through Mickey Mouse ear shaped holes. Perfect!

For the chair, I decided to use a precious quilt a friend had made for me out of pieces of my mother’s favorite clothes.  We spread it over the chair, then placed a white stuffed bear, a discard from a grandchild, on the seat. I thought he looked a bit bare, so I went through drawers and found a pair of Sponge Bob Square Pants Christmas boxers. They were used one Christmas when the whole family wore Christmas PJs.  I slid them on and although they are too big and droopy, I like them. Memories are better than making a fashion statement. We added a Christmas pillow and a couple of small stuffed friends and the display was complete. It certainly is not elegant but the glow I feel when I pass it, makes it beautiful to me.

christmas-churn-copy

If you look closely you can see the star lights on the paddle top, peeping through the shiny stem.

Ten days until Christmas!

God Has Been Watching Over Me~Part 5

7 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

After we were married, DiVoran and I moved to Inglewood, CA for me to go to college. I was still using the 1955 Harley Davidson Sportster for my main means of transportation (yes, she married me even after that night at the River Bottom). One weekend my lovely new wife and I went on a “Poker Run” with the local Motorcycle Club.* On the way home, after the event, I had let DiVoran drive the motorcycle for a while. I had unconsciously been guiding the motorcycle around slow turns with my weight from the back seat. When we came upon a sharper curve she kept going straight! I reached around her to grab the handlebars, but she wouldn’t let go!! Luckily, with my hands on hers and my extra weight, I was able to get us around that turn and avoid a 200 foot flying drop to the desert floor. We stopped to get our breaths back, and DiVoran never wanted to drive that motorcycle again. There is no question in my mind that God was watching over DiVoran and me with His wings of protection that day!

 

1

 

We didn’t live far from the university or DiVoran’s beauty shop work place, so I rode the motorcycle to school and she drove our 1950 Mercury to work. If you have ever been to the Los Angeles, California area you know what the weather can be like. The fog rolls in every evening and by morning everything is wet, including the streets. Luckily, my route to school was on neighbor streets and not very busy, like U.S.-101 or Century Blvd. One morning on my way to school a lady pulled out of a side street right in front of me. She was looking to the right as she pulled out into traffic and by the time she looked left, in my direction, she was in the middle of my lane and she stopped! I had clamped on both front and rear brakes, but on the wet street, I slid right into the side of her car. Our meeting at that neighborhood intersection, a few seconds earlier or later, and that could have been a deadly accident for me. This had to be God’s timing, as nobody was hurt, only repairable fender damage to car and motorcycle.

 

2

 

Some days at lunch time (if I didn’t have a class) I would ride my motorcycle over to the beauty shop in downtown Inglewood, where Divoran was working, to have lunch with her. There was a wide sweeping curve on Crenshaw Blvd, just before I got to the beauty shop, that was easy on the motorcycle. This one day as I was rounding that curve I hit an oil slick; one second I was enjoying the ride around that curve, and the next second I was on the pavement sliding across three lanes into the curb. This was another case were God had miraculously arranged the traffic on that busy street, in both directions, to be clear while I was sliding across that street burning the skin off my leg and hip. Thanks to Him I only ended up with a case of Road-Rash instead of becoming a case of Road-Kill.

 

3

 

 

—–To Be Continued—–

 

*See Bill’s blog “Death Valley Run”- 6/06/2012.

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