Tag Archives: Memories

Smoky Never Won

30 Apr

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

DiVoran on Smoky, , Granddad holding Smoky, Daddy’s legs

 

 

Smoky was Grandad’s Horse
Bought when G. moved to Colorado.
He and grandmother joined
The saddle club and
When they gave up riding
I got Grandmother’s boots.
When Granddad was a guard at the prison
Smoky was a runner
My Daddy was the jockey
Thin and spare
Good rider, but never won.

Warden, Granddad’s boss, Sir!
Had horses too and ran them
He picked the prisoners to ride
Vicious men who had to win.
Warden told Dad to hold Smoky back.
Dad asked if just once
He could get a fair chance.
Warden said, “Not on your life!”
Everybody knew who to bet on.
And Smoky never won.

A Judgement Call

8 Apr

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

 

Recently, I was a judge….you know…Judge Judy. You see, our church includes a school/academy. It started out with a daycare and one kindergarten class. It now goes through 8th grade, some with multiple classes for each grade. So some of the children who started in the daycare have been with the school their entire school experience.

 

Regency Christian Academy Knights

 

I was the church secretary for nearly nine years. Fairly early on in my secretarial position, one of the kindergarten teachers told her class, as they were marching down the hallway, to have their “hands behind their back, and bubbles in their mouth.” That way, they couldn’t touch each other or talk. It was quite nice to have this quiet parade of children walking in front of our offices.

But soon, I found I would enjoy standing in my office doorway to watch them pass by, and “pop” their bubbles. I made the “popping” sound myself, but the children thought they had done it. Many smiling faces followed on down the hallway. And even today, if I see some of those children – now in high school – they will approach me with “bubbles” in their mouth! They still remember the “bubble lady” who popped their bubbles!

The school has a really good reputation. Some years ago, there was a man who came to enroll his child in our school. He and his family were fairly new to the area, but he made the statement to me that “we may not worship at this church, but I definitely want my children to go to this school!” That has stayed with me, all these years. The school does its best to BE the best it can be for the students. They get all the usual subjects to study, but the classes are smaller, and the students have more of the teacher’s attention. I’ve been a proctor for some of the testing, and the students usually score quite well on their standardized tests. Our school is not like the public schools where, I’ve been told by other teachers, that they have to “teach the test” rather than teaching the subject. That encourages me.

There are several “contests” that the school holds. Every year they have a science fair. Fred is usually asked to be one of the judges for the science fair, and he’s happy to do just that. He enjoys what the children come up with to show off their “scientific” skills. He’s also a fair judge, which makes him a good candidate for judging. He said that he actually started judging science fairs back in the 1980’s, probably when we were in Heidelberg, Germany. He did some regional judging when we lived in Virginia. And he’s been asked to judge the science fairs at our church school for several years now, and enjoys doing that. He will be judging our school’s science fair in the near future.

Here are some pictures from a recent science fair:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fred and the other judges hearing about a project

 

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

Black

12 Mar

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

Painting by DiVoran Lites

 

 

I like black, it goes with everything,

Makes me look pale and ethereal

Don’t like my coffee black, though.

 

Mother hated black because…

She had to sew a slew of tiny black buttons

On her Mother’s funeral dress.

 

Red was out for Mother, too,

Especially for church.

It was the color for floozies

 

I wear red to church

I wear black to church

It goes with everything.

 

I like to wear white.

I had a white nylon uniform when I

Worked in the beauty salon.

 

I washed it every night.

When I was pregnant I wore a halter

So my shoulders could help carry.

 

Black is the color of sleep

White is the all-color-ness of purity

Red is the color of our blood

Christ’s blood, too.

Tea Party

5 Mar

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

 

 

 

My friends love tea parties and so do I.
Grandmother Marie left me her
Collection of fancy teacups and
Mother Dora gave me her creme1940-s
“Ovenware” Tea Pot with flowers on it.
Mother told me all the stories in her world.

 

I heard about when she was a young mother
With two small kiddies. Every day
She would cook oatmeal on a coal stove
Like the one she was cleaning
Just before she went into labor
And had to go to the hospital g-r-u-n-g-y…

 

In those days the men went away
And the women held down the fort
Dora kept a clean, uncluttered house
After every meal.
She washed and dried the dishes
She gathered eggs,
Milked the goat
At five years old, I got to sit on the front step
And drink a glass of hot foamy milk
Dora fed chickens and gathered eggs.

 

Sewed clothes, repaired clothes
Washed clothes
Hung them on the line
To be examined by the neighbors.
And Grandmother Marie.

 

Early every morning
Mother hurried with her work so
She could dress up and
Walk her children down the block to
A neighbor or neighbors
Wanting to save her own cleaning effort
She couldn’t stay long
She had letters to write
To Daddy who was at the front.

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—–

 

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