Saturday, June 28, 2008

Computer crashed

sorry but my laptop died and it's another week until I can get back to my son Daniel in Utah who fixes things for me SO I'll be incommunicato...enjoy life. Leave comments and I'll catch up with in the future. Life is interesting.

Yin Yang writing

Been working on the next chapter in my Writing the Natural Way book by Gabriele Rico. It's on yin yang and tension in your writing. We were to cluster opposite words, here's:


So now comes the time
To decide, to go forward
Or stagnate, resist change
Stay with the status quo
Avoid the opportunities
Presented because of fears
What ifs obscure what could bes
Indecision takes us nowhere

Visions and dreams remain
Just that until some action
Is taken, decide now
Or forever remain boxed in,
Drained by regrets, chained
To the past, without a future
No rewards or growth
Just escape and mediocrity

Friday, June 27, 2008

Article #11 Family Reunions

As summer comes, it’s time for family reunions. When I was younger, they weren’t formalized once-a-year occasions. Every holiday was a reason to gather together. Nowadays, a family reunion is for one common ancestor and all their descend-ants. You could be involved in several reunions from different branches of your family tree but the modern pace of life is replacing many of our traditions from the past. Many families no longer hold these special get togethers. Young people aren’t too interested in being dragged to reunions to meet relatives they don’t know. 

This year I’m in charge of our Johnson reunion for my second great grandmother Vilborg Thordardottir who came to Spanish Fork, Utah from Iceland in 1874. Her descendants will meet together as part of the annual Icelandic Day’s celebration. The day is organized with children’s activities, cultural displays and authentic food available for purchase. In preparation for this occasion, I’ve compiled Vilborg’s history to share with family members. My Icelandic ancestors didn’t leave any journals, so I’ve researched their lives and discovered their homeland is an intriguing land of fire and ice located next to Greenland and was settled by the Vikings. I’ve also learned lots of interesting details about early Spanish Fork history.

We’ll meet together for lunch in the park and then visit with each other which is the real challenge. As families have grown and live so far apart these days, it’s not unusual for the cousins and their kids not to know the other relatives. Therefore some kind of break the ice game is needed, a let’s get acquainted activity with prizes. Some of our best attended reunions have ended with a water slide for the kids and more adventurous adults. Everyone looked forward to that activity in the hot summer months. 

Another idea we’ve tried is returning to the old homestead, town or local museum to learn more about our heritage which is what we are doing this year. The important thing is to be together, get acquainted better, look back, and appreciate our ancestors. It’s unfortunate, we don’t get our families together more often except for weddings, and funerals. The sad thing about funerals is that the one being honored is no longer around to enjoy our visit. Too bad we can’t organize one last family reunion to remember our good times together as a family before our own demise. (Photos above of my aunt Ethel now 88, cousins Marion and Bill, and some of my grandkids: twins Heather and Emilee and the youngest James.)

Thursday, June 26, 2008


What is there about sailboats
That captures our imagination
The thought of freely sailing
Silently over a vast lake

Opportunities for new adventures
Communing with nature’s beauties
Whatever it is, all we need is to see
A sailboat moving so easily

We are fascinated, that could be me
Out there enjoying my life
Not restrained by land’s demands
Free to go anywhere, anytime

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Canadian Border

We drove 50 miles north from Sandpoint Idaho to the Canadian border but couldn't enter because you need a photo ID and your birth certificate. We don't carry our birth certificates around with us, so we just looked over the border. In the photo above you can see a small vertical line up the mountain that my husband tells me is the border line.

It was funny to see a sign saying welcome to the USA when we hadn't left but it was for the cars entering from Canada. The gas station sold gas for $1.07 per liter which is about $4.09/gallon. Gas has been really reasonable here in Idaho $3.94/gallon which is cheaper than Utah.


FYI-The Wild Huckleberry is a non cultivated berry that grows in mountain ranges above 5,000 feet. The berry resembles a blueberry, yet the taste is rare, wild and bold. Unfortunately they don't ripen till later in summer but there sure are lots of them available in the wilds up here. They are blooming right now.

I will send a jar of huckleberry jam to any of my step daughters who make a comment on my blog and then ask them to PIF-pay it forward- send something to three other people who sign their blog and are willing to PIF. More prizes later for the person with the most comments on my blog this month who hasn't gotten a prize before. So comment now. You can do it as anonymous if you don't want to register.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Every once in a while you need to do something silly just to liven up your life. I've been attending this water aerobics class lately before our vacation and we had a contest for the funniest hat. Well, I decided at the last minute to enter and hung two rubber duckies from my visor like earrings. Guess what, I won first place and a snickers bar-just what I need. The rubber duckies are bath toys I have around the house for when my grandkids stay over. 

What's the silliest or funniest thing you've done lately? Tell us in a comment.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Idaho map

Here's a map of Idaho, we are up in Sandpoint which is near the Can-adian border. It's very green and cool. It was only 70 degrees today when we enjoyed a picnic and sitting in the shade of a tree overlooking the Lake Pend Oreille. Amazing place. We drove north on I-15 through Pocatello and then to Idaho Falls before cross-ing into Montana to get here. Having fun!

Skies in Idaho

We are in Sandpoint, Idaho for a little vacation. Here's the sky over Lake Pend Oreille taken last night. It's so beautiful up here and cool like 72 degrees was our high yesterday and our low at home. So we're happy to be off seeing the beauties of Idaho.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Idaho Falls Temple

Ever wonder why Mormons build temples?

They aren’t for normal worship services
Because temples are closed on Sundays
But during the week their sacred rooms

Are filled as members participate
In sacred ordinances to learn more
Of God’s plan for our lives here

Couples are united in marriages
That don't end with death 
Children are sealed to their parents 
Families last throughout all eternity

Work for deceased ancestors takes place
Baptisms, marriages and sealings for loved ones
Now gone from this life gives them the opportunity

To choose to be part of a family unit forever

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Johnson Reunion

Having fun at the Icelandic Days celebration held in Spanish Fork, Utah this weekend. I had the opportunity to make a display for my second great grandmother Vilborg Thordardottir and give a lecture on How to Write an Icelandic History. The attendees were mostly seniors like me, over the hill but not gone yet. I tried to encourage them to write their life histories as well as the histories of their ancestors to give them a voice. I think we all need to do that-LET OUR VOICES BE HEARD. Writing your own history can be very cathartic and compiling an ancestor's history is intriguing especially if they didn't leave any journals so you have to research their life and times then write creatively. Every person who has ever lived has had an influence on their family and others in some way and deserves to be remember with a history of some kind. 

Have you written your life history?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Article #10 Memories of My Dad

My memories of my dad Stanley are few because he died in an airplane accident before I was five years old. I’ve asked my mom and other family members lots of questions to try to find out more about his life. Looking at his photos, I’ve pondered what he was really like? He was too busy with living his life to write a journal.

I knew that while attending Tooele High School, he had met my mom who lived in Silver City, at one of the community dances held weekly with a live band in an open-air pavilion in Lemington. Many old concrete shells now stand in rural towns as silent witnesses to those summer dances of long ago. Mom had kept all his letters written during their courtship. My dad’s almost daily love letters written in the mid 1930s, held clues to his personality. 

To his new girlfriend Evelyn who lived 60 miles away, he writes: And I still won’t say anymore than this confession of when I first saw you-that’s the girl I could fall for if she gave me a break. And you gave me the break. As to the former girl in Heber, well it wasn’t your fault I left her as I have a mind that I command MYSELF. You would have done the same had you been in my place. Always leave good for the BEST. I know something of your life enough to thoroughly convince me you’re the girl for me.

They kept in touch by letters and by ham radio (my dad’s hobby) as telephones were few and far between. After building a set and putting up an antenna at Mom’s rural home, Dad taught her how to receive and send the Morse code so they could communicate daily through dots and dashes. This most unique method of courting was successful. They eloped the next fall while supposedly attending another open-air dance. Instead they went to Nephi and were married before a Justice of the Peace then returned to their own homes and kept their marriage a secret from their parents until he got a job working on the railroad.

Dad was persistent in what he wanted to accomplish with his life, until his sudden death. They’d been married nine years and had one child––me. Through compiling his love letters and writing his history, I’ve come to know and appreciate my father better.

Tell us about how your parents or grandparents met or how you met your spouse.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Icelandic Reunion

I'm soon heading out for a family reunion for my mom's great grandmother Vilborg Thordardottir who immigrated to Utah in 1874. (On the left is her photo with her second husband Sigi Arnasson and her grandson Arthur.) She came after the trans-continental railroad was finished in 1869 so she isn't consider a pioneer who came by covered wagon. But I still consider her one, leaving her homeland after her conversion to Mormon-ism and persecution in Iceland which was 100% Lutheran at the time. They wouldn't allow any of their citizens to be baptized into a different church, so she and her family were baptized Mormons after their arrival in Spanish Fork. I've enjoyed researching her life story and will be publishing a 58 page history of her life for my family members. 

She left a little book of genealogy that lists her direct ancestral line back to 800 AD back to Norway. Iceland was settled about then by Vikings and others. The original settlers weren't Christians but were forcefully converted to Catholicism. Some of my ancestors were beheaded when they wouldn't accept the new Protestant religion Lutheranism. So there is quite a history of religious persecution in Iceland. Vilborg brought it full circle after living in Utah for few years when she returned to the Lutheran religion. Fascinating to write and compile her history. I'll give a workshop lecture on it for Icelandic Days.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Believe it or not...

There is a Green Jello pin or tie tack from the Winter Olympics in Utah 2002. It's still for sale for only $9.95! I'd almost like to buy one. They even have one called Green Jello with Carrots! See it below.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

News from India

My son Brook sent a photo of him (see below) at work in India. You can tell he is very tall, love the expression on his face. I'll also post a photo of him as a young child in Brazil in 1971 (on the left.) He didn't start out tall but is now somewhere between 6 ft 8-9 inches tall. His three other brothers range from 6 ft to 6 ft 5 inches. I have to stand on tiptoe to give Brook a hug, and I'm tall at 5 ft 10 inches.

From Brook: This is Vinay (standing next to me), Gaurav, and I in the Pune, India Amdocs Qpass SOC War Room. Vinay is the team lead for shift 3, Gaurav is one his direct reports, a System Adminis-trator SME (Subject Matter Expert). Gaurav is one of the engineers that I am training here. Vinay is his boss. In this table of organization, I'm outside of their shifts, but in the general team. Yes, they make small people here. Cheers, Brook

Monday, June 16, 2008

Look what I see

Cute little bunny rabbit
Sitting on our shaded patio
Nibbling green shrubs

Where is your mother?
You’re too young to be alone
You could get into trouble

Or worse yet danger
Soaring hawks hunting
Or pesky prowling cats

Why do you sit so still?
Don’t you know
We can still see you?

New Word

Learned this from my son who is still in India till the end of the month. Asked him to send me a photo of him there and he said MEH. Not knowing what that was I googled it and found this: '

It's not that e-mail, blogs, IM-ing, message boards, and texting have spawned a litter of brand-new interjections. (I don't count emoticons because you can't utter them, and I don't count acronyms like LOL and CU because they represent phrases with grammatical standing.) Rather, they have given lots of marginal ones, like awwa, a spelled-out form and thus a major shot in the arm. A personal favorite is MEH, which (of course) has no definition in the OED but 173* separate ones on, including: A random word when people either don't know what to say, don't care, can't answer a question or are too drunk to form a coherent english phrase." Meh—which can also be used as an adjective, e.g., "I felt kind of MEH about the whole thing.

So there you have a new word to use but you'll probably have to explain it after you use it.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

to my two sons Daniel and Frank who are great fathers. I love to see them with their children. Both of them are full of love for their little ones and have been from the beginning.They enjoy playing with their kids, and take an active interest in their lives and care. So today I'm wishing them both a Happy Father's Day as well as to my husband Allen who was a stepfather to my last son at home (Jeffrey) and a father to his own four daughters. Love you all.

Frank has one son Hakan who we don't get to see nearly enough of as they live in New Mexico. He takes his son now almost five, skiing, hiking, camping and plays soccer with him. They have fun together. (Photo of l-r Frank, Hakan, and Nedret the mom.)

Daniel has four adopted children that have been sealed to their family in the temple: twin daughters Heather and Emilee (my first grandchildren, now 10 years old), and two sons Nathan 5 and James 2. We are so happy to have them join our family. They live in Utah also so I get to visit them often for holidays and other special occasions. (See photo above of Dan and Tina with my mother holding Emilee and me holding Heather. We had a hard time telling them apart. Nathan and James hadn't joined the family yet.) 

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Three Generations of Fathers

Three generations of Vernon fathers (l-r) my grandfather Joseph Harold, my dad Stanley Harold, and my great grandfather Joseph who came to America as a young child when his family was coverted to Mormonism in Derbyshire, England. They settled in Rockport, Utah which is now under the Rockport Reservoir. See their history on my webpage. 

I’m thinking as Father’s Day is approaching tomorow of the influence of fathers directly and indirectly. I knew all three of these men though my dad died in 1945, my grandfather in 1974 and my great grandfather in 1946. I remember going to my great grandfather’s funeral. He was very sad when my dad died at such a young age and wondered why it couldn’t have been him that died, instead of my dad, as he was old and a widower. All these fathers were hard workers who loved their families, honest and virtuous they were living good Christian lives and setting a good example for their descendents. Maybe that’s what it’s all about in our daily lives, our behavior and words are watched carefully and impressions made on our children and grandchildren that we last forever.

From my dad I got my tallness, my love of learning, and photography. From my grandpa I got my love of the great Utah out-doors, an example of family love that endures, hard work and honesty. From my great grandpa I got my love of Mormonism be-cause his family was converted and traveled from England to America to Utah to settle when he was 4 years old. (Photo-Francis Vernon, my 2nd great grand father and his wife Elizabeth Cottrell.)

What is your legacy from your fathers?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday the 13th!

Allen and I met at a singles dance in Provo, Utah on Friday the 13th in Nov. 1992. He was living in Gila NM and was up visiting his daughter Alicia at BYU. We were both newly divorced. Photo of us last night at our 15th anniversary dinner treated by the newlyweds Jeff and Rachel. 

First Meeting-Our Dancing Days Story

We met at an LDS singles dance
Funny thing because you can’t dance
After a few community dance lessons
You gave up but came to dance anyway

I was a professional college dance teacher
Divorced and lonely who frequented the dances
Always looking for a willing dance partner
Someone tall around six feet or so would do

There you were standing out in the crowd
Trying to look invisible, watching others dance
Coming closer, I asked if you wanted to dance
You told me truthfully you couldn’t dance

I tried the rest of the night unsuccessfully
To teach you a few ballroom dance basics
We talked and I found out your first name
Was the same as my ex-husband’s name

You graciously allowed me to change
Your first name to your middle name Allen
Which stuck as we have now been married
Fifteen years but stopped going to dances

Our first date was to a dance the next evening
The music was so loud that we couldn’t hear
Ourselves so we left early and sat in my car
Getting to know each other better by talking

You were divorced also and had four daughters
I had four sons and am four years older than you
The next day you called and I invited you
To dinner with two of my sons and a home teacher

Thus started a whirlwind relationship of
Weekend dates as you commuted from Arizona
Via Morris Airlines special flights to Salt Lake City
You came, we talked, tried to dance and fell in love

Engaged after a few months of long distance courting
We waited till June to marry in the temple
There to pledge fidelity to each other forever
And begin family life anew as step parents

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Article #9 Father's Day and Grandpa

Because my dad died when I was young, my Grand-pa Vernon be-came like a father to me. I loved to sit on his lap as he made funny faces and even dropped his lower dentures to make me laugh. We had a special relationship through the years, even after I moved from Utah. I loved to visit my grand-parents in Mil-ford, Utah. They always gave me a silver dollar whenever we parted. I wished I had saved those silver dollars––they would be worth a lot of money these days, but not as much as the memory of the love we shared. 

Grandpa had a demanding job for fifty years as a section foreman supervising the railroad gang maintaining the Union Pacific tracks between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City in good running order. In case of a derailment or other urgent track problem, he could be called out anytime day or night in any weather. His duties and responsibilities at home also kept him busy. As a hunter, he supplied most of the meat they ate as a family. He loved to hunt and fish and taught me how to fish, and to thread my worm on a hook. Although he was an expert fly fisherman, he took the time to help me untangle my line and showed me where the good places were to find a nice trout to catch or at least drown my worm in the creek. Always busy, he was the gardener, the farmer raising chickens and eggs, the car mechanic, and overall fix-it man.

The last time I saw him, he’d retired from the railroad and was enjoying fishing in his leisure time. Hunting was impossible for him now because of heart problems that developed. I didn’t know as I sat next to him in 1974, smiling and listening to the same old hunting and fishing stories I had heard through the years, that this would be our last visit. It wasn’t until after his death that I heard the real stories of his youth from my uncle DuWayne. How Grandpa had been a sheepherder before he worked on the railroad, and had even run bootleg whiskey between Wyoming and Park City during prohibition times. I decided to write his life history so that someday when my family is curious about their heritage, they can come to know and appreciate my dear grandparent.

Finding the ONE and ONLY

Dedicated to my prince, Allen, who is not a frog, Sure glad we kissed and got married. I love you. Happy Anniversary #15 today.

The fairy tales make it sound so easy
just kiss the frog––he turns into a prince,
off into the beautiful sunset you ride,
hopefully marry and live happily ever after.

Life, you’ll find has other plans for you
even after you’ve married your prince.
Sometimes he mutates back into a frog
and breaks your heart with his misbehavior.

What’s a princess to do but kick him out,
set out on a new journey to find another
but definitely different type of frog.
Perhaps a horny toad or lizard will do.

The second time around is more difficult
now you may have extra baggage like
a dependent child or two plus lots of
emotional garbage to dump somewhere.

Not to mention the baggage he can bring
to the relationship––whether he’s divorced
or newly widowed, single or never married.
Ever hear of blended and step families?

Sometimes he has kids to join with yours
then you may even have one together.
Remarriage is not for the faint of heart
but only for the desperate and robust.

Two families blended as one are dangerous
to one’s mental health and family unity.
Just hang in there, eventually they'll age,
toddlers become teens, teenagers––adults.

It can get quite complex and frustrating
to achieve your ultimate retirement goal.
An empty nest, your reward for enduring
to the end of blending and step parenting.

Now you can watch all your grown kids
make the same dumb mistakes you did.
Even though you’ve warned them often,
they will persist to learn the hard way.

It’s a never ending cycle, started innocently
wanting to get married, have kids and live
happily every after. So relax and enjoy it,
you've worked hard to find your one and only.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I remember an awkward experience
the evening before my wedding day
my mother quietly asked if I,
soon to be married, knew about IT?
I guessed she meant the birds and the bees
or the S word not spoken aloud in her day
quickly assuring her that I knew, she left
relieved that her parental duty was done

Actually I knew very little about anything
only the brief facts explained in textbooks
or special segregated lectures in school
with embarrassing anatomical diagrams
Being an only child of a widowed mother
I wasn’t acquainted with the male anatomy
so my studies in art museums of nude statues
met two needs––scholastic and IT information

When I’d started my menstral periods
I frantically thought I was sick or dying
my mother hadn’t thought to prepare me
because menstration was connected to IT
I’d thought and wondered a lot about the subject
frequently discussed among my friends and
laughed about at late night slumber parties,
all of us were curious and mystified

Did our parents really do IT
we guessed so, because we were all born
but did they only do IT once or twice
in a lifetime just to have another baby?
What a truly intriguing topic,
someone always had some new tidbit
for our growing collection of erroneous
facts fed by our wild imaginations 

Boys in high school bragged about IT,
while girls wondered why embarrassed parents
worried about our dating relationships
but didn't speak of the facts of life
Nowadays our society is more open––too open,
as viagra ads fill the newscasts and scantily clad
bedroom scenes leave little to the imagination
we’re overloaded, tired of hearing about IT

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sculpture Exhibit

Today I went to the Salisbury Mortuary in town where there is a wonderful sculpture, entitled Come unto Me by Jerry Anderson. My friend Gittan from Sweden went to see it when she was visiting with some other friends. I was able to take some photos and was so impressed by the subject matter. It depicts an older woman who dies and then goes through the veil that separates this life from eternity. As she passes from this earth life, she returns to her younger spiritual self now separated from her body, then she meets and is greeted by her loving Savior Jesus Christ. It was very well done and gives food for thought for us that are getting older or will get older one day.

Memory Triggers

We have hollyhocks blooming in our backyard. They always remind me of my dad's parents who lived in So. Utah in a company house by the railroad tracks. In their yard, there were some beautiful hollyhocks that grew ever year. My dad took several photos of me by these flowers. When I see hollyhocks anywhere I think of him and our life in Milford.

It’s interesting how different sights or smells can trigger memories. The smell of a gardenia reminds me of my father’s funeral and all the flowers with their lovely fragrances. Although I can’t remember anything about his funeral only being 5 years old, I do remember the smell of gardenias. When I got married, my wedding bouquet had a gardenia in the middle that came out and could be a corsage but instead of making me happy, it made me feel nostalgic.

What smells or sounds or sights remind you of other nostalgic times in your life?

Monday, June 9, 2008

More from India

Since my son Brook didn't send any photos this time, I found a Google map online. He's on the west side of India near Bombay in Pune which is a city of about 5 million. And according to an important industrial centre and has a strong presence in diverse verticals such as the automobile sector, the software industry, engineering and electronic goods, business process outsourcing, food processing, and various other middle level and small industries. 

More from Brook...I actually left my hotel on foot yesterday for the first time because I ran out of clove cigarettes and I failed to purchase enough when I had the driver stop at a shop on the way back to the hotel previously. I successfully negotiated the purchase of two packs of Gudang Garams for 100 Rupees without having to cross a single street. I enjoy being able to smoke in the dining room. They also do my laundry. The menu is quite cosmopolitan. I got very sick from consuming a laasi, but I failed to ask them if it was made with boiled water, so it's kind of my fault. I think I'll try the steak tonight. The food is inexpensive and tasty. There is a bookstore not far from my hotel according to google maps. It will require crossing one major street and many minor ones. The problem is that I'm out of fiction...I get a fresh newspaper every morning that is written in English, but it's only notionally fictional. Let's face it, non-fiction, is just poorly written fiction. 

I wrote and asked how the work was going...he's training Indian workers for outsourcing support for his IT company in Seattle. He replies...I just had a conversation with a tier 4 developer wherein I had to walk him through the most basic troubleshooting steps to find a fault in his network connectivity. I'm sitting here thinking about macro and micro vision. Well, I'm doing that in between rushing around putting out fires, monitoring the graphs and alert emails, providing on the spot training, and regaling my colleagues with amusing support anecdotes from my trove of experience in the industry. Sounds like he's keeping busy.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

My Grandma's an Angel

Saying goodbye wasn’t that difficult for me
As my beloved grandmother lay in her casket
She wasn’t there, her spirit was elsewhere
Nearby, ready to protect us all

Many times during the ensuing years
Her strong influence has been near at hand
Watching over us, bringing comfort
As death, divorce and sicknesses came

Grandma was full of laughs and loves
Always ready with a loaf of hot bread
A listening ear and a warm embrace
Tribulation she knew about first hand

A widow with five dependent children
Work and struggles were her lot in life
Fiercely independent, yet optimistic
You could always count on her

After her untimely death and absence
One night in a dream she visited me
Questioning her about guardian angels
For my fatherless sons, she confided,

I am watching over them daily
Always there to guard each of them
From danger and harm, what a blessing
She continues to be in our lives

Saturday, June 7, 2008

It's Saturday

soon time for my Saturday night bath...ha ha ha. Actually if I don't have a shower each evening before bed I don't sleep soundly. So that's probably why I wouldn't enjoy camping any more or make a good pioneer. We have so much in our day and age that we take for granted like dishwashers, washing machines and dryers, microwaves, cars, tvs, vcrs, computers, dvds, etc. The list goes on, being able to go to the grocery store to buy our food, the mall to buy shoes or clothing, having gas for our cars even if it costs a lot. 

What a bunch of sissies we are, if we ever had to do without electricity or gas. Let's hope that doesn't happen but in the meantime we need to have some food storage and water set aside for emergency times. A little extra faith in prayers will come in handy also as we face the unknown future and any tests that could come our way. We are all in this life together to extend a hand of friendship and support to each other along our journey.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Article #8 Saturday Night Baths

I still remember taking a Saturday night bath in Grandma’s kitchen when I was a young child. A galvanized tin tub size #3 was placed on the floor next to the wood stove where the cold water was heated for my bath. Warm water was poured into the small tub in her cozy kitchen. In earlier days, Grandma would bathe her children in this same tub, the girls first then the boys who were the dirtiest. More hot water was added to the tub as the baths progressed. In summer, a visit to the old swimming hole could replace the Saturday night bath ritual. 

Grandma did have a wash basin with plumbed water in the kitchen, but no hot water. All water had to heated summer or winter on the stove in a teakettle or other pan before washing your face, hands or shaving. All wastewater had to be carried by hand outside to be emptied, as there were no drains or septic tanks. Grandma was delighted with her first indoor shower with hot water when she moved from Silver City. Imagine that––hot water out of a pipe and you didn’t need to heat the water first on the stove or carry it out to dump afterwards. That was done by an electric water heater, and certainly simplified washing clothes for her.

Laundry day was on Monday, It was an all day affair. Water had to be heated, then clothes were soaked and scrubbed manually in the soapy water, rung through a manual ringer into a different laundry tub to be rinsed. Finally all the wet clothes were wrung out again, and lugged outside to be hung on clotheslines with clothes pins. In wintertime, the clothes would probably freeze and had to be thawed before they could be ironed by a flat iron heated on the wood or coal stove. Each week this same ritual was repeated. Some clothes needed to be starched or bleached white which added even more work. 

Then there was the matter of heating her house. First, Grandma had an old wood/coal kitchen stove for heating and cooking in the kitchen. It was supplemented by a wood/coal stove in the living room. She never enjoyed the luxury of an oil or gas furnace with a thermostat to control the temperature and ducts to bring the heat to each room. What would they think of next? 

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Dentist's Visit

The dentist office is not
my most favorite place
laying flat on my back,
my mouth wide open
filled with drills, suction tubes, etc
the dentist asks How are you?
hbdklwi joh, I try to mutter
which interpreted means
Are you kidding?

Actually I will feel better
when this ordeal is over
this torture chamber revisited
every few months with regularity
how come teeth need cleaning
and get cavities in them
in my perfect world
things would be different

I would have been raised
in the great state of Texas
where my husband hails from
flouride in the water prevented
any tooth decay for them
so my dear spouse has never
ever seen or been to a dentist

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Poetry Submissions

I'm rereading old poems I wrote long ago for some to rework and submit for a contest. Ran across this one which I like:

My Summer Garden

Carefully He took the shovel
and with deep intent
turned the soil over
only to find clod after clod
of cement consistency

Preparing the soil
to receive seeds
must be done before
the growing and harvest

Clinging to useless habits
of mind and body
that limit my growth;
patiently He persists,
reluctantly, I yield

Seeds are planted
to be nurtured or ignored
It's up to me