Monday, November 30, 2015

Time Gets Better With Age by Unknown

I learned that I like my teacher because she cries when we sing 'Silent Night.' -Age 5

I learned that our dog doesn't want to eat my broccoli either. -Age 7

I learned that just when I get my room the way I like it. Mom makes me clean it. -Age 12

I learned that although it's hard to admit it, I'm secretly glad my parents are strict with me. -Age 15

I learned silent company is often more healing than words of advice. - Age 24

I learned that brushing my child's hair is one of life's great pleasures. -Age 26

I learned that if someone says something unkind about me, I must live so that no one will believe it. -Age 30

I learned that there are people who love you dearly, but just don't know how to show it. -Age 42

I learned that you can make someone's day by simply sending them a little note. -Age 44

I learned that children and grandparents are natural allies. -Age 47

I learned that singing 'Amazing Grace' can lift my spirits for hours. -Age 48

I learned that you can tell a lot about a man by the way he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. -Age 51

I learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you miss them terrible after they die.  -Age 53.

I learned that if you want to do something positive for your children, work to improve your marriage. -Age 61

I learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. -Age 62

I learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But if you focus on your family, the needs of others, your work, meeting new people, and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you. -Age 65

I learned that everyone can use a prayer. -Age 72

I learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. -Age 82

I learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone.  People love that human touch-holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. -Age 90

I learned that I still have a lot to learn. -Age 92

As I noted in the title, this was written by that infamous 'Unknown'.
I thought it was fun to read and might cause some refection for my readers. (It is also a piece of paper I can dispose of in my sorting process)

The lesson learned that struck me most was about missing one's parents after they have died. If  'Unknown' was writing from experience, I feel lucky to have reached age 68 instead of 53 when I faced this first loss.

"...brushing my child's hair is one of life's great pleasures" spoke to me also. I miss that.  Once the tangles were out, it was certainly one of life's pleasures.

I also learned long, long ago that I have a lot to learn.  It is a good thing I enjoy it because there is so much out there to discover.

What speaks to you? I would love to hear.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankgiving Memories

Thanksgiving has always been my least favorite holiday. This sounds almost un-American, don't you think?

When I was young, my maternal family all gathered at my great-grandma Smith's house on the south side of Scranton, Iowa.  It was a huge house and held many, many relatives.  In attendance were usually three of Estella Smith's daughters and usually a daughter-in-law.  Usually there were about 6-10 adult grandchildren of Stella, depending on the years. Then, there were the little kids. My first cousins, my second cousins, and me. Little kids ate in the kitchen. The adults ate in the dining room. The menu was the usual Thanksgiving feast. Turkey ( I hated Turkey), mashed potatoes and gravy( I hated mashed potatoes and gravy), cranberries (who likes cranberries). So you get the idea. I did, however, like rolls, carrot sticks, and pumpkin pie. So, on my plate at Grandma's round table in the kitchen would be a roll (no butter) and a carrot stick. I would notice as I was politely waiting for the pumpkin pie that a couple of my great-aunts ( I won't name them) were whispering about me. Something not too nice. This tainted Thanksgiving for me. It went on for years or maybe it only happened once but it scarred me. And I never liked Thanksgiving because of it.

One year right after our first child was born, we didn't come home for Thanksgiving from South Dakota. By now, the maternal head of the family had passed, but my mom's side of the family still gathered. Since we were not in attendance, we had pizza at our house. It was wonderful. What a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving.

One of my favorite Thanksgivings was when my husband was stationed at Fort Rucker, Alabama. He was attending helicopter flight school.  We joined a couple of other families and dined together at the Officer's Club. The display area of the dining area was a cornucopia with bushels of vegetables and food items spilling out. It was very impressive. Then, we got to order from the menu. Three main meats were featured including prime rib. Now, this Thanksgiving was starting to shape up. However, when I gave my order to the wait staff, our friend sitting to my right, started to harass me. His words were something like, "What! You are not eating turkey. Not eating turkey is actually un-American. I can not believe you!" Well, needless to say I tried to explain my reasons which had been ingrained in me from those unhappy dinners at my great grandmother's kitchen table. He turned away and did not converse with me until dinner arrived. The waitress set my prime rib in front of me, and then set Dan's dinner in front of him. Guess what! Dan was having prime rib too. He had certainly set me up for a good joke.

Thanksgivings are now a fun time. We spend the day with our two kids, their spouses, five grandkids, and sometimes a few other relatives or friends that join us.

Thanksgiving is also special this year because we will be celebrating our 49th wedding anniversary on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2015.

I guess I like Thanksgiving after all.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Mondays With Mary - Cancer

June 6, 1995

66 degrees @ 6:30 a.m. sun shining  scrubbed kitchen floor- did load of wash.  Picked up Nona
went to Ames to throat Dr. more swollen.
We went on to Tama-no luck.  Stopped at Boone at Golden Corrall for supper   home at 9:00 p.m.  Norma W. & Margie called - talked to Midge about Vern 
throat surgery schedule for June 19

Other than just a routine visit to the Dr. which prompted the visit to Ames, this was the beginning of a long summer for Vern and Mary.

June 19, 1995

70 degrees @ 5:00 a.m. Went to Ames for Vern's biopsy
 stopped at Hideaway for sandwich.  home about 3 p.m.  hot & muggy  talked to Ina & Bonnie about V's throat.  Jon & Duane field cultivated  bottom

Friday, June 23, 1995
We went to Ames
met with Dr. Huebisch. Cancer on V's left vocal cord. Ate supper at Truck Haven.  talked to Bonnie-Ina-Norma-& Gene to night

Wednesday, June 28, 1995

66 degrees @ 7 am. sprinkling
off and on all a.m.  picked up Nona & went to
 Ames for meeting with Dr. Yee at 1:00 p.m. out at 3 p.m.  sandwich at Country kitchen in Boone  bought Vern a Straw hat at Wall-Mart    Margie & Midge called

Friday, June 30, 1995

60 @ 5:45 Went to Ames to get Verns neck marked  -Saw Gene & V Paup   he had liver biopsy.  Stopped at Wal Mart-lunch in Scranton with G & D Lewis.  stopped at Nonas a few minutes Bonnie &Margie called to night

Wednesday, July 5, 1995

62 degree at 6:15 a.m. left for Ames at 10:00 Vern got his 1st radiation treatment
ate lunch at Country Kitchen in Boone got
 candy at Wal-mart- l

For the next seven weeks, five days per week, Vern and Mary made this drive to Ames, Iowa. It was about a 130  mile round trip drive from their home. They were almost 73 and 74 at the time.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Pay Attention to Me!

Occasionally, I read that our ancestors call out to us. I am starting to believe this. Recently, I was talking about my great- grandmother, Emma Susan DeHart Borden. Then, while sorting papers (yes, I sort papers a lot). I came across a pile of copies that I was given after the death of my dad's sister, Darlene. These copies of genealogy research had actually originated with yet another deceased sister of my dad.  This was not the ancestral line I had planned to work on in the near future, but there was information calling to be absorbed.

I decided this might be a good time to enter this information into my genealogy database. Immediately, I discovered a problem. George Jackson DeHart, father of Emma Susan, was born in Union, Monroe County, West Virginia. In 1835, this area was Virginia. I have attended many genealogy meetings that have talked about how boundary lines changed and a particular place has changed from one state to another or one county to another. Too bad I didn't listen a little better. Another mistake I found had to do with the county name. The correct county was Monroe County. The town was Union, but I have many family papers that list Union as a county. Thank goodness for my clever software program that alerted me to the fact that there is no Union County in West Virginia and never has been. It is so easy to make mistakes like these. We each need to check each others work carefully.

Today I have continued to input genealogical data on the children of George Jackson DeHart, my 2X great grandfather. He lived in Lake City, Iowa for a good long while and established a stellar reputation. I found a book with a wonderful article written about him that will be the subject of a future Friday Feature. As I entered these names and dates, I realized I needed to contact the Genealogical Society of Calhoun County and go on a little hunt. So much I don't know. So much to discover.

Family Tree for those interested (and who wouldn't be)

George Jackson DeHart - father of
     Emma Susan DeHart Borden - mother of
          Nina Frances Borden Wright - mother of
                Vern William Wright - father of
                        Margaret Ann Wright Tolsdorf - mother of
                               Two children
                                      Five grandchildren

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Surprise

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!
My computer problems seem to be fixed!
And it was NOT operator error!
Life is Good!
Celestia Mary Phillips Marsh  1829-1918

So, here is the photo I planned to post when all my problems began.
Read about this in Wordy Wednesday from October 21, 2015.  This is Celestia Phillips Marsh. Her story is told in a Friday Feature titled Celestia from earlier this year.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Monday With Mary-details in calendar

When I pick up one of my mom's calendars, I try to look for some type of theme such as those I have already written.  Moving, walking beans, weddings, births to name a few. The calendar I looked at this time is from 1995. First of all, I can not believe that 1995 was twenty years ago. Please explain to me why life is going so fast!

As I started to skim, I wondered what might have been going on twenty years ago in November. It seems that the weather was snowy. Well, I don't want to even think about snow. Skimming through June, I encountered the recorded appointments, biopsy schedule, and more reminders of the summer my dad was diagnosed and treated for throat cancer. Writing about that might be for another time.

I ended up choosing February and March of 1995 to illustrate the details Mom includes when she writes about gambling.

February 7, 1995

16 degrees @ 4:30 a.m. Snowing & blowing
Left for Carroll @ 7.a.m Nona & Edna
came & got us- went to Jackpot Jct on bus
Stayed at Dakota Inn- Room 107. Casino at 1:30
Back to motel at 8 p.m. Played Euchre till 10:00 p.m.

February 8, 1995

Went to casino at 7:35 a.m. Gambled all day
Both Vern and I lost- started home at 4:40 p.m.
Got sandwich at Burger King in Spencer. Got
To Carroll at 9:15 p.m. Home at 9:45 both tired
Windy tonight

She always includes the room number of wherever they stayed. However, I found the precise times of 7:35 a.m. and 4:40 p.m. amusing. I wonder why so precise since most other entries are more rounded times.  About a month later, they were off to Reno.

March 19, 1995

Left Omaha at 7 a.m.
Flew to Phoenix got to
Reno at 10:30 a.m.  Ina's and Lee's
surprised us at airport. got room 814
gambled rest of day. Supper at Eldorado

March 20, 1995

rained all day in Reno   turned to Snow
Vern won an $800 jackpot also $200
breakfast at Cal-Neva - supper at Molly G's
in FitzG   napped in p.m. awhile
I won 1000 quarters

As their daughter, I remember there was a time when they were raising cattle and never were away from the farm overnight for a period of 10 years. These gambling excursions were much happier and fun times for them. I think the details show it.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Doris' Memories Continued

Last week I spoke of my mother-in-law, Doris, who we recently laid to rest after a full 97 years of life. This post can be reviewed at Friday's Feature-Doris. She had started writing some memories and had started with her very first memory of when her brother was born.

Today's memories are about starting school.
Then I remember my first day of school.  We had gone to the State Fair with much planning & scheduling chores & someone to do them.  My Grandparents Reeder, Aunt Jenny & Uncle Dick White had rented a big tent for the week-end. And my folks too. We walked to the fair from the campgrounds each day- sometimes came back to fix lunch & rest.

Then on Sunday afternoon Mom & Dad got ready to go home - chore time & I had school the next day & dad discovered he had lost the car key!  A security person on horseback came & they took the part that holds the key & took it uptown to a locksmith & came back & put it back together so we made it home.

I remember what I wore that 1st day. I rode the bus and someone showed me where the 1st grade room was.  There was a mixed 1st & 2nd grade as well as a 1st grade.  My teacher was watching for me & made sure I had a desk in her room. She married my Uncle Gerald so she knew who I was.

The school bus I first remember was a motor bus & there was a horse drawn one the 1st year or so.
I was in school it was driven by a senior in H.S. & would keep it and take care of the horses at his home at nite & would drive back in the morning.

The inside of the buses had long seats along the sides & a bench down the length in center. My first bus driver was Jack Cameron who was a family man - one daughter was in my class.

The 1st car I remember was a 4 door ford with side curtains which you had to button on in bad weather even a rain storm!  It seemed to take a lot of maintenance before a Sunday trip or especially a picnic. My mom would be busy fixing lunch to take on this picnic-fried chicken, which had to be caught & killed (by Dad) & he always had to go to town to have the oil checked or the tires, etc.  Mom would fix baked beans, pie, deviled eggs etc.
I knew she loved picnics because she said her family went on lots of picnics.

I enjoyed reading about the horse drawn school bus that was driven by a H.S. senior and that he took the horse to his home to take care of the horse.

And she remembered what she wore on her first day of school over 90 years ago.  I have no idea what I wore to school on my first day.

What caught your attention?

Monday, November 9, 2015

Mondays With Mary-a wedding, a funeral and a graduation

I've been reading through Mom's calendar for 1981. A few special days stood out.

Saturday, June 27, 1981

Windy this morning -cloudy- Vern and Roger Wright
unloaded bales into machine shed-
I cleaned house- Tom & Margie came about 2:30
we all went to Humboldt to Dave & Jenny's wedding
Home @1:15 a.m.

I remember this as a beautiful wedding.

As far as Roger Wright goes, I have no idea who this is. There are other Wrights, not related, who live around the area. Maybe he is from one of these families. (FYI: Yep, I found out he is the son of a neighbor.  Still no relation.)

Friday, July 3, 1981

Short & Betty down in a.m. for coffee.
Rained all day  Vern and Scott went to
Scranton in p.m.  Betty and I went to
Carroll for groceries. Tom, Margie, and Kelley
Came about 7:30 p.m. Left about 10 p.m.
They went to Joe Augustus funeral. (She means we had gone earlier in the day.)

What a sad event. Joe was my husband's first cousin. He was the victim of a car accident and was only 27 years old.  It might have been the first funeral I ever attended of a young man in his 20's. In attendance were many, many young adults. It was just so sad.

When I picked up the 1967 calendar, I found an entry I enjoyed.  It is written in true Mary style.

Saturday, May 27, 1967

went to Ames for Margie's graduation
picnic at Ledges in afternoon
started raining in evening

Yep, there she is again writing with such enthusiasm . After all, I was only the first person on either side of my family to go to college and earn a Bachelor's Degree. Ho, Hum.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Friday's Feature- Doris Tolsdorf

I had been hanging around my mother-in-law since I was fifteen. She wasn't my mother-in-law yet just my boyfriend's mom. She went out of her way to be welcoming to me. When I was younger, I was a very picky eater. At Easter when she fixed the traditional ham dinner, she would fry me a hamburger. Now really, that was above and beyond. When I was in high school and my snow covered black dyed shoes, bled onto her new carpet, she didn't show any concern. It did come out, but I felt horrible.

Her funeral was attended by children and grandchildren from Iowa, California, Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Florida, Colorado, Arizona and Massachusetts. The church was full. She lived for 97 years within 10 miles of where she was born. Her memory was sharp and she was considered the unofficial town historian. One grandson shared his memories of Grandma which all the grandkids had experienced. The shared memories among those cousins-the grandchildren of Doris- are a treasure they will always cherish.

Earlier this year, one of Doris' sons-in-law, suggested she do some autobiographical writing. As we have been going through her remaining belongings, we came across a couple of notebooks. She didn't write much, but what wonderful insight those early memories give us about her life.


February 16, 2015

The first day I remember was a sunny day in September when Mrs. Bryant and Huldah Ott came driving a horse and big buggy up our lane.  Of course at the time I didn't realize they were coming to help my mom give birth to my brother, Edward.

I was from May to September past three years old. 

Also on this day, I had an infection called "ringworm" on my elbow & Huldah said the best way to cure it was to paint it with iodine! It really stung so I went down to the horse tank & stuck my elbow in the water.  It was cool & made it feel better. Don't know what the adults thought about that- they were busy elsewhere!!

It was probably the next summer I remember a day Mom's cousin from Des Moines came to visit & she had a daughter, Vivian.  We had the baby outside in a big wooden buggy & we had to keep the hood up because if he knew Vivian was pushing the buggy he would fuss. So I had to look as if I were pushing it.

Don't know if some of these memories are in sequence but I was pretty young.  I loved to "help" Dad take care of the horses. In the evening Dad would sit in a rocking chair. I'd crawl up on his lap & we'd sing. "K K Katie", "The Old Mill Stream", "My Old Kentucky Home" etc.

We practically went to one or the other Grandparents on Sunday.  Grandpa & Grandma Augustus lived in Scranton by the time I remember them & Grandpa and Grandma Reeder lived on a farm south of Jefferson.  Sometimes in summer we would drive over to Spring Lake and go swimming.  We spent several 4th of July there but I also remember one or two in Scranton with parades, band, speaker & dances.

Then I remember my 1st day of school.

Well, readers, you will have to find out about that first day of school in another post.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


I hate it when I make mistakes. However, on the positive side, when I make one of these mistakes, I get blog feedback. I love blog feedback. So far the mistakes I have made aren't because I don't know the correct information. I honestly don't know why I made the last one.  In my blog Under the Walnut Tree. I spoke about my great grandmother (Emma Borden) when I meant to be talking about her daughter, my grandmother (Nina Frances Borden Wright). I have made the correction.

Grandma Nina Wright's first great-grandchild was born on her 69th birthday. I wrote about that when I wished my daughter, that great-grandchild, happy birthday on September 19.

So, with the correction made, I am ready to go on.  Today's post was going to be titled Wordless Wednesday, November 4, 2015. Then, of course, I would post a cool picture. It is scanned and ready to go. Didn't work. So, then I thought about just a blank page. 

When opened there would be nothing there. Wordless, you know. Maybe not such a great idea. In other words, as previously mentioned, I am having technology issues. Still unresolved. I thought I had a lead on the problem. A recent update to a new improved platform seems to be a contender for the culprit causing 
my frustration. I inquired at a local computer shop, but found no satisfaction there. It was a huge mistake going there!

Another mistake I am probably making is hopping from ancestral line to ancestral line. If I have cousins following my blog and I jump to another line (not related to them) will I lose their interest? 

It only stands to reason that I would follow one line at a time. However, I once learned in a seminar that I do not organize sequentially.  I am a global organizer. This means all over the place. I guess we have the answer. I will be hopping. Don't forget a particular ancestral line can be found together in the Index Page at the top of this blog.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Sometimes we just need a little inspiration.

Recently, I was working in our 30x40 foot shed which contains more treasures than anyone could possibly imagine. My family seems to call it junk, but what do they know.

As a teacher, I never threw out anything. "I will be able to use that someday," were frequently spoken words from me. Many of those items are still in the shed. Whoever would have thought one of those items would be perfect for today's blog. Well, I knew it should be saved.

This treasure is a laminated poster. (Obviously, meant to last)

                                    A Time to Believe

To believe is to know that every day is a new beginning.  It is the trust that miracles happen, and dreams really do come true.

To believe is to see angels dancing among the clouds, to know the wonder of a stardust sky and the wisdom of the man in the moon.

To believe is to embrace the value of a nurturing heart, the innocence of a child's eyes and the beauty of an aging hand, for it is through their teachings we learn how to love.

To believe is to find the strength and courage that lives within us when it is time to pick up the pieces and begin again.

To believe is to know we are never alone, that life is a gift and this is our time to cherish it.

To believe is to know that wonderful surprises are just waiting to happen, and all our hopes and dreams are within reach...if only we believe.

                                                                - anonymous

So, as the old song goes. Let's just pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start all over again.

For all my cousins (and family) in a difficult year.