Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Hat

Have you ever wanted anything so badly that you thought you couldn't live without it?

It wasn't until just a few years ago that Dad related this little story to me. He had brought me an old family photo album that had at one time belonged to my Grandma Brown. While going through the album, having him help me identify a lot of strange faces, he saw one picture and said to me..."did I ever tell you about my hat?"
He said he was about 12 years old when he spotted the hat. It was in some shop, probably a farm store, and he saw it and thought he had to have it.
His family was poor. It was during the depression, and he knew there was no way that his Mom or Dad would be able to give him such a gift. So, being the hard worker that he was, he decided to earn the money. There was a neighbor lady that needed chores done & he was able to work for her, saving every nickel & dime that he could, hoping his hat would still be there when the time
came when he could go buy it.
I don't remember how much the hat cost or even if he told me. But finally he had saved enough for his coveted hat. And go buy it he did!

with parents, Leslie & Patsy Brown
Joe, Fern, Nadine, Rose & Duane

And then he told me..."I hated that hat!". I couldn't believe it. After he had worked that hard & saved for no doubt several weeks or longer, he told me that he didn't even like it. I'm not quite sure what happened to make him change his mind, but the thrill of the conquest was gone. He had his hat but he didn't want it.

Perhaps he was a bit embarrassed to wear it around his friends. Maybe someone said something to him about it that made him feel bad. Or maybe, living in those days when nickels and dimes were so hard to come by, just maybe he felt like he could have spent his money on something for his family rather than himself. Because that is the way he lived. For others.

Once in a while when I think there is something that I want really badly for myself, I think about Dad's little hat story. I think I know the feeling. I've thrown so many dollars away over the years on trivial trinkets, that really don't amount to a hill of beans after I get them home. "Things" that used to be so important to me don't have quite the same value as they used to.

Maybe it is because I have had to go through my parents "things" after they were gone & I realized that our "stuff" isn't very important. And sometimes as I'm dusting off my own decorating accessories, or stuff, I wonder what value it will have when my children have to sort through my things.
Dad lived through The Great Depression. He knew what it was like to be from a poor family. He talked about the humiliation of having to wear government issued shirts & overalls to school, as every kid would know by his clothing that they were poor. He told about wearing his shoes until there weren't any more soles left on them. He had to quit school after the 8th grade so he could go to work & help supplement the family income. Even while he was serving in the military, he faithfully sent money home to his mother to help them out. And only after Mom died did he tell us that he wanted to get married, yet he felt like it was his duty as the youngest son to stay home & help his parents.
I'm so glad that later on in life he was able to make a good living for his own family & we were never embarrassed about our home or our clothes. He was a very good provider. I'm so glad that the little boy that wanted the hat, was able to live a good life. He was never selfish & always interested in helping others. His family will remember that when he prayed, he often mentioned "remember the less fortunate".
Maybe he was thinking about the little boy that wanted a new hat.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Carter & Me

Yesterday afternoon my phone rang & Carter's little voice said, "Grandma, you have to come to my school for Grandparent's day!". Well, of course I would come.
Carter is in Kindergarten at Parkside Elementary School this year & loves it! (His teacher even whispered to me that she thinks Carter is an especially sweet little boy & very intelligent.) Of course Grandma knew that!
The room was full of children with their grandparents, or if they couldn't come, a parent. Only one little girl was there alone & she didn't seem to mind a bit!
We had a little craft time & made a picture frame for the photograph that was taken of us together. Won't that look good on April's fridge?

I'm not too thrilled about posting pictures of myself...but this one is for Carter.

He was so proud to show me his room with all of the bulletin board displays. Carter kept my attention by reading off his letters & numbers that were posted around the room. I was amazed at how much he was learning already!
Mrs. Critzer had her kiddies sing a few action songs and do a little "reading theatre" fable. Some of the kids were peacocks & the other were crows.

Carter was a peacock & here he is showing off his feathers!

What a fun morning, sharing it with Carter & his Kindergarten class. Just the look on his face when he saw me walk in the door made the trip extra special.

Thank you, Carter, for sharing your morning with me. Love you bunches!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Parker is 7!

Saturday was Parker's 7th birthday!
I can hardly believe that seven years have gone by so quickly.
Parker has always been a very loving little guy
and he has brought our family much joy.
It is a pleasure to watch him grow up!
Parker had a party with a yard full of cousins & friends.
Here they are enjoying pizza on a beautiful Autumn day!
It was perfect for playing outdoors all afternoon.
(By the way...that's a table full of my grandkids!)
Parker & his twins..having to get in on the action.
Happy Birthday, Batman!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Signs of the times...

Rumors have been rumbling through our little city for the past few weeks that all was not well with our local bank. How could that be? After all, it has been existence since 1871 when J.I. Irwin began his banking business.
But the headlines this morning in our local newspaper told the story...
Irwin Union Bank has failed. All 27 branches, including 12 in Indiana, were taken over by state because the bank was “operating in an unsafe and unsound manner.” The branches will reopen as normal today and Monday under the Hamilton, Ohio-based First Financial Corp. banner.
from "The Republic"
We began banking here when we moved to Indiana in 1972.
It's the bank that loaned us money for our house.
It's the bank that helped us financially when Bob began building
on his own back in June, 1973.
It's the bank where I worked as a "runner" for a few short months...
the bank that gave me insurance even as a part time employee
and paid all of the hospital bills when Karen was born.
But today it no longer exists.

Over the past few months, and more than likely, the past few years, something went terribly wrong. Irwin Union used to be just a local bank with branches only in Columbus, Hope & Taylorsville. And then they expanded, opening branches in surrounding counties, and later even in other States.
And as of yesterday afternoon, Irwin Union ceased to be.

It now is First Financial Corp.
Late this afternoon we were downtown for the annual car cruise.
Bob always parks his car on the corner of 5th & Washington Street.
And as I looked at the door that I have entered no telling now many times,
I saw the new sign.

I walked over & snapped this shot & saw a man & a woman walking towards me. I said "I'm taking a picture of my new bank"...and realized by the tags on their shirts that they were employees of First Financial. One asked if I was surprised that this happened, to which I replied "no...I was afraid it was coming". She said that she had worked for this company for quite a while & they are a wonderful corporation. As we were standing there, she was directing someone inside to pull the curtain back so outsiders could see that nothing had changed on the interior. She told me that they wanted the people to feel secure & know that First Financial realized that the Irwin-Miller family had been deeply involved in the community. Both employees seemed very nice & I welcomed them to Columbus.
We found out that we could survive a bank closing.
The transition went smoothly, with the FDIC officials sweeping in quickly on Friday afternoon, taking over & making the switch to First Financial.

Perhaps when some things change, it isn't all bad.
It's just that after all of these years, who would ever have dreamed that this could happen in our little town. I've heard that we made headline news today!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mugs Up!

Did you grow up with a "Mugs Up" root beer stand in your town? Well, ours was a few miles away in Columbia & we loved to go there for a frosty mug & a "Zip Burger".
Imagine our delight when we discovered that the same old stand was still there! We had looked for it on what used to be Old Highway 40 but thought it was gone. It was still there, hidden in the background by newer businesses, and a road that had moved farther away from it through the years.
Yes, that was the very same one that Steve & I would beg Dad to stop at, sometimes after our Saturday trips to Grandma Brown's, or after a day of shopping in Columbia. A little shabbier, slightly dirty, but standing there just the same, car hops ready to come take our order!
Have you ever had a Zip Burger? They still make them just like they used to, so we ordered a tray of them. (However, as the aroma from the nearby dumpsters drifted our way, we requested a spot on the other side of the building. Our car hop gladly obliged!) Anyway...the Zip Burgers are similar to a sloppy joe, minus the tomato sauce. It is cooked up hamburger seasoned with secret ingredients, served with mustard & dill pickles. Mmmmm...just like we remembered! I probably could have eaten several, but settled for just one. Besides, I had a frosty mug of root beer to slug down!

Me & my zip burger

I remember as a child we would get a free "kiddie mug"...

a very small mug of rootbeer, which made us feel pretty special.

And after looking through several websites, I discovered that Mugs Up makes their own root beer, on the premises, fresh every day. No wonder it tastes so good!
There aren't very many old drive-in restaurants with curb service around anymore. Jake certainly enjoyed the experience, food brought to our vehicle, and eaten in the bed of our pick-up!

So if you are ever in Columbia, Missouri, be sure to hunt this little place up! I won't say it was the highlight of our day, as we had many exciting happenings that weekend, but it was one of those moments we won't soon forget.
Mugs Up, ya'll!
Note: There is still a Mugs Up in Independence, Missouri also!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Window Shopping in Columbia

Back to my Missouri Trip!
On Saturday morning we took the opportunity to do a little sight seeing around Columbia. It had been many long years since either Steve or I had been on Broadway. Carol was very young when we moved away and doesn't remember much about our time there.
Friday nights used to find us on Broadway!
Dad would find a parking spot with a good view of the people passing by,
and Mom & I would be off to the Dime store.
Broadway was the place to be.
There was Mattingly's, Newberrys, J.C. Penney, a drug store that I don't remember the name of, along with many more shops.
Kyle & Kelcie spied a fancy shoe store!

Mom would browse around the fabric department of the Dime stores, or look at the pretty nick nacks they had. Steve & I would head for the toy department on the lower level.

I loved paper dolls!

I think I may have liked cutting out all of the clothes & accessories more than I like playing with them. More often than not, I would talk Mom into buying me a new book of paper dolls that would keep me content until our next trip.

The little shop was full of all kinds of decorating accessories.
Their window display caught my eye as I love old photographs.
Imagine my surprise when I saw those old pictures turn
into something ghoulish with just the twist of your head!
I then realized I was looking at a Halloween display.
I was almost sure that the shop was where the Dime store used to be.
The floors were still the old wooden planks,
and it felt like just maybe I had been there before.
Our little Friday night jaunts would have been before the days of the mega malls...a time when "downtown" was where you went for everything.
Just a couple of blocks away was the County Library
where I would go & load up on Grace Livingston Hill books,
or perhaps some of the books from the Sue Barton Nurse series.
And not far from there was the Ice House, where you could rent a locker to store your frozen meat. Dad would have Steve & I go in sometimes & help carry out arm loads of packages of beef wrapped up in butcher paper.
Only a block or two away was Sears, Dad's favorite place to go.

Just off of Broadway we found a nice group of little shops.

Carol just loves for me to drag out my camera!

All of the old stores are gone now,replaced by shops that probably cater to the University crowd that lives a few streets from downtown. Several old store fronts had been converted into cafes, tea rooms & restaurants. We could tell that when night time would come, this street would probably be alive with the young MU crowd.

Yep...that's Bob, patiently waiting...
just like Dad used to do!
The ghosts of my childhood swirled through my mind as we walked these streets. Our little town was 12 miles away and it was always a treat to get to go to Columbia. And it was especially nice to get to revisit again and find that although many things aren't the same, the memories are still there & some things look even better.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Happy Birthday to My Little Sister!

Birthday greetings to my Little Sister!
She will always be the baby of the family!

Celebrating on 77th Terrace

Mom & her little shadow!

Big Sis/Little Sis

Vacationing with Mom & Dad

Love the wall decor!
Any of you do any of this art work?
I think it was some sort of plastic art...
similar to Shrinky Dinks
No doubt, ready for Sunday School

Carol & Cousin Kim

Little Sis/Big Brother
& tiny Dusty Dog

with spit curls!
(notice the valour sofa!)

We've seen a lot happen in the past few years
& it has drawn us closer as sisters

Wish we could spend the day together
doing some of our favorite things!
Have a wonderful birthday!
Love you bunches!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Do You Remember?

This is a re-post from last year. I still can't forget...

I'll never forget that day.

It was a beautiful, cool September morning. After breakfast, Bob had to take his truck in for maintenance. I decided it would be a good day to start on my fall window cleaning. Bob was just ready to leave when he stuck his head back in the door & hollered to me..."Hey--turn the radio on! A plane just crashed in one of the Twin Towers in New York."

Of course I rushed to the radio & there was a news bulletin about it. I went on with my work, thinking about what I thought was an accident and how terrible it was for the people on board that jet.

And then I heard the excited voice of a broadcaster announcing that the second Tower had been hit! I immediately called Bob to tell him....and suddenly we knew. This was no a random accident. Something was happening and it was deliberate! How could this be happening in our beloved country?

My phone rang & it was Carol. She told me "get to a television...you have to see what is happening!" I was listening to WLW radio & I heard of two more airplanes that were missing, one possibly headed towards Cleveland, Ohio. What was happening? It was beyond our imagination.

We did go to Jeff's apartment and watched in total disbelief. I'll never forget seeing the second jet deliberately going into that Tower & the bellow of black smoke that surrounded it. I'll never forget seeing that horrible cloud of soot & smoke rolling between the buildings & the people on the streets running as fast as they could with terrible fear in their eyes. I'll never forget the feeling of doom that overcame me when I heard & then saw that another jet had crashed into the Pentagon. And sadness creaped into my heart when we heard that the jet that was headed for Cleveland, made a turn & was thought to be headed towards the White House, but crashed somewhere in Pennsylvania. I'll never forget seeing the image of President Bush when someone whispered to him of what was happening & a look of total disbelief crossed his face.

For a few hours of that day we weren't even sure where our President was. He was quickly swept away to safety at an Air Force Base in Nebraska. Later that night our Senators & Congressmen gathered on the steps of our Capitol building...and I'll never forget the feeling of unity of our countrymen at that very moment. It didn't matter who belonged to what party at that time...it just mattered that we were all Americans & our Country had been attacked.

Time fades away some memories but it is amazing to me how just thinking back brings all of those feelings rushing back. It is hard to believe that it has been seven years since that happened. And, it is amazing that it has not happened again.

All of our lives changed that day. I'll never board a plane without thinking about that dreadful day. I doubt that I ever look at the skyline of New York City without remembering that something is missing. I don't want to ever forget.

Someday I will let my grandchild look at the scrapbook I made during that time. But now, not even I want to look back at those horrific pictures. Someday I want them to see what really happened during those days. But it will be quite a few years before their tender minds can grasp the story held in the pages of that black scrapbook.

I love my Country. I love our Flag. And I love and have deep respect for our President. I don't want to forget the freedom that our Flag stands for and the sacrifices being made by our Military. I want to remember.

Do you remember?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Summer Garden

I've been out of the mood to work in my gardens
for quite some time now.
Blossoms of summer have faded away,
empty stems are long & straggly,
weeds have weezeled themselves into
about every crack & cranny,
& I sometimes wonder if it is worth all of the digging,
hauling, pulling & planting that it requires.
And then by chance
I go back through my photographs I have sporadically
taken through the summer,
and realize
yes, it is worth it,
and come spring
I'll do it all over again.
Come see what you think...
I forget her name!
But the bees sure liked her.
Eccinecea-or cone flower

Clematis on the gazebo

Oak-leaf Hydrangea

"Fox-tail" Asparagus Fern

Double begonias & button fern


Grapette Daylilies

Little Grapette

Wine Monarda-or Bee Balm

& dried hydrangeas

I'm so glad we added these beds a few years ago.
It made our backyard seem more like an outdoor room!
Hardy Perennial Cranesbill Geraniums
They have bloomed all summer!

It has been a wet, cold summer & some things
just didn't do well.
Now to start cleaning out the beds & getting
them ready for Old Man Winter.
I've heard he isn't going to be very pleasant this year!