Putting Together Memories

For Christmas, I went to Shutterfly to make a really cool Christmas gift for my brother and two sisters.  Since so many of our memories of Mom are surrounded by her cooking for us, I wanted to make a cookbook of some of our favorites of Mom’s cooking.  It turned out great!

Mom's cookbook

Mom was a really good cook and cooked for whoever would show up for lunch, or she would bribe us with fried chicken and dumplings to come on weekends.

Surrounded by grandkids at Christmas 001 Her utmost joy was derived from feeding and caring the best she could for her children.  And her grandchildren.  And her great-grandchildren.

She might mutter and complain about Jillsurprise party 1972 with Jill 002 not knowing what good food was as she made her the requested grilled cheese while bowls of delicious food (mashed potatoes and dumplings and home-canned green beans and Mom’s  coleslaw to name a few) sat on the table ready to be gobbled up by the rest of us.  Just her way of saying, “I love you.”

Those were hard words to say by a little girl raised in the depression to become the hard-working woman who didn’t have time for frivolity.  Not often anyway.  Every once in a while if we begged she would get up and do what she called “The Shawneetown Stomp” with my older sister.  It was great!!  She would laugh and dance, and so would we.  At least try to dance.  Mom was a great dancer.  So is Tish.  And they looked awesome together!

Mom used to tell stories about growing up in her family, the hardships.  As it does most people, that upbringing weaved its way into who she became.  It caused her to worry about having the money for a home and food.  She was frugal, very frugal.  Yet I still had a beautiful dress for prom and homecoming that she made from royal blue velvet material.  We still managed to get high school class rings, probably wanting us to have one because she didn’t make it through high school.  Each of the girls had piano lessons, something she would have been good at considering her lovely voice when she sang and her rhythm when she danced.

And, of course, the only boy in the family received a really cool car on his 16th birthday.  (No, I’m not mad about it anymore.  Not that I ever was, really.  Well, maybe a little.  But not anymore.  Hardly.)

A few of Mom’s recipes, most in her own handwriting, were included.  This dumpling recipe was from the sessions Mom and I had as she tried to teach me how to make them.  She was too weak by then to roll them out, but she sure enjoyed sitting there teaching me, smiling ear to ear.Mom's Dumplings 001

There was a little bit of history of Mom’s family because they were a close bunch of sisters.  And like my own family, one boy in all those girls.  (Did I mention that my brother wrecked that really cool car by jumping over the levee and breaking it right in half?”  Not that that bothers me or anything anymore.)

So along with pictures of kids and grandkids and recipes, I included a few pics like this one:Logsdon Siblings circa 1930s 001And just so we wouldn’t forget that once upon a time our Mom had a Amy & Churnie 1947 001real life, a life with laughter and flirtation, I included some like this one.

Being the middle child in a family of four children, my characteristics and qualities have been woven in ways such as those that made my Mom into who she was.  And that is why on the back of the book I put a really good picture of me and a not-so-really great picture of the rest of them.

My brother is the one in the silly birthday hat.  And I only used that picture because it was one of the best I had of him.  Not at all because I may still be just a tad incensed by the fact that he got a car on his 16th birthday, and I did not. Mom's cookbook back

If you want a free book, here is the link for you to get one.  https://invite-shutterfly.com/x/SOm1IE

The Party of 1981 – Part 3

As I read the letters, I couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that I am the same today as I was all those years ago.  Several voiced in their letters qualities or lack of them that are my personality traits today.  And I was overwhelmed with joy that I had been blessed with such good people in my life.  They each had stories or an encouragement or accolades.  They each took their precious time and sat down and wrote something to me, something I have cherished all these years.

There were letters from the Acteens group at church that I was leading; busy teenagers who wrote me the sweetest, most heartfelt letters that I cry over.  Older women who have now gone on to be with God, women of substance who gave me moments of themselves.   Women my age (older women now) who spent time reminiscing, blessing me, loving me. Women who acknowledged the positive things about me and laughed at the not-so-positive things.  Good stuff there in that book.

I’m going to share some of them with you.  Perhaps you will remember writing the letter, and it will bring back a good memory for you.  Make you smile.  Make you happy.  As Dymisha said in her letter, “You know, if there has been one moment of happiness  brought to her through this surprise party, or this letter… then I’m happy.”Keely, Nate, me

(to be continued)

The Party of 1981 – Part 2

Dymisha was driving, and I was enjoying my free afternoon with my good friend.  She kept driving down the road, past the houses, straight to the park entrance… and stopped.  I just looked at her, and wondered what in the world was she doing.  We were going out to eat!  She was smiling from ear to ear and pointed to this big sign right in front of us.  (I have never been one to notice the obvious.)

On the sign were big words that said, “Happy Birthday, Brenda!”happy bday sign  My feeble little mind could not wrap itself around what was going on.  There were all kinds of people milling around under the shelter, children running all over the place.  What was going on?

When Dymisha finally opened the door and got out, it kicked in.  A surprise party!!!  She had planned this super awesome surprise party for me with family and friends there.  I can’t remember the details now of what we did that day.  I’m sure we had food because that’s where we were headed.  All I remember is the love:  the smiling, happy, love.

And I still remember it.

She gave me a wonderful gift that day, one she had prepared beforehand and presented to me that day.  A gift I have kept for these past 30-some years.  A scrapbook filled with letters from my family and friends with pictures from the party added later.  A book that would never happen today in the age of texting and tweeting and emailing.The Party

I found that book the other day as I was cleaning out a closet and sat down to look through it, again.  Occasionally throughout the years I would get it out and thumb through it, sometimes reading all the letters, but mostly looking at the pictures.  This particular day, I got out all the letters, everything that was in there, and decided to write about my friend, Dymisha, and the other great people who took time out of a busy day to come celebrate with me.

(to be continued)

Getting Back in the Saddle…

This year has kicked my butt!  I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly kicked it:  the birthday, the son, the falling.  Who knows?

getting ready to ride

The important thing is that I am finally, after half the year has come and gone, oiling the saddle and readying it for another ride.  Life may have kicked me off once again, but now it’s time to put on my stirrups and do a little kicking in life’s sides to get it back into at least  a trot.

hmmmmmm

So I am thinking about my little blog and what to write about until I start cooking.  (Stop laughing!)  I have a few topics in mind.  And would really like to get some feedback on them.

1)  My experience as well as the experiences of others with angels and other supernatural God moments

2)  My son’s struggles with and final diagnosis of schizophrenia

3) Digging out old pics and posting them with stories

4)  courtroom stories  (names changed to protect the innocent… or not so innocent)

5)  my personal favorite… Kate and Ava

6)  Just whatever strikes my fancy – including good recipes

Which by the way I have.  A good recipe.  It came from my friend Lisa’s Pampered Chef newsletter.  It is called Red, White, and Blueberry Trifle.   And is soooo good!  I made it for 4th of July.

Try it!