Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Yesterday a friend called and said 'Come with me. I am going to Polsbo to buy my Christmas bread. My family loves the braided cardamon loaves of bread that you can buy only there. I quickly agreed to go for I needed lingon berries and marzipan. We had a good time in spite of the rain. My friend, Bea, whom I know from bridge is an excellent driver. We had a hot cup of Rainy Day Chicken Soup before heading home.

I got home in time to watch Oprah for her second day of interviewing Whitney Houston. What a talent! So glad she is returning to her public life. I will never forget when she sang the National Anthem during the final celebration of the Los Angeles Olympics. Nothing has affected me so deeply except for the time our ship sailed by The Statue of Liberty in 1938. I get tears in my eyes when I think of it. We bought the tape of Whitney 's and in my move a couple of years ago, the tape was misplaced and I hope to find it soon.

Today is Bridge Day and this blog will be short. It is short. Must feed my animals.

Monday, December 14, 2009


One year I decided that it would be fun to make the month of December more fun for our four children. Late in November I went to the lumber yard and bought a piece of plywood which I covered with a gray material on which had sewn Santas and snowmen. Then I attached twenty four hooks. On these hooks I tied four small presents, all wrapped in four different colors. Each child got to draw the color they wanted.

The gifts were insignificant but something they either needed or something they liked to snack on. Sometimes the present was something that could not be a surprise for them. (Such as a pencil) I remember their cries of delight when they got something meaningful or something tasty. Toward the end of the period they got a small box of thank you cards to be used after Christmas and then there was a small envelop with postage stamps and on the twenty fifth I remember trying hard to find a 'diamond ring' from the dime store for each of the girls and something equally ridiculous for Gilbert.

After a year or so each of them had their own calendar. Four times twenty four is ninety six. It was a chore wrapping these ninety six items, it was a bigger chore amassing all these items and I sometimes wondered why I had begun this tremendous chore. But the girls enjoyed it and so it went on into their college years. I now see Anna, my number one daughter( I don't know if it is correct to say oldest or eldest) fix one of these for her younger daughter. (who is about to try for her Masters)

I think Anna also made an advent calendar for her Mother'in'Law. It gave me a good feeling that that old ritual might go on and spread far.

Happy Day After Lucia.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Santa Lucia

December 13. When I was young, that date meant Christmas was coming soon. When I was old enough to carry a tray with a coffee cup and little lucia breads with cardamon aroma I became the Lucia in our house, for I was blonde and my sister had black hair. I had never been more important than my sister before, and the feeling that filled me was ecstasy. I think it was my first feeling of some kind of importance. Our celebration was strictly homebound and after people got out of bed my role returned to normal and I slouched back to my place.

When I was married and had children that old feeling was aroused in me again and we really celebrated. We invited five or six families for breakfast at 6 AM. (Only one person said nothankyou but sent her husband, five boys and one daughter) We had our blondest daughter carrying the tray with the Lucia rolls and with candles on her head. Then we all sat down to eat and when eight o'clock came around all fathers went to work and most of the children had to run for the school bus. We had between thirty five and forty people around our tables. Before we left the bay area I would often meet some parent of a friend of one of our children's friends who had come for a Lucia party who still remembered the fun.

We would of course tell everyone about the origin of the ritual. In the pre Christian days the people of the North felt they had been forsaken by their Gods and they thought the Dark had lasted too long when suddenly they discovered that the night just passed had been a minute shorter than the night before and they knew their Gods had not forsaken them and they celebrated the return of the Sun.

Three of my three daughters have called this morning and said:Happy Lucia Day. And so, Happy Lucia Day to all of you who may happen to read this. Next blog will be about our Advent Calendars.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

This time I mean Robert

The title last time I wrote was certainly misleading. I will try to be more correct this time, but I have a few words I have to say about Richard. He was one of the signers of the Declaration of independence. And so we come to story of Robert Stockton. Sam and I had a suitcase full of things we had discovered about him. And so we sat with all this knowledge and didn't know what to do with it.

Martha, our number two daughter had become a Speech Pathologist. She owned a clinic in Los Gatos California where she was employing five or more therapists. One day her husband said that he had been hired to run an office in the Denver area and they were going to relocate. She sold her clinic and off they went. They stayed in Colorado about a year and returned to their house in Los Gatos. Martha asked if she could have our research on the Stocktons for she did not want to get back into the speech area again. We were happy to give it to her for we certainly had found out we were not writers. She has worked on and off for twenty years on the Commodore and I don't think she has given up on the project yet. She found out that a writer had to have a plot before starting to write, so she studied the subject, wrote a book on the subject and lo and behold she was so successful with her new work that Robert and Richard were put in a waiting line to be dealt with later. She now has a page, an URL for people to learn about Robert, which you can reach by writing Commodore Stockton

Richard abolished flogging in the USA Navy. He was sent by President Polk to make California the next State. President Polk did not tell him that he had sent someone else overland to make California our next State The two met in Los Angeles after Stockton had secured the State for the USA. He was Governor for one day of California. Stockton was well known in Northern California where he had spent time in Monteray. The city of Stockton was named for him and the land where the San Jose Airport is located once belonged to him. I remember so well going with Martha to Princeton where we spent a lot of time at the University and at Morven and at the graveyard. We had much fun and we gleaned a few more facts about him. He was instrumental in the building of waterways and canals and and there was talk about him running for political office.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Commodore Robert Stockton

After our nest was empty, Sam and I had fun doing research on his ancestor, Robert Stockton. Sam was very interested in an older version, Richard Stockton. He, Richard had com from England or Scotland and settled in Princeton New Jersey. There are a few things I remember from his days there. He built a beautiful home called Morven. Then he built a school and sent to Scotland for a man to be the first president of the place that later became Princeton University. His name floats in my brain and refuses to come out, but it may emerge before the end of this blog. George Washington visited the Stocktons and he and Richard's wife formed a close connection. I think there was a poem she wrote in honor of George Washington. And I remember the story of her burrying the family silver among her rosebushes.

One time I was traveling alone to the East Coast to see a cousin of Sam's who lived in a tiny town named White House, NJ. On my way to their place I walked by a bookstore and I have never ever walked by a bookstore, I went in. Lo and behold there was an author talking about a book he had just written, a textbook on the history of New Jersey. We chatted for a while and he hoped I would buy one of his books. I said, only if there is much talk about the Stocktons. We looked in the index and there was page after page about my namesakes. He was interested in the fact that that was my name and I quickly informed him that it was by marriage only.

This was when we had at least two children who were in high school. Our son was working for the Summer at Jane and Stan Friden's farm in Northern California. This will be relevant later.

The author , after he saw I was buying one of his books, took me aside and told me to get in touch with the interior department of New jersey and request to borrow a film that he had been involved with, showing Morven, which now had become the Governors Mansion. The first half of the movie dealt with the Governor and his family. I think he and his wife had eight or nine children. They were democrats. The second part of the movie dealt with the history of Morven.

I was excited about this movie and wrote at once to New Jersey to ask to borrow it. It came and after we saw it Sam and I said we have to show this to Gilbert who was a real non achiever in high School. It took us more than twelve hours to get from Southern California to the Frieden Ranch which was near the Oregon border. We checked into a motel and called Jane and Stan to see if we could borrow Gilbert for tomorrow evening. She said come over and have dinner. We are having froglegs .

Gilbert was excited about the history of Princeton and said I am going to work hard enough to get accepted by Princeton. It was a dream soon forgotten.

Next blog I will tell you what we found out about Robert Stockton. If you would like to find out about him before then, check into Commodore Stockton

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Holloween

I got two messages about Halloween this morning and so I feel compelled to write about our Halloween when our four children were growing up. One family asked if they could call at dinner time so I could laugh like a witch for their two grown boys. I assured them that I need more developed abdominal muscles in order to be effective. When we moved from Diablo to Laguna Beach our good friends called on Halloween morning and told us they were coming South that afternoon, for they didn't want their four children going through a Halloween without hearing my witches laugh. (I had abdominal muscles in those days) I remember that as one of the happiest weekends in Laguna Beach.

When the children were older than toddlers I used to dress all in black, and go out and wait for their friends to arrive. I stood under our bridge and when they were directly above me, I would give forth with a thunderous laugh. Think of now being an almost ninety year old woman and hearing that that laugh made me memorable. It is wonderful. But I would rather be remembered for ending hunger in the world or something meaningful.

One year when Anna was in high school I heard two boys whose voices I recognized, coming down the street after having been at the Greer's house, saying, Let's go to Anna's house. It's right here over the bridge. When they were directly above me, I let forth with one of my best ones. They turned around and ran as fast as their little feet would carry them. Anna was told next day in school how scared they had been.

When I grew up in Sweden we had no similar holiday. We did have a spring festival called Valborg's masso afton. It was almost the opposite kind of festival. It happened on the evening before the First of May. People got dressed up but not with anything scary. We had picked little twigs of our birch trees and even though the trees had not yet turned green, our twigs had because of the warmth in the house.

There is a description of Valborg's Masso Afton in a previous blog. If you don't feel like looking it up, I will go into further details about it next time I write.

Happy Holloween

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Our new wonderful world

Yesterday afternoon I received a comment on a blog I wrote sometime in 2008. The sender's name was Susan and she was doing research on her grandfather who was the last president of Robinson Reminder Co. How magical that a short mention of my having met him on a train to California could have turned up in her research. And how I wish I had more information to send her.

He was a good looking man. He was very proud of his two sons who were both pilots in the Navy. I think he mentioned that he himself had been a pilot in the navy. He didn't seem old enough to have been involved in WW1, but he could have been there during the peace time between the two wars. He spoke lovingly abut his wife who was forever interested in historical architecture. And he said that when Sam and I visited them in New England she would be happy to show us around. We did communicate by mail. And we were invited to visit. We had to decline and I am fairly sure that it was our financial situation that kept us from accepting. From then it was just Christmas cards and congratulations on new arrivals in the baby world.

Mr Robinson gave me a Robinson Reminder and he gave one to Mr.Shaw, my father-in-law, during lunch. And Susan I would like to know if both of his sons lived through the war. I may have been told about their happy re-unions in one of the letters but I do not remember.

I have been surprised several times by the life of my blogs. What surprised me the most was when a reader checked on the names of my fellow travelers on the trip from Sweden through the Panama Canal to San Francisco. Maybe that's the reason my memories paled. What if I told about something that was all wrong. Age does strange things to memories. When the Argentina pulled in to her berth in San Francisco, guess who met me. Mr, Shaw again. This time he came on board and had lunch with the Captain. I never called him anything but Mr. Shaw. For some reason he liked me, and we got along swimmingly.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mollegarden continued

I think I have already told about Mollegarden long ago. I spoke about my paternal grandmother's unfortunate break with her family. Sorry if I repeat myself. Some of what I will tell you might be debatable. But this is what I heard while listening to my mother and her coffee friends.

Elina was the name of my grandmother. She had several sisters. All of them were beautiful and a good catch for any swain in the neighborhood. According to her father, Magnus Lindberg, the swains had to be wealthy and well educated. He was a Danish immigrant who had settled in Viken when he was a young man. He had a boat-building business which made him wealthy, and from then on every business he touched succeeded. He built the windmill (molla) and the farmers who had seeds to be milled into flour came with their horses and wagons and seeds, paid a fee and took their flour home to be used for baking bread or for sale. Mollegarden was his homestead. It was built in the usual shape. People were afraid of raiders who came usually from the north. Four long buildings were built into a quadrangle. The northernmost building was the living quarters for family and servants. One building was the barn with one end quartering their horses and the other storage of the feed, hay and such. The other two I don't know about. One time when I was young, one of the buildings had become our post office.

As young woman or maybe as still a child, Elina fell in love with a young man who was not in great-grandfather's idea of a suitable swain for his most beautiful daughter. I do not know if they decided to marry without his blessings or if they were forced to do so. Mr. Lindberg told Elina never to darken his door again. Elina's mother was as sad as Elina. She did help Elina when the bad times came and there was need for food for a growing family. My grandfather was successful in some of his endeavors but mostly he was a fisherman. He and Elina had many children and my father was one of the younger ones. He went to sea when was 16 and worked his way from lowly seaman to Captain.

Monday, October 5, 2009


I heard today that two granddaughters had to shovel snow this morning. Karin in Montana and her sister in Wyoming. That brings forth so many memories. Growing up in Sweden, we young people loved the snow. We had so much fun and there were so many activities we could partake in by just going out the door. When our children grew up in California I felt sorry for them, for what could they do for exercise in the winter.

One or two winters it was cold enough that the straight between us and Denmark froze over completely. I was too young to venture very far out, but I remember how good the cod tasted that my older brother caught after he had made a hole in the ice. The snow ball fights between girls and boys were memorable. The girls were inside a thick stone wall encircling the garden of Mollegarden. We could go there early in the afternoon and build up a huge supply of ammo, snowballs that is. We could duck down behind the wall when the fight began, so I admit it was an unfair fight. But so much fun. And Mr and Mrs Anderson who owned the place would always make plenty of hot chocolate and cookies for the girls. ( They had no sons) And then we were lucky in that some years some adult would pour water on the tennis court and we could pretend we were playing hockey.

In the summer you could walk through the village and no boy would speak to you but in winter he still would not speak but after we passed each other he would throw a snow ball at you. No matter how much it hurt and no matter how much snow would run down the back of your neck, it did not matter. It felt good knowing that you had been noticed. If the boy was the one you had your eye on, it felt even better.

I will tell you more about Mollegarden next tim i write.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Saturday spent with relatives

Good news about Cap. He is still an old dog but he seems happy and content. Thank you for all the pleasant thoughts you sent us. I treasure all the warm comments.

Yesterday, Saturday, was a fun day. Gilbert, my son, is painting his house, and since it was in dire need of paint, there was a lot of prepping to do before the actual painting. So he invited his son and girlfriend from Montana, and a college roommate of Sam's to come to spend a week helping with the work involved. They worked hard, but there was also fishing and crabbing and golf in their lives during the visit. Saturday was finally my turn to do something to aid in the venture and I chose to take the gang to my favorite place for breakfast. Unfortunately, Gilbert took the group to his favorite place for breakfast and so almost an hour was wasted while we were waiting for each other. Finally I called Gilbert's place, and sure enough, there they were, waiting and hungry.

When eating was finished, the group split up. Heather, the girlfriend informed me that she was going to spend the rest of the day with me. We had a fun day. First I took her out on the long Hook protecting our harbor. She enjoyed the spectacular view of Port Angeles as seen from the North. It was a beautiful day. Then when we approached the Pilot Station I hung a U turn. I stopped the car and let her discover the structures that were built on the rocks protecting the Hook and in turn protecting our Harbor. She was absolutely passionate when she saw them and realized that they were fleeting and would all be gone after a heavy north wind hit them. I told her that when I last saw them they were completely different and that these had been made this summer by completely different people. The ones I saw last year seemed very delicate and very Asian. The ones we were looking at were more solid looking. Made probably by Americans who came from maybe Des Moines or from Indianapolis. They were equally beautiful. Heather was engrossed in deep thought and when we got to my place I asked her if she would like to use my water color supplies and she sat down and worked for probably three or four hours. When I saw her paintings I smiled for they were exactly like what we had seen but the paintings looked as though an Asian had painted them.

Sam came to pick her up when it was time to go back to Gilbert's place. They were all through painting and had had a great Golf game. I said Good bye for they were leaving early this morning to go back to Montana. I feel I have a new friend. Heather is a great person and I feel she will go far.

Monday, September 21, 2009


I just finished reading Shreve's twitter and found all the responses she evokes. Daily Coyote is my first touch of reality in the morning and it is so real, so filled with love and grit and beauty that it feels like 'who needs all that night time of dreaming' and I am so happy to be awake.

The reason for the lapse in my blogging is my sick dog, Cap. The vet told me his age is a problem. There are many reasons why the only treatment for him is love and care at home. And my son has promised that he will help when the time comes to love him enough to let him go.

Pray for us.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


When I was little I had many sessions of ear-aches. Doctors removed the things that grow in the back of the throat and the adenoids. Didn't stop the ear-aches. They removed some of the bone structure in back of the ear. Some of this happened after father had died and we were very poor. But we already had Universal Healthcare in Sweden and the costs were paid by our taxes. I don't remember that we had to wait for service, and since I was the one with a painful ear, it seems I would remember.

A couple of years passed and it was discovered that I had a hernia. When I exerted myself a little part of my insides pushed on my abdominal muscles and seemed to want to pop out. I don't know how long that had been going on, but a doctor said he thought it might have been caused by the constant early crying in the baby buggy. My mother gave me a choice. I could have a truss, or I could have surgery. Since I had observed an elderly man in the autumns wearing a truss out side of his pants while he was raking the leaves in his garden I knew I did not want to be wearing a truss. I chose surgery. I had a local anesthetic, for a strange heart condition had been discovered earlier. ( I was excused from Physical Exercise because of that, so I felt it was an added asset for me. I will tell you later what else I was saved from. ) But because I was awake during the surgery I heard what one MD said to the other one there. He said, 'Shall we tell the mother?' The other said 'No she would worry.' Those words would worry me most of my life. What was in there that could worry my mother. Or were they not even speaking of me. Every time some Md was working on my insides I would ask him to check for any unusual condition. I had four c-sections and one other opening for the removal of my uterus. Nobody found anything of interest.

The other thing I was saved from was participating in Choir. Some one told me that if you ate a whole raw potato nobody would ever want to hear me sing.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kennedy. cont.

You may have noticed that in my previous blog I said, 'in my minds eye' this was the way events occurred. Now that Senator Kennedy's memoirs are being printed, we will know more. From the few words we have heard about the contents of the book, it promises clarification and insight. I can't wait to read it. The trouble with living as long as I have, is that so many heros become heros of the past.

My paternal grandmother was the first one who died, and whose leaving really affected me. I was too young to understand what dying really meant. She had one huge fault. She owned a cat named Topsy who bore kittens several times a year. We got to see the little blind babies for only a few days and then, suddenly and tragically, they were gone. She told stories about what had happened. The trolls had come out of the forrest and they had stolen them. Or, some witch had come to town and had worked some miracle with them and had turned them into horses for her fancy conveyance. We were always sad that they were gone. Many years later rumors spread that she had drowned them all in a gunny sack. Life as a grownup is not always romantic. I wish I had never heard those rumors, for I remembered her as a sweet little tiny lady, who herself looked as though she could have been magic.

Until I moved I still owned her church hat. Seeing it used to bring her spirit closer. I have forgiven her for drowning the kittens.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ted Kennedy

Yesterday, Saturday, I woke up early. Around five. I did my morning chores. I cleaned the cat box and I cleaned up outside where the dog does his business. I swept my porch of all the leaves that had floated in during the night. I fed the animals. I made my bed. I sat down to rest for a while, I turned on the TV and I never left my chair until what seemed very late. I had happened to turn on CNN and it happened to show the Kennedy funeral. The cortege was leaving the church in Boston and the long, slow journey to Arlington had just begun.

The outpouring of love at every stop was astounding. Tears came to my eyes often, and to the eyes of many of the people standing waiting on street corners along the route. And they were so quiet and so respectful. Thousands of people lined the streets when the trip reached Washington DC. I was so proud to be an American. And I was so ashamed when I heard people referring to Chapaquidik.

In my mind's eye, I can see what happened the night of that tragic event. The office party was in full swing and the unfortunate girl who was lost that night, felt ill and made her way to the nearest car, where she laid herself down on the back seat, and fell asleep. She didn't know who owned the car. Moments later Ted Kennedy decided it was time to leave. He knew he had had too much to drink but decided to test his luck. He never knew that he was not alone in the car. The accident happened and he quickly recovered his senses and opened the door of the car and swam to the nearest friendly house.

Meanwhile the girl in the car became aware of her situation. She tried the back doors of the car and could not force them open. It was dark but she discovered that there was a pocket of air left close to the ceiling above the dash board and again she crawled over the front seat and drew several big breaths of air. Consequently she was found in the front seat of the car next morning.

There is no way ANYONE could have left someone in a sinking car. I do not believe that Ted Kennedy could have done it. And if his name had been Joe Jones he would not have had to suffer from so many reminders of the tragedy. Thank God for the Catholic Church which has the power of redemption. He knew that he was forgiven by God and became so ferocious in his work for people who needed him. Maybe now we can have a better medical situation with fairness for children and people of lesser means.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


When I picked up my medicine at Wal-Mart yesterday I was shocked to find that my bill was $420 something. I needed re-fills of four out of five I take daily. I am very healthy and no one thinks I am as old as nearly ninety. All this must be a huge fake, and I am actually held together by the Pharmacy world. I tested this a couple of weeks ago. I took a vacation from the pills and I survived. Maybe I weakened my bones a trifle or maybe I filled my blood vessels with gunk. My heart continued its irregular beat without my noticing anything. My fourth pill is for having less than a whole gland below my neck, I can't remember the name of it. I think I will ask my MD if I can do this one week a month from now on.

Since I was at the eastern edge of town, I went to see what Gilbert was doing. I am so glad I did. What was happening in the water outside the house was worth seeing. There was one Canadian Coast Guard ship, working with an American Coast Guard ship and a Helicopter flying between them. We had a Russian Coast Guard ship in town and he had been attending earlier. It was exciting to watch what they were doing and I forgot my own little drama.

Every time I see what improvements are done in the garden my heart sings and I am so glad I moved out of there, so the place can flourish again.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

County Faire

Gilbert called and asked if I wanted to go with him to the County Fair and I immediately said ' Yes I would'. Our bus took some of us inmates the day before and I could not go for I was getting a new refrigerator and was up to my knees in moving all the gory details out of one, defrosting the old one, throwing out what had been there unused since I moved in, and restoring this new wonderful defrosting machine. (now my hair drier will be used for its original purpose only)

Gilbert and I began our adventure about noon. Parked next to the gate with my handicapped sign in his dashboard. I was dying to have a scone. It was our first stop. The warm high scone with aroma that reached all the fences of the grounds was gone. We got a plastic bag with a scone with strawberry jam that was flat and in need of the any aroma at all. It was very forgettable. But the rest was old Fair. We watched the children showing their dogs. We watched young people getting bronze tattoos, we watched politicians shaking hands with anyone who got close. We saw my good friend who is running for city council, Edna Petersen, and I wanted to get close enough for a hug, but she was busy with something at the moment. We wandered through most of the area and it was fun. Gilbert bought some special corn concoction and I said I am tired. We left and within half an hour I had a two hour nap.

Our residence is close enough that I can vaguely hear noises from the Fair if my window is open. It brought many memories from Sweden and the fairs we attended. My very first love affair, when I was four or five was with a very dark hued man who was lying on a bed of nails. He did not speak nor look at us and I think we were in his presence probably less than two minutes and I have never forgotten him. I think his name was Abdulla. At another fair, when I was a teenager, I saw the gorgeous man that drew crowds of young women, brushing his teeth behind the tents. He used Colynose toothpaste and I used that for years after. I forget what his job was. Maybe his good looks was enough of a draw. I am sure he had a name but I never knew it. (But what was I doing going behind the tents?)

I loved the fact that Gilbert asked me to go with him. He also fixed the gas pressure on my BBQ. How great to have a man nearby.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


When Martha, Nr 3, arrived, she carried two folders of papers that I had written long ago at her request, thinking it might help me remember situations from my past, which would then help me with my blog. I have not had time to read all of it but this attempt at poetry amused me. Hope it will do the same for you. I think I have mentioned the event before. It is written in the form of a letter. It was called Dear Jeffrey, but if I were truthful it would have been called Dear Marcus.


Dear Jeffrey

Watching GONE WITH THE WIND last night made me remember.
Remember the night of August 1, 1943, the night before Sam and I were married.
It was Georgia hot. Sticky and hot.
I sat on the floor by the fireplace, a carton filled with papers by my side.

One by one the papers burned. Letters from Sweden.
Letters from young men in the Armed forces. Some with proposals of marriage.
Newspaper clippings and photographs
And then - all my Clark Gable pictures.

As more papers burned, the hotter the room became. I read and agonized.
Should I, or should I not. Burn this or save that.
Should I marry Sam, or should I not.
I cried silently, feeling so alone.

Did I really want to marry Sam?
I hardly knew him. He was infantry bound for unknown destinations.
If I let him go, I might never see him again.
That was the worst of all possible scenarios.

I never regretted marrying Sam

But why did I think I had to burn my past? Who knows?
After watching Clark Gable, I suddenly regretted that nights absurdity.
Had I not burned those papers,
I could now better share my past with our four children and our grandchildren.

And I would still have all your letters.

Monday, August 17, 2009

daughters, daughters

For the last week I have been surrounded by three of the most wonderful people in the world. You have heard about each one before, usually by a numbers. Today they will have names and vague homeports.

In this picture you will see all of them. Anna is at the west end of the photo. She lives on Bainbridge Island and I see her more often than the other two, who live in the San Francisco area. Jane in Mill Valley and Martha in Santa Cruz. We spent a lot of time with Gilbert, their brother and a fabulous fisherman. We had many meals with him at our old house. Cracked Crab and Salmon. It has been five wonderful days and I am utterly thankful for us, having been all together.

We celebrated two birthdays. Gilbert's belatedly and Jane's a few days early. Each celebration meant overeating and over laughing. The latter a fine sort of exercise which made overeating less noticeable. Gilbert took his three sisters fishing a couple of times and the picture shown here shows all of them starting out. One day they pulled up seven Crab and another day Gilbert caught two salmon. I have three meals in my freezer, two of crab meat and one of crab soup. I am so lucky that he wants to share his catch.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Filled with gratitude.

When I wrote my last blog I had no idea it would bring such healing remarks from my blogging family. Your remarks were so loving and so constructive. Thank you one and all. I will read that book, the first chapter any way, and then give it up. I have to admit, I have been such a snob about grammar. When someone uses the wrong word in speaking, the wrong tense, I smugly feel superior. It serves me right that I should have discovered how ignorant I am.

I spent the day working on a project and suddenly realized that I was starving. I had to get some vitamins for my macular degeneration and since they are cheeper at Walmart I drove to the other end of town and then felt maybe Gilbert might be as hungry as I was and maybe he would come eat an early dinner in a Mexican restaurant. When I got to his house he was deciding where to plant some flowers he had just acquired. He said he was starving and so the two of us had a great dinner at 3.30 p.m. And I have enough food in a little box for my lunch tomorrow.

It is now time to get to my most pressing occupation, watching the Mariners p;ay baseball. The game began at seven and I will just be able to catch the end of the game. Wish them Good Luck with me, please.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Family re-union

My son has moved into his house on the beach and since many parts of his family were there for extended times, I was invited for dinner. These were lovely times and I enjoyed both the food and the company. Gilbert gave me whole crabs to take home with me, and I can say, never have I had so much crab in such a short period of time. Whenever there are crab left over I am urged to take them home and so I have had crab sandwiches and crab omelets and crab tacos. I feel so lucky to have a son who can fish for crab.

Anna and Steve and Kate, the navy pilot, and friend, Gilbert and Chris and I had Gilbert's birthday dinner there. Gilbert made Carnitas and they were delicious. Anna had made Tosca and shaped it into cake shape and served it with one candle. It was a wonderful evening with many "Do you remembers" I loved the banter between the siblings and next week the two sisters from the San Francisco Area will be here with Anna again and I look forward to more of the same fun dinner conversation. The three girls will be staying here at my place.

The reason for the long delay again is that I went to shop at Costco and I spied a book on the sale's table with the title SPEND 20 MINUTES A DAY AND LEARN HOW TO WRITE. I read the first chapter which was about punctuation and capitals. I discovered that I knew nothing about the subjects and it totally threw me for a loop. How can I have nerve enough to write this blog showing my ignorance. Then I thought it is too late to worry about that now. Everybody knows my lack of grammar skills. If I were writing in Swedish I would be showing the same lack. But I am spending twenty minutes a day reading that book and maybe you will gradually observe an improvement in my writing.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dear Abby

Reading this morning's Dear Abby was quite a revelation for me. It was all about people who were told by one or two of their parents that they were never wanted. There were four answers to a previous letter which I do not remember having read. Wounded Heart, One Who Knows, Deeply Wounded and Wish I Never Knew were the names of the responders. I wish I had known that many people felt the way I did. When you are little you don't know that something is eating away at your feeling of security. I had problems with friendships in school, for if someone made overtures in my direction, I did not want to get along with a person who had such poor taste. Its like the joke about the man who did not want to join the club that was stupid enough to let him in.

Why did I never go to a counselor who could have saved me from feeling inferior all these years. And why does a nearly ninety year old person worry about cruel things told to her eighty years earlier? Someone who knows, tell me that.

The heat wave is abating and I just had to put on a white cotton sweater. I had breakfast with a good friend this morning. Then I went to the garage to have freon put into my air conditioning. And three pounds of air into a tire that made my car seem to turn to the right even when I wanted to go straight. And I filled up the gas tank. All preparations for going for a ride in the afternoon if the heat wave continued. I made the heat wave go else where.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


We live in the perfect part of the country. Weather-wise that is. It rains sometimes, but we need moisture. Occasionally we have a little snow flurry but it is usually enjoyable and brings back memories of times when snow was fun. And never do we get a heat wave. Until now. It is difficult knowing what to do to avoid the heat. Especially at my age. I can;t go down to the beach and sit with my feet in the water. The reason....... I can't get up again. And so we are in a record breaking heat wave here in Port Angeles. The temperature is record breaking and the length of the problem is also record breaking.

My getting along with this non 'air conditioning' is sitting in one place, working on a project that totally absorbs me. I am working on Christmas presents. And I am not knitting socks.

The reason for no blog is that I have run out of memories. Maybe when the weather gets normal, my brain will return to normal. I will try to be more reliable in the future.Thank you for the caring comments.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Another Bus Trip

A lunch trip to Lake Crescent was promised this Thursday. I think the bus has the capacity of eighteen passengers and I was number seventeen. One person had cancelled that morning. Which warned me to decide earlier and sign up if I really want to go. The weather could not have been more ideal. It was warm and sunny with no wind. The place was crowded with live in visitors. And as time passed more and more people arrived, some to eat their pic-nic lunches by the edge of the water, others to eat in the restaurant. One smart couple who were told there was a waiting period before they could be seated, ordered food to go and and the male part of the couple went out to secure a seat for two on a bench in the shade of a tree near the water. There were children galore playing in the water and It was a glorious day.

There were a few flies in the ointment. The waiting for us at the table for seventeen was endless. It is a great way to meet and get to know people you have never been in touch with before. The man sitting next to me had never been told by his mother that you have to keep your elbows close to your own ribs when you sit next to someone. His elbow was dangerously close to my plate. Then I found out that his mother died when he was four and that his father had brought up him and his four siblings. Then the poor college age student working for the summer had a difficult time with so many orders at one table. My bill was $16.44 and I handed him a twenty dollar bill and when I got my change, I got $16.44. I hope he came out OK at the end of the day. He seemed relieved when I gave him back $11.00. His tip was already figured in, in the ticket. I met a very nice woman named Virginia. She sat directly across from me, and at first I was hesitant to talk to her. She turned out to have a great sense of humor and a keen sense of what was going on.

Our bus driver, beloved by all, stopped by the soft ice cream place out near the Lake and ordered us all a dessert. It is a time consuming deal and I am sure delays him miserably, but he does it willingly and we all love it. He is great asset here, and if the powers were aware of how much we appreciate him, he would be written up in the sale's pitch for the place.

Some one asked me to enter my name to become a board member of the Friends of the Port Angeles Library. We need to get in touch.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Margaret's pitcher

Many years ago, before we had our new library, we had a member of the Friends of the Library who had become a 'bearing wall' of the group. Once or twice a year we had a book sale out in the garage of the place which now is the County site of the workings of the place. The garage was there because of the tall trucks that used to deliver books to shut ins in the out-lying areas of avid readers. The name of this elderly woman was Margaret Coffey.

She once told me her age and I think at the time she was in her middle seventies. I wondered how she could work so hard at her age. She could lift heavy boxes of books and she could stand on her feet for hours, sorting books for a future sale. The garage was a cold drafty place and her feet were usually in high heeled shoes. She was great to work with, for no one could say he or she was tired as long as Margaret persevered.

One day Margaret called and asked Sam and me for lunch the following week end. I said Sorry, but we have two grand daughters here from Denver. She said bring them along. She lived on the family farm which was out in the direction of Joyce. Many years earlier the family home had burned down and Margaret lived in a trailer where the house had stood. There were many buildings remaining and many of her belongings could be found in what was once the barn.

We had a delightful lunch and when we settled down with coffee and desert the children asked if they were allowed to go out to discover things. Margaret said they could, if they promised not to go into any of the buildings, for she did not know how safe they were. When the girls came back, they said, Grandma, come out and see what we saw. It was time for us to leave, so we said our Thank You. As we walked to our car, Kate said come and see what we found. It was some colorful old fashioned thing they had never seen before and they asked if they could ask Margaret if they might have it. I said, go and ask. Margaret came to investigate and at once said, Of course you may have it. It was some price given out at a county fair. My eyes spied a dirty pitcher lying on its side in the dirt on the floor. I asked if I might have that one. She said 'What on earth for?' I said It has such an unusual shape and I may use it in a painting. She said 'Take it.' And so we went home with our treasures.

The following Friends of the Library Board meeting was going to be held at Margaret's home. It was scheduled for one o'clock on a Saturday afternoon. We drove out there in two cars and when we got there, there was a note on the the door. It said 'please enter' We sat down and waited and after a few moments George Stratton, the head of the Library arrived. He sat down and said, Margaret died yesterday. Her daughter found her, sitting in her favorite chair. She was dead.

The discussion on the agenda had been, how can we help raise money for the bond issue. None of us wanted to remain. We were all too shocked and saddened by the news. So we scheduled another meeting and left. When we met later in the week I had a plan for raising money for the election. I would paint one painting each month named Margaret's Pitcher. It would be displayed in the North Light Gallery and people who saw it could bid on it and the highest bidder would get it. Many people who came across from Canada on the Ferry saw them and bid. I think only two remained in Port Angeles. Apparently enough money was raised that the names of my husband and me were put on the wall as donors. Unknown to us, until it was too late to remove them.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A columnist

We had a columnist in our local newspaper, Helsingborgs Dagblad, who was a woman. My mother and this columnist were good friends. I can imagine a conversation between these two women, probably in the afternoon, having coffee at Hogvakten Konditory. The conversation went like this. Mother: I am not looking forward to this summer. Gertrud will be out of school in June and she is so difficult to live with. Friend: Oh maybe I can help you out. George (not his name) doesn't like that I live here in the south. Can we send her up to Dalarna to help him out with cleaning and washing and fixing his meals? Mother: What a wonderful idea.

This happened in 1938 and before I knew it I was ensconced in a taxi, with mother's friend. She was going to show me what had to be done and how it was going to be done. Nobody had asked me if I wanted to do this. Mother just informed me that I was going to do it. I was 18 and it was time for me to live elsewhere. It was a lucky break for me, but I did not know it at the time. Our news papers were full of stories about Greta Garbo traveling around Europe with a Symphony director from Philadelphia. They had just crossed into Sweden from Denmark that morning, according to Dagbladet. I crept into the corner of the taxi hoping I could fool my fellow citizens that it was Garbo lurching in the cab.

We reached our destination in the afternoon. Mother's friend quickly showed me the guest room where I was to sleep. And also were I was to spend the evenings, For husband didn't want to socialize with hired help. He was a professor and needed his quiet time. She introduced me to the kitchen and told me what George wanted for breakfast and dinner. She also introduced me to the vacuum cleaner and when George arrived home, after a very cool greeting, she introduced me to him, who did not seem thrilled to have a person foisted on him. And then she said Good bye and escaped in the taxi she had asked to wait and returned to Skane.

They lived in an apartment near the college or university. I met some people who were like a substitute family for me. The work was easy. I had not yet heard what I was going to get paid for this adventure. It could have gone on and on but I made a mistake. One day I decided I should probably make an effort to do more of a cleaning than just dusting around the edges. I took down pictures and rolled up rugs and worked really hard. That was the day his highness decided to come home for lunch. He was met by a room totally messed up. He could not tolerate such a shock and phoned his better half in the south. She hired the same taxi and came the next day to take me back to Skane.

It was a quiet trip back and when I saw we had a visit by my favorite Aunt I was happy I had not missed her. She had asked my sister if she would like to go to America. She said no, she had health issues. So she asked me, and I said YES, and within a couple of weeks I had reservations and a permanent visa and off I went, and all of you know the rest of the story.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

More faces

After my grandfather died, around 1930, an elderly woman moved into his house. It was such a cute little house and the garden was well kept when Grandfather lived there. Soon after she moved in it became evident that the garden was the least of her interests. We, his grand children, had been employed to see to it that there no weeds in his garden. One year there was a severe influx of some kind of worm in the Reseda that edged the walk way from the gate in his fence to his front door. We got a swedish penny for each worm we pulled out of the flowers. You may think this was slave labor, but we got so many pennies my mother insisted we had to save ten percent and then we could go to the Candy store. So how does this come in under the heading of More Faces? Sorry, this new face didn't care about the Reseda or anything in the garden.

We soon discovered that she was an alcoholic. At night, sometimes after midnight she would walk down the lane to our house. She had lost her way to her out-house and my mother would have to turn her around and steer her back up the lane. And sometime it was too late. She would relieve herself on the way home.

If you met her during the day, in one of the shops, she was a good looking woman, with good clothes and a happy outlook on life. She was the first person I had met who drank too much. Except for the drunks you'd see on the ferry between Helsingborg, Sweden and Helsinor Denmark. Mostly Swedes took advantage of the drinks you could buy. Twenty minutes on the way over and twenty minutes on the way back. Looking back now, it seems the drinks must have been expensive, what with having to buy two ferry rides.

Farmor, meaning our paternal grandmother, had a lovely face. She was very wrinkled but she had the happiest face. Her eyes sparkled. She had a hunch back which was probably caused by lack of calcium when she carried her eight children. They were very poor at some times in their marriage. Grandmother was a perfect grandmother who would pick us up (one at a time ) and spend a forenoon reading to us. She would also let us play with the skin on her hands. We would lightly pinch her skin, and when we let go, the skin would stand up all by itself. We learned how to count that way. We would begin counting when we first pinched and when her hand was flat again we stopped. Such sport !!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Swedish older people

When we had a festive dinner when I was growing up, festive because of company or someone's birthday, we always served a drink with the meal. It was called Dricka. That word also means 'to drink'. It was non alcoholic and it looked like beer. It was delicious. We had to walk from one end of our village to the other. The place had large wooden gates and it was almost impossible to open them if you were under ten years old. The buildings inside the gate were old and arranged the way farms were arranged in the olden days. To the right was the family building, opposite was the building for the animals, horses and cows and such and between these was the barn here hay and equipment was kept. Then the farmer owned ground outside of the village for grazing. There were several of these old farms inside the village and the reason for the heavy gates was protection from the Danes when the Swedes and the Danes decided to have WAR.

The woman who owned this farm and who lived on the income from the Dricka never changed in the years when I had to go to buy her wares. She was dressed in boots and men's work pants and a long apron which was more stained as the years went on.She had arranged to sell her dricka in the building across from he home. We had to bring a pail to carry it home. She had a counter and she would put her hands on the counter (they were as red as beets ),bend over slightly and say "What will it be today?" I don't know what else she sold but probably something that had become alcoholic. Her nose was always running and she had no tissue and she did not use her hand but her tongue was busy. I don't know what her name was but we called her Froken something.

The teacher in the last two years of standard education paid for by the government lived next door to this dricka person. There was no space between the teacher's house and the farm and the other side of the farm had a house up tight next door. I don't remember who lived there but it must have been difficult to live so close to the fly inspiring place so close by.

If you continued in the direction you were going, only a few more houses, and where the road bent, there was Niagara Cafe and a few feet from that you could bend over a wall and see Niagara Falls. I would always sneak over and try to see how much water was passing over the falls as high as about two bricks on top of each other. In summer time sometimes you could not see the trickle. And then I would return and do my errand.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wonderful faces

Our bus left at 11.30 for our lunch tour to Blackberry Cafe in Joyce. There were fourteen of us going for this new adventure. And our driver whom you have heard about before, an absolute saint, with an invisible tiara. The average age, not counting our driver, was probably around 87. It was fun observing this group. Two of them were men.

There were two women who have been on every bus tour I've been involved in. They are not related, but this is probably a strong friendship which probably began after arriving here. At least five times I have heard one of them tell the other that she had a truck before she moved, but she sold it for she knew she would not need it here in the west. Her friend is about the same age came here from Florida where she also was involved in a farm.

The smallest woman there is a representative of God's. The first time I rode the bus, she tried to introduce me to her God. I must have been dismissive for she has never brought up the subject with me again. But I heard her tell that one of the people who died last week had refused to listen to her talking about God and now she feels so sorry for her for now it is too late. She actually grew up in Joyce, a tiny little community that doesn't have even one traffic light.

And one of the people weighs maybe less than the afore mentioned one, for she is soo thin. I knew her before moving here. Sam and I used to play bridge with her and her husband. She is so elegant and so proper, she looks as if she could go to tea with the queen any moment. Her husband was involved with logging and was a tall man and could have been a logger in a play.

One of the women, one who has a beautoful face and beautiful white hair is a walker. I think her group is called Klehanne. She seems very vital.

Then there was one woman that I have never been close to. The reason is that she is always sitting on a piano stool and she plays and plays. It is said that she doesn't know how to read music but she knows every tune that was ever popular. She can go on for hours. She is 94 or 97.

One of the men looked as if he had just stepped off the tractor, washed his hands, and ready for lunch. He wore a checkered flannel shirt and braces. The two men sat together and were totally different from each other. They sat across from Keith, the driver and could carry on a masculine discussion. Keith was meanwhile playing nanny to our piano player.

The two women sitting on either side of me are younger and seem very nice. I suggested to one of them that we share a bacon burger and luckily she was elated. It was the worst hamburger I have ever tasted. The bacon as underdone, the beef was either absent or so thin that you could not see it. And they must have cooked them an hour before we got there. They were cold.

Then we visited a couple of beautiful beaches on our way home. I heard one voice from the back of the bus saying: This is better than staring at four walls. That remark made me sad. There is much to do here and nobody should stare at four walls.
Next blog will be about some people this same age I remember from growing up in Sweden.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Another Midsummer

Such problems. I won't bore you with what happened but I am getting tired of Mid summer and of my computer. Martha, my plot daugher helped me ovecome some of my computer problems and now it is full seed ahead. Or full speed back again.

Just the word Midsummer promised so much. Special food, the first new potatoes dug up out of the garden that morning. For the first time that year. Then the promise that maybe we could go swimming if the temperature was above 50*. Wearing new clothes. Probably the dress that was made for our last day of school. Probably out of town visitors for dinner. The potatoes were the best part of that meal but the fish or the meat would be special too. And a fabulous cake for desert. And then the dance around the Maj Stong ( May Pole ) Why was it called the May Pole when midsummer was in June?

There was a lot of work to be done that day. We had to help get the house ready for celebrating. Some important member had to dig up the potatoes. Maybe that's why I had a great collection of pitchforks that were sold when we moved from our Diablo house. And that's why I have said I am going to be a potato farmer in my next life. I was never important enough to dig up the spuds. ( I never put this together before ) Then around ten we had to gather in the park to get the May Pole dressed and put together.

Teenagers and adults would gather the greenery. There were tools too big for the smaller children. We had to go out on the heath to gather white Daisies, blue Bachelor Buttons and Red Clover. And then there was a group of grown ups who would raid the gardens of big red Peonies. Some years the May Pole would be a truly magnificent work of art. Depending on who was in charge. I wish I had pictures of the good ones.

The pole consisted of what looked like a telephone pole with a shorter thinner cross bar, two rings that looked like the wheels
without spokes from a bicycle. The main pole was the first to be dressed. Then grownups would raise it in the middle of a big circle in the middle of the park.The cross piece was dressed and in stalled about 31/4 of the way up the pole. The Swedish flag flew from the top. The rings attached to the crosspiece were the most colorful parts of our labor.It was a beautiful sight standing in the center of a green lawn.

And when that was done there would be dinner and an hour later swimming in the Sound between Sweden and Denmark, Oresund. And then the dance. There was an adult who played the accordion. Only ring dances were offered and we all knew all the words to all the songs and there were some that were more fun than others. The words to one for example said.. I step so close to you, I take you in my arms, And so we circle away... well what a thrill.

There was a morning after. We would go to see the pole again and there it stood in a circle of dirt. Not a blade of grass was left. All danced away. One thing that was true then. There were no candy wrappers and nothing but a dead lawn.


Please hang on for a while Something's wrong with the computer In the middle of a sentence it flicks to this message 'your post was successfully published. As soon as I can trust this machine I will tell you about Midsummer in Sweden when I was growingg up.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

A house

Our Washington house by the beach has been sitting empty for more than a year. It has been difficult to go there and feel the house crying for attention. We had many happy years of retirement, and made many good friends while living there. And then ten sad years, with Sam gone. Before Sam died we sold the house to our son with the proviso that we would live there till we died. Last year I moved away because it was too much work to maintain and too much money to maintain, and I felt the neighborhood was suffering because of the obvious neglect.

Now the house is being re-vitalized and it will be great to see it lived in again and maintained. The one thing that never could be spoiled is the view. And the spectacle of all the cruise ships passing by on the week-ends continues as before. The ships enter the Strait of Juan de Fuca early in the morning for the trip to Seattle and return in the evening, ablaze with lights. They stop directly in front of the house to let the pilot leave the ship, as it continues on its way to the Pacific Ocean. It is great theater and we would try each week-end evening to plan our entertaining with dinner around the the time the cruise ships passed by. Last night I brought spare-rib dinner to my son and Chris, his wife, and Sam, their son, who were exhausted from moving in. I quickly grabbed the seat with the view., instead of my usual, 'nearest to the kitchen' seat. Sadly it was thursday and no 'theater' night.

It was nice to see the family again. And we had 'theater' of a different sort. Cap's father, Rusty, was there and a new little nine week old puppy whose name I forget, entertained us all evening with their shenanigans. It was a happy evening.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A great day

Yesterday a good friend who moved away from here a couple of years ago, called and said she had to sell a book she co-wrote with Helen Radke at the local Historical Museum and could they come by to say hello. She and her husband came and stayed for half an hour. It was great seeing them. I decided to go to the museum and if there were any moments when she was not busy with her public we could continue our reminiscing. As we were saying good bye again, she said have you read THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY book be sure you get it . it is wonderful reading. I stopped at the local book store, bought it and also the first of the twilight books. The first one I mentioned is a Dial Press Paperback. I came home, sat down to read and except for taking care of my animals and making my bed , I have done nothing but read.

The book is amusing, and historically educational. Written by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. If you have read it or if you do in the near future let me know how you feel about this book.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Book

I just finished reading a book by Mary Higgins Clark. In Acknowledgments she said "Perhaps the question I am most frequently asked is," Where do you get your ideas?" she answered that "She may read a short article in the news paper or magazine, and for some reason it sticks in my mind." And when I read that while looking for something to read while waiting in the Dr.'s waiting room, I bought the book WHERE ARE YOU NOW? It sounded as if there might be a serious lesson in that book. If there was, it eluded me. But I was transported into another world that held me tightly for several hours.

My daughter number three has asked me repeatedly to get my act together and to make a PLOT CHART and to seriously plan to write a book about my past. This Blog is probably the most serious attempt so far. What I found while reading Mary Higgins Book is that I do not like to read a book that has too many jumps from one season to another. I like books that have a beginning and a middle and an end. I like people to appear as they happen to fit into the time schedule. If they need to be introduced, do it there. I you need to tell why they are important to the story, let it develop. (Blockbuster Plots)

Now, why have I jumped from 1938 to 1970 and back to 1945 ? And why have I gone back historically to my relatives lives. Because I run out of memories of my own? Or because there are times I can not talk about because they are too difficult to get into.

I will ask my Plot Daughter what my problem is. And I will tell you exactly what she answers. And maybe we will all learn together how to do it. See what happens next.

Friday, June 5, 2009

And then the kitchen

What a horrible surprise. Ugly floor with holes through to the under-flooring. The walls were lath and plaster and many places you could see this material. The ceiling was lath and plaster also and there were spots where it was also evident. Immediately to the left of entering there stood an old Wedgwood range. It had a section on the left where you could burn your trash. It was connected to a flue into what must be a way into a chimney. That made me happy for this had been used, obviously for years,, I could take the stove out and replace it with a small fire place land we could have breakfast in the cold mornings with a comforting small fire. We would have school-age children before long. ( You can tell I jump into impossible situations without too much thought )

Back to reality, the sink was under the windows sitting in a horrible counter to the right. At the end of the counter was a door and when you opened it you found a small room with one item, the refrigerator. Open the door and you found yourself in the laundry room and that was the outer limit in that direction. I went out the door onto a rickety wooden porch, to the left was a slanting cellar door.

So back to the kitchen. In the opposite corner from the door I already mentioned was a little breakfast nook with built in benches. What made this so tight and cluttered was the fact that there was the door leading out to a large beautiful back-porch About three stairs down and if you walked this route to the left you would find yourself in the garage.

But we have not seen any bed rooms yet. Back to the dining-room. Walking away from the windows you left the dining-room and entered a LARGE hall. Again beautiful hardwood floors and big arched windows. One bedroom on the left with no window except the little one that we talked about in the first room. The next was a much smaller hall leading to one small bedroom to the right, and one large bathroom to the left. It was very old-fashioned but regal sort of. Small porcelain tiles in the shower and with a huge built in wooden chest of drawers between two windows facing out unto the driveway. We return to the large hall and continue to the end. One door on each side. To the left the master bed-room. Long wooden counter to the right and a sink at the end. Windows in the opposite corner. Back to the large hall and then into the last bedroom Big enough to hold the three girls provided we could have a bunk-bed at one end. In the closet that was ample there was a small built in sink. Big enough to brush teeth. It might keep the mornings less phrenetic.

The house with all its faults oozed of summer happiness and with lots of guests. And we had noticed all the out-buildings which probably were there as guesthouses. All of them had water in them, we discovered later, and in the olden days there was a lake connected to the settlement. More news about the history of Diablo later.

The place cost $24.000 and we made an offer of $22.000 and it really was more than we could afford. And we were too stupid to ask about termites and about the condition of the roof. And we and the termites lived together in peace and happiness until the time came to sell the place and the buyers were smart enough to ask about silly thinks that we tried to ignore.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

More about the house

Most of you remember how we happened to buy the house in Diablo. I had gone with Sam across the Bay, to Danville, where he had to deliver a sample of some kind to a furniture store. There were so many interruptions at home, four to be exact, that it was a treat to be alone with Sam even if it was only a business trip. We had taken this route before on our way to a Big Game at Berkley. The San Mateo Bridge, through Hayward and then through San Ramon Canyon to Danville. I remembered the well kept, orderly Walnut groves before we came into Danville.

The Diablo road was the way to Mount Diablo. It went through farm land and passed Twin Pine Nursery half way to Diablo. From down town Danville I think it was about twelve miles to Diablo. There was a US Post Office and a Country Club and a long history of people using this beautiful spot for summer homes. The trees, mostly elms, lining the road into Diablo were huge and stately, with branches meeting overhead, making you think you were driving through a tunnel. The houses along the way were modest and intriguing. When we came to the first fork in the road, we stopped. Mr Imrey, our realtor, drove across the bridge to the Hockenbeamer's house, which quickly became the Stockton house but was never called that until we left twenty years later. I remember how the boards on the bridge made a loud click-y-clack sound when a car drove over the creek. That was a wonderful sound later in our lives because it meant that Sam was home.

Renee asked me if I had pictures to show the house. When I moved here a year ago I gave all the photo albums to one of my children. So I will try to describe it. When you crossed the bridge the driveway was long and curvy and ended up in the two car tandem garage. So now we will imagine we stopped in front of the house and go in the front door. There were two large Holly trees on either side of the stairs going up up to the front deck. And if you were observant, you would see to totem poles in the greenery. The house was gray with white trim. Three windows, the middle one larger than the two flanking it. If you peered in you could see the fire place in the living room.

When the front door was opened you walked into a strange room We realized later that it had at one time been an outdoor porch. It had beautiful arched windows and its non square corners made it unique. One other oddity in that room. There was a little window into the adjacent bedroom. The hardwood floor was perfectly beautiful. We turned to our right and there was the living-room with the big fireplace. the three window design was repeated on the far wall and you could easily see the neighbor's house. Again beautiful floor, but you could see children had been playing there for there were cigarette buts and slide marks in the dust.

When you walked past the fire place and turned left you were in the dining room. Same three window plan. On the opposite wall was a built in china cabinet. Glassed doors above and drawers and cupboards below. All woodwork was painted white. I think there was ugly wallpaper above the dado. It had such a classical peaceful architecture. I did not have to see any more. I had fallen in love with the house. But there was so much more to see. And this is getting too long. This house and its setting will have to follow. Next room will be the kitchen.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

an old house

Today is Sunday and I wrote an email to an old old friend who lived in our neighborhood in Diablo California. She was considerably younger than i was. I met her when they brought home the baby girl they had adopted. We had a daughter about the same age as their adopted one and we and the two girls became good friends.

A year later we had a new daughter and they had adopted another girl and so as our families grew, our friendship grew. And then they became remarkably rich and they moved into San Francisco and our friendship was kept on hold for a while.

While they were still living in Diablo, our paths crossed in many ways. But the most fun tradition we had was that when the electricity went down, they would bundle up their two little ones and we would have supper in front of our fireplace and we would sit there talking until one baby would fall asleep and then another and suddenly we would have six children sleeping in the bedrooms. And we would continue talking and laughing until it was time to go home and go to bed. Our electricity failed one night after we moved to Laguna Beach and the first thing I could think of doing was to call our friends in Northern California and tell them to come.

This afternoon I wrote a long email to my friend and lo and behold, while I was still on the computer, it dinged and it was my friend. She had had her computer repaired by her grandson and saw my mail sent minutes earlier and she responded. She had been feted by old friends in Diablo on her 85th birthday and as they were sitting reminiscing, her older daughter came in, crying profusely, saying the Stocktons house is gone. It is torn down. When I read that, it struck me. How could that house be gone. Now it will live only in our memories and in our old photo albums. It will happen to all of us and to all our houses eventually and
bless our memories.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Peanut butter, sweet potatoes and water melon

In 1939 or 1940 a friend from School in Sweden came to America for a visit, and she wanted to see the Niagara Falls. I must have been between jobs for I went with her to see these fabulous works of Nature. I remember a remark she made as we said our Good Byes. She said 'I think you should return to Sweden before it is too late. The War has already begun in Europe and everyone thinks America is going to be in the war before long, and then it will be impossible for you to return.'

It gave me something to think about. I had no health insurance and what would happen if I got really sick? What if I never got to see my family again? There were many signs that we would enter the war on Englands side. FDR kept sending planes and money to Britain and if you read between the lines there were other signs of war in our future.

I stopped worrying about war once the thought occured to me, that if I returned to Sweden I would have to live without peanutbutter and sweet potatoes and watermelons. That was a fate worse than anything. They may have these delectable items now, but as far as I knew, in 1938 when I left, I had never tasted or even heard of them.

What brings this up at this time is the fact that I had French Fried Sweet Potatoes yesterday with lunch. The bus, with Keith driving, left at 11 am. We were on our way for lunch at Granny's Cafe. There I ordered a Hamburger with a side order of the above mentioned treats. I have only heard about this treat once before and it quickly became my most favorite food. I let my most nearby people have a taste and then I had to plan my action. I would eat my hamburger and in case I was too full, I would take all the sweet potatoes, wrapped in my napkin, for the post-lunch-trip around Lake Crecent.

We had a wonderful trip. There were a few moments when we were along side the lake, when the world gave us a perfect moment. The sun was shining brightly on the water that looked like glass. Not the tiniest ripple. The reflections from the other side were awesome. It did not last long, for when we stopped at the end of the lake, it looked as though the glass had broken, and there were ripples everywhere. I don't think I will forget that trip.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


There as a request that I tell more about Sam. His family returned from England at the time when he had two more years of High School to finish. He went to San Mateo High School. He was on the Track and Field team and covered himself with glory. When we went West the first year we were married he was happy when he found his record in a short Dash had not yet been broken. I really did not know what he was talking about, since there were so many phrases that could not easily be translated. We had followed the 1936 Olympics on the radio in Sweden, and I certainly knew about Track and Field from that. Sam's family had many silver cups on their side table in the dining room, that Sam's mother proudly pointed out to me, that Sam had won in England.

Sam's English accent had been a plus for him also, and he became the President of the Student-body. His coach made an appointment with the Track and Field Coach at Stanford and he expected to get a scholarship. And then he got mumps and he never ran again. And so he worked for a year in San Francisco for Shell Oil Company. He worked in the mailroom. When he heard about some promotional work that had to be done for the company, he volunteered. It meant roller skating into little towns in Oregon, dressed in a Penguin suit. He must have had to sing the glory of the Shell Company. I only remember him saying he had a lot of trouble with his glasses fogging over.

When I met Sam, his English accent was mostly gone, but what remained made him very interesting. He was handsome in his uniform, and he stood out among his fellow Candidates when I met him. Robb, the Polo player from Chicago may have been more handsome than Sam, but Sam had better looking hands than the whole group. I carried a photo of Sam's hands in my wallet the whole time he was gone. They were very expressive. They went with his sensitivity when he read HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY on our honeymoon. He actually had tears in his eyes as he was reading. He smoked Chesterfields which drew a lot of attention to his hands, his accent and his voice were seductive, and the book was spellbinding.

When Sam became a civilian and put on his gabardine suit ( which his younger brother had worn out ) he was even better looking than in his uniform. We had a long time waiting to become parents, but you could tell from his reaction to his cousin's children that he was going to be a fabulous father. And when he would come home from a long hot trip, and he would see his one or his two or his three and four children, he would say, OK who can be the first one in the bath tub. And I would have to wait for my treat till later.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Memorial Day

This Day is a big day, much more than a day making our first summer, three day week-end off. I would like to tell you about Sam. He was an veteran. He was drafted in 1942 and went through the training that draftees got. He claimed that he was sent to Officer's Candidate School in Georgia because he had a commanding voice. I met him on his first day in Georgia. His train arrived from his former deployment early on a Saturday morning. He went to his new address where he met five or six of his future OCS class mates and his future room-mates. They were to sleep alphabetically. One of them had a car, and since they had been told they were free until Monday, and since one of them had tried to move his bed away from the wall, and since they saw a huge group of bed bugs, Milton Susser said: Let's get out of here. I have a cousin at Warm Springs and I think it's only a couple of hours from here. We will all chip in a gasoline stamp Stevens, if you will drive.

You have all heard about my being asked to show the group Warm Springs. And since they were called the sixty days wonders when they graduated, I guess our wedding on that same day was a wonder too. A wonder that was bound to fail for we did not know each other. And I did not know that Sam was a republican.

We had a year in Mineral Wells, Texas. And after having a short training time in Little Rock, Arkansas in how to behave while being bombarded with Poison Gas, he left for the European part of the War. He was lucky getting to stay some where in Enland for several months, but finally the ORDER came and he had to go toward Germany and he was a company commander. He said he was extremely lucky for the company had been in the war since the African part of it. And they had invaded Cicily and fought their way to a bridge from the Low Lands into Germany when Sam joined them. The soldiers, and especially Sam's Seargant were smarter than he was and Sam claimed he never would have survived if it had not been for Sgt Feckner (Iam not sure of his name but while I am writing this I am sending him many thankful thoughts) They were fighting in The Battle of the Bulge. There the Sgt saw Sam reeling and weaving and asked him:Sir are you OK. It turned out later that he thought Sam was drunk. The Co had earlier found the supply of the Vehrmacht's supply of liquor. But Sam collapsed a few minutes later and the Hospital in Liege Holland told him he had Scarlet Fever and since it affected his heart, he was in the hospital for over a month. He had slept in dugouts left by the German soldier who had slept there before Sam did. So I send him a thought of thanks too, for if he had not been in the hospital that month, he probably would not have made it home again.

And so I send thankful thoughts to all the people who are in danger. Sam was 100% against all wars and even though he never changed his political party (how I tried) he disliked Bush 1 for his involvement in the Panama fiasco and he was very happy when the army told our son that he was 4F. (allergy to bee stings)

Sam never joined any veterans groups and he hardly ever spoke of his days fighting. After the war was over his company had to guard the German big shots who were kept in the prison in Nuremberg. He would occasionally reflect on those experiences.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Last night I was working on a project ( you will hear much more about this later ) while watching the Seattle Mariners playing the Los Angeles Angels. It was a fabulous game, low scoring, but promising something could happen any time. The score was Angels 2, Mariners 0. Both pitchers were on their game. Not the kind of game one should be be watching with divided concentration. But mine was divided. During the later part of the game the tension rose.

During an advertisement I was so tense, I switch channels to see what was on the educational channel. It was Live from Lincoln Center "New York City Ballet's Romeo and Juliet" Peter Martins' interpretation of Prokofiev's ballet. It was the first act, and so gripping and so beautiful, I could not return to the base ball. When the first act finished, Leslie Stahl interviewed Peter Martin and though I was anxious to hear what he had to say, I returned to the game. It had just finished, and thank heavens the score had not changed, so I assumed I had lost nothing by watching the ballet. But I had gained much. I had been so stirred by the beauty of the dancers that sleep eluded me for hours. During which I could concentrate on my project.

Gilbert, if you are reading this, I hope you won't mind my using your washing machine and dryer to wash my kitchen rug. My washing machine does not hold much more than two twin bed sheets, and the machine I left you, in your house, could hold two rugs the size of mine. I had a date with Ann for breakfast at nine and while we were eating, my rug was getting clean. I went back after eating and put it in the dryer while I did the Cross Word Puzzle.

With the help of Tammy, I finally mastered the camera I bought before I went on the cruise. The problems were caused by faulty batteries. The wrong kind of batteries. And now I can send photos by my computer. I should have learned ages ago, but mechanical things scare me, I tried to learn about computers and cameras onboard the ship, but the classes were so above what I knew, it was wasted on me.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Lying aboout your age

There was a sidebar when I checked on my blog this morning. It asked 'Why do women lie about their age.' I tried to find the answer, but came up with nothing.

I have lied about my age at two two periods of my life. One period was when I was between twenty one and twenty three. When I first began working as a Physical Therapist people looked at me and said to themselves 'What does that dumb blonde know about anything. My back is hurting so badly today, I would rather have that older therapist work on it'. Her disappointment was so obvious when I called her name, I had to assure her of my expertise. I told her I was twenty-nine. And once she was lucky enough to have me treat her back ache, she never asked for anyone older. My looks was a detraction but I had strong hands and I knew what I as doing.

The next time I felt like lying was much later. I was 86 when good friends asked me to come along to Port Townsend to hear a lecture. We were meeting in a theatre. A few seats in the front row were screened off. We sat in the row behind the verboten ones. In came a lady, dressed to the teeth and with heels that clicked loudly enough to turn many heads. She marched directly to the front seats and sat down in one of the special ones. A young man came along and said quietly: Are you supposed to sit there? Without rising but with a loud voice she said: 'Young man, I want you to know, I'm nearly ninety, and I sit where I want.' I felt we should all have applauded. Such power! And I decided that I would use that expression. I had only four years to go, so it was nearly the truth when I copied her. I went on a cruise around the world that year and it helped me a few times. Especially when we had to get in line and wait endlessly.

I am now 89 and in six months I'll have reached that magic number. But since I moved into my current address 90 does not seem so magic. Friday afternoons some of us meet in a sewing, knitting group and one of the ladies who makes the most beautiful blankets with her crochet hook is 104. And ninety is not such a big deal.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


This noon anyone who wants to can go to the John Wayne Marina in Sequim. It is a Complimentasry Picnic which I guess means that our kitchen is supplying all the food for us. I am anxious to go for I love pinics and I love the John Wayne Marina. There is a wonderful restaurant there and I know I will probably wish we were eating there instead.

The above made me think of all the picnics I remember from the time before my father was 'Lost at sea'. A little North of us, on the beach lived people we were not even rrelated to, but felt about them like aunts and uncles and cousins. He owned a plumbing supply company in the city, and they did not move out permanently until he retired. But summers and vacations they were there and the place was jumping. Their children were much older than we were. As a matter of fact, they did their romancing and later some of their weddings were held at their house. They always had music at their parties and my sister and I learned how to dance, because the young swains would invite us to dance.

Tant Elin was the most fun grown up person I have ever met. She could have been a clown. She was the dress designer at the Theatre in Helsingborg. When they moved out to the beach permanently, she was always looking for something fun to do, and most often she would include us in her merrymaking. We had a yearly custom of having children going around the village singing songs and sticking a branch of a birch tree with tender new green leaves in the window. It was sort of like Halloween here. We would either get eggs or money. It was a fun time for we were professing that Spring was coming. My mother had never let us 'sing May'. She thought it was just begging. Tant Elin said Pooh. let them go. I will dress them all up in some of my finery.

Her finery was unbelievable. I was a princess in fabulous clothes and a tiara that to my eyes looked exactly like DIAMONDS. My brother was a sailor of some sort. We had a friend who played the accordion and all of us looked like a millon dollar. There were five or six of us. We began each holding a little basket but soon found we had to go home to get a bushel basket for we got so many eggs. And a lot of money too. It's an old old custom, to wish everyone happiness in the new season.

Each one of us would sell the eggs to our mothers or, as we did, our family had many too many eggs, we gave or sold them to neighbors and friends. We made a lot of money and felt we were rich.

One year when I was between one and two, at one of our Sunday picnics I toddled away from adult supervision and fell into something that must have worked as a sump-pump and one of the young boy friends found me, gasping. I was too young to remember it and for some reason I never asked anyone what happened. It sounded so awful, I would rather not hear about it.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The continuation

Did anyone notice that I never mentioned Ida in the previous story. Since her life and my Mother's were tangled in a way, I better go into a little detail about her. Ida was my grandfather's favorite and he was lucky he got to keep her home as long as he did. When she was young she met a handsome youth and fell in love with him. He said to her, let me go to America first and find a place where we would like to live and then I'll come back and marry you and we will live happily forever after.

His last name was Paulsson. He left, and came back when Ida was 50 years old. He followed the gold hysteria and when that died there were other metals that intrigued him, and that's why he was in Colorado when the urge to settle down hit him. I think there was a copper rush, but I think I may be wrong. Anyway, he found Meeker Co. the place that would please Ida, and he went back to get married. And so grandfather lost his housekeeper. He thought he still had one left, but by this time, Mother had three children, with another on the way. She was not as available as Ida had been, and he never let an opportunity pass without telling her that Ida would have seen to it that he never lacked for material or personal things to make him happy. I do not know if he had shown Ida more love when they were youngsters or if it only began when they were adults can witness to the fact that it hurts if you are growing up in that sort of climate.

Mother was the most beautiful of all the children. She was small, had a tiny waist, big black eyes and the most gorgeous chestnut colored hair. And she was very intelligent. But there was some kind of need in her. It was said that while my Father lived she felt so much more adequate. After he died, she found innocent remarks made by her friends hurtful. And then she remembered them forever. And she never forgot. She had a cat who loved her and she loved him. She had a son whom she loved, and he loved her. And she had me, and we never were on the same page, except for her last two years of her life. She tolerated me, but she never loved me.

What my mother did to me, made me what I am. I am lucky that I met Sam and that we has fifty-five years together. Most of them were wonderful, happy years and our children made us mostly proud and grateful.

If my Mother were alive I would be happy to say HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

An ode to my Mother

I know that an ode is a form of poetry and I do not know how to write poetry, I want it to be a few lines of praise for her. She had a hard life and I am sure I added to her difficulties.

She was born to parents who probably did not want her any more than she wanted me. Her parents were born in 1838 and 1840. They already had six children and in 1886 when my mother was born her mother was about fifty years old. Blenda's closest sibling, Olof. was probably still in diapers. My grandfather was the teacher for all children in a little farming community called Allrum. The job was paid for in a small salary and in totally unsatisfactory living quarters. The School and the living quarters were in one building. My grandmother had to knit socks for her whole family and I have never seen a photograph of her where she was not knitting. My grandfather retired on a pension and moved his family to a little fishing village about 20 or 30 miles away. Viken. The family had grown smaller by the time grandfather moved, for all his children moved to America as soon as they were old enough to get work.

Ivar worked in a grocery store in Walla Walla, Washington. He later worked for the Swedish American Line as a teamster. He had two horses, a team, and a cart that delivered luggage and probably some freight. Did you know that's where the word teamster came from? He later moved to upstate New York. Alma was a baby nurse or a mother's helper and I think she never developed beyond that and had to retire back to Sweden when she grew too old for that kind of work. We all felt she was a little weird and my mother always told me I was just like her. Helena we never heard of. She died young and the fact that we never knew what happened to her made her a fascinating person for us to wonder about. Olof was the only one of the children who got any education beyond the seventh grade. He became a banker. I forgot Karin who went to America like all the others. She worked as a cook till she got Social Security and moved back to Sweden.

My mother went to America when she was about eighteen. She began as a baby nurse and one day on her day off she met a Sea Captain from Viken. They had never met before and he fell in love and asked for her address. He and his ship left after just a few days, but the mail between them was hot and heavy. He and the ship returned a year later and Captain Nils Svensson asked Blenda Olsson to marry. She said: I will have to return to Sweden and begin working on my hope chest and on my wedding dress. And then I will be happy to marry you. (To be continued)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The wek after

Last monday our son arrived from Colorado. His first visit in years. Health and other issues kept him from Port Angeles. He could not have rented a car at the airport and driven here because of the Hood Canal snafu. So he had to take a flight from Seattle to our-airport here. when I saw him getting off the little tiny plane I was amazed. He was thirty years younger looking than he was the last time I had seen him. He weighs no more than when he was in college, playing tennis every day. I don't think I am being unrealistic when I say, he is positively handsome. He is still suffering pain from an accident he had playing softball when he broke his clavicle and separated his shoulder.

His first night dinner had to be at a thai restaurant and it was a delicious meal. Next night we invited his neighbors and friends for dinner here at my place and we had again the Leg of Lamb I told you about before. Gilbert is diabetic and for dessert we had fresh pineapple mixed with strawberry sherbet with a little chocolate sauce dribbled over. And then last night the same neighbors had us over for a magnificent Taco dinner. This morning we are having breakfast at Gilbert's favorite place for such a meal. The Corner House Restaurant. I doubt he can eat half of what he usually orders.

I am hoping we will see some of the cross dressers who are having their yearly convention, beginning tomorrow. They are such an interesting group. And their choice of coming here every year is astounding. This is such a 'down home' community. There is also a Holland American Cruise ship in port. It is so large, it towers over the hole harbor area. It will bring back so many memories from my cruise around the world two years ago. ( I wish I had known about Suze Orman before I took that cruise for if I had asked her 'can I afford it' she would have said DENIED ) But I have memories that I love bringing up when I have a sleepless hour at night.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

review of the week

The big event of the week was our Thursday outing. Our schedule said, trip to Silverdale. We left at ten on the bus with our great driver and friend, Keith. It was the last possible day we could go, for the next day the bridge over Hood Canal was cut in half and it will remain closed for six weeks. I read in the paper that 15.000 cars and trucks go over this bridge every day. The same paper gave us several routes to take if we should want to go to Seattle. A trip that normally would take more than two hours will now take five. Everything that is made elsewhere has to come that route. Will our groceries, already expensive get more expensive? For people who are building their dream-house, will the cost rise because everything will have freight costs doubled.

At the mall in Silverdale, things were not normal. The food section was virtually empty. A friend suggested to me that we eat in Barns and Noble bookstore. We walked for what seemed like miles and saw almost every store we passed devoid of customers. It was a depressing walk. Our lunch was good, but again, a place usually bristling with many people, was nearly empty. Two men were on our bus, one came back with big packages, one woman passenger bought new shoes and if the others bought anything it must have been small enough to fit in purses or pockets.

A large Rhododendron bush decided this was the week for it to bloom. It is standing in front of my bedroom window. A week ago I noticed that the buds looked as though they might burst open some time during the next month. Overnight it was in full bloom. It is breathtakingly beautiful. Next to it is a little Oregon Grape and its yellow flowers bloomed at the same time.

My wednesday at the Senior Center playing bridge was uneventful. Medium kind of cards all day. But the fellow players are such good friends and the opportunity to visit is enriching. Best of all was the return of a very good player. She lives in Stockton, Ca. during the winter. And two other people from Ca. had returned the previous week. One couple returned from Florida. Soon we are going to have outgrown the room we are assigned.

Today is Sunday and my plans are to go to my favorite nursery to buy herbs to plant on my patio. I no longer cook any meat or fish in my kitchen. I even cook the bacon on my BBq. When I first moved in, I used the kitchen sometimes, but soon discovered the smell would steal into the closet and my clothes would smell less than fresh.

I have been working on a Fake it in Fabric and finally took it to the framers. It is a Picasso, depicting two sides of a woman. It is beautiful and if I can find someone to take a picture of it I will send it to my granddaughter who will put it on a blog. I am especially proud of it for it took forever to finish. Yesterday I spent the day watching golf, hoping Tiger would be exciting and when that was over, the Mariners were playing Oakland and up till the last moment we had a chance to beat them again. But no such luck this time.

That's my week more or less.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Our number three daughter

I promised to tell all about Jane. You heard about her Rosebud moments. She was the best baby ever. And I feel she must have been neglected. When I think about those days when she was new born, I wonder how did I have time to do all the things I remember. I began taking painting lessons with the vague hope to earn money to help with College costs when all four would be involved with that kind of school. And each year I made all our Christmas cards, and I made all the clothes for the girls. And who knows what else. This all sounds like bragging, but I am really admitting that I must have neglected the children. Jane flourished in the admiration of her sisters. They felt Jane was born to be their real live doll. They had a little doll baby carriage and Jane rode in it until she was a year old. And then she was walking.

Jane was very affectionate. And her laugh was infectious and she could make a whole room laugh with her. Early it was evident that she was very smart. It did not matter what or how we tested her. Numbers or colors or telling stories, nothing fazed her.
I think I told you about the drawing she made of two girls with arms and legs coming out of the heads, one of them with the legs bent at the knees. Not the way our legs bend at the knees. Strait out sideways. When I asked her to tell me about the drawing she said that is me and Anna and Anna is tired. I have that drawing reproduced on a white mug and drink my morning coffee from it. Some times I don't notice the drawing, but often it hits me how funny it is and I laugh all by myself and remember.

Jane's teachers in school soon realized how smart she was. I don't think she ever had any trouble in school for she worked hard and her red hair and her freckled nose grew on people. In college she excelled and when she met the person who was going to become her sister in law she learned what she wanted to become, a librarian. That idea might had been brewing for a long time for she had summer jobs in middle school when she worked summer jobs with the school librarian. She also worked in our local fabric store and spent most of her salary on reduced pieces of yardage that might still be buried in the bottom of one of her drawers.

Jane married Tom when she got her first degree in college. Their wedding was unusual. She an Tom wanted to get married at University of California at Davis. The wedding was out doors and her color was yellow. She was wearing my mother's unused wedding dress made by my mother in 1914. The war at that time prevented my mother and father from having a formal wedding. My sister made a beautiful crown made with 'pillow lace' and starched stiff with sugar used as starch. Jane and Tom wanted dinner served outdoors after the ceremony. They wanted several kinds of sausages and home-baked beans. It was a hot day. Gilbert visited the department which raised large amounts of yellow flowers (I forget the name but they were also called the Hawaiian wedding flower.) He asked if Jane could use them for the tables. After the wedding and after the dinner as people were leaving, Gilbert sold the flowers to the wedding guests.

Jane got her degree as librarian at the University of Oregon. The couple then moved to San Francisco where Jane was employed by the City Library. The Mayor of the City now Senator chose Jane to work with a big hot shot from Philadelphia who was hired to select the libraries to be closed because of financial shortages. It was a big feather in Jane's career.

Jane and Tom have two children, Emily who is sweet and smart and Benjamin who is a grand kind of person. I could not call him sweet and smart, but he is. I am hoping he will become a writer of renown. He showed such promise when in kindergarten.
Emily is everything she promised to be. Constantly daring fate with her bravado.