Lately Pinterest has had lots of edible art projects and Liam’s fits in beautifully.
We were/are very proud of him.
Houses were much smaller when I was growing up in the 1950s and 60s. Even new houses in Tulsa were small. I grew up in Mingo, just north of the city, a tiny community where none of the houses were new.
Nearly everyone in Mingo ate their meals at the kitchen table. There were almost no dining rooms in my neighborhood. I can only remember 2. Every night families gathered together after their day to share the evening meal. Late afternoon activities that would interfere with a meal were unheard of. Kids in my neighborhood didn’t have dance lessons, and very rarely piano lessons. I had heard there was a boys Little League team but in those days it would not have interfered with the evening meal.
It was a working class neighborhood. After school (and maybe a little television), weather permitting, children played outside: little kids played with dolls or cars, yard games like Hopscotch, Hide and Seek, Statues, Red Light-Green Light, or dress-up and make believe; bigger kids rode their bikes, played driveway basketball, or impromptu softball. Mothers prepared the evening meal. Dads came home from work.
Families sat down together and ate dinner. Webster defines ‘dinner’ as the principal meal of the day. My mother always referred to our evening meal as supper, because when she was a girl, the noon meal was the big one and her mother called it dinner. But unlike her growing up years when her father operated a country store a hundred yards from her house, my father worked at Douglas Aircraft or on a construction job and was too far away at noon to come home and eat. But old habits die hard, and even though she cooked every night, she still called it supper.
So, kitchens were an integral part of our homes.
The kitchen table was where my mother cut out the fabric for the clothes she made for us, where we did our homework, played cards or dominoes on Saturday night and met again each evening over home cooked food. I can remember the table covered with waxed paper and freshly glazed yeast doughnuts that my mother made. And how it felt to sit on my dad’s lap and learn how to play dominoes and Hearts; I don’t remember ever being told to go away while the grown-ups played cards. It was where I sat while my mother helped me practice my spelling words. At Christmas, I made marshmallow snowmen and helped my mother put stamps on Christmas cards. I must have been pretty young the first time because I remember 4 cent stamps – this was a penny less than normal postage for envelopes that weren’t sealed.
My family was not able to pass down many family mementos. In 1937, my maternal grandparents home and store were covered with flood water for 2 weeks, ruining nearly everything they had. A few photographs survived and a Bible that still has the silt from the Ohio River dried in its pages. My father’s family had to leave everything at a friend’s house when they left Oklahoma when my grandmother died in the mid-1920’s. They were never able to retrieve their possessions. Oddly enough, only my grandfather’s blacksmithing anvil remains. It weighed about 100 pounds.
So, I didn’t inherit really old family treasures, but I do have several things from my childhood and one of them is our kitchen table. Not the first one I remember – 1950’s chrome and gray formica topped. The one they bought in 1964 – brown, wood grain formica with painted scenes in two opposite corners. It’s the one you can see in the background of some of my recipe and craft posts.
It’s not valuable or even particularly lovely to anyone else. Our home isn’t big enough to have a dining room, so our old table sits in the middle of our kitchen. It’s the one that my dad sat at to feed our sons, and it’s the one we sit around with our grandsons and share meals when they come to visit.
I just love it.
Cooler days. Evening fires in the wood stove. Not too hot to have a bonfire and wiener roast with the grandsons.
And Thanksgiving – one of the most wonderful of holidays – at the end of the month.
“As for Me,” says the LORD, “this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,” says the LORD, “from this time and forevermore.” Isaiah 59:21
Last Friday, I had a good day. A really good day. Our daughter-in-law had sent us a message that it would be Grandparents Day at the boys’ schools. The first event was scheduled for 7:45, the second at 11:30. We live about an hour away and I was not only thinking about having to leave at 6:45 a.m., but what I would do to occupy myself at that time of the morning until I met my husband for the second one. (He had to work until 10:30 and couldn’t make it to the kindergarten event.) I shouldn’t have been concerned about the details. The Lord orders our steps and I couldn’t have planned the day any better.
First of all, I’d forgotten how much I love being out in the early morning. My dad was an early riser and when our family left on a trip, it was at 4:30 a.m. And that has remained a part of me. You just can’t beat watching the sun come up for a sense of ….. well, I don’t know, but I love it.
So the drive up was pleasant. And getting to be with Liam as he started his school day was really wonderful. He showed me a picture he’d drawn in his notebook of our home. He is fascinated that our mobile home used to have wheels under it, so he drew a picture of it with me driving it. It’s not a motor home, but I guess that’s how a 6 year old processes a house on wheels. His teacher was looking at me kind of funny. I really hope it was something else and not that old trailer house/white trash stigma. But if it was, it was. As William F. Buckley liked to say, “Well, there you are.”
The celebration at Liam’s school was for each of the attending grandparents to read a story to the class. I asked Liam to choose one and he picked “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut” by Dr. Seuss. I’ve read a lot of Dr. Seuss books but I’d never seen this one. It was a great choice because it was about reading and Liam knows how I love to read. In fact, you could say that my decorating style is Books.
It was a nice little story and the children were so attentive and still. There had been 4 other readers and I was the last; they had been quietly sitting in their places for about 30 minutes by that time. I was very impressed at how well-behaved they were. Then hugs and it was time to go.
Parking at that school is very inadequate and I had parked across the street in front of a house, blocking the mailbox. I know, I know; that’s bad – but I knew that I wouldn’t be in there long enough to cause a problem for the mailman. Remember it started at 7:45 a.m. When I went out to the car, the homeowner was sitting out in her yard and said “hello” to me. I replied and apologized for parking there and she said it was okay, she knew there was an event at the school that morning and I wouldn’t be there all day.
She’s a widow and seemed lonely and we ended up talking for 45 minutes and it was very interesting. When I left I decided to go to a local bakery and get some coffee and pastry for breakfast. I took my treasures (because that’s just how they tasted) downtown and parked in front of the courthouse to eat and read my book. Must not have been much legal business going on, because there were lots of empty parking spaces.
About an hour before I was to meet Joe, I went to the Dillard’s to get some new sandals. With fall here, I figured they would be on sale, which they were and I was able to get 3 good pairs. My feet have been bad all my life (even when I was very thin) and I need good shoes. They last me a long time. The pair I wore into the store I had bought 10 years ago in Windsor, England. But with fall coming on, I wanted some black ones, too. A very nice young man waited on me and that is always nice. A pleasant clerk greatly affects whether I return to shop at a store.
Then it was time to meet Joe and we drove to Elliot’s school. Their celebration was an ice cream social. We retrieved Elliot from his classroom and went back up to the room by the office for the party. It was fun being there with all the other grandparents and kids, but boy, is that school PC (politically correct)! It fairly oozed out of the staff. I didn’t notice it as much at the other school (my PC antenna is finely tuned).
Elliot didn’t seem to be paying any attention to it and I hope he never does. He was a lot more interested in being with his Grandpa. Now, I know that Elliot loves me, but he LOVES his Grandpa.
We returned him to his classroom and then went to lunch.
It was a really good day.