Follow by Email

Showing posts with label 1940. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1940. Show all posts

Friday, April 3, 2015

Not About the Rabbits

Recently a topic of conversation in a group of women friends: "What Easter stories or memories come to mind?"

I thought about Easters in the seventies when we decorated and hid eggs for our three little boys, dressed them up and took them to church and to visit grandparents. I thought about Easters in the past 15 years when I found just the right Easter dress to delight first one, then two, three, four, and now five sweet granddaughters! I smiled when I pictured the fun we have had with our little boys and these little girls decorating eggs, cookies, and cakes, and gathering our growing family around Grandma Terrell's dining table in our home.  Which led me to think of that same table surrounded by my grandparents, parents, my sister and me, and sometimes others.  Always my sister and I proudly wore Easter dresses sewed by Mother.  Often we had a coat, hat, and purse to match!  Those little girl Easters always included going to an outdoor Easter sunrise service in a rock ampitheater.  Those red rocks made for hard, cold seating and shivering little girls in the early hours.

I thought about all the Easter baskets and Easter bunnies these memories represent, including this stern looking celluloid blue and white bunny that was mine in 1941, my very first Easter.  I have no recollection of that Easter, of course, but the fact that this odd little rattle was something Mother kept and passed on to me is significant.  She remembered.

Remembering is really what matters after all. In all the little signs and symbols of Easter there is one common thread, one reason for each:  to help us remember. We remember that Christ came, that he lived to show us how to live, was crucified, laid in a grave, and that he rose on the third day.  We sing the Easter songs and celebrate with joy because we remember.

We practice resurrection and redemption.  Happy Easter!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Public Libraries

I am both a patron and a champion of public libraries. We now live in a county that has a wonderful library system with state of the art technology. I can open my laptop and go to the library website, search for books, place them on hold, and go by to get them from a shelf, then check them out myself with computerized scanning. If a book that I want is already checked out, I can request that I be put in the queue and notified. If I wish, I can go to this spacious, sunlit library and curl up in a comfortable armchair in one of several cozy sitting areas to read or research material I don't want to take with me. I take my granddaughters to the younger readers' section of the library and enjoy their pleasure in choosing books as well as remembering how much our public library meant to me when I was their age.

                                          The University Branch Of George Memorial Library, located in Sugar Land, Texas

I don't have photographs of that childhood library, but it was located in Jacksonville's City Park, near the spot the little gazebo occupies in this old picture. The library has changed its location, but still serves Jacksonville's citizens as well as others in Cherokee County. My memory pictures always include the dark wood floors, the racks of wooden drawers which held the card catalogs where my fingers clicked indexed cards instead of computer keys, the kind librarian who helped me find books, the smell of old books and cleaning polish, and the hush. I loved the library but I spoke in whispers there. I am grateful for that little library that supported my love for reading, for my parents, who took me there, for books that took me places beyond my imagination. I now read e-books on my iPad, listen to audio books while I am driving, cooking, and cleaning, buy books in tempting bookstores and on Amazon, but I am forever glad there are still libraries.






A photo courtesy of the Cherokee County Historical Society shows Mrs. C. A (Minnie). Childs bending to lay the first stone for the Jacksonville Public Library in 1940.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Back to School

                      Maddie and Jordann, 3rd grade and 1st grade, August 21, 2014
                                (which also happened to be Jordann's 6th birthday!)

During the past 2 weeks, 3 of our granddaughters started back to school.  At 11, Skye is entering the world of Middle School in 6th grade. As you see, Maddie and Jordann are off to their new starts as well.  I am remembering their fathers at the same age, ways we wrapped up summers and headed back to classrooms, the excitement of buying school supplies, sneakers, and new lunch boxes. I am grateful for teachers who encouraged them, inspired them with art and music,  and helped them learn the reading, language, math, and science skills that serve them all so well as adults. I prayed for those teachers and our little boys all during the year but especially on that first day of school.  I do the same for our granddaughters, the teachers who will join them on their learning paths this year, and the friends they will make and enjoy.

 I also think about back to school times at West Side Elementary in Jacksonville, Texas in the 40's and 50's,  my own early school years.

Summers were long and hot. We had no television and no air conditioning, I remember going to the library, reading stacks of books, cooling off in the porch swing on our front porch, eating watermelon, and going barefoot. I remember tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash fresh from the garden, with blackeyed peas and a pan of cornbread that would be made early in the morning to avoid heating up the kitchen later. I looked forward to going back to school because I loved school and would get to see my friends.

Our house was one of the 2 houses on the same block as the school, so I didn't have very far to walk. My mother sewed most of my clothes, and getting ready for school to start meant looking through pattern books to pick a pattern along with the fabric to make my dress for the first day of school.

I see my granddaughters repeating some of that pattern as they go with their Moms to get uniforms, shop for the required shoes, and plan what they will wear on the first day.  They may have very different schools - the older one is in a Christian academy, and the 2 younger ones begin this year at a brand new charter school. They not only have TV, but phones and tablets and laptops. They will not only be studying basic "reading, writing, and 'rithmetic", but also drama, Spanish, and Mandarin.

But as I hear them talk about planning their first day and see their pictures posted in emails and FaceBook, I see they know the importance of beginnings and are off to a year of new adventures in learning.  Back to school, my beautiful  girls! I am looking back at all my own memories, but I am also looking forward to your futures. You may be scientists and researchers and authors and wives You may be musicians and artists and mothers. You may someday be sending your own little ones "back to school."

                                 Skye, 6th grade, August 14, 2014

Friday, August 8, 2014

Some Things Don't Change

Mary Ann, 1940  


While I am happily spending this week caring for our baby granddaughter, Nora, I have thought about my own grandparents, who from all accounts were thrilled at my birth and delighted in my smiles and laughter in the same way I delight in Nora's.  I reflect with gratitude, remembering stories of my own parent's happiness in having a baby after almost 9 years of marriage when I see my son and daughter-in-law's radiant faces as they hold their daughter.  When I care for her, hold her close, rock her,  and sing to her, I am re-enacting those long ago love stories.

Many things are very different now- early pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, disposable diapers, washers and dryers that are marvels, air conditioned homes and automobiles, car seats, and  Mp3 lullabies!  I am thankful for every convenience that helps to keep babies safe and provides help for parents, but there is no replacement or upgrade for the calming reassurance of human voice and the comfort of loving arms.  

                    Ben and Nora

Thursday, July 24, 2014

For Me!

After I started elementary school in Jacksonville, TX in 1945, I never took my lunch to school because our house was on the same block as West Side School so I walked home almost every day for lunch.  Rarely I was given a quarter to buy my lunch at school which I considered a nice, if infrequent, treat!  If by chance I needed a sack lunch for something, it was just that - a waxed paper wrapped sandwich in a small brown paper sack.

When our sons started their years in Davis Elementary School in Plano, TX in the 1970's, lunch room prices had increased considerably, and most of the time they still had homemade lunches. They just carried them to school in cartoon character or superhero embellished metal  lunch boxes which had their names marked with indelible markers. Since plastic sandwich bags had been introduced in the late 1950's, their sandwiches most often were snugly enclosed in a baggie (no zipper on top), a Ziploc bag, or Tupperware!  If I stopped to do the math X 3 boys for making sandwiches, bagging them and assembling said sandwich, some fruit, chips, and a cookie or three into the corners of those rattly dented lunch boxes, it might make me feel tired, so I will just propose that over those years that happened thousands of times.  Often I tucked a note inside to send a little love along with lunch. I am pretty sure by first grade they did not let their friends see those notes.

In May, I started going to our youngest son's home to take care of my newest granddaughter. Her other grandma and I are sharing time, so I go every third week for my days with Nora, now 4 months old.  On the first Monday, I arrived at 6:00 a.m. to give them time for departure for their jobs by 6:15.  As they kissed their little one goodbye, picked up their things and started to leave, Ben turned around and said.  "Oh, Mom...I made your sandwich for lunch.  It is in the frig." As my eyes filled with tears and memories, I gave him a hug and thanked him before holding his daughter a little closer and breathing her sweet baby scent.

I am keeping that sandwich bag.



Saturday, May 31, 2014

Her Father's Daughter

I often mention things my granddaughters do that remind me of their fathers doing the same thing when they were little boys.  This photo Jeremy sent me of Jordann tackling a bowl of watermelon slices almost as big as she is takes me back to days when our boys would ask if we could "cut this watermelon" as they rolled it across the kitchen floor. As they stood digging with forks into the heart of a watermelon half, juice sparkling on their chins, they had the same happy smile as this one.  Sometimes we took the melons outside on the porch and  enjoyed the cool sweetness that seems part of hot Texas summers. Then they would have a seed spitting contest!

 Going back to the 40's and 50's,  I think of all the watermelons grown by my grandfathers or the farmers on nearby farms.  The vines sprawled out in sandy fields, where melons swelled and grew juicy, and melons were harvested, piled into the beds of pickup trucks and taken to town or roadside to sell.  I grew up thinking the heart of the melon was for us to eat, sprinkled with a little salt.  The rest of the melon and its rind could be thrown acorss the fence for the cows to enjoy.  How different that image is from the dear prices we pay for a single melon today!  

Bon Appetit, Jordann!


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter 2014

In recent years, Lent resolving into Holy Week and Easter has become rich with ritual and remembering for me, but it is always a time of remembering  Easters in the 1940's, when I was a little girl.

  Mother sewed new dresses for my sister and me, which  inevitably wound up being hidden under coats as we made our way to the Sunrise Service held. in our hometown.  This service was early, and happened at a place called Love's Lookout where there was a large ampitheatre formed from  red rock, a WPA project. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Depression-era Works Progress Administration came to the hill in the 1930s and, using red rock mined from Cherokee County, built a park, picnic grounds and an amphitheater used for these sunrise services, plays and other events.

The scenic bluff which was the location of  the ampitheatre was named to honor Wesley Love who in 1904 bought much of the surrounding area and planted a 600-acre peach farm. After Love's death in 1925, his wife donated 22 acres to the state for a state park. The state, however, failed to create the park and in 1934 the City of Jacksonville purchased an additional 20 acres and developed the two tracts as a city park. That's when the Works Progress Administration began its project.

In the Spring, dogwoods and other spring flowers are in bloom, making the setting even more beautiful.  I remember shivering on the cold hard semicircle of rock on which we sat, but I loved this sunrise service, with its gathering of Christians from many area churches, the joy of singing "Christ Arose" and Alleluia, the feelings of newness and festivity in our Easter clothes, and our family traditions that would follow:  church services at First Baptist Church, Easter Sunday dinner which would included having grandparents at our house or going to theirs.  There was baked ham, potato salad, new potatoes with green beans put up in Mason jars, Jello salads and sometimes Coconut cake or pie - all homemade and delicious.  I can almost smell the vinegar we used for die to color boiled eggs the day before so that we could hide them over and over again on Sunday afternoon.

Today our family includes some version of many of the same traditions as those I loved 70 years ago, but
we have added to these a deeper awareness of the season of Lent, and more intentional observance of Holy Week.  Our church for 22 years now, First Baptist Church in Richmond, Texas is where we gather for services such as one we attended last night, Tenebrae.  The church  has a prayer garden with a small labyrinth where chairs will be set up for a Sonrise service tomorrow morning followed by breakfast with our church family served from dishes made with eggs and sausage made at home and brought as families arrive. There will be an egg hunt for children.  I will sing in the choir and ring with the handbell choir as we express joy and praise with some of the same hymns I sang with my family all those years ago.  Then we come back here to our house with all of our sons and their wives and children who can be here.  That will include our newest granddaughter, sweet Nora Opal, who is exactly one month old and celebrating her very first Easter.

Alleluia.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Opal and Howard

My parents, Opal Auntionette Terrell Teal and John William Howard Teal, photographed on  July 2, 1943
They were married on December 27, 1931. This photograph was taken at the wedding of H.P. and Catherine Terrell.  H. P. was Opal's youngest brother.

November is a month when many focus on gratitude.  For several years, I have kept a daily gratitude journal to use as part of my morning meditation time.  I write down 5 things for which I am thankful.  Some are very small things - a bird at my kitchen window, the way morning light casts a lacy shadow on the wall, a phone call.  I say thank you, too,  for the biggest things in my every day:  God's faithfulness and love, for the way he is working in my family's life.  I give thanks for food and shelter and good hugs from Joe and our sons.  I am grateful for my daughters- in- law, and my granddaughters' laughter.

 I was born on November 14, 1940, so today is my birthday. I am grateful for my parents' life and love which began my life.  Thank you, God, for Opal and Howard Teal.  Thank you, Mother and Daddy, for loving each other and for loving me.  I never doubted for a moment that I was cherished.  Your faith and love and your hard work to provide good things for me continue to sustain me. You live on in me, in your grandsons, and in your great grandchildren.   You are part of everything I ever write down on my gratitude list.