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Showing posts with label girls. Show all posts
Showing posts with label girls. Show all posts

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Baby Doll

Nora has played with wooden toys once loved by her Daddy but even though she had seen this doll, only a few days ago did she begin to play with it and "mother" it. She has rocked the baby to sleep in her wicker rocking chair, wrapped her in a blanket and carried her around.  This doll was mine when I was a little girl, and although her face and hands and feet are well preserved, her cloth body is worn and stuffing is showing. This baby is like the skin horse in the Velveteen Rabbit book, she is "real"- she has been well loved, a good thing when you are 70 years old!

I was older than Nora when I got this doll, 7 yearrs old. My best friend and I were in second grade.  We played after school, had sleepovers, dressed her kitten, and talked our mothers into getting us matching dolls. Mignon got hers first and named hers Wendolyn, called Wendy. I named this one Gwendolyn, called Gwen. We played with the dolls and treasured them.  We also loved being friends, and still are to this day!  I do not know if Mignon still has her doll, but this one continues to delight a little girl.  

I will do my best to repair the cloth tears and keep her stuffing in because Nora asked me to fix her!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

November, Thanksgiving!

November is a month of giving thanks - for Thanksgiving Day, of course, and for the many occasions our family also celebrates during the month. Ben and Kristen plus Jeremy and Michala have wedding anniversaries. Michala, Skye, and I have birthdays!  We just celebrated Skye's fourteenth birthday.  So many images of her come to mind.  I am grateful that she has always lived near me and that I have been able to go to church with her, hear her ring handbells, enjoy cooking and gardening, and art with her. She is lovely, inside and out. Happy Birthday, Skye!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

First 5K

I have loved watching my granddaughters grow. Lauren, Skye, Maddie, Jordann, and Nora have been the dearest blessings as they grow and change and meet each "first" thing- crawling, walking, running, skipping. First smile, first goodbye wave, first words, first books.  Jordann made us proud this week as she completed her first 5K run, with her Daddy by her side. She got ready for her race by training after school with Girls on the Run, a program that teaches life skills which celebrate the joy of  movement.

I applaud Jordann for working toward her goal of this 5K, for her persistence in pushing through even though she had a toe  blister, and for all that she learned.  I am a proud Granmary.  And I am a proud Mom because my son did more than encourage her - he ran with her.  With is a powerful thing.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Moving a House

I watched as a 3 story Victorian house got moved yesterday. The relocation happened without the loss of a single fish scale shingle or Gingerbread railing, although some of those were already badly in need of repair. Nothing shifted except a little piece of my heart. The movers were two of my sons and the hauling mechanism was my red pickup truck. Although our family did live in a Victorian house just like this one, much smaller people and furniture have occupied this house, a large doll house made for me by a paraplegic craftsman in Jakarta, Indonesia.  When I took a picture to him and asked if he could build a small one, he agreed and did a very good job of making a replica of our one- time home in Jacksonville, TX.  Remarkable, since he had never seen a real house like that one.
Remarkable, since he and his wife delivered it to me in a taxi. Remarkable because I had no grandchildren at that time.  Maybe I anticipated the sweet fact that I would eventually have 5 granddaughters.

This was never a house for grownups to have fun decorating. It was to play with, to imagine with, to wonder at.  And the little girls growing up in our family plus a number of visiting children have done just that.  I love that, and I was very fond of this doll house.  I will remain so, since it was relocated to my oldest son and his wife's garage. Fitting, because many years after our family left the original house, it became a place for celebrations and they were married in the front parlor of the house we loved and lived in for a short time.  In fact, the room where my son's bride dressed was his bedroom when he was 13!  I hope that they will enjoy having it to help tell their story as someday they become grandparents themselves.

Another exercise in letting go and holding on!  Another way to tell our story.

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!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Nora, One Year Old Today

A year ago, we welcomed Nora into our arms. As babies do, she has grown and changed and welcomed her friends and family with outstretched arms when her parents invited us to share her celebration last weekend. There was a hungry caterpillar theme (thank you, Eric Carle!) and Nora had a tiny cupcake with one candle. Joe and I gave her a little wicker rocker which will always remind me of the sweet times I have had rocking and singing to her. Happy Birthday, sweet girl.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Happy Birthday, Maddie!

Nine years ago today in Birmingham, Alabama, we celebrated the birthday of a beautiful baby girl her parents named Madelyn Claire.  She brings us countless joys, blessing us with sunshine, laughter, and hugs.  We are grateful for her life and love.  Today we celebrate you, Maddie!  Happy Birthday!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Pleasure of Your Company

I enjoy so many things about my granddaughters, all 5 of them. Since they range in age from 10 months to 21 years, there is wide variation, but some things are common to all. I am happy they like to be in our home.  Without fail, when they come if I am not on the front porch waiting, they knock and peer through the leaded glass on our front door and greet me with excitement!  I love conversation with them, Nora saying it all with her gestures and her eyes, and the others chattering away with me. Like most people who enjoy cooking and being in the kitchen, I welcome them there and that seems to be their favorite place inside. I like that they like to cook and ask to help with meals and treats. I welcome their pleasure in our shaded back yard or in the sunny garden, enjoying the fragrance of herbs or looking for butterfly caterpillars or climbing trees (well, Nora looks and smells, she does not yet climb trees) ! We have fun with sidewalk chalk, planting seeds, cutting flowers to dry, art projects, dressup, and tea parties.  One of my favorite pleasures is the joy they have in being with each other, as in the top photo of Skye and Nora.  But of all the things we enjoy, Nora tells us the best...


Wednesday, June 25, 2014


The happiest times on my calendar right now are the days I care for my granddaughter Nora! Every third week is "our" week.  At 3 months, there are certain constants: feedings, diapering, and naps. I love the tending that requires. And I love the joy of the in between times - the cuddling, conversation and cooing, the rocking and singing and togetherness that refills her and comforts her and is important to her as well as those first 3 essentials.

She doesn't mind my crackly voice singing "A, You're Adorable."  We make it through that song every diaper change. If there is an entire clothing change, we sometimes get through several songs from The Sound of Music!  She talks to me with her eyes to say thank you, and flashes a coquettish grin when I brush her hair.

Yesterday we walked outside to catch a raindrop and she smelled a basil leaf when I made my lunch. She likes dots and patterns so I choose the blouse I will wear for her. We play peek a boo and pat a cake and chant nursery rhymes. When I rock her to sleep, I sing many of the same old hyms that my mother and grandmother sang to me. We have discovered that Christmas carols are wonderful lullabies!

Our other granddaughters are a joy to me and teach me just like she does that there is so much to look forward to. They help me remember some favorite lines from a poem by Mary Oliver:      "Pay attention.
   Be astonished.
    Tell about it."
 - all so much more fun when we do it together!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Opal and Gertrude

This photograph taken circa 1930 is an image of a friendship that lasted over 80 years! On the right is my mother, Opal Auntionette Terrell, who married my father,  John William Howard Teal, on December 27, 1931. On the left is Gertrude Mae Burks, who married Herod Bickerstaff on December 4, 1931. These two young women "stood up" for each other at their weddings that December in 1931. But they had been standing up for each other for years before that.  They went to church and school together, both graduating from Bullard High School in 1931. They shared  living in big families on farms with no indoor plumbing, drinking water from a dipper stuck in the well bucket,  learning to cook on wood stoves, learning to iron with flat irons heated on those stoves, writing in their diaries, the giggling of girls, and the satisfaction of working hard,. In those days, school text books were hard to come by. They shared those books, which were called "partner books"  I have one of those books with their names and that designation handwritten inside the book.

Through the years Opal and Gertrude remained close friends. They grew up on farms whose acreage backed up to each other.  There was a small creek with a bridge in between. Mother spoke fondly of the times they would plan to meet at that bridge. I am sure Gertrude was at a party Mother went to when she was a teenager. She told how she had such a good time she was late coming home and as she tip toed down the long front hall of their big white house on the hill in Bullard, she kicked a washpan that had been set outside a bedroom door and woke everyone.  Gertrude shined her patent shoes like Mother did, by rubbing a cold biscuit over the toes!

Best friends for so long, and married in the same month, their married lives began as Gertrude and Herod worked a farm in the sandy soil of East Texas, raising watermelons among other crops.  They had 2 sons and  2 daughters. Opal and Howard moved to Tyler where they both worked in Cameron's Cafeteria and where they lived when I was born in 1940, later moving to New Orleans, LA during WW II  Daddy worked in shipyards. When they came back to Texas, both worked in cafes in Jacksonville and later operated and owned cafes where Daddy was well known for being a wonderful cook.  My sister Janice was born in 1946.  When I left home to start college in 1958, Gertrude and Herod's oldest daughter Nona was my first college roommate!

Both were strong women whose faith was apparent in the way they lived life in their communities, raised their families,and served in their churches. Gertrude was an active member of First Baptist Church Bullard.Opal was a longtime member of First Baptist Church Jacksonville. Both were married for over 50 years.  Howard Teal died in 1982. Herod Bickerstaff died in 1987.  So both women were widows for many years.

 Gertrude was born August 30, 1913 lived in Bullard all her life and died in Jacksonville (less than 15 miles away) on April 15, 2002 after a couageous battle with cancer.  Opal was born October 20, 1913, lived all but 2 years of her life within a 15 mile radius of her childhood home, and  finally left her home in Jacksonville when we moved her near us the same year Gertrude died, 2002.  Often in those last few years, she would tell me she was ready to "go Home."  On that night,  September 21, 2006, as I grieved her loss, I smiled through tears and said,

"She is meeting Gertrude at the bridge."

Friday, December 13, 2013

Thank Heaven for Little Girls, and their Daddies

Christmastime is a time for reflection , remembering, and for savoring moments of love and tenderness.  I love watching my sons with their daughters.  I love watching my granddaughters with their Daddies. In this photo, Jordann has found a sweet safe place in Jeremy's arms.  Both of our two older sons have 2 daughters, and now our youngest son and his wife are expecting their own little girl.  When baby Nora arrives in the Spring, she will have a circle of girl cousins to welcome her and the adoring attention of her Mother, Grandparents, and Aunts and Uncles.  But I can hardly wait to see her Daddy hold her. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Garden Gifts

Fall gardens on the South Texas Gulf Coast are sometimes even more productive than Spring plantings, but not this year.  Tomato plants are big and leafy, with only a few small green tomatoes.  Peppers are still growing, but barely.  A combination of unusual wet cool weather has all but stalled any further setting of blooms. My youngest granddaughters have just spent some time here, and prove that though the gathering may be small, the joy is large.  There are a number of reasons I choose to garden, and these grins are one of them.  These little girls have helped me in a number of ways, and I am thrilled to pass on the joy of harvest to them.  This week, as we have cut herbs and gathered peppers and chopped and cooked together, our Thanksgiving has been much more than a meal.  It is a celebration of the happiness of being together, working together, and gathering all the family around Grandma Terrell's old oak table.  The table is now mine, and I am now the grandmother, but I probably won't ever call it Granmary's table.  The girls, however, will, and I am glad. I am thankful for those who have gone before, and these who will go beyond.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thinking Pink

My most delightful birthday gift last week was presented as an announcement: "It's a GIRL!"
Our youngest son and his wife are expecting the arrival of Nora Opal Parker on April 2, 2014.  The second part of the gift is her name.  Her name comes to her from two of her great grandmothers.  This is a sweet tribute to Opal, my mother, and I love it.  How she would have loved looking forward to this baby!
Thank you to Ben and Kristen for these gifts, and for our happy anticipation of holding and rocking baby Nora Opal.  The happy news was announced to family and friends when Kristen cut the cake she had baked and showed us it was pink!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Gardens and Granddaughters

As you can see, Jordann is really getting into gardening these days.  She loves picking the tiny clusters of Wild Cherry tomatoes that have taken over the herb garden.  She and her sister, Maddie, also love popping a tomato in their mouths for tasting while they pick!  These plants have come up volunteer all over the garden this year, and although I have pulled up many of them as soon as they appear, there always seem to be more. The tomatoes are only half as big as most cherry tomatoes, and are great for tossing into a salad, but the plants are so sprawling and invasive they are crowding out everything else.  So, this weekend, I will be pulling them out and getting the raised bed ready for fall vegetable and herb planting.  This is clearly a lesson that applies to other parts of my life:  just because something is pretty,  interesting, fun and flourishing doesn't mean it is the right choice or the best time for me to let it continue to use up my time and energy.  I am always learning from my garden.    

When Jordann comes back to our house for another visit, she may notice the jungle of tomato vines is gone, replaced with something else that is good to eat and fun to harvest.  And I know that she will be just fine with that. As in the picture below, Maddie and she will take a basket and gather what grows in the present.  I learn that from my granddaughters - that loss and change do not always mean sorrow.  That new things are good, too. And that doing them together is the best of all.       

I love what my garden and my grandchildren teach me.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Nana's Doll

Nana's Doll           

When she was a little girl
 my mother was proud
of a doll whose smooth porcelain face
shone pinkly beneath her chestnut curls
twinkling blue eyes that went to sleep
 when Opal laid her down
Dressed in rosy dimity
dainty with a fine lace peplum
her bonnet matched
Modesty satisfied, her sheer skirt
 hid crochet- edged petticoats and pantaloons
Tiny socks and shoes, a precious
embroidered velvet pouch
on a chain to hang on her wrist.

When I was a little girl
the doll lay in what was left of her box
wrapped in an old white sheet
stored in Mother's quilt chest
I begged to see her, fascinated
 by her age and her outfits
oh, so many!
 handmade by Grandma Terrell
and Great Grandmother Curley,
my French great grandmother.
full length coat with buttons
made of blue twill and paneled -
soft pink rose patterned percale.
folded in neat stacks: print dresses, tucked bodices,
 gathered skirts, nightgowns, a cap and a blanket
all discolored by age and smoke
 from a family house fire.
Why didn't I ask her name?

When my granddaughters ask
to see the doll, they are intrigued
 with the story, awed
at how old she is
They feel sorry that she lives in a box
I am glad no one asks her name
but I am trying to follow instructions
written in flowing pencil script
on the tattered piece from her first box:

“Take Care of Her”     Santa Claus

  ~ Mary Ann Parker, written March 2013

Friday, June 14, 2013

Ladies Day at the Spa

When any one of my granddaughters is here, we have fun. But when all 3 of the younger girls get together, there is never a dull moment.  I may leave a few prompts or props for them to find (new stuff in the dressup trunk, empty boxes, beads and shells with the art supplies, and plenty of fresh fruit and veggies for creating snacks), but the ways they come up with to use those things never fail to keep me laughing.

Last weekend we were grateful for heavy afternoon rains on both days.  But climbing trees and dancing in the rain changed to indoor play when thunder and lightning deemed it necessary.  Undaunted, they retired to the bedroom where the dressup supplies are kept.  A few minutes later, when I checked on them, I found Skye with her turban wrap reclining on the chaise lounge and was told they were having a Spa day!  Furthermore, they needed cucumber slices for their eyes.  What's a grandmother to do but slice up a garden fresh cucumber and deliver?

Maddie and Jordann added their veggie beauty aid and lounged on a mountain of pillows.

But apparently the under 10 set does not require lengthy lounging.  In fact, it makes them hungry!

So they ate their cucumbers, which probably beat anything else for a refreshing treatment!

I love being a grandmother! Who needs a day at a real Spa?  I don't need cucumbers to make me glow!