Dec 25 2011

What we do for each other just makes the holidays! Driving all over to find just the right gift. Spending weeks trying recipes and planning menus. Hustling, bustling, phone calls, flight arrangements, driving for hours, new clothes, washing old clothes, knitting, sewing, cleaning, stringing lights, talking about the in-laws, smiling when they arrive and doing the happy dance when they leave. WHOA! What a lotta fun! It’s just amazing what we do and what we have done for us in return during the holiday season.

Although everyone complains about the commercialism
of the season, seems that most people have the loving
spirit during the holidays, for what’s it all about
if not for love?

The most endearing stories come about this time of year. And ones that are told for generations. Like the one I tell about my Dad. There was a tradition at our house when I was young that the tree arrived with Santa in the night after the kids were asleep. We went to bed and the living room was just like it had been all year. When we awoke, there was the tree with decorations and presents underneath, all the more magical because we hadn’t lived around it for a month.

It wasn’t until YEARS later I found out Mother and Daddy didn’t have the money to buy a tree. My Dad would go out after we were asleep, therefore, find a Christmas tree lot that was closing and get a tree cheaply. One year the cost was fifty cents. Then, even though they were probably exhausted, they spent all night decorating it so we would be surprised in the morning.

Too much of a good thing is just right!

When I look back over the years, dolls were such a big part of Christmas morning. Big dolls, little dolls, Teddy Bears and any other humanized animal shape you could imagine that could be talked into wearing clothes.  Little girls I knew loved them and loved all the accessories that went with them. That just made Christmas.  A new doll. When I was pretty little, I remember wanting a Betsy Wetsy, oh! so badly.

I could fill her baby bottle full of water, jam it in the hole that interrupted her cherub lips to feed her. Then, predictably the water would run out into her little diapers, so I could change them and start over, just like real life. My Dad had an Aunt Ishy, her nickname as I couldn’t say “Elizabeth.” Daddy told me to take Betsy Wetsy, recently fed, to Aunt Ishy and let her hold the doll. She was the fun Aunt and the one who would naturally let out a Whoop! when Betsy’s diapers became wet. And Aunt Ishy did not disappoint. She had had three sons, so being the only girl in the family, I was welcomed, even if my doll wet on her.

Then, I wanted a Revlon doll. I was fascinated by her fingernails that had nail polish to match her lipstick. I guess matching lipstick and nail polish would figure because she was made by Revlon. New dolls were definitely something to which to aspire. The latest and greatest were the object of envy by girls trying to keep up with other little girl Joneses.

Sporting a delightful deckle edge, this photo from the
1950s shows the importance of dolls on Christmas morning.

For all of us who grew up “back then,” there will always be something special about a new doll on Christmas morning. I know I get tingles when I think of how I felt. Why, I’m even reliving it right now. Always wanting to share, I have found a way for you to have the feeling as well. I want to give you a new doll on Christmas morning. Right here, right now.

Do you know Dolly Dingle? The forerunner of the Champbell’s Soup Kids by renown artist Grace Drayton, Dolly Dingle fascinated me as a child as my mother a folder of them from her own childhood. I have remained a devoted fan to this day.

So, here is one of my favorites, under your computer “tree” and wrapped to open by clicking on the image below.

Merry Christmas to each and every person who finds
this page! I hope all of your problems are little ones.

Click on the Dolly Dingle above to download a PDF for your own personal use.

 

(And fair warning. Don’t leave her alone on your
computer screen with any Christmas cake on your
desk. Look at what I saw when I came back into
my office. Whoa! Scary!)

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS
and the best of holiday seasons!

NaBloPoMo 2011



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Nov 08 2011

Laura Hawkins grew up across the street from Samuel Clemens,
known as Mark Twain. She was the real Becky Thatcher.

Samuel Clemens wrote under a pen name of Mark Twain, writing The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in 1876. Growing up in Hannibal, Missouri. a town located on the banks of the Mississippi River, he had plenty of stories because of the commercial traffic coming from and going to the great port of New Orleans, Louisiana. Everyone who’s heard of Tom Sawyer might have a sneaking suspicion that Tom represents a boyhood Mark Twain, but did you know that the little girl, Becky Thatcher, was inspired by a real person as well? Becky Thatcher’s real name was Laura Hawkins and she and Samuel Clemens grew up across the street from each other in Hannibal, MO.

This Becky Thatcher doll by Effanbee is for sale on eBay.
If you have an interest in her, click here.

Laura Hawkins is so closely associated to Becky, that Laura’s home where she lived across from Samuel Clemens in the 1840’s is now called the Becky Thatcher Home. Laura lived to be ninety-one years old. She married Dr. James Fraser and remembered Mark Twain as “only a common place boy” with a “drawling, appealing voice.” Gee whiz! With such life long adoration coming from Samuel Clemens, one would think she could muster a little more praise.

If you would like to read a delightful PDF sent straight
to you from the Becky Thatcher House in Hannibal, MO,
please click here.

At a time when literary females tended to sit in the parlor and do embroidery after they cooked meals and did the housework, the adventures of Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher must have been exciting. Along with the runaway antics of Huckleberry Finn, another Mark Twain folk hero, the children displayed a sense of adventure that has captivated the hearts of readers ever since.

Becky Thatcher wants to set the record straight. She was never the weeping ninny Mark Twain made her out to be in his famous novel. She knew Samuel Clemens before he was “Mark Twain,” when he was a wide-eyed dreamer who never could get his facts straight. Yes, she was Tom’s childhood sweetheart, but the true story of their love, and the dark secret that tore it apart, never made it into Twain’s novel.

If you have an interest in Becky, hover your mouse over this link:
Becky: The Life and Loves of Becky Thatcher

You don’t have to go to Hannibal, Missouri to visit Becky.
Invite her over to your home!



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Filed under: Heart,History — admin @ 6:36 pm Comments (0)
Nov 02 2011

Sunday morning comics were a favorite treat in the 1950s.

Times were pretty simple in the 1950s on Sunday  morning. Blue laws required all stores be closed, unless you needed a medical drug prescription for those who were ill. Drug stores were allowed to be open, but all sales areas other than the prescription counter were roped off denying access. Sundays were a day when a child’s world stood still and the only thing there was to do was be with the family. We didn’t see that as a bad thing. It was comforting. It was a day to breathe and recreate, and by recreate, I mean re-create.

In the 1950s, life on Sunday Mornings was pretty predictable.
Reading the Sunday comics while Dad read the paper and
Mom made breakfast was a big deal…every Sunday.

My Dad was a newspaper reporter for The Evening Star. He read two papers every Sunday: The Washington Post and The Sunday Star. In metropolitan Washington, D.C., there were two papers. The morning paper was The Washington Post and, in the late afternoon, The Evening Star was delivered. This delivery schedule changed on Sundays, when both papers came in the morning and The Evening Star mysteriously transformed itself into The Sunday Star.

The Evening Star began printing news in 1852, before
the Civil War. For most of its 130 year history, it was
Washington, D.C.’s paper of record, closing in 1981.

Because Daddy read two papers every Sunday morning, my brother and I figured we were very lucky. We got three sections of comics to read and with which to play.  Two from the Post and one from the Star. So we ran down the stairs before breakfast and before getting ready for Sunday school. We grabbed the comics with gusto, opened them up and placed them on the living room floor. We were too little to vertically hold up the pages to read “like big people,” so we knelt on the rug on all fours to read each word and savor the artwork.

This little girl is reading the comics just like I did. That’s
what “everyone” did before church on Sunday morning.

Once in a while there was a fun game, toy or puzzle included in the comic pages which really heightened the Sunday morning experience. A paper doll with clothes and accessories was the best of all. We would paste the page on shirt cardboard and cut them out.  I was fascinated by placing the garments on the dolls and seeing them immediately “change their look.” But, my once in a while Sunday funnies paper doll experience is eclipsed by the frequency of comic strip paper dolls found in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. That’s when “Tillie the Toiler” reigned supreme. Tillie had paper dolls in her comic strip every week. What heaven that would have been. I was born ten to twenty years too late…

Tillie was ready for any adventure while being
coiffed and fashionable.

So, now you understand that I love paper dolls because of many Sunday morning simple pleasures. I love all paper dolls, any size, gender or age. Most of all, though, I especially love the ones that came “for free” in the pages of newspapers and magazines as they were surprises and intermittent. I thought anyone could buy books of paper dolls at the drug store or Five and Dime if they had the money. I was a non-commercialized purist. I thought having mother call me over to look at a newly found paper doll, hidden in the pages of a magazine, was a special treat and an unexpected pleasure…

FREE Download

If you would like a special treat and
an unexpected pleasure from the
SunbonnetSmart Vintage Paper Doll Collection,
click here to download this Tillie The Toiler.
Print her out. Cut her out and have fun!

 

The Golden Age of the Newspaper
by George H. Douglas

“From the arrival of the penny papers in the 1830s to the coming of radio news around 1930, the American newspaper celebrated its Golden Age and years of greatest influence on society. Born in response to a thirst for news in large eastern cities such as New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, the mood of the modern metropolitan papers eventually spread throughout the nation. Douglas tells the story of the great innovators of the American press men like Bennett, Greeley, Bryant, Dana, Pulitzer, Hearst, and Scripps. He details the development of the bond between newspapers and the citizens of a democratic republic and how the newspapers molded themselves into a distinctly American character to become an intimate part of daily life.

Technological developments in paper making, typesetting, and printing, as well as the growth of advertising, gradually made possible huge metropolitan dailies with circulations in the hundreds of thousands. Soon journalism became a way of life for a host of publishers, editors, and reporters, including the early presence of a significant number of women. Eventually, feature sections arose, including comics, sports, puzzles, cartoons, advice columns, and sections for women and children. The hometown daily gave way to larger and impersonal newspaper chains in the early twentieth century. This comprehensive and lively account tells the story of how newspapers have influenced public opinion and how public demand has in turn affected the presentation of the news.”

If you have an interest in previewing this book documenting the
contributions of newspapers to American life, hover your mouse
over this link: The Golden Age of the Newspaper



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Sep 07 2011

This antique postcard has always reminded me
of Laurette and Julie.

(…continued from August 31, 2011)

Yes! It was true. I was reading an article detailing the passing of one of my favorite childhood friends, Laurette. And death is very final.  All of the good intentions I’d had about finding her, saying, “Hi!”, and sharing old times would remain forever unrequited. She had transited on to another place while I was left to think about it all. It was a real wake-up call that has not gone unheeded. I learned much from the whole process. That is, taking Laurette for granted all those years, that she would always be alive and well for me to enjoy once again and then finding out that the reunion would never happen.

Our lives are intertwined, whether or not we can see each other.

I couldn’t stand the thought of eternal separation. I search the Internet until finally I was able to find one of Laurette’s siblings. I called immediately and was not disappointed. By finally making contact with a member of the family I was able to find out about Laurette and also about Julie. What a relief to make a connection with someone who knew and loved those girls! We had a great talk and signed off looking forward to getting together. I was so glad I had found out about Laurette and reestablished a relationship with her family.

From what family members said, Laurette was looking to
her next existence, when it became time to pass over

I learned that Laurette was in fine health, but suffered from an unexpected freak accident. And this is where a second wake up call from her rang loudly in my head. I was reminded that each of us lives on the edge of the next moment, never knowing what may happen and never having our next day promised to us.  We must all be grateful and enjoy each moment as an unfolding miracle. Change, good or bad, can happen very quickly.

Routine things can become remarkably notable in a hurry.

Laurette was just going to drink a cup of hot tea, like any of us might do. No skydiving, no riding a motorcycle or anything out of the ordinary. But, she had an accident happen and it eventually proved to be fatal. The accident occurred on a Friday night.  By the next Thursday, after several operations, she slipped away, dying with her family gathered around.

Tulips for Laurette. I know that wherever
she is, it is always springtime.

The power of the human spirit was exemplified by my friend Laurette. She had the funniest sense of humor and wry smile that, when she locked eyes with me, always caused me to laugh. She had, although it never once became apparent, a congenital physical difficulty that most people don’t have to entertain. Never did she complain or see life as anything but a lark, for the years that I knew her.

(To be continued Wednesday, September 28, 2011….introducing Laurette’s Favorite Toy…a vintage pattern to purchase and print out.)

 

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross was a pioneer of death and dying discussions at a time in the 1970s-1980s when the separation process was not common public dialogue. Her powerful insights are not only comforting, but offer a change in reality perception as acceptance and integration of the dying processes are verbalized and even embraced.

If you are in a process dealing with the transitions
of life, or if you have an interest in in expanding your
understanding, hover your mouse over the link below:

Tunnel and the Light: Essential Insights on Living and Dying



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Filed under: Head,Intangibles — admin @ 5:39 pm Comments (0)
Aug 31 2011

They say all things are connected. I have found that to be true.

Life is amazing sometimes: the way things work, or don’t work or when they work, or how they work. For instance, when I was in junior high school, I was lucky enough to be friends with two girls who were sisters, Laurette and Julie. And they were amazing people, so much so, that I have always remembered them fondly, for what is now, almost fifty years.

In fact, while most other memories have faded, having lost their importance and receded with time’s advance, Laurette’s infectious laughter and Julie’s wry smile are easy to recall and respond to in kind. Whenever I think of those two girls, I can’t help laughing, half a century after the giggles of junior high lost moments. And because Laurette and I were in more classes together, we became closer and good friends.

Laurette and Julie were special because their family was special, and their family was remarkable, tied together by cooperative efforts to get along and get the best out of life. I was lucky enough to be included in the fun as Laurette, Julie and I became friends. It was a very special time in junior high school, which was 7th, 8th and 9th grade in the 1960s. As the years went by, those three years became even more special because Laurette and Julie both went to a different senior high school than I did when it was time. I never saw them again, although the memories of many outings, sleepovers and a week at the ocean were often recalled with pleasure.

Spring is time for housekeeping, inside and out.

Life just has a way of going forward, so, it was strange when I kept thinking of Laurette in the fall of 2010. I didn’t know why then and I don’t now. The fun we had together kept coming back to me and I wanted to find Laurette and Julie and say, “Hi!” I had done Internet searches before, never finding either one. I was determined that this time, I would sit at the computer and look until I found them. But, life was complicated in the fall of 2010 and so, I didn’t get to it. Thinking, “Well there is always tomorrow,” pressing matters came first and finding Laurette went to the back burner.

So, finally winter was over and with the exhilaration of spring, I decided to find Laurette, once and for all. I looked and looked, following many “Laurettes” on the Internet, none of them mine. But then! One day I was staring at the names Laurette and Julie along with the names of their parents and siblings. My quest was ended, I had found Laurette.

The problem was, the article spoke of her in the past tense. I was in shock. Could it be that Laurette had passed away?

(To be continued next Wednesday, September 7, 2011….)



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Oct 31 2010

Halloween – October 31 –  All Hallow’s Eve

What fun we used to have on Halloween in the 1950s! Running around the neighborhood, knocking on doors until they opened and yelling, “Trick or Treat!” We loved the people who gave us full size Hershey bars, although you didn’t have to say, “full size” then because there was only one size. On the other hand, we couldn’t understand the people who gave us apples and insisted they were good for our health. We thought that was just peculiar.

This year, it seems like it’s going to be pretty cold for the kids. Cold like it was the year I decided to be a mermaid. And what a disappointment that was. It was bad enough that mother and daddy refused to pull me around in a wagon so that the illusion of a tail fin could be maintained, but the costume that mother had come up with to keep me happy and make a pretense of me being a mermaid was a long green skirt with the outline of a tail fin drawn on it. Needless to say, I was totally disgusted and humiliated that this ridiculous excuse for a tail fin was being placed on my body. Adding insult to injury, I was supposed to be gracious about it and wear it with a smile. Very hard to do when one is so emotionally encumbered.

This was before Walt Disney’s Little Mermaid, Ariel, but somehow I had channeled the image of a glorious fish tail with real scales and the ability to move my legs as one to make it fan and flip, which would have been relatively easy if I had been in my wagon like I wanted and was being pulled along like I was supposed to be. But no, there I was, a bipedal self embarrassment in a long green skirt with a fish tail drawn on it, shuffling along with a pillowcase of candy, glad that it was dark so nobody could see it, but then alternately mad that it was dark so nobody could see it to realize what I was being put through. The sympathy vote might have been worth a couple extra Hershey’s Kisses, after all.

But actually, the worst thing about that Halloween night, long ago, was that it was cold. So cold, I had to wear a coat over my mermaid costume and the top half of me was the only redeeming feature of the ensemble. I forgot to mention that in my haste to tell you how stupid the bottom half appeared. Mother had done pretty well with the top half and wasn’t it a shame that nobody would see it because it was too cold and I had to wear a coat?

Well, you might be saying, trying to make the glass half full and pull victory out of the jaws of defeat, at least least I didn’t have to wear a hat.

Oh NO! You would be wrong! Of course I had to wear a hat! This whole thing is happening in the 1950s when sensible children with sensible parents were always dressed appropriately to the weather. That night it was cold, and if a coat was needed, then surely a hat was needed, therefore, a red knit peaked hat with a pompom hanging on a chain stitch piece of yarn from the peak that bobbed to and fro was required before I could even think of leaving the house. It was a nightmare come true. There was no hope except the glimmer of truth that no matter how I was dressed, I would come come with a pile of candy. That was the only thing that kept me going.

And so, this Halloween, if any of your children are dressed like a decent mermaid with a shiny, slithery, sparkly, scaled mermaid tail and you are pulling them around on a wagon to create the illusion that they are half fish like they want to be, may I reach out and shake your hand to tell you what a great parent you are? And if you live in Florida so that they don’t have to wear coats on Halloween, may I congratulate you on your unselfish foresight? You have transcended all obstacles while holding down a day job to make your child’s dreams come true.

And may I say, “Bravo! You won’t regret it.” And you won’t have to read their blog fifty years from now to see the trauma you caused them and beg them for forgiveness.

What a great Halloween you will have, with many more to come.

 

If you enjoy Halloween as much as I do, consider
visiting this site for everything Halloween and MORE!

If you would like to buy a haunted house, click here.

If you want to order the candy you ate as a kid, try this site.

Go here, if you would like to make yourself into a zombie!



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Sep 20 2010

Louise L. Hay

One of Louise Hay’s important claimss is that many people do not love and care for themselves.  They carry the burden of self criticism around in their heads in addition to all of their other problems.  When negatively self-imaged people realize that self dissatisfaction short circuits daily progress, they can then worked through the self-imposed burden by intentionally creating a positive self image. Working on creating a positive self image can be done by saying affirmations throughout the day. Affirmations are short positive sentences that address problems head on. When we realize we have a problem and work to solve it, the battle is half won.  Saying positive affirmations creates new thoughts patterns and establishes better tomorrows.

Try saying this simple affirmation from Louise Hay: “I love and approve of myself.” The harder it is for one to say, the more one needs to say it. Try saying it throughout the day and before you go to bed at night. I did in the 1980s. From this simple beginning, I was able to change my life and face the future with a great deal of confidence.

I have introduced many friends to the book and her system of saying affirmations to program one’s brain, so to speak, into creating a positive outlook that in turn creates more positive experiences. It’s one of the most valuable concepts I can share with you today. I know it sounds too simple to work, but just try it, and try it again, and again. I bet you can feel yourself relax.

If you would like to watch the trailer from Ms. Hay’s movie, click on the play button:



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Filed under: Attitude,Head — admin @ 3:52 pm Comments (0)
Sep 19 2010

First published in 1984, it’s current today.

I first met Louise L. Hay in the 1980s. I say “met” because when I read her book, You Can Heal Your Life. I felt like I knew her personally. I was in one of those life valleys where things are overwhelming and there seems to be no way out.  It’s been so long ago now, I can’t remember exactly how I found out about Louise Hay and her ability to speak to those in trouble or in pain. Once I grabbed on to her philosophy to take control of one’s life, I never let go.

Before she figured out that a positive outlook bodes well for bringing in more positive experiences, Louise Hay had a difficult life.  She freely speaks of these difficulties in her books, on her web site and her movie, also titled, You Can Heal Your Life. And she speaks of conquering troubles in a soothing voice that exudes the confidence of a person who has met challenges and won.  When I first found Louise L. Hay in the 1980s, she was in her 60s. With the passage of the years, she is now in her eighties, robust, healthy and appearing remarkably younger than her years. Truly she has discovered secrets worth knowing for organizing life’s difficulties into triumphs.

If you would like to preview Louise L. Hay’s book, hover your mouse over the following link:

You Can Heal Your Life



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