Kicking Up My Heels

Full day which started at the WACK exhibit at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, included a reception for Verteran Feminists of America and practicing Halloween stories for tomorrow.

The day started at the WACK show.

Art Historian Josephine Withers, Professor Emerita, Univeristy of Maryland, led a small tour through the exhibit. She shared her special insights of the works and the atists.

Josephine has been involved with the women's artist movement since the beginning in 1971. She was one of the organizers of the Corcoran Conference in Washington in 1971. That conference brought women artists from across the country together for the first time. It was the start of a national network of women in the arts - artists and art historians - and the artistic dialogue which set the stage for the creation of the works in the WACK show.

I am indebted to Josephine for her role as a founder of the Washington Women's Arts Center. More than an exhibition space, the Center was a training center where women in the arts worked together to learn the business of being an artist. WWAC, as it was known, was the place where I found me self as an artist and formed networks and friendships that are still important to me.

Reception for Veteran Feminists of America.

Mary Garrard and I had our picture taken beside the bust of Susan B. Anthony. Mary turned to me and said, "you and me and Susan B." Mary and I have known each other since 1974. I was lucky that she was my art history professor at American University and that I also worked with her as Secretary when she was President of the newly founded, Women's Caucus for Art. She was at the start of her distinguished academic career as a feminist art historian and thought leader. WCA an was the organization that launched my journey as an activist feminist working for equal rights for women in the arts.

It was an exciting evening - a trip down memory lane - which was held at the Sewall Belmont House, formerly the home of suffragette leader, Alice Paul. More than 200 attending. I was completely surprised that the women in the book,Veteran Feminists of America, identified as the evening's "honorees", were invited forward and presented a VFA Medal of Honor. We were called "pioneers" of the second wave of the women's fight for equal rights.

Former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder opened the program. She talked about the first time she came to the Sewall Belmont House when she was newly elected to the House in 1972. She told us that at that time a few of the elderly suffragettes ( in their 90s) still lived on the 3rd floor floor of the house. She said she mentioned to someone that she was surprised they owned a house for the "movement" and they instructed her in a bit of history.

In the days of the battle for suffrage women signed up to come to Washington for a month at a time to keep vigil at the White House. They came to demonstrate for women's right to vote. At that time it was not proper for a woman to stay in a hotel unchaperoned - so the Women's Party bought this house and they lived here while they were in Washington.

They picketed by day - often chaining themselves to a fence in front of the White House - often being arrested - but if they were not arrested they came home to the Sewall Belmont House in the evenings for dinners, company and perhaps a piano concert. Agitators by day; genteel ladies in the evening.

It is important to know your history.


Watch Out for the Boo Hags

In the spirit of Halloween I send this message.

These are troublesome days.
Must be some powerful bad spirits loose in the world .

My aunt Koki used to say - "Watch out for the haints and boggars. Don't let them get you."

One of the most fearsome of all is the boo hag.
Watch out for her.
She will spin out of her skin - - and eat you up.

The only way to keep the boo hag out is -
Paint your windows and doors blue.


A Load of Pumpkins - Halloween Story


There was an old lady by the name of Miss Nancy, and she had an acre of pumpkins. And there was an old man by the name of Joe, and he loved pumpkin pie. So he said to her, “Miss Nancy, dear, if I go and spend a night in that old haunted house, will you give me a load of pumpkins.”

“Oh, with all my heart". Replied Miss Nancy.

“Well you just lost those pumpkins” said Joe.

That night Joe went to the haunted house. Now, he was a man who did not believe in ghosts so he was not one bit bothered about staying in that house all night. Midnight came and he was sitting by the fire, thinking about pumpkin pie – he was smelling pumpkin pie – he was tasting pumpkin pie. – UMMMMMMMM.”

About half past twelve up jumped a ghost and sat down right beside him, and said, “Oh, just we two.:

Joe’s eyes grew big - why, the hair on his head stood straight up.

“Won’t be but ONE in a minute.”

Joe jumped right through the window and hit the ground running. He ran and ran. And he kept running until he ran right into a willow tree and knocked himself out. When he came to the first thing he said was,

“Tell Miss Nancy she can keep her pumpkins.”

After that Joe ate apple pie, pecan pie, rhubarb pie, peach pie - - but no one ever saw him eat any pumpkin pie again.
Adapted from A Load of Watermelons - found in the Whang Doodle


Peg Bracken

Yesterday there she was,
Peg Bracken, on the obit page of the Washington Post.
I felt like I had lost a friend. A friend I never met but one who had an important impact on my life.

Do you know her?

Peg Bracken was a writer.

Her book, The I Hate to Housekeep Book made a deep and lasting impression on me. I still have my worn, stained and torn paperback copy.

She wrote the book in 1960. I found it in the mid 60s - a time when I was raising three children, sort of keeping house and going to college - - ok ok showing off at multi-tasking.

Peg Bracken had answers for me.

Take short-cuts. Don't do it all - just make it look like you have.
Sound advice.
I use many of her tips to this day.

" Before people come, wipe the toilet and the telephone with pinesol. When they smell the pine they will know that anyone who has time to do that must have a spotless house."

"Start a dinner party backwards. Set the table first - everything else will fall into place." Try it. It works. Many an afternoon I ran in to cook supper and threw on a table cloth, plates and silverware just to get my engine running. Once you have the stage set -t - the food follows.

All of Peg Bracken's pearls of wisdom were written with wit and style. How I wished to be able to write like her - - as well as keep house as she suggested.

It is said much better on the blog, Apartment Therapy - "Her wit has rightly been called "as dry as a gin martini and as sharp as a paring knife," but in counterpoint to that piquancy is a warmth and thoughtfulness that makes her writing a comfort as well as a tonic. "
(read the link to get her full story.)

Thank you, Peg Bracken.


The Stuff of Memory

California Doll

All dressed up
patiently waiting
for a child
who is moldering outside.

Melancholy notes
in rooms set up
to help the curious
glimpse the past.

Dolls more than hairbrushes
bring back the laughter and tears
of other days.

Children and childhoods

Only the stuff of memory remains.


In the Pink

Grateful for:

Old Movies where "stars" are forever alive and young and at their best. Saw two good ones lately, My Fair Lady and Separate Tables.

Cell phones and the immediacy of contact.

Quiet time.

The familiarity of my home. Its not the best, cleanest or most up-to-date but it has the comfortable fit of an old shoe.

Sun light filtering through windows.


One of Those Days

This was "one of those days" where the sun was shining,
the world looked beautiful with leaves showing their vibrant colors under bright blue skies - -
yet swarms of gnats were following me.

Ever have one of those days - - when the best laid plans go awry and expectations are out of whack?
Oh, yeah!

To start with I had agreed to two storytelling gigs on the same day. These were wildly different events - each in a different city - neither event had a track record for storytelling. Ah, me. What was I thinking? was I thinking?

What is it they say? As long as you are learning you are alive, right?

Now on on the bright side. The first gig was near to home and I saw people I know and we talked about possibilities for the future. That is always encouraging. And, it was fun!

The second is hardly worth talking about - from a storytelling point of view. For starters - when I arrived 30 minutes early - the audience had dispersed because the act scheduled ahead of me did not show up - and the organizers, without a plan B - had no way of holding kids there.

If I had been "the audience" I would not have stayed either - they had set up four hay bales for seating. Four hay bales - that's all. What were they thinking? Kids and parents have to sit to listen to stories!
The audience space was set in the middle of a ring of vendor tents from food, to jewelry sales, to the face painter. How could you expect kids to settle and listen to stories?

The mic was set on a stage four feet above the audience eye-level - I moved it to ground level so that I could have contact with the kids and that was a big help.

Soldiering on, I told Halloween stories to a handful of kids> They did enjoy the stories and we had fun - but I have to tell you the time it took to drive there, wait, and perform, on a Saturday afternoon, would have been much better spent doing almost anything else.

That said - it was a lesson which I hope will help me look out for myself better in the future.

TIP: What did I learn?
Ask more questions.
Question. question, question before you accept a gig.
Ask even the most absurd questions like: Will there be a stage manager to gather the audience and assist the performer? Will there be seats for the audience? and - most important of all:
Ask yourself -
Is this gig a right fit for storytelling?
Is this gig a right fit for me?


Music Music Music

Remember Teresa Brewer's 1950 hit song "Music, Music, Music." Thanks to You Tube we can hear it.

This morning when I read Teresa Brewer's obit in the Washington Post, I immediately thought of her big hit Music, Music, Music. More than that I could hear it in my head even though I had not thought of her or the song in years.

I loved that song. When it made the top of the charts on radio DJ shows, I was 14 years old. One of my prized possessions was a small, square 45 rpm record player which I kept in my bedroom. I bought her record and played it and played it and played it - and more than that, I sang along with her. The beat, the sound of the nickeloden, her childlike, bouncy voice, the lyrics - it was all terrific to my ears.

This memory give me a fresh connection to that 14 year old girl that ws/is me.

Thank you Teresa Brewer for your ,usic, especially for Music Music Music.
Good-bye and R.I.P.

STORYTELLING TIP: You never know what is going to put you in mind of a story. Stop and listen. Catch the story.


1934 Ninth Street

There is a lot of mansionizing going on in our neighborhood. Porches are back. That's one of the most striking additions I notice. Porches make a house look familiar to me, more like a home. And, why not. When I was growing up houses all had porches from small stoops with a roof over it to wide wrap-around porches with railings and pillars.

Porches were wonderful places for kids. Sanctuaries. Private places for kid games, day dreaming, reading or anything else you could think up. On a rainy day you could ride a tricycle or a scooter from one end to the other, unless is was just a stoop. Then you could just stand outside and watch the rain.

We were living in this house on Ninth Street in Charlotte on December 7, 1941 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and "we" went to war. I was five years old - my sister Lynda was 3 and sister Kathy was only four months old. We were unaware that big changes were ahead in our lives.

That Christmas Santa Claus brought me a child sized metal sink. You put water in a little tank on the back and then you could turn the teeny tiny tap on and water would run into the sink. It made a big impression on me. And probably a big mess for Mama to clean up.

Sometime that winter it snowed. The first snow I had ever seen. large white flakes drifting down from the sky turning everything white and making the world look like a fairyland. Just a dusting really but Mama was excited and she went out and shook the snow into a bowl. I watched as she added sugar and milk and made what she called "snow cream." It tasted sweet and delicious. There was so little snow that it was gone almost as soon as it came.

A few years ago I heard that one of the houses on Pecan Avenue, three blocks from 9th street, was being used as a Bed and Breakfast. "Please, Jim. Please." What an opportunity. A chance to actually "Be" in my childhood neighborhood for a couple of days.

My part of the Elizabeth Section has not changed - not one bit. The 1920s and 30s houses are popular and so they are well kept. The old oaks still line the sidewalks, and the acrons crunched under our feet as we walked.

Pecan Avenue takes its name from the pecan trees that line the sidewalks and drop their nuts onto the ground. I picked up one and the shell was thin, hard to break open and when you did there wasn't much "good" inside. Just like they had been when my small hands with stubby fingers and no fingernails worked so hard to pry something out of them all those years ago.

We strolled the sidewalks where I had walked everywhere as a kid. I was a "free range" kid - a rover of the neighborhood. A large square of the Elizabeth Section was my territory. Mama's mother lived on one side of the square and Daddy's mother lived on another - with aunts and uncles sprinkled in between. Granny, Mama's mother, lived on East Seventh Street. I knew the blocks near her best and all the sidewalks leading to her house were my heart lines.

Jim and I stopped at the site that used to be my grandmother's house at 2308 East Seventh Street - eight blocks away . It is now an asphalt parking lot on Seventh Street. The walking really thrust me back into the space. Memories flooded over me. Some of those memories were so sweet they made me ache with longing - for those times and places and people who have gone.

Stanley's Drugstore at the corner of Pecan Avenue and Seventh Street is now a Starbucks. While we drank our coffee I told Jim that Daddy bought my first pair of metal roller skates from Doc Stanley, "right here" and how I used to walk up, come in, sit on the floor and read the comics. Doc and his brothers never minded. I remembered how fast I ran to the safety of this familiar place after the "man" exposed himself to my horrified eyes just two blocks away when I was walking home from Granny's. Bewildered, scared and too embarrassed by what I had seen to tell anyone, I read comics until I felt it was safe to continue on toward home. I guess I was about 10 years old.

The first night we were there I was laying in the bed reading when I heard the train.

Ofcourse, the train.

There is a train crossing over Pecan Avenue. I heard the mournful call of the engine announcing itself and then the rhythmic rolling acoss the tracks.

I had forgotten this background music of my childhood. Nothing made me feel as at home as the sound of that train rolling on its way.


Taking a Breather

I am going to take a brief breather today. Instead of words I am leaving an altered shot of California Iris. The day Robin took me to Millie's Sandwich Shop, Lafayette, CA I saw these Iris blooming along a weathered fence. Millie's is a small old-time lunch spot favored by locals and they DO make a delicious BLT.



We all have a "back story" and part of mine is what my new story project will focus on. And, I feel so fortunate there are a number of things happening that play right into helping me reconnect with another time.

This year there are several major "review" exhibitions of the art work of famous feminist women artists from the 1970s. WACK first opened in Los Angeles and now is the main show at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Next month, Claiming Space, the show of feminist art that Mary Garrard and Norma Broude have curated opens at the Katzen Art Gallery at American Washington, DC. Seeing these works will be like "old home week for me" - I saw them when they were first shown, often in spaces not nearly so toney as the Katzen Center and the Women's Museum. Now, 30 plus years later, this cream rises to the top.

Next week I am going on a private group tour of WACK which will be led by feminist art historian and my friend, Jospehine Withers. There is no one I would rather hear talk about these works and place them in personal and historical context. Josephine is leading this tour for Veteran Feminists of America on the day of their reception in Washington. They are honoring the women in the Washington Area, "Feminists Who Changed America. 1963 - 1975" who are listed in a book of the same title. I am pleased and delighted my name is among those listed and I will be attenting the reception at the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum in the evening.

By gathering at the Sewall Belmont House this group reconnects with the women of the earlier Suffrage Movement. This lovely historic home within walking distance of the Supreme Court and the Capitol was once the home of pioneering sufragette, Alice Paul. I have been there a number of times and even organized a meeting held here when I was working as ERA Campaign Director for the National League of Women Voters of the US.

Josephine Withers was one of four women who founded the Washington Women's Arts Center in the early 1970s. They created a space where women artists could carve out a career during a time when the art world was male dominated and opportunites for women were not equal. The Center was not just about hanging your art work or experimenting with new forms and visions; it was a training ground, a place to learn the business skills so important for establishing a career in the arts.

It was also a professional and supportive community for women artists in the Washtington area.

The Washington Women's Arts Center will have to be the second stop on my journey. I became involved in th Center in 1974 and it became the central focus of life as an artist. Notice, I have the keys.

(personal note: I loved wearing that crocheted poncho that Mama made for me. During the 1970s she was in her crochet-phase. She made afghans for everyone in her family - I guess that would be about 25. When she moved on to ponchos she asked me what colors I wanted. I told her red and purple. She made it work - because she added the repeating narrow green stripe. I could see where my "color sense" came from. <em>I wore it so often that there are stacks of photographs of me that look like they were all taken the same year


Telling Tall Tales

Jim and I spent some time this week-end in Garrett County on the western edge of Maryland close to the West Virginia border. My photos certainly do not do justice to the foliage and mountain vistas which were marvelous.

We went to Oakland,MD where I was telling in the Tall Tales Festival on the same bill with Rich Knoblich and Adam Booth, both WV Champion Liars who I know and two other local tellers I had never met. Storyteller Gail Herman is the Director of the Festival - which has been going on for 17 years. Now that's something.

lEFT TO RIGHT: Gail Herman, Rich Noblich, Adam Booth and me. The stories were TALL and funny and it was Fun. I am delighted to tell you I feel pretty proud that I placed 1st. Funnier still - the first place prize is a white water rafting trip for two. I don't swim - so the story of that trip will be told by other members of my family.

The real highlight of the festival was listening to 21 tellers from three local elementary schools compete with their tall tales. They were really delightful. Gail Herman had worked with them in the schools and the kids were psyched, poised, imaginative and eager to perform for the audience.
Kudos and thanks to storytellers like Gail Herman who work with young tellers to make sure the art of storytelling continues into the future.


Mom the Graduate - Part 1

When I wrote the proposal for a new work I did not think about how it would feel to receive the grant and then have to create the work I said I would. leap without looking - that's my way.

Usually I start a story because its something that interests me or pops into my head. This is so planned. Now I find myself poised at the edge of memory - wondering how to approach the story of my feminist journey.

Don't mis-understand - this is a story I want to tell. I was one of so many women of the 1970s that the story will resonate with their experience or perhaps explain the time to young women today who have no idea what hapened or why women got involved.

Earlier this week I received a letter - "mark the date" - October 2008 - the national reunion for Dunbarton College of the Holy Cross. My alma mater closed in the 1970s. The buildings were sold to Howard University and its now Howard Law School. They will let us come back. I circled the date.

Dunbarton College - yes - that's a good place to start. I was a shadow feminist when I arrived. I graduated an activist. In 1968 when I enrolled at Dunbarton as a Freshman I had three children in elementary school. I often sat in class on Thursday afternoons looking like the Jolly Green Giant in my green Girl Scout Leaders uniform.
1968 was the beginning of women returning to college. I was one of three married women in the college. Later this trickle turned into a fast moving river flooding colleges across the country.

Old photos are always a good place to start.

I remember this day.

Graduation Day, June 1972, Dunbarton College of the Holy Cross, Washington, DC

Jim was beaming - playing a new role - husband of the graduate. I hardly recognize him with his beard.

Mom and the kids - Karen, Robin and Jimmy. They had helped me earn this degree as well and my being in school had cost them an "at home" Mom. Times were changing. we had no idea how much.

I went back to college as a Freshman in 1968, thinking that I would take a couple of courses. By the second semester I had registered as a full time student. I wss hungry for the work. New worlds opened up. I had not realized how much I had missed out on - education wise.

Life was changing.


Two Great Aunts

Annie and Kate Grose
Annie Grose was my god-mother just as she was my father's god-mother. Just as the church records show she was god-mother to more than a dozen babies in Charlotte's small Catholic community. She was my grandmother's aunt, my father's great-aunt and that made her my great-grand aunt as well as my god-mother.

She was 68 when I was born and Aunt Annie was always the oldest person I knew. Even so she was ramrod straight. I remember being with her at St. Peter's Church and when others where resting back on their haunches she was knelt straight up on the hard wood pew kneeler for the whole Mass.

Her parents, Elizabeth and Samuel Grose, came to America from England in 1859. He was a mining engineer and the Charlotte goldmining operations and mint brought him to North Carolina.

Annie was born in Charlotte in 1868. She was a milliner and she worked for Ivey's Department Store.

Annie never married. She and her younger,invalid sister Kate lived in their parents' home on downtown Church Street until the late 1940's. One of the massive pylons of the recently built Erickson Stadium is set in their old back yard - - where peach and apple trees bloomed in the spring and a garden yielded fresh vegetables all summer.

Until they left that house they made their delicious bread -which they served to every visitor slathered with their own homemade jelly - in an old wood-burning stove. Though it always tasted just the same to me - they were never satisfied with the bread they made in the new fangled gas oven when they moved to a small house on Beaumont.

The house on Beaumont Street was on my way home from Piedmont Junior High School. Many afternoons I detoured to their front door - for a chat and a snack - perhaps even, if there was time, a mean game of Parchisi. We used their old board with the worn black cups and the big yellowed dice. We pulled out the heavy wood chairs with the upholstered seats and sat at the large black mahagony dining room table -which crowded the smaller dining room - laughing and rolling the dice. The room echoed with our tapping as we counted our moves on the worn board. Aunt Kate always won.

Being with them was lovely and loving time. They were always happy to see me, eager to cut me a slice of the fresh cooked bread and Aunt Kate would say, "And jelly?"

Twenty years ago I found a steroptican in a thrift store and I bought it. My friend said, "why are your buying that?" How could I explain that when I lifted it up and slipped the picture card in the slots so that I could view Niagra Falls, I felt myself back in Aunt Annie's parlor. I remembered their steroptican sitting on the round table in the parlor - when I was very good I could look at their collection of scenic pictures. I could hear the tapping and taste fresh bread and homemade jelly.

Annie and Kate were in their nineties when they died within a month of each other. They are buried on the lot in Elmwood Cemetary with their mother and brothers. I stop by to see them when I can.


Strange Relatives Southern Style

Recently I bought a bunch of books to jar my memory about what it is to be "southern".
If I had just waited a couple of weeks I could have saved my money and bookcase shelf space. This week-end at the National Storytelling Festival I heard a great description of "being southern" - -which sums up a lot of my experiences and peculiarities.

"Southerners trot out their strange relatives and tell stories about them>" Kathyryn Wyndham.

Ain't that the truth!

She went on:

"I know someday they will be telling stories about me - - so I am leaving a trail"

Think about it!

Get to work.

Telling or marking your trail.

Your choice


I'm telling!


Home to Stories

Watch for the BIG guitar -

when you see it you know you are in Tennessee. And on your way to stories in Jonesborough for the National Storytelling Festival. Jim and i were there last week-end and it was wonderful.

The first time Jim and I attended we came as strangers, checking things out, now we come as pilgrims, to see friends, hear stories and feel at home in the charming town of Jonesborough.

Its sacred ground when there are tents and thousands of people enraptured by story. Try it and you will see.

West Virginia storyteller Susannah Holstein aka Granny Sue and her husband Larry were two we had really looked forward to seeing.

And a special treat was a chance to catch up Donald and Letty Nance. They live in Wytheville, VA now - but Donald and I first met at Piedmont Junior High School in Charlotte, NC and graduated in the same class from the fabled Central High School. Talk about feeling "at home" with someone. We recently discovered that we have been here at the same time for several years and never crossed paths. This year we made it happen.

A festival is a lot like life - great stuff and some disappointments. I guess keeps everything on a human plane.

Great "NEW" faces - I had heard that a storyteller, Motoko, was wonderful and not to miss her. She IS - and I am only sorry I did not see more of her work. Choices, choices, choices. Other new stand-outs for me, Delores Hydock, David Gonzalez, and Gene Tagaban.

Jim and I work as tent monitors so our assignments dictate some of our choices. I was grateful to be assigned to the College Street tent when Barbara McBride Smith performed her one hour story, "Hello Ricky Nelson, Good-bye Heart". (Listen to Ricky)

She brought you back to many memories of the 50s and 60s with freshness and laughter and then broke your heart with the ending. But, good storyteller that she is, she took care of her audience by bringing several musicians to the stage at the close and ending with the audience singing several of Ricky Nelson's best rockabilly hits. Wow! (Hear it again.)

Kevin Kling's Midnight Cabaret was amazing. His wit and humor take you on a wild journey and the laughs just pour out of you. All the laughter prepared us for the last two stories which were deeply moving and profound.

I might not have chosen to hear Kathyrn Wyndham as I had just heard several sets with her in Williamsburg but she was also performing at the College Street Tent during our shift there. 89 years old, fresh and strong, she talked to the audience, reminiscing about her childhood in Alabama.

Kathryn Wyndham ended her stories with this message:
"Family history and storytelling glues us all together.
Keep the tradition alive."


Catching a Story - video story

Jim and I are driving to Jonesborough, TN tomorrow for the National Storytelling Festival, the annual bonanza of stories. We will also be seeing storytellers we know and breaking bread with a classmate of mine from not just Central High School, Piedmont Junior High School as well. Wow that goes W A Y back. Fun!

I will be off line and listening for a few days.
So, I am leaving you with a story - right here

"Catching a story" is an edited version of a new original story I told recently on my weekly tv show "Stories in Time" on Channel 16, Montgomery Municipal Cable in Kensington, MD. Maybe the story will bring back a few memories. If it does, please tell me about it in the "comments."

I would like to claim that I had figured out how to make this video appear - but - no -
Juliana is my East Coast "techie" who knows how to do that stuff.


"The War"

Like many in the US Jim and I sat for hours watching the new Ken Burns documentary, The War when PBS premiered it in a night after night marathon of carnage and sweet memories. I know we will watch it again - but not in as concentrated a dose.

Everyone who was alive during the years of WWII has memories.
Every town was touched.

The day I started the first grade in 1942 my Daddy left home to go to the US Army Air Corps. Mama had to sign her permission for him to enlist - he was 28 years old and had three children. But he wanted to be a part of it.

Here I am, 7 years old, standing in Granny's front yard at 2308 East 7th Street in Charlotte , NC, wearing Daddy's overseas cap. Convoys of trucks filled with smiling and laughing soldiers lumbered past her house and our house, a block up the street. You could hear them coming from several blocks away. Nothing got in their way. Cars stopped. Military convoys had the right-of-way through traffic lights.

When I heard them coming I ran to the curb and saluted as they passed by. The soldiers smiled and waved.

Who knew where they were going or where they came from. They just appeared, rolled past and were gone.

Granny was very determined to help with the "war effort." She dug up her rose garden in the side yard and planted a "victory" garden of vegetables.
She let me stomp the tin cans on her front walk.
There was a can of bacon grease on the stove.

When there was a contest at my elementary school for which class could collect the most scrap metal I was determined to help push our class over the top. When a woman in the neighborhood gave me a rusted out water heater Granny helped me drag it out from under the house and then she brought her car and we hauled it to the school. I don't remember whether our class won -but I will never forget Granny being a part of it.

My Daddy returned home in 1945. He had served on an air base in India, chief mechanic for bombers flying over "the Hump" into China. He never really talked about it too much. There are a few pictures he sent home. He seemed physically whole but he came back with amoebic dysentary that weakened him for his lifetime. And, the three years away from his family cost all of us.

Below Patrick asks about "stomping cans" and saving bacon grease.

To prepare cans for scrap metal bins you washed them out, removed the labels and "stomped them flat". That made it easier to store and ship them.

I never really knew why they saved the bacon grease myself until I saw a "home front" segment in Ken Burns' film and I believe it said they used it to make explosives for bullets. Watch for it.



Round and round on the merry-go-round.

Know that feeling?

Just keep moving - round and round.

The first time I remember riding the horse up and down
up and down
up and down,
was on the Carousel at an amusement park on Wilkerson Boulevard in Charlotte.

When Mama was driving Lynda and me back to Sacred Heart after a week-end at home she stopped so we could have a ride. I was nine years old. The caliope music rang out as the motor cranked the platform around and the horses up and down. Sunlight sparkled in the mirrors set around the central core. It was magical.

That 1940s amusement park was nothing fancy like King's Dominion or Busch Gardens. It was a cleared lot covered with sawdust where they had set up a group of rides. I just remember the carousel and the ferris wheel> Those are the only ones I ever rode. It was wonderful. I loved it.

I still ride them whenever I have a chance - and I remember -

Its only in the every day of round and round and round that I sometimes want to stop -

and get off.

But what if I couldn't get back on?

Ah, the existential question.