Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Sentimental Journey

Sorting through my Mother's things this week has been quite a learning experience for me. I have learned many things about my family that I never knew before. Nothing secret, mind you, just facts that were not passed on to me. But now I know, and I have laughed, cried, and been excited that I have found these things of family history past.

My intention this morning was to go through all of those boxes of pictures that Mom had kept. My sister took half of them and I know it will take us forever to complete this task. Going througth the pictures taught me a good lesson. Never, never take pictures that you don't identify. People are easy, if you know them, and a lot of them were unknown to me. Oh, I did know they were relatives, but who and what side of the family??? The real kicker was the hundreds of pictures of scenery in every state my parents had visited. We have no idea where they are and they mean nothing to us without a person in them or some sort of identification. They were precious to Mom though as she could look at them and remember.

I divided pictures into 5 folders for myself and my siblings and divided them according to family or just makeing piles at random so I wouldn't show favoritism.
Dividing pictures that way was easy, but wait....What are all of these letters?
And what is in this shoe box of old papers.

I have found a treasure. I spent a lot of time reading and crying and getting to know a grandfather that I never got to know. He was very ill as he wrote the letters to his sons who were overseas during WWII. He told of his health issues and the conditions on the farm. He advised them of what kind of men to be: Be kind, always pay attention to the other fellow, treat people fairly, Look to God in heaven to give you strength and help your through the trying times. spend time in prayer each day. Grandad, who was my mothers father, passed away 5 months before I was born. I always knew that he was a gentle man because of the family that he had. I am glad that I was able to read those letters written in pencil on a tablet. Every inch of the page was used. There were also letters from my grandmother and letters from the uncles who were serving our Country. Grandad told them to be proud of what they were doing.

In another box were treasures from my other side of the family.My great grandad R. was a school teacher. In this box were copies of all his teaching certificates, dating back to 1882. There were also many letters of recommendation from people that he taught and the parents of the children that he had taught. The script of the peoples writing was so beautful. They took great pride in neatness and the beauty. No typewritten words or computers for them. It was all long hand and perfect.

I found many poems that had been written by family members. My family had quite a talent for writing. I found all about my paternal grandmothers school days in Indian Territory at the Coulter School near Gutherie. Pictures of early day I.T. and a great parade celebrating 50 Year since the Land Run of 1889.

I can't wait to get into the other boxes tomorrow. I have a lot of copies to make for all of my siblings. There are so many pictures that now have meaning and I think they all need copies of these family documents, don't you?

The next job will be starting on my own treasures. I am not sure that my kids will take too kindly to some of the things that I have kept. One thing for sure, I don't have any of my early childhood things. My family moved and pitched what we didn't need. Thank goodness they kept the history.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

And a Top O' The Morning to You!!!

Tomorrow is the 17th of March, St. Patricks Day. Legend says that St. Patrick, who was the Patron Saint of Ireland, used the Shamrock to explain the meaning of the Trinity to the pagans who worshiped idols. It is also said that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. Snakes were thought to be a part of this heathen way of worship. Truth is, there were probably never any snakes in Ireland. How would I know though, Saint Patrick died on March 17, 460 A.D. or sometime near that. That was way before my time.

Through the ages St. Patricks Day has expanded to mean many things in many cultures. To the Irish, it is a religious holiday. The day is spent at Mass and in prayer. All of the businesses, except for the pubs and cafes, are closed. It is a day for Spiritual Renewal. I am wondering about the Pubs being open though. I guess that is for the "Spirits".

March 17th is also celebrated by doing anything that is Irish or that connects with Ireland. Wear green, gold, shamrocks, and have "Good Luck". In America, Irish communities also have parades, festive music eat lots of Irish food and play games.
There is also the idea that if you don't wear green, you will be pinched. I don't know if that is an Irish tradition or not. I always worried that I would not have anything green to wear until I bought a green pin that had a little leprichan sitting on a pot of gold, holding a shamrock. That covered all of the bases.

On of our favorite things to eat is Blarney Stones. If you haven't had this, you are really missing out. My daughters family makes the best ones. I have made them only once and that was enough for me. They are time consuming so I just get one from her to eat. It is a lot less fattening to do it that way too.

My mother always fixed corned beef, irish potatoes, and whatever else she could think of to celebrate the day. She also fixed green jello. She was good to think about celebrating the day. My dad, was called "Pat". That was not his given name but he earned that name as a very small child. His home was near a new highway that was being built through the country in the 1920's. A big part of the workers were Irish. Dad developed quite and Irish brogue and was therefore called "little Irish Paddy". The name was later shortened to Pat and most people thought that was his name. Two of his great grandsons are named Patrick to honor him.

Tomorrow, I will get out my green shirt and find my Irish Pin and see what a good Irish meal I can fix for the Rancher. If you make some Blarney Stones, eat one for me, as I probably will miss out this year unless I get really ambitious.

Have a Happy St. Patricks Day and may the Luck of the Irish be with You. (whatever that is)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


The past few weeks have been hard for my siblings and myself as we recently lost our precious Mother. Last weekend, we started going through Mom's house to see what to do with all of her treasures.

It has been an adventure to say the least. We have had laughter, cried and been completely surprised at some of the things that our Mom had collected through the years. My parents both loved to go the "auctions" or sales. We are sure a lot of the collectible dishes and old books came from their great buys, but we know that some of them were also from our grandmothers and older aunts. We do remember some things that belonged to family members, but other pieces are just dishes. I know they all must have had a special meaning to Mom.

Mom also kept every card that special people sent to her. Some of them are treasures, but others we have no knowledge of and they are just cards to us. To find a letter that was written by a long gone realtive has a special meaning though, and I am glad that she did keep such things. It will be an adventure going through each one. It will also take time but it will be a time spent with something that was close to Mom.

Mom grew up in hard times and lived through the depression, war rationing and out of necessity, she had to be a very frugal person. She used and re-used and saved. She saved a lot of things that have gone past their time of usefulness. Some of them are Antiques. Some of them, we just laugh and say "Why did Mom have 3 toasters?" They don't all work but she thought someone could fix them. Today in our throw away world, it costs more to fix a toaster than buy a new one.

I had a good laugh and was excited when I found a white brocade dress that I made while I was still in High School. I know the size it was and today that same size is completely different. I could not believe that I was once that small as my (I'm on medicare) body is old and way out of shape today. I saved the dress to show my daughters and granddaughters.

I hope that I have learned a lesson this week. I need to start distributing things that I don't need to those who do. I have too much junk. Most of has been given to me and has a special meaning. I think about the person everytime I use things they have given me and it makes my heart glad.

Maybe I am too much like my Mother and someday my children will laugh, cry and get totally frustrated when they start to clean out my treasures. That will be okay, it is part of the healing process over the loss. Today, I thank my Mom for all of the wonderful memories she has provided for us this week. I would like to be sharing them with her.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Signs of Spring

One of the first signs of spring on the ranch is the arrival of the Kildeer birds. I can almost mark my calendar for their arrival as it is usually on the first of March, without fail. How they keep on schedule is a mystery to me but I always begin to look for them on that day. This year on the first of March, we were not at home but camping at a State Park Lake. That was the first day, we noticed the Kildeer running along the water. Maybe he had been there all along, but I especially looked for them at that time. When we arrived back home, the little brown and white bird was running aroung the feed bales as they do every year on their return. This is also where they nest. I think it is a safe place away from the cats. "Im Here, I'm Here", they announce as they take flight, steering us away from their territory. This is where they will lay their brown speckled eggs in a rock and gravel nest. Pretty primitive, don't you think?

I am a bird watcher. I was so excited that my Nurse daughter found a new bird book for me, listing all of the birds in Oklahoma. At least the author thinks it is all of them. I am not sure though as a birds habitat changes with the times. What was once rarely seen in this area has became a regular summer resident. I am thankful. Thanks for the new book dear daughter, I am enjoying it.