The future is right ahead of me and new projects seem to beckon... Friends and memories of times past remain with me today. I love to share my stories along with comments and opinions (of course) of today's challenges. Photography is my hobby and opportunities to capture the scenes before me are mine for the taking. Born and raised in Michigan, the peaceful woods and wildlife trails have always attracted me. Graduating from high school in the early fifties, college was of no interest to me. I have learned one important fact about life; whover decided when a person becomes "old"...didn't know what they were talking about...My theory is; you're as old as you think you are....(I'm thinking about it..haven't decided yet.)
I thought “the cough” would stop if I ignored it, but it didn’t. How long does it take to destroy “the way it was” and make it “the way it is now”?
How long does a “childhood cough” remain hidden behind the alphabet, before someone notices?
At first it was only fashions. I could live with that. Too long, too short, too loose, too tight; who cares? If the image you see in the mirror doesn’t distract you, make your own stylish statement.
Then it was the vehicles we drive. What happened to the classy look of the Oldsmobile in the fifties? You could always define the brand by the look. Somewhere along the line they all began to look alike. I thought that was sad until the SUV’s came along and classy became “cool”.
It wasn’t long before the SUV’s agreed to share the road with the “Pick-ups” and the race was on!
It’s ok, I said to myself, so I bought a pick-up. Somewhere along the way, I began listening instead of looking. Changes in the language began to catch my ear; not my eye, but my ear.
The first word I noticed was “the cough”.
In the beginning the first word I noticed concerned a childhood disease. I heard it mentioned on television and assumed the person had misspoken. I waited and listened. Whoever they were; whoever they are, they’re still pronouncing it incorrectly.
The word is….”whooping cough”.
Say it aloud. That’s right, say it now!
You’ve just pronounced it wrong. I’m here to help.
Because it has become so important to me that the name of this particular childhood disease be spoken correctly, I’ve taken the time to look up some helpful facts.
The correct pronunciation is; “hooping cough”.
(say it aloud)
Now, pronounce aloud the following words after me; Whole, Whom, Who, Whose Whoever, Wholesome….
Did you notice anything? For the sake of direction, let me point out that the “W” is silent.
The “W” is also silent in Whooping Cough.
You’ll never understand what it means to me to have cleared up this confusion for you.
It was a different time when I was growing up In the forties and fifties. We didn’t have much first-hand information about disrespect, but we knew a lot about “respect”.
Start with the flag, you know the one; stars, stripes, red white and blue? Remember when we stood up when the Star Spangled Banner was played at the football games? No one made us, we just did it. (Hand over heart and facing the flag.) Now, some folks are tired of it. Let’s drop down on one knee and look toward the ground.
How about “stand on your own two feet and make a difference” in honor of something worthwhile?
Remember when you were told to address the friends of your parents by Mr. and Mrs.? In our home, we were informed a doctor should not be addressed as “Doc”. He was educated to be a doctor. We will show him respect by calling him “Dr. Jones”. Our teachers were also spoken of as Mr. and Mrs., or Miss. They were never to be referred to as “old man or old lady “. That’s the way we were taught at our house. Teachers were to be respected by the young people they taught. Therefore, the teacher did not wear sloppy clothes in the classroom, sit on the desktop to teach or hang around with the high school “kids” outside of school hours. I recall visiting a high school one day during “change of classes” time. The kids were going this way and that, running into each other, cramming the hallway. Remember when we were instructed to walk on the right of the hallway? It was a simple, yet effective, way of managing the traffic. As in, driving down the highway; keep to the right. There will be no clutter of wrecked cars.
It occurs to me that perhaps the school administration is afraid to make rules about activity in the hall between classes. Maybe the young folks wouldn’t like it.
Life is full of rules to make living easier. How hard can it be to follow them?
Remember “table manners”? Young men did not wear a hat to the dinner table. Pass the food to the older person at the table first, or to a guest. If you don’t care for the dish that’s passed to you, the response is “no, thank you”…not…”I don’t like that”. When you were ready to leave the table you asked to be excused. .. Like this…”May I be excused?” (Mom or Dad would acknowledge your departure.) Of course this scenario of the family at the dinner table may not be a starting place for manners or conversation in the home these days. Everyone is busy being busy.
Times have changed. Rules can be frustrating. Changing them to suit the times doesn’t always help the situation. Laws are meant to be obeyed. If you don’t like them, there is a way to work toward having them legally changed. Everyone doesn’t think or believe the way we do. Let’s talk about it.
I was watching a commercial yesterday as a young girl is screaming at her Mother, “I’m not hungry.” Poor Mother, she’s chasing the kid down the hall with a dish and a spoon. She simply must find something the dear child likes. Macaroni and cheese in a package is the answer. The kid gobbles it up. When I was a child, (remember it was the forties and fifties), I was told, “If you don’t want to eat the food on the table, you may be excused. Maybe you’ll be hungry again at the next meal.” No snacks in between, no dessert unless you eat what’s put before you first. As I watched that commercial, I found myself wondering how many little kids were watching it. Little kids don’t understand the advertising ways of the world of television. Do we?
What’s with all this “protest” stuff? Are you mad because the town, the state, the country has done something you don’t like? Protest! Tear it down! Set it on fire! Throw paint on it! Start your own town! Throw stones at the police! Get rid of the police! Destroy businesses! Break their glass windows! Set police cars on fire! Scream the “f” word in everyone’s face.
If you aren’t old enough to vote, you may have to wait until your voice can be heard at the ballot box. That is, if “the box” is still in use. There seems to be a difference of opinion in some areas about circulating ballots to all the names on the mailing list, unrequested, through the mail.
Our voices may become completely lost in the voting process. In case it has gone unnoticed, much of what we need to learn begins at home. The kids don’t get to do everything they want to do. When we find ourselves saying, “My parents would never have put up with that.” Guess who the parents are now. That’s us. We’re Mom and Dad.
Manners don’t drop out of the sky. Rules don’t come with your birth certificate. Choices are made by one person, you. Teach your kids that!
Cell phones don’t own us. At least, they aren’t supposed to own us. Sitting in a restaurant one day, I watched two folks highly engrossed in their phones. They were sitting across the table but seemingly unaware of the other’s presence. Is that what you call going out for coffee, or a coke, or what?
When I was a kid, my favorite movie actors were Roy Rogers, and Gene Autry. No violence. It’s a challenge today to find something on television that doesn’t contain violence or sex. The kids are watching it too, folks. Maybe we should pay more attention to what they’re doing with their time.
How long has it been since your kids have heard, “go outside and play”? Even the very little kids, as soon as they can sit up without help, are watching the television. I don’t know what Mom and Dad are doing, but they aren’t tending to the kids.
Does anyone read to their young children anymore? You don’t have time, you say? Well find the time!
There…………I think I feel better now. At least for the moment, I do. But, I’ll be back..count on it. copyright@2021 Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck
“I don’t remember what it was I said one day. I must confess, from a very young age I was prone to say things without thinking. Whatever it was, it offended (her). I was banished from the farm for a year when I was twelve.”
“I don’t remember what it was I said one day. I must confess, from a very young age I was prone to say things without thinking. Whatever it was, it offended (her). I was banished from the farm for a year when I was twelve.”
* * * *
What a wonderful lady!
Mrs. Kelly and her family came to be caretakers
of the County Farm
across the road from my childhood home.
I was young when the Kelly family came to live in the neighborhood.
Elderly folks who couldn’t afford a home and needed someone to care for them, came there to live.
Some folks called it the Poor Farm.
To me, it was never poor.
The home always displayed a dignity
which deserved the regal title,
When I was very young, and began to visit the Farm,
there were seven older people living there.
A section of the large house was set aside for their comfort.
Mrs. Kelly cooked the meals for the residents. One of the more able ladies, whose name was “Rilla”, helped with the table settings of the long dinner table in their separate dining room.
Rilla always turned plates and cups at each place upside down before the meal. First the plate, then the cup. I was fascinated.
Mother wasn’t happy when I tried to set our dinner table the same way. It seemed quite picturesque to me.
I could never understand Mother’s disdain for it.
On the front side of the house, which I passed on my way to visit with Mrs. Kelly, there was a porch.
The older ladies often sat there in rocking chairs, watching the world (and me) go by.
On one such occasion, I noticed one of the ladies with a newspaper spread out across her stomach as she sat quietly in her chair.
I asked her why she had it there and she said,
“It’s to keep my bowels warm.”
Now that’s a remedy, to this day, I would never have thought of on my own.
The Kelly family had a grown son and daughter pursuing careers in far off parts of the country. Their youngest daughter still lived at home and was soon to graduate from high-school.
I don’t remember what it was I said one day. I must confess, from a very young age I was prone to say things without thinking. Whatever it was, it offended Mrs. Kelly. I was banished from the farm for a year when I was twelve.
It was to be a lifelong lesson.
Be careful what you say. Be aware, if you can, of how the other person may be receiving your words.
For the next year, I didn’t follow my favorite path to the County Farm. At thirteen I ventured a return.
No ill feelings were shown toward me from Mrs. Kelly.
Our friendship continued.
Many times I watched Mrs. Kelly kneading a very large pan of bread dough in the County Farm kitchen. I now bake my own bread and would never be able to knead such an amount of dough at one time; although now in my adult life, I am a larger woman than Mrs. Kelly was.
(She was strong and determined with many responsibilities in life; perhaps I should think about that.)
My bread recipe dictates kneading the dough for ten minutes. I’m sometimes able to stick with it until five minutes have passed. Mrs. Kelly would no doubt suggest that the bread would be finer if I followed directions.
When visiting at just the right time, the aroma of baking bread always greeted me near the kitchen door. Not far behind me, there were bread customers waiting to purchase a wonderful loaf of Mrs. Kelly’s homemade bread.
As I recall, she charged them $1.00 per loaf; they were huge.
Long gray hair, was always carefully braided and wrapped around her head.
Mrs. Kelly never walked anywhere slowly.
Always on the move,
she hurried to get things done.
The kitchen and her family’s living quarters were always neat and very clean.
The dishes were done, everything in place.
In the pantry, next to the kitchen,
always sat a basket of eggs
waiting for customers
who wished to purchase the freshest eggs in town.
Sometimes Mrs. Kelly allowed me to go to the chicken coop with her, to gather the eggs. I loved it.
One summer, I observed Mrs. Kelly preparing a bountiful meal for eight men who had come to help Mr. Kelly with the threshing.
Never have I seen nor smelled such a wonderful array of food.
I remember the table and men filling their plates again and again.
No one ever left Mrs. Kelly’s dinner table hungry.
As years went by,
Mrs. Kelly and I became closer friends.
When I graduated from high school near the top of the class,
as had her son and daughters,
Mrs. Kelly invited me into the room
where graduation pictures of her children
were displayed on an old upright piano.
She was very proud of her children.
There sat my graduation picture,
now displayed next to those of her children.
This was Mrs. Kelly’s way of showing how much she cared for me.
She was proud of my achievements too.
There couldn’t have been any clearer proof.
After high school, I became employed in the town
in which I had grown to adulthood.
Arranging to arrive for work a half hour early,
I could spend time visiting with
in the County Farm kitchen.
She was often baking bread for her special customers.
The aroma of those wonderful baking loaves
continued to greet me at the door.
A few years later,
I married and went to live in a neighboring town.
Opportunities to visit Mrs. Kelly were few.
I felt lonely and sad without friends I’d left behind in the town
where I’d grown to adulthood.
I often shared my feelings with Mrs. Kelly.
She offered me the understanding of a caring friend.
At the birth of our first child,
Mrs. Kelly came to the hospital to visit. As I recall, that was the only occasion on which I saw Mrs. Kelly outside the walls of her home at the County Farm.
Putting her hand on my arm as she stood near my bed, she said;
“Now you’ll never be lonely again”.
I needed to hear that.
One day, while visiting in my former hometown,
I decided to go to spend some time with Mrs. Kelly at the Farm.
She wasn’t home.
I was told she was in the hospital.
Going directly to the hospital,
I sat down in the waiting room.
Just then, Mr. Kelly came through the inner door.
He was crying.
I was informed by a nurse,
Mrs. Kelly had suddenly gone into cardiac arrest,
Our times together had ended,
but as you can see,
memories have remained.
“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
As published in the Houghton Lake Resorter Newspaper 1963 Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck “Musings Of A Homemaker”
February is the month of sweethearts and historical birthdays. Gifts and cards of caring are abundantly given and received. Red is the color of this holiday of love, representing the warmth and caring which doesn’t end with the passing of time or the graying of crowns. From grade school parties to a valentine for teacher, the bloom of romance or the joy of marriage, an annual pledge of sentimental thoughts produces moments of love and friendship.
From a commercial standpoint, the greeting card industry prospers from every holiday. But, talk to a Hallmark store owner and they will tell you Valentine’s Day is the best card selling season of the year.
Some holidays have been long standing. Others have been more recently incorporated into our lives.
The card purchasing public sends a card of congratulations for many celebrations. From birth to graduation, weddings to anniversaries, operations to get well, there is a card suitable for every occasion.
Are your friends leaving town or have they just arrived? Have they recently purchased a new home or remodeled one which they already own? Good wishes from you can be found in the card shop in just the language you wish to use.
Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas and the New Year rate high on the holiday card list. But as the years go by, St. Valentine’s Day remains the sentimental favorite. Send a card or a gift; the affectionate gesture is always thoughtful and pleasantly received.
To Mom and Dad, friend and lover, children and neighbors…
Happy Valentine’s Day 1963!
* * * * * *
The thoughts above were penned in 1963, when I had been offered to write a weekly column in the local paper. I was a twenty-eight year old, stay at home Mom with three little kids; the youngest was one year old.
That made me much closer to Valentine’s Day grade school parties than to browsing through a Hallmark shop to find the perfect card to send to family and friends.
As often happens in life, my future was unknown. I couldn’t have imagined that twenty-two years later, at the age of fifty, I would become the owner and operator of Mary Anne’s Hallmark Shoppe.
For fourteen years I observed first-hand my caring customers who took very seriously, the choosing of the perfect card; with just the right sentiments for their celebrations of love and caring.
Valentine’s Day truly is the most heartfelt “card-sending” day of all the many holidays during the year.
My most intensely involved customer was the gentleman buying a card for his wife or sweetheart. No amount of time spent was too much, when choosing that card with the special message of love to celebrate…
If your memory doesn’t go back as far as 1964, you may want to get someone to help you read this.
It should be of increasing concern to America at large that we are becoming hopelessly addicted to the the beckoning television networks. I, for one, have resisted the temptation mightily.
The 21 inch screen which sits on the north side of our living room, holds little or no attraction for me. Recently, I remarked to my husband, (as I left the breakfast table to eat with Hugh Downs “Today Show” in the living room), “Television is not as interesting to me any more, not with my busy mornings.”
Later, as my young sons left for school, I noticed Mr. Green Jeans was showing Captain Kangaroo some baby chicks, and couldn’t help but wonder if we aren’t ruining our children’s minds by letting them watch so much television. (The program was almost over, so I watched the rest of the Captain’s program.)
While clearing up the kitchen and absorbing the intricacies of “American Government” on the tv screen, my thoughts strayed to carefree summer days when I could relax and watch the “Detroit Tigers” ball games, which are all televised. After exercising with “Ed Allen” and enjoying my mid-morning coffee break with “Lucy”, it was time to turn off the television and turn on the radio for “Pete and Gladys.
My kindergarten son was off to afternoon session when the “CBS Mid-day News” had finished. After lunch I took some time to watch my favorite serial, “As The World Turns”, which I’ve watched nearly every day for the past eight years.
(It’s only half an hour. One could scarcely call that an addiction.)
The kids get home from school about twenty minutes after “The Secret Storm” and twenty minutes before “News, Weather, and Sports”. I usually try to have supper on the stove so I can watch the forecast to see what tomorrow’s weather will be.
On Monday night, my husband leaves for his bowling league just before “The Donna Reed Show”. Tuesdays find me missing “Mr. Novak and the “Red Skelton Show”, (but not by far), as I leave for my own bowling league at the local lanes.
We try to visit our folks on Wednesdays at five minutes to “The Virginian”, (they have color television and we haven’t acquired one at this time.) Thursdays, about a quarter to “Dr. Kildare”, I like to fix popcorn and soft drinks to spend a most enjoyable evening of relaxing with television.
Fridays bring evening grocery shopping. By ten minutes to “Jack Paar” I’m ready to rest. The groceries are put away for another week.
On Saturday, of course, it’s family night with our kids staying up until almost “Saturday Night at the Movies”. Then they must go to bed so they won’t be too tired to watch “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” on Sunday evening. I thoroughly believe in letting the young ones watch special programs of such high quality.
You know, now that I think about it, it’s difficult to believe that there are people in this world who get so wrapped up in television viewing they scarcely ever use a clock.
I just cannot understand…..
I’m not sure my viewing schedule has changed too much. I have many more choices. My television screen, (58inches), is much larger. Programs are many and I have more time alone. My children have grown to adulthood and have homes of their own. It’s up to me to choose how to spend the hours in my day.
At the age of eighty-five, I realize I don’t have as much future time to “spend” as I had in 1964. With that in mind, I find myself very interested in the news, the state of the world, and the government.
Occasionally I switch to the “Andy Griffith Show” or “The Golden Girls”. They bring back some laughter and sweet memories. Sometimes a good laugh is relaxing.
When all of the above has filled me with as many political reports and sweet memories as I can handle, I can always return to …
Classic Country is my choice..current country music doesn’t hold an attraction for me. So I turn to Classic Country and find myself singing along with Merle, Loretta, Patti and Reba…the songs I remember.
You know the ones I’m talking about. I enjoy listening to the Statler Brothers singing “Whatever Happened To Randolph Scott?”
They say music is good for the soul and the body. I’m in a good place….
“The time has come’, the walrus said, “to speak of many things, of sailing ships and sealing wax and cabbages and kings” (and my New Year resolutions.)
To sum it up, each of us in the farthest reaches of our mind, is guilty of harboring “I knew better” feelings which emerge annually on January 1. (These feelings become submerged on January 2 or thereabout.)
* * * * * * * * * * * *
For instance, “I know better” than to let the ironing pile up week after week, while stashing the clothes I like to do least in a separate basket. When that basket overwhelms my utility room, the guilt sets in.
Therefore: I resolve to keep my ironing up to date.
“I know better” than to chide my friends in far off places for not being regular in their correspondence with me. To be honest, I am equally as irregular with mine.
Therefore: I resolve to keep all my correspondence up to date.
“I know better” than to drive and drive and drive our car without putting gas in it. My husband has repeatedly explained to me, in his most gentle manner, that he doesn’t care to run out of gas on his way to work in the morning.
Therefore: I resolve to keep gas in the car at all times.
“I know better” than to let my bank statements pile up in a drawer until my checkbook balance requires service charge subtractions each time I overdraw my account.
Therefore: I resolve to balance my bank statements promptly upon their arrival.
Here is a word of warning.
Mention to no one that this list exists. Immediately upon its completion, place it in an envelope, seal it, and promptly convert it to ashes and smoke.
Your ironing will continue to pile up, your corresponding friends will think of you warmly at Christmas time, your husband will get good exercise, the bank will feel that you accept and respect their bookkeeping procedures and your conscience will be free to glide into 1965 in friendly and familiar surroundings.
2020 and continuing……
It’s been quite awhile since I’ve made a New Year’s resolution. Please don’t think ill of me. I learned years ago that such an endeavor was a complete waste of my time.
Thank heaven for permanent press clothing that needs no ironing.
I remember the days when grandma took my clothes needing ironing and sprinkled them with water, rolled them up, and put them in the freezer for me to iron later. I also learned something that may be of use to you.
If sprinkled clothes are stored in the freezer for two weeks or longer, they will be surprisingly damp when you thaw them. If the time is more than a week or two, your clothes may have to be sprinkled again. (Grandma never approved of that.)
While I’m thinking of it, thank heaven for the invention of the computer and emails. I am now able to respond within minutes to correspondence from my friends. (Why didn’t someone think of this before?)
I try to fill up the gas tank as soon as I see that there is a little space after “full”. The price of gas has reached an unthinkable $1.88 per gallon. When you fill the tank as soon as you’ve used a gallon or two, it doesn’t cost as much. (You can check that out, math was never my favorite subject.)
Although I require the bank to send printed statements to me, I also have my bank records on the computer. I let my printed statements recline unopened in a drawer. There is always the possibility of being without electricity. This would restrain me from checking my account on the computer. (Now, the unopened, printed statements in the drawer come in handy.)
I do not recommend New Year’s resolutions.
If you feel the need to put resolutions in writing, this is my advice.
Use a sealed and unmarked envelope. Destroy it as quickly as possible after January 1st. Fire is the most reliable solution. (The envelope may also be thrown in the garbage but there is always the possibility someone could find it at the dump.)
(As printed in the Houghton Lake Resorter Weekly Newspaper- MUSINGS OF A HOMEMAKER)
The pine tree stands in the corner, colorful but lonely. Gaily wrapped gifts beneath its branches have disappeared. The sweet smell of pine is no longer in the air.
Shiny bicycles and curly haired dolls have gone from view.
Our annual celebration of the birth of the Christ Child has filled expectations.
Glittering and once lovely wrappings lie crushed in empty cartons awaiting the end of their usefulness. Under the tree lies a ribbon of red. Nearby lie wrinkled bows; red and blue, gold and green promising new life in the coming year.
Mixed emotions now wrap our package of memories; sadness and laughter, hope and regret, there remain faith, tenderness, and a colorful memory of the quickly fleeting twelve months.
1963 has flown away swiftly, never pausing for a moment.
Ahead lie twelve unfolding months of new experiences. Once more, at the end of the year, we will reminisce about our newfound treasures.
We’re starting anew. The final design will be original and personal, full of twists and turns.
Gracious living to you and yours in the exciting new year of 1964.
The sweet smell of pine can always be purchased in a spray can from the store.
The artificial tree is stored in a box to be retrieved from the storage room next December. There are no pine needles to be vacuumed and no shiny bicycles on display. There are no more snowy excursions to the nearby woods to look for the perfect tree.
We now delight in flannel shirts and an occasional bottle of after-shave. Perhaps there will be a sweater for me and a current book I’ve been thinking about.
In a few moments the gifts are unwrapped and the shirts are checked to make sure they will fit the intended one. Paper and bow must be carefully folded and used again next year.
The grandchildren are in their early thirties now but determined to spend Christmas morning with Grandpa and Grandma. Our Christmas morning tradition is to have breakfast together and open our gifts.
It’s a happy time.
We once gave our 6-year-old granddaughter a goat for Christmas. Recalling her expression when she found “Peppy” in a special pen in the barn with a big red bow tied around his neck, brings a sweet memory each year.
We’re starting anew.
Life has become more precious as each year passes.
The future is shorter and the past went by too quickly.
Life is good!
Tomorrow is Christmas.
Awaiting the morning, there are new memories to be made.
My husband and a son have passed on to another life. I’m blessed with two great-granddaughters to love and enjoy in the coming years.
A small artificial Christmas tree stands proudly before the East window. Sixty years have passed in this wonderful old farm home where memories are enjoyed every day.
The snow has been slow to arrive this year, but the joys of family are exciting. We have four great-granddaughters to celebrate Christ’s birthday with us this year. Wonderful memories are here and now. Looking forward to the treasures of the future bringing love and happinessto the family.