Monday, November 9, 2015

I'm in love with Georgia Heard's writing...

Georgia Heard tells us in Writing Toward Home to "Fall in Love at Least Three Times a Day."  She enumerates all the wonderful things in the world you could fall in love with including stars, birds, music, flowers, and....well, you get the idea.

So what are the things with which you fall in love?

Falling in Love Every Day

I’m in love-
With warm bubble baths on a frosty day,
with hot chocolate in an oversized mug,
I’m in love with cuddling with my little dog,
in my favorite reading chair,
a book on my lap where I can lose myself
for just a little while under my grandmother’s
scrap quilt I escape to faraway places. 
I’m in love with a colorful jigsaw
puzzle spread across my dining room table
and a good movie flickering across my tv screen,
savory soup wafting throughout the house.

I’m in love –
With Spring’s pink buds on the dogwood trees,
the baby birds chirping in the nests of our
Pink crape myrtles.
With soft rains that bathe the earth and
leave sparkling puddles for stomping
and mud for squishing between my toes.
I’m in love with daffodils and tulips and the
Cool pastels that tease us with the
anticipation of summer’s bold colors.

I’m in love –
With summer’s dragonfly days
where basil breezes
lift my curtains
and sunshine spills across
the freshly picked tomatoes
lining my window sill. 
With firefly nights where children
Run through the cool rubbery grass
and play hide and seek while their
Parents sit on their porches with
Tall glasses of iced tea.

I’m in love -
With the cooling breezes
Of golden Autumn days and the invasion
of pumpkins and witches that fill the
spaces of the store shelves and windows
with toothless smiles and the promise of harmless fun.
I’m in love spicy scents that permeate
the bakery section of the grocery store
and the shiny red apples
that fill the bowl on my kitchen counter top.

I’m in love -
With the words that fill my notebook pages
Throughout the year, the careful drawings
That fill my sketchbooks and the watercolors
That splash across their pages.
I’m in love with books that line my shelves
And peek out from under my bed.
I’m in love with learning,
with the challenge of technology,
the ease of friendships, old and new,
I’m in love with interesting conversations
and friendly debates. 
I’m in love with my family,  my colleagues,
And the students I taught…
With memories of long ago
And plans for the future.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Fifty Things I Loved About My 50th High School Reunion - Cradock High School, Class of '65

1.  I loved the hugs!  All the hugs from people I had not seen for so many years.
2.  I love it that the Committee who has given so many hours of volunteer service planning our past reunions were willing to come together once again to provide us with a wonderful weekend.
3.  I love it that the Committee is planning to do this for us again in just 5 years!
4.  I love Ralph's steady and constant friendship with everyone.  He is truly one of the good guys.  (However, it is a bit disconcerting that he never changes--- never gets older like the rest of us!)  I guess Sandra takes very good care of him!
5.  I love my girls - Linda Perrot, Linda Rice, Darlene, Micky, and Gail.  It always fun to see them and spend time together.  Spending time with them is always good for the soul.  When we are together,  the years just peel away,  and we are teenagers again.

6.  I loved the music.  So many memories are triggered by that music that takes us right back to our high school days.  
7.  I loved the video that Dean put together as a tribute to our high school days and a tribute to  the classmates who were watching from heaven.  That is not an easy task, and I know he spent many hours working on this.  As I watched the still photos flash across the screen, I thought how appropriate that the photos were the way we will remember them forever.... young and vibrant, rushing through the halls to class, slamming lockers, laughing, teasing, dropping their books, cheering, playing football, dancing... That's the way I will remember them always.
8.  I loved riding with Ruth in the parade.  I don't think we ever had a class together in high school.  Not one.  Yet we had so much in common.  So much to talk about.... Looking forward to spending time with Ruth in the future.
9.  I love that Janet's husband laughed the entire time I talked with her.  He obviously found me to be quite amusing.
10.  I loved Sandy Styron's strong hug.  We have not seen each other for more than 45 years.  We ate lunch together every day Junior and Senior year.  We shopped together for our Jr.-Sr. Prom dresses  and came home with matching gowns.  She wore white like most of the girls.  Mine was identical, but it was yellow.  (That's me.... always the rebel).  Sandy was in my wedding.  If it had not been for Sandy,  I probably would not have attended college.  She infused me with confidence.  I love her smile and see it every day from her photo on my bookshelf.... even after all these years.

11.  I loved the conversations about our grown children and our love for our grandchildren. 
12.  I loved my teacher conversation with Vivian.  We both know the best kept secret of having a wonderful career---spending our days in a classroom.
13.  I love that Larry came to find me when we were all over the place chatting with everyone.  We rode the school bus together in high school.  In those days, kids rode the bus or walked to school.  Not everyone had cars as soon as they were old enough to drive.  Larry is another of the good guys.  
14.  I love it that we had so many good guys in our class.  
15.  I love that Teddy and I had a really good conversation.  We probably never even spoke to each other in high school.  Teddy and I have now become friends because of Facebook.
16.  I loved riding in the parade and waving to everyone.  It didn't matter if I knew them.  Just waving like a fool--- a fool who is so proud to have been a student in this class.
17.  I loved Nat's speech.  It was simple and yet so inspiring.  You can tell that he has been a leader all of his life.  His words touched my heart and brought me back to that place where we were in 1965, eager to make changes in the world, and like Nat, I still think we can do that.

18.  I loved it that Ruth could point out to me all the store fronts in the Square---"That's where the bakery used to be..... and that was the flower shop."  Such love of place is so touching.  It didn't matter that I didn't grow up in Cradock.  I was an Academy Park kid.  I could just relate to the "used-to-be" places.
19.  I love that I had a chance to see Alice at Afton Square.  Even though she didn't come to the events at the hotel, it was such a pleasure to see her and meet her husband, Chuck, who has been my Facebook friend for quite a while, even though we just met.
20.  I love that my husband was able to reconnect with some old friends at Afton Square....people he grew up with and played with every day in his Cradock neighborhood.  This put a smile on his face.
21.  I loved the hugs.  (Did I mention that?)
22.  I loved seeing Virginia and Tommy, two of my favorite people in the world.  I even met their daughter, Jennifer, at the parade.
23.  I loved watching everyone dance.  I can't do that myself.  But it is always fun to watch.
24.  I love that there were yummy desserts on Friday night, and I didn't eat ANYTHING, because I was too busy talking.
25.  I love that Dennis and Gail invited me to join them downstairs in the hotel restaurant with some other friends at the end of the night,  just to continue talking.  There's never enough time to say it all.
26.  I loved my conversation with Tim on Saturday about SOLs.  We have all the answers.  Why don't those in charge ever listen to good teachers who could tell them what's wrong with the system?  Tim and I were in Mr. Westler's American History class together, and we talked about how dedicated he was to the students.  Something I never knew.... Tim told me that Mr. Westler rode a bus to school every day when he taught us... all the way from Norfolk, because he could not afford a car.  He was one of my favorite teachers.  I was lucky enough to have him again for Government in Senior Year.  
27.  I loved that Nat came over to Teddy's truck to pick up the signs for the convertible he was driving with Miss Cradock (Virginia) and Homecoming Queen (Micky).  He got the signs and said, "I need a method of attachment."  LOL  (We found a bag with tape and rope so then he was provided with "a method of attachment."

28.  I loved my long talk with Elaine, a talented pharmacist, getting advice on  medications.
29.  I loved the table decorations, and my best buddy, Linda Perrot, who made them, said "Take one home at the end of the night."  Now my centerpiece is on the shelf in my pantry so I will be reminded of our reunion each time I go in to get a can of beans.

30.  I love that my husband, who didn't want to get a portrait done, changed his mind when he heard Ralph say that those photos would be included on the video.  He made a big sacrifice, smiling for the camera with me after the Sat. night dinner.  
31.  I love that we all crowded on that staircase to take a class photo.  It was like a giant hug crowded in together.  You could just feel the love of being there together.  
32.  I loved the humor on that staircase, getting some of the shorter classmates to move so they could be seen in the photo... the comments.... " your teeth...if you have any."  
33.  I love the laughing.  
34.  Did I mention that I loved the hugs?
35.  I loved Bill's technology skills and the way he clicked around his phone and sent me the photo immediately!  I need to learn from you, Bill!
36.  I love that everyone was concerned for all those who were not with us for health reasons.  We missed each and every one of them and everyone expressed concern and hope that they would make it to the next reunion.
37.  I love it that I surprised Margaret Anne, Harold, and Linda Meads with photos they didn't know I had from 7th grade!

38.  I love it that several people invited me to come visit, and that I was able to invite many to come visit me at the beach. (always a lure!)
39.  I love that Nat lives in Charleston, and I was able to talk with him about one of my very favorite cities in the world and share stories of my childhood years living there in the 50's.
40.  I love that Nat's wife has a bookstore.  I could just camp out there and be perfectly happy.
41.  I loved riding down High Street alone when I left the hotel.  Roger was driving separately.  I drove slowly taking it all in.  My home town, where I once walked the streets with my mom, shopping for school clothes to put on lay-away.  I drove past the Courthouse where I worked after high school until I got married and moved to Richmond.... past the Commodore Theater where I remember standing in line with Roger while the snow drifted down on us.  We were bound and determined to see "Goldfinger"....  past St. Paul's where I first attended mass as a child and later with Roger for his graduation and his dad's funeral.
42.  I loved eating dinner with Gail and Dennis, Elaine, Marsha and Dixon, Harold and Kathy....  Such wonderful dinner companions.
43.  I loved seeing Charlene and Butch.  Butch and I have been friends since childhood when our mothers worked together.
44.  I loved Tim's blessing before we ate.  
45.  I love that my classmates are as fiercely patriotic as I am.  Was it the way we were raised or what we were taught in school?  Maybe both.  Is that missing in education today?
46.  I loved that Michael Koon wanted to take a photo with me at Afton Square.  Such a sweet guy!

47.  I loved seeing all the couples who married in our class,  Joan and Donnie, Earleen and David,  Virginia and Tommy, Gail and Dennis, Mike and Kathy......others?  They were so lucky to find each other and stay together all these years.
48.  I loved the promises.  Promises to keep in touch,  to visit,  to call each other.
49.  And the many hugs.
50.  I love my life full of blessings.  So lucky to be a part of this group.  And I can't wait to see them all again. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

This is my life....

Somewhere over the Rainbow 

by Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo╩╗oleand

Somewhere over the Rainbow

by Jewel

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Love Letter

I still remember when I saw you for the first time.   Roger was 31. I was 28 yr. old. I had a 1 yr. old and a 4 yr. old. We were so proud of you!

In those days, working full time and attending classes at night to get my teaching degree, I had my hands full. You were there when I got my first teaching job. Remember that first morning when everyone came out on the porch and waved goodbye as I drove out of the driveway?

Remember how excited we were when we got that first color tv? Our first air conditioner? Remember how we all hung out in the family room where the window unit kept us cool? Remember how we painted and wallpapered over the years? And then pulled down wallpaper to re-paint later? Hanging curtains? Removing curtains? As I walk through your rooms now I hear the echoes of children playing, laughing, singing along with the radio and the record player. I remember when Betsey and Chris both wanted a copy of "Grease," and we made them share the same album? Remember those long nights of homework at the kitchen table? And the long nights of grading papers and lesson planning after the kids were in bed?

Remember the celebrations? Birthdays, holidays, first communions, family dinners? Remember the parade of friends that filled the rooms? Getting up in the morning to find teenage boys sleeping all over the floor? Girlfriends at sleepovers giggling late into the night? Tents in the backyard? What about those baseball games and swim meets we went to? Lots of conversations about those!

Remember when we decided it was time to update your looks? Pulled down that 70's paneling and replaced it with sheetrock? Crown molding was added and floors were refinished? Wow, how about that new shower with the Venetian marble and the glass doors? That was some fancy stuff!

Remember those sweet pets, so many of them. Fluffy, Brownie, Speckles, Lucie, Mike, Lilly, Gracie, Kitty Boy, and now Jack. Some of them still lie beneath the grass in the yard. Remember how some of them were not allowed in the house? Yet every time we got a roll of film developed, we saw photos of Betsey with the pups on the sofa? On the garage wall, Roger wrote their names and hung their collars. This brought me to tears when I saw it last week after the garage was cleaned out and ready for the new people to arrive.

Oh, and now the grandchildren? So it starts all over again! Little feet stomping through the house. Giggles. Noisy tv shows.... Toys littering the floor.... Only now we mark the door frame with their growth measuring each and every inch of joy we feel for having them in our lives.

Remember when Roger planted this tree? Wow, that was a long time ago! He pulled it up from the woods. Just a little thing. Look at it now.  And the fairy fort? It started as a herb garden and took off on a path of its own.

The grape vines are full this year. I guess cutting them back was a good move. And the gardenias that we thought had been taken by winter, are coming back. They were all rooted by my mother from her very own bushes. I hate to leave them. But I am sure they will provide beautiful blooms once again next year, bring pleasure to someone else.

It's been a long time, 42 years. You have provided us with shelter through snow storms and hurricanes, steaming hot weather, and freezing cold weather. And now as we leave you, we thank you. We thank you for taking good care of our family. We hope you are in good you will always be a part of us and have a place in our hearts.