CONNIE’S MEMORIES-MEMORIAL DAY

Hello folks, it’s been quite awhile since I blogged, although I have thought of a lot of articles. So perhaps I will do better this summer.

Memorial Day is one of my many Family Holidays that I remember as great family fun. My folks probably didn’t plan it that way, it was a day to honor our dead relatives, not just service members but everyone. I believe, what my siblings and I enjoyed was a tradition that had been going on since my mother’s father and grandfather died, which would have been around 1918.  My mother’s father died of the flue at the time of a flue epidemic that killed around 50,000  around the globe. Remember, no medicine to fight it at that time. My mother was 4 or 5 yrs. old at that time.  A few months later her grandfather died of mouth cancer from smoking a pipe or cigar. They were the first graves in our family plot at the Catholic Cemetery in our town.  My father’s family also had a family plot, because years before his father had died in his 60’s, his aunt had died when he was growing up, 2 sisters had died of TB, and one had died at birth. Also, my cousin’s father and sister were buried there.  If I remember correctly, that was the way the cemetery situation was when I first remember memorial day.

My earliest memories were of my younger brother, myself and my parents. Other siblings were added later. About 9:00am we would be finished breakfast and the kitchen cleaned up, when my grandmother, great grandmother, one maybe both of my mother’s two sisters  would arrive and sometime my older cousin, when she was on leave from the Waves. (Women in the Navy). The family members changed as some died and the men came home from the war but the tradition continued on even after I left home, if I made it back for Memorial day, the tradition was about the same.

This was my mother’s side of the family, my father’s side had their own tradition. There would be the arranging of flowers, our lilacs and if some were alive, some tulips were added.  The we all went up to the cemetery to put the flowers on the graves, both at my mother’s family and my father’s.  Then we all stood there and said prayers for our dead relatives.

You will note that I never had grandfathers when I was growing up, they had all passed away before my parents got married.

Once we got home, my mother made sandwiches and we went to the park in town for a picnic. (I don’t remember it ever raining but if so, we would have picnicked at home). Then we walked from the park, about a mile to my grandmother’s home which was near the Post Office and the Town War Memorial. During the afternoon, there was a band concert and speeches at the Memorial. My memories go back to when I was around five or so, which was around 1943-45 during WWII. After the ceremonies, we went back to my grandmother’s house and visited. I remember all of us being out side or on her big closed in porch. Her house was big and interesting with places to explore.  My grandmother’s brother lived on the third floor, and they were always there also. I know it doesn’t sound very exciting, but our relatives were very loving, and my brother and I were the first grandchildren, so for awhile we were the main attraction and since during the week everyone was busy, this was great family time.

When I was in high school and  in the band I was marching in parades, so wasn’t home for the cemetery visits, but always managed to make it to my grandmother’s house. Things changed thru the years as the older people died, but my parents kept up the Memorial Day tradition and cemetery visits until they couldn’t do it anymore, then my aunt and I took over, and then my husband and I. Last year, one of my younger brothers also started putting flowers on the graves, which is great, since I know the tradition will continue a little longer.  We also used to get to go back to the cemetery to tend the flowers and pick them up when they died. We got to explore the other graves at that time and find some more relatives. You probably get that I loved and love family history.

There are a lot of graves there now, sadly, all the people that used to make our Memorial Day fun, have passed away. So by going to the cemetery and putting the flowers on the graves, saying the prayers for their souls, and saying thank you for wonderful memories and a wonderful life, we are honoring them. I don’t believe the town has a memorial service like they used to, but they still lay flowers at the War Memorial which has now grown to honor service people from several wars.

Now, here is what I was thinking about on Memorial Day this year. How did my relatives ever get to my house with all those flowers?  They lived a mile away. and how did we all get to the cemetery which was a couple of miles up the road on top of a hill? No one had cars, and gas was rationed until after the war?  My uncle did have a car, he was a sales man,  so maybe they used his.  After the war, my aunt and uncles had cars, but not in the beginning. My folks didn’t buy a car until they had the money(no loans for them) and I was then in High School. So I guess it had to be my uncle’s car, and the rest of us must have walked to the cemetery and we definitely walked to the park, another mile or so from my house.

I guess I will never have the answer to that question, but my memories of Memorial Day are lots of fun to think about. The most important thing was family, family time and the fact that my family did not forget those relatives that gone before.

I hope you had a blessed Memorial Day, and if you couldn’t visit your family’s graves, I do hope you stopped to think about your family members, ancestors, and said a prayer or two for them.  My folks used to remind us that friends come and go, but you always have your family, good or bad, so make peace with them, and pray for them.

 

2 Corinthians 11:1-21-WHEN IS IT OK TO BOAST?/ and a PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN REFUGEES

I am in a Bible Study Group that is studying 2 Corinthians 11:1-21. Paul talks about Boasting. One of the question in our lesson is: When is it OK to boast??? I think most people brag or boast at one time or another. I know I do when I did a good job at something. I don’t boast to get attention, I boast when I am proud of what I did, and I know it is with God’s help, but I don’t always say that When do you brag? Think about this… the Answer is Yes..but it is only legitimate to boast about the POWER THAT COMES THROUGH GOD AND FURTHERS THE GOSPEL AND GOD’S KINGDOM. This is why Paul is bragging in his letter to the Corinthians. SOMETHING FOR US TO THINK ABOUT………………..

Another question related to this Chapter: RECALL A life experience that made you feel weak and most in need of God’s strength?? It took me awhile to come up with an answer, I am sure there were many times, and then I realized that is part of MY FAITH JOURNEY. Think about this, every time we feel weak and most in need, are also the time we renew our faith in Jesus Christ. Because that is when we realize that we can’t make it without Him.

The time I thought of was when I was told by my first husband that he wanted a divorce. When it really hit me that he was moving away, and I was going to be taking care of 4 children, ages 7 to 16 by myself, I fell on my knees and prayed, many times, knowing I could not do it alone. Well, they are all grown up now, and because the Lord was there for all 5 of us, through many hard times, and many really good times, everything turned out well and my children are now wonderful, caring, Christian adults, and they also became wonderful parents. I can’t tell you how many times I asked God for help, and he was there every time we needed Him

When I came home from Bible Study, I thought of many more time and prayed and begged God to help me. It has not always been on my time, but in the end I know that the help I received came when I needed it most.

THERE IS A SONG OUT NOW, CAN’T THINK OF THE SINGER RIGHT NOW, BUT I HEAR IT ON THE STATION: KLOVE. It says something about: “I didn’t know it would be like this… And it made me start thinking of more of my Faith Stories. IN FACT, I am now 76 years old, and when I look back on my life and what I had planned when I started out, I would have to say “I didn’t know it would be like this… I has been so much better than I ever could have imagined. If we listen really hard, maybe we will understand that God wants so much more for us than we originally ask for. I pray that all of you will have so much more to life than you expect.

PRAYER; The prayer tonight is totally unrelated to the above subject. I received a request today from Catholic Relief Services to help the Christian Refugees in Iraq, Syria and Gaza. Catholic Relief Services and Caritas are working to help these families. Together, they have assisted 350,000 war affected Syrians across the region with shelter, food, medical care, and trauma counseling and education for children. In Gaza, they wait for breaks in the violence to rush in medical supplies and relief kits. CRS is committed to meeting the most urgent humanitarian needs in all 3 places, and they will remain in each of these war-torn areas for as long as there are families who need help. But they cannot do it alone, since the funds they need come mostly from donations. You can get more information at: http://www.crs.org Remember these are normal ordinary middle class families with normal lives, and all of a sudden, they are running for their lives simply because they are CHRISTIAN. Could it happen to us???THE PRAYER FOR TO NIGHT IS FOR THESE UNKNOWN REFUGEES.

A PRAYER FOR OUR UNKNOWN FRIENDS: HEAVENLY Father, welcome into your embrace our friends overseas whose names we do not know, but whose terrible plight we rush to remedy. Bless the suffering people who struggle and sacrifice on behalf of their families. Grant them sustenance, shelter and opportunity. For this we give you thanks. Amen

CONNIE’S MEMORIES – MY FIRST KISS

I don’t think I have told too many people this but looking back I have to laugh at my innocence when I was probably around 12.  I was what we used to call a Tomboy. I enjoyed playing outside, sports including basket ball, football, and other sports that boys tend to like.  I also liked playing with dolls and dressing up so I was comfortable in both worlds.  Probably I got to do both types of things was because I was the first born child and got to spend a lot of time with my father.

Anyhow, when I was around twelve, I may have been thinking about boys and talking about them with my girlfriends, but I was not ready to be kissed, by any means.  There was a boy in our neighborhood gang that was about 2 years older than I was. 

I don’t know about now, but in those days, sticking your tongue out at a boy, meant you wanted to kiss him.  I still remember sticking my tongue out at him one night when he came to see if I could come out and talk, but I was cooking supper and couldn’t leave.

Apparently that was a signal, because a few night later when I was walking back from the field at the end of the street after sliding or skiing, he was waiting behind a tree, jumped out as I went by, pulled me behind the tree and kissed me.  To be honest, it was gross, to be kissed by a boy I had been playing with all my life and had not thought of in anyway but a friend.  Anyhow, I pushed him away, yelled at him to leave me alone and went home.  I have to admit, I washed my mouth out with soap, it was so gross.  And no, I did not tell my parents. 

Why, you are talking about two kids that had about 5 layers of cloths on in a Maine winter, and a girl that was as strong as the guy was, so I chalked it up to experience and went on as before.  We never were friends again like we were before that kiss.  He was a couple of grades ahead of me in school, and we started hanging out with different kids, but we never talked about that kiss.  Oh, by the way he lived almost across the street, so I did see him almost every day.

That didn’t turn me off from kissing, it wasn’t a bad experience really and a couple of years later a friend of his came to visit for the summer, and then his friend and I were attracted to each other and that did end with a kiss, before he left for Conn.  We wrote a few times, and that was the end, I never saw him again.  But I have always remembered that relationship, (if   you could call a few words and one kiss as a relationship) as a fun beginning to my teenage years.

I have to point out that even though some girls matured early in those days, I had more fun playing sports and talking to girlfriends than I did with guys.  I was in high school before I started enjoying the boy-girl relationships, but that is another story.

Oh, what fun it is to remember growing up.  Next time, I’ll tell you all about my last neighborhood football game.

CONNIE’S MEMORIES-LEAVES

Fall and raking leaves always reminds me of my childhood and the fun we had at my house raking and playing in the leaves.  I may have mentioned this before, but I lived in a big old house with lots of big old maple trees around the yard. Of course, as soon as it started getting cold, the leaves started falling, and falling and falling. and we raked and raked and raked. We kids always had fun raking leaves with my Dad and sometime my Mom because once the leaves were raked into a big pile in the front yard, we could jump in them from the porch railing which was at least 8 feet of the ground.  Once we go tired of jumping and the leaves started breaking up and getting old, then we had a big bon fire and we could all rake leaves into the fire.  In those days, you didn’t need a fire permit, they just expected you to have enough common sense not to burn on windy and dry days.  Plus there were always plenty of people around, especially kids, since my house was the gathering place.  Then, and maybe I mentioned this, it was time to play football in the front yard.  We couldn’t play in the back, because that was where the garden was.  At first, it was just my father against my brother and I, but as we grew older, other kids on the street joined in.  Our last game would be at Thanksgiving after dinner and a break and anyone who wanted to, could play.  Eventually, as my sister and 2nd brother and more friends came along, it got wilder and bigger.  Then we added 3 more brothers, and we had to take the game to the field at the end of our dead end street.  And of course, some of their friends came also.  My father played until he was about 80. When my kids came alone, and we were able to go home for thanksgiving they all played also.  You will be interested to know that a few times, we even made the papers.  And it game is still going on every Thanksgiving, in the afternoon, with all the folks between around age 7 to age 70, who want to play, taking part.  Since our Thanksgiving gathering usually involves about 50 people, our large family plus girl friends and boy friends, etc, there are usually at least 25 willing to play.  We no longer meet at our old home, even though my mom still lives there, but we usually gather at a local room at a restaurant and then go to a family home and nearby field for football and desert.  FAMILY IS SO IMPORTANT IN OUR LIVES, THE CELEBRATE THE GOOD THINGS THAT HAPPEN TO YOU, AND FORGIVE THE STUPID THINGS YOU DO, AND GIVE YOU COMPASION AND PRAYER WHEN THINGS GO WRONG.   FRIENDS COME AND GO, BUT FAMILY (USUALLY) ARE THERE FOR YOU.

CONNIE’S MEMORIES-POTATO CHIPS

It’s funny what we remember.  I know most people now days think that potato chips began in the Garden of Eden and have always been with us, not so.  I looked up to see when they started.  One man, a Native American cook, first made the chips for a customer where he worked in a restaurant in N.Y. in 1853.. They were a big hit and it went on from there, First in the North then it spread to the south.

Now, my memories:  A lot of new foods came out after the 2nd world war. Probably because more people had money to buy things, whereas, before and during the war most people, at least in the country and in central Maine, grew, made and canned their own food.  So when companies started packaging potato chips in a big can, like the very big cans of popcorn you see at Christmas, my parents decided they could afford to buy a can of  chips every once in awhile, for a treat.  This was a BIG treat, because we had no money to waste.

Lays Potato Chips were the first name I recognized on the list of manufacturers, but I think the ones available in our stores were Humpty Dumpty.  I even remember where my mother kept them.  In one of the bottom cupboards near the very large storage can of flour.  And yes, people bought flour in 50 lb. bags and then put it in seal tight flour cans.

So you see, we are very lucky in this day and age to buy chips in all different flavors and sizes.  Yummmmm

CONNIE’S MEMORIES

I wrote to my brother one day, he is 2 years younger than I, but we have about the same memories.

He reminded me of the times every fall  when we would help our father wash and put up all the big storm windows. Then in the spring we would take them all down.  It was hard work but lots of fun working with my father.

My brother also reminded me of all the model airplanes that he and our father worked on and how many hours and hours they spent turning over the motors in the shed.  They were getting them ready to fly out in the field at the end of the street.  I didn’t do much to help with that, it was mostly my fathers chance to relate to (I should say play with) his sons. Once the motors and planes were ready, we all marched out to the field, planes In hand, and they got them ready to fly.  Every other kid on the street followed us out there, it was usually Sunday afternoon,(so a family activity).  The plane wing’s were attached to long wires, and once the plane took off, it was controlled by the handle and wires.  Usually my father, but once in awhile my brother, got to fly the plane.  Then after all the planes had crashed, we headed home, to set the planes up for repairs, to fly again another day.

I remember one Sunday when the plane was flying around and all of a sudden the plane went crashing down towards the ground and we looked and the motor was headed toward the corner of the house at the end of the street.  The motor crashed into the house, not hurting the house but sort of demolishing the motor.

My parents made Sunday, a day of rest, the best day of the week.  It was always family day on Sunday. We always went to church together or with one or the other of our parents.  If my father had any extra money we stopped to pick up donuts.  Then my mother got dinner at noon- and my father. my brother and I did work on the house, either outside or inside, depending what needed to be done.  That included throwing in wood, planting and hoeing the garden, patching up the wall in the stairway, to whatever needed repairing on our 100 year old house.  I had a great life growing up.

Connies Memories, cont’d

Hi all, it’s been a busy summer but I miss blogging so ….Today for some reason I was thinking about when I was young and still playing with dolls.  I remember my girlfriend and I taking all my doll stuff out on the lawn in the summer and playing dolls under the tree in the yard.  For some reason the picture is still vivid in my mind. We had the doll crib, bureau, and doll cloths outside and I remember having a great time and playing until it was time for supper. Of course, then we had to bring it all back inside and to my room, but that was no big deal because we always had to bring our toys in and put them where they went before we came in for supper or at least before we went to bed.

I really don’t understand kids today.  You ride by houses that have kid’s toys all over the lawn and they stay out during the rain and even snow.  Maybe it was because we didn’t have much  money or many toys, but we knew that we had better take care of them if we wanted more later.  It was a rule at my house, and when I had children it was a rule for them also. Bring the toys in or put them under cover before you come in. And I usually did a once over before dark to be sure everything was put away.  I don’t understand not taking care of what you have.  Even today, when children have a lot more than we did, their parents are still working many hours to pay for each toy, and the toys cost so much more.  A parent who makes $12.00 an hour and buys a $75. bicycle had to work at least 6 hrs to pay for that one toy.   Why wouldn’t the parents impress upon them the value of the work they do and the value of their toys.  I just don’t get it. 

Anyway, I still value the toys I had when I was young, and thanks to my parents and relatives, I had some fun things to play with.