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Love, Janet

start_bg.ny One more Christmas card came in my mailbox today. A card from Huron, Ohio. From Janet Gordon, who became my aunt’s best friend when they were young housewives and raising children.

Aunt Doris and Janet and their husbands developed a friendship that emerged from living far away from their families and in the same neighborhood. It was the late 1940’s. Akron, Ohio. That close relationship continued even after Aunt Doris and Uncle Hugh moved to Tennessee in 1962. The two couples vacationed together and stayed connected through Sunday night telephone calls.

As a kid, I played with Janet’s daughter while visiting Aunt Doris and Uncle Hugh in Akron, and I saw the Gordon family a few times when they visited here in Tennessee. In more recent years, Aunt Doris had shared the Gordon family news with me. Of the four friends, only Janet survives. After Aunt Doris and Uncle Hugh passed away within a month of each other in 2013, Janet’s daughter called me. She said that her mother needed to connect with Doris and Hugh’s family. Janet had talked with my cousin and her daughter asked that I also call her.

Janet and I talked about Aunt Doris keeping up with fashion and her determination to act young. We talked about a time that I played at Janet’s house when I ate too many marshmallows and had a stomachache. Janet lamented that she never thought she’d be the last of the four friends and declared that she was doing well. I hung up the phone and added her name to my Christmas card list.

Janet’s card included a copy of her Christmas letter. She wrote, “2014 has been a happy year for me. I accomplished most of the goals I set for myself. The goal that stands out the most is that I know if I put others first in my life, and try to encourage someone every day, I am happy and able to cope with living alone.” June 2014 was a special time because her granddaughter visited for a week and had a surprise 91st birthday party for her.

In March, Jane fell and required hospital care and caregivers during a three-month recuperation. She learned “to never underestimate what a fall can do to slow you down.” About a mild ischemic stroke that she suffered in November, she wrote “The Good Lord still wants me here as I had help immediately.” She spent four days in the hospital and continues to have speech therapy and the care of a home health nurse twice a week.

Janet ended her letter. “I am doing very well. I will start setting my personal goals for 2015. I wish you and yours joy, peace, and loving warmth as you fellowship with your family and friends. Have a safe, happy, and blessed Christmas. May you have a prosperous 2015.”

She’s 91 and lives alone. After two hospital stays in 2014 and a three month recuperation from a fall and while currently working with a speech therapist and receiving care from home health nurse, Janet is happy and doing well. She accomplished most of her 2014 goals and I’m sure she’s set 2015 goals.

I tucked Janet’s letter under my writing calendar. When there’s a day that I feel the least bit down in the dumps, I’ll read Janet’s words again. And be blessed.

Homecoming Suit, Shoes, and Corsage

menu-aboutIf I dressed for TTU’s Homecoming this Saturday as I did as a student, I’d look as out of place as a model wearing white sandals in the September issue of Vogue magazine. Imagine showing up at a football game wearing a matching wool jacket and skirt, nylon hose, and heels. And a corsage pinned to my lapel. But that’s how we co-eds dressed way back when. We dressed up and we wore flowers.

I particularly remember one Homecoming. Mom had made an orange wool tweed suit for me that fall and I saved it to wear for Homecoming. The three-button jacket and an A-line skirt were perfect, but I didn’t have the right shoes. I had black heels and wearing orange required brown shoes. The closest place I could buy shoes to fit my extra long, extra narrow was Nashville, and I didn’t have a car. So a friend drove me to Nashville, I went into one shoe store and bought the perfect taupe-colored, high heel leather shoes, and we came back to Cookeville. It was that important to have exactly the right outfit for Homecoming.

My attire wasn’t complete without flowers, a corsage that showed Tech’s colors, purple and gold. Husband, who was Boyfriend at the time, knew exactly what I wanted. Three yellow roses surrounded by sprigs of feather fern and a bit of baby’s breath. Gold colored ribbon, with just a couple of loops of purple, but mostly gold so the purple wouldn’t clash with my orange suit.

Most Homecoming corsages were yellow chrysanthemums, better known as a mum. Huge, mums, as big as saucers, and heavy. I’d worn one of those the previous year. It was so heavy that not even three long corsage pins held it in place, and the flower petals began to fall out before the final buzzer of the football game.

Most girls wore variations of the basic mum corsage, a plain yellow mum with a purple bow made from ½ inch ribbon. The mum could be surrounded by purple or gold net or a combination of the two colors. The letters TTU could be written in purple glitter on a yellow ribbon streamer or with gold stick-on letters on purple ribbon, but that meant the ribbon was 1½ inches wide. If the mum was exceptionally large, TTU formed with purple pipe cleaners could be placed right in the middle of the flower. Big wide bows made from purple and gold ribbon finished that look.

Homecoming 1967 was a cold, rainy day, but I didn’t give a thought to not wearing my homecoming outfit. I put on my wool suit, my brand new shoes, and Boyfriend pinned on my rose corsage. He held a black umbrella over our heads, we wore our knee-length raincoats, and we walked from the dormitory where I lived to the football stadium. It rained all afternoon, but we didn’t consider leaving. We got wet. So wet that I poured water out of my new shoes, which were ruined forever with water spots.

Did my team, Tennessee Tech, win the game? I don’t remember. Having the perfect homecoming outfit and corsage was much more important than any ballgame.

I Know the Feeling

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 6.58.02 AMLast summer Robbie invited me to bring my Grands, ages 8 and 6, to swim at her house while her 9 ½ year old grandson Noah was visiting. The children splashed and played along beside each other, just as children do when they meet someone new. At lunchtime, we all dried off and spread our towels to sit around the pool. Noah started inside the house, turned, and asked my Grands, “Do you’ll want a Luncheable?”

 

David and Lou frowned. I answered for them. “No, but thank you, Noah. We brought our lunches.” I handed my Grands the small cooler in which Daughter had packed their food. Rollup sandwiches, made with flour tortillas filled with thin sliced turkey and shredded mozzarella cheese. Hunks of watermelon. Clusters of grapes. Homemade cookies.

 

Noah settled himself beside David.   He ripped the thin cellophane covering off a square plastic package. Lou tilted her head and looked at the package. David eyed it and said, “What’s that?”

 

“What’s what?” Noah said.

 

“Your lunch?” David asked. Inside the six-inch square plastic package were three small round tortillas, 5 slices of pepperoni, some white shredded cheese, and a take-out ketchup sized packet of pizza sauce.  Lou furrowed her eyebrows as if memorizing the package’s contents.

 

“It’s like little pizzas,” Noah said. Using his teeth, he ripped open the packet and he squirted red sauce on a tortilla.

 

“Where’d you get it?” David asked.

 

“Nana gets them at the grocery or somewhere,” Noah said. David held his roll up sandwich close to his mouth but he didn’t bite it, instead he watched as Noah covered the tortilla with a pepperoni slice and cheese.

 

“That looks really good,” David said and he laid his sandwich back in the cooler. “Does every grocery store have them?” Noah shrugged his shoulders. “I wonder if Mama could find them.”

 

“I think they’re by the milk and stuff,” Noah said and bit into his miniature pizza. David and Lou watched as red sauce dribbled down Noah’s chin. I knew exactly how my Grands felt. I remember being envious when I was young and spent the night at a friend’s house and for breakfast her mother spread Blue Bonnet margarine on toast. At my house, we spread home-churned butter on Mom’s homemade biscuits.

 

Now, watching Noah and David and Lou, I restrained myself from raiding Robbie’s refrigerator for two more packaged lunches. “Noah, would you like some watermelon?” I said. He bit into the watermelon and somehow that reminded David and Lou that they, too, had food to eat.

 

But that’s not quite the end of the story. Last week Robbie again invited us to her house. “We’ll eat lunch and swim, just like last year,” I told my Grands. “Noah is there. And on the way, we’ll stop at the grocery store to buy your lunch, maybe Lunchables.” They chose exactly what they’d watched Noah eat a year ago.

 

My Grands and Noah pulled the cellophane covering off their lunches and each ate every morsel packed in those small plastic boxes. I knew exactly how my Grands felt. The way I felt decades ago when I carefully unwrapped a stick of yellow margarine, put it on a serving plate, and told my friend, “Mom is making toast for breakfast.”

 

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More Cornbread

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When my friend Tommy Sue offered corn light bread* that she’d baked the day before, I was skeptical and almost chose a commercial bun that came with the carry out barbeque supper. “If you don’t want a bun, here’s some corn light bread I made yesterday.” Cold corn bread? The only way my mother served cold cornbread was crumbled into a glass of milk and eaten with a spoon, which was Sunday night supper. I went along with my girlfriends who also sat around Tommy Sue’s dining room table and I laid a piece of her homemade bread, baked in a loaf pan and sliced like banana bread, on my plate. Slathered with soft butter, it was delicious.

During dinner we college girlfriends discussed how we make and bake cornbread differently. We agreed that it is usually baked in a black skillet and in a hot oven, but Tommy Sue’s mother baked cornbread in a loaf pan and often served it cold. We realized that we bake cornbread like our mothers did. Blondie’s mother told her to remember 2, 2, and 2. *  Two cups of cornmeal, 2 eggs, and 2 cups of buttermilk. Heat ¼ cup oil in a black skillet in a 450° F oven and pour about half the oil in the batter, stir well, and watch the batter sizzle when it’s poured into the skillet.

Jo Ann’s family had milk cows and no milk was ever wasted so her mother used the old milk, no-longer-good-for-drinking-milk, to make cornbread. After baking, she turned the bread onto her tiled countertop and covered it with the skillet until the middle was soft. Friend Alicia learned to heat ½ cup oil in a black skillet and drop spoonfuls of thick batter into the skillet allowing the oil to bubble around each spoonful. After baking, the spoonful-size portions break apart easily. All of us agreed that the best cornbread was baked in hot bacon drippings. Our mothers kept a jar or small crock close to the stove to pour bacon grease into and that was used for cornbread and to season vegetables.

Kathy’s mother always baked plain cornbread to serve with pinto beans, and she made Mexican cornbread to serve with vegetable soup. The mention of Mexican cornbread started a whole new topic. Broccoli Cornbread* is made with Jiffy cornbread mix, butter, eggs, cottage cheese, onions, and chopped frozen broccoli and baked in a 9 x 13 pan. There’s Creamed Corn Cornbread, Zucchini cornbread, and Green Chili Cornbread. I googled cornbread recipes and got 3,950,000 results. That’s more varieties of cornbread than there are black skillets!

After the first column about cornbread, readers have shared their stories. Tricia’s mother was born and raised in Ohio and her Sunday night supper was a one-pan meal. She cooked pork sausage – either patties or crumbled – and then poured cornbread batter into the hot skillet and baked it. Seems like this should be a good Southern dish. I’ve heard about hush puppies, cornbread dressing, spoon bread, hoecakes, Johnny cakes, hot water cornbread, cornbread salad, vegetable spoon bread, and crackling cornbread.

This cornbread saga may not be ended yet. There may be yet another cornbread story.

*Recipes posted http://susanrray.com

 

 

 

 

For Better, Not Worse

 

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My friends said that I’m in trouble.  Said I have some adjusting to do.   Said I should give Husband and me some time. Said it’ll work out, but it won’t be easy.  Said it’s not like anything we’ve experienced in our marriage.  These four college girlfriends have known Husband and me since he and I first met, and my friends have all been where we’re going, but I think they’re wrong.

 

For all the 44 years of our married life, Allen, husband who I must call by name for this column, has worked.  Except for short vacations, he’s showered, shaved, dressed, and gone to work five days a week.  Next week, he won’t.  He won’t go to the office before 8:00 a.m., come home around noon, make his own lunch, eat, go back to work, and come home for the evening after 5:00.  Allen is retiring.

 

My friends told horror stories about some newly retired husbands, but not theirs.  One husband completely reorganized everything in the kitchen cabinets.  One expected three meals a day, cooked and served.  Another thought he should know where his wife was every minute of every day and what she was doing.  One walked from his bed to his living room recliner and called it exercise.  And one husband suddenly needed to know the exact cost of every item that his wife bought at the grocery store.

 

Allen won’t do any of those things.  So why are my girlfriends concerned?  When they ask what Allen planned to do, I said that he might want to work part time.  He’ll want somewhere to go and something to do.  And I said that I plan to continue my erratic come-and-go-as-I-please schedule, and I have a list of places for Allen and me to go and things to do.

 

I retired five years ago and adjusted quiet easily.  I like my quiet mornings.  No TV, no radio, and a leisurely breakfast on our back deck, if the weather is good.  During the past five years, Allen went to work and I spent the day however I wanted.  Exercised at the YMCA.  Played with my Grands.  Hid in my closet office and moved my fingers across my computer keyboard.  Ate lunch with friends.  Piddled the day away.  I didn’t completely neglect household chores.  Laundry and dusting and grocery shopping got done – in due time.

 

I’m really happy for Allen.  He began working when he was 12 years old.  He stocked shelves and swept the floor at his family’s grocery store where he continued to work through his college years.  And he’s worked ever since.  In retail business.  For Tennessee Tech.  Owned and managed convenience stores.  For an insurance agency.  But starting next week, he won’t go to work.  And he and I will have a grand time together, won’t we?

 

I think my girlfriends are wrong. Just because they and their husbands struggled through a year-long adjustment period after they both retired, doesn’t mean the same for Allen and me.   This chapter of our marriage is the ‘for better’ not ‘for worse,’ isn’t it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lost Phone or Lost Mind?

7898 While talking on the phone with JoAnn, my college roommate, I said, “Let me read you what our friends sent in texts yesterday.”  JoAnn’s phone doesn’t receive text messages.  I continued talking as I walked around my house.  “I’ll get my cell.  You’ve got to hear Blondie’s news!  Where is that phone?  When are you going to get a phone so we can send you texts?  I can’t find my phone.  It’s not in my purse.  Not charging.  Not on my desk.  Oh, I’m talking on it!”  For the next five minutes, JoAnn laughed in my ear.

I really did that.  I lost my phone while I held it in my hand.  When I told my family and friends what I’d done, they shared that they’d done the same and more.  Daughter said that when she discovered I’d left my cell phone at her house, she called me as I drove out of her driveway so I’d come back for it.  My phone rang while she held it in her hand.

Marilyn said that her cousin’s phone rang while the two of them were shopping in a department store.  Her cousin searched madly in her purse as it rang and rang, but she couldn’t find it.  Finally, she quit looking and told Marilyn, “It’s not here.  I must have left it in the car.”  So how did she hear it ring?

Most of us have called a phone that we’ve misplaced and hoped that its ring would lead us to it.  Jo admitted that she asked a drive-thru window bank teller to call her phone number while she held her purse up to her ear to see if it rang.  That’s good customer service.

Lana said that she lost her glasses while they were on her face and lost her keys while holding them in her my hand.  And her car has a mind all its own.  It automatically turns toward her house even when she plans to go to the grocery store.

Judy washed a load of clothes without any clothes in the washing machine.  Von bought liquid laundry detergent at the grocery store.  Later that day after he’d loaded dirty clothes in his washing machine, he couldn’t find the detergent.  He was upset and sure that the grocery store bagger hadn’t put it in his bags.  At lunchtime, he opened his refrigerator and found the detergent.  Right on the top shelf where he’d put it.

Kathy walked from her bedroom to her kitchen to take medicine.  But then she couldn’t read the labels on the medicine bottles because she’d left her glasses on her bedside table.

Jo opened Belk’s door with her car key.  She pushed the button on her car key to open her car door at the same moment that she stepped in the right spot that made Belk’s automatic door open.  She wrote this message to me, “Crazier than a run over dawg!  That’s what we are, sister friend!”  Maybe.

Kathy said, “It’s good to know I’m not alone.”  I agree.  And you know what makes me feel even better?  Most of these people are at least twenty years younger than me.  So my age has nothing to do with the fact that I lost my phone in my hand?  Right?

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Come for Tea

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I’m making a tea cozy.  Or a tea cosy, as the Brits would say.  Its history begins when tea was first introduced to Britain in the 1660s.  I like the word cosy – it’s much more dignified than cozy.  This time last week I didn’t even know I needed a tea cosy and just a few years ago, I would’ve said, “A tea what?”

Now I’m a good Southern girl that grew up drinking iced tea – sweet, of course.  My Aunt Doris introduced me to a ‘spot’ of hot tea when I was a teenager.  And I’ve enjoyed afternoon tea at an upscale hotel restaurant.  But I didn’t expect that inviting my out-of-town college girlfriends to join me for afternoon tea would lead to searching through my stash of fabric and learning how to sew a tea cosy.

My friends responded eagerly by email and June agreed to serve as hostess  – she’s my tea party authority.  My friends insisted that they bring the food: cucumber sandwiches, asparagus roll-ups, ham tarts, cranberry scones, and stuffed strawberries.  Fine with me.  I’ll provide the tea and hot water.  But June said we must use good loose tea and she knows exactly where to buy it.  So it seems that hot water is my only contribution to my tea party.

I don’t have a fancy silver tea service, which includes a teapot for keeping water at perfect hot tea temperature.  But I do have teapots.  One that matches my very first set of china.  One that a family friend gave me when I was ten years old.  And one that my brother-in-law bought and brought to me all the way from China.  A real teapot with a loose-leaf strainer and four dainty teacups.  So I’m set or so I thought.

June agreed that the idea of several lovely teapots would be wonderful.  “But how will we keep the water hot?  I wish we had a tea cosy or two,” she wrote in an email.  I think my microwave heats water pretty fast, but since all I’m providing is hot water, I must follow tradition.

A tea cosy is a knitted or embroidered covering (I don’t have time to knit or embroider) or it’s made from heavy brocade or fabric with a lovely design, and it must be insulated and lined.  It fits right over a teapot.  Got it!  A piece of printed floral cotton material that I inherited from my mother’s scrap fabric box.  And for some reason I’ve saved an unused insulated fabric leg covering from when I had knee surgery.  And there’s plenty of solid colored material for lining.

How could I possibility serve hot tea without tea cosies?  One for each of my three teapots.   The tea cosy was invented not only to keep the contents of the teapot hot, but also to prolong social occasions.  And I want to keep my long-time friends sitting around my dining room table as long as possible.

One cosy made.  Two to go.

A Teacher’s Lament

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I said I wasn’t going to write about the tragedy at Newtown, Connecticut.  But now that Sandy Hook Elementary School has reopened, I hurt for the teachers who survived.

On that day in mid-December when I first heard about the senseless killings, I was stunned.  Just like when I turn off the TV or leave the room when a news story is about an abused child, I had to walk away.  I listened to the news periodically throughout the day and stayed busy.  I knew it would be a day, like 9/11, that I’d remember where I was and what I was doing.

A week or so later, a friend said, “Newtown must have hit you doubly hard since you were a teacher.”  We had talked about the children who wouldn’t open Christmas presents.  And we wondered how their parents and grandparents would make it through the holidays.  We ached for those who’d loss a child, whether student or teacher, on December 14th.  But my friend had the insight to allow me to bring other memories and grief to the surface.

I remember when my school first practiced lock-downs.  Fire drills and tornado drills were routine.  Lock downs weren’t.  Lock the classroom door.  Herd my students into a corner.  Pull down the shades over the windows.  If there’s time, cover the twelve-inch square window on the door.  And keep everyone in that one corner, along the same wall as the door, where someone couldn’t look through the small window and see us.  It was never said aloud – a corner where a bullet shot through the door wouldn’t hit anyone.  I huddled my 24 fourth graders into that corner and they learned the term ‘packed like sardines.’  The girls giggled and scratched each other’s noses.  The boys wiggled.  We learned the secret knock on the door that signaled ‘all clear’ and that it was okay to open the door and carry on with learning about electrical circuits.

Even after four years of retirement, I still miss visiting with teacher friends.  Laughing during a hurried lunch.  Hearing about a son’s baseball game.  A daughter’s gymnastics meet.  The funny things a grandchild said.

I can’t imagine the pain that the Sandy Hook teachers are feeling as they stand before their students.  They survived a school shooting and lost friends.  During my teaching days, our faculty lost two teachers.  Tammy to cancer.  Marcia in a car wreck.  Two young friends who should have had many more years to read aloud their favorite books to children.  Teachers who left their mark on students and fellow teachers.

Our faculty mourned together.  Questions swirled through my head and heart.  Where’s my friend who wanted to borrow the foldout book about the human skeleton to read to her class?  Where’s my friend who was planning her daughter’s wedding?

I can’t imagine the questions that haunt the teachers at Sandy Hook School as they carry on, teaching young children.  I can’t imagine the horror of a school shooting.  I ache for those teachers.

It’s a New Year……What to do?

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I don’t know what to do or where to start.  It’s a new year.  And there are so many things that I want and need to do.  Knit a cap for my Colorado Grand?  Stitch pajama pants for my Grands who live across town?  Finish the quilt that Grandma Gladys started fifty years ago?  Bake bread to take to my sick friend?  Sort and throw away outdated medicines? Finish reading the book I started before Christmas?

I love new beginnings.  Mondays.  New calendars.  When I taught school, I liked the beginning of a Science unit and a new list of spelling words.  So I should welcome 2013.  But I’m frazzled with all the choices.  Clean out the kitchen cabinets?  I put clean dishes in those cabinets so where do all the crumbs come from?  Move the bed and vacuum the dust monsters?  They’re too big to be called bunnies.  If I hadn’t dropped my bookmark behind the bed, I’d never seen the monsters.  Ignorance was bliss.  Take pictures and write stories about the family heirlooms in my house?  I can’t expect my children to remember that five blue glasses belonged to Great-Grandmother Rich and that Daddy mailed the green wooden box to Mother while he was stationed in Germany during WWII.

Four years ago when I retired, I wrote a list of things to do, places to see, and people to spend time with.  I’m too big a coward to even look at that list.  But I remember that I thought I’d get back to playing the piano.  Why have a piano if no one plays it?  I’d sew dresses and rompers for my Grands; skirts for myself.  I’d exercise.  I’d throw dinner parties.  Explore the blue highways in the Upper Cumberland.  Eat lunch with friends.  Learn something new every day.

As I sit with my fingers on my computer, I create a new folder for this year’s columns.  Where We Are 2013.  Should I take time to trash and organize scattered documents in the 2012 folder?  Update my computer?  The loud buzzer on the dryer relieves my indecision.  I hang Husband’s and my shirts.  There’s the raccoon costume lying on the sewing machine by the ironing board.  Right after Halloween, I promised my Grand that I’d mend it.  It’ll only take ten minutes.  I could stitch it now.

Focus.  Make a plan, my brain says.  2013 – a chance to start new.  What should I do for the next 365 days.  Recently, I read a devotion that suggested choosing one word for a New Year’s resolution.  One word to guide each day’s choices.  Each day’s activities.   Suggested words:  courage, faith, patience, simplify, study, action, generous.  What about balance or love?

So here I am.  The beginning of a new year and I’m in a quandary.  Choices.  Lists.  Resolutions.  The phone rings.  “Gran?”  I hear the sweet voice of my seven-year-old Grand.  “Are you coming to see us today?”

Yes.

Trash or Treasure

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My Christmas tree is decorated just the way I like it.  Lights, red bead roping, ornaments and an angel on top.  Ornaments handed down from my parents’ Christmas tree. Ornaments that were gifts from family and friends and school children.  Ornaments made or bought for a special memory.  I can tell the story of each one.  But there are more ornaments still in the storage box.  Some not hung for years.  Enough to decorate another tree, and one tree is all I want.

“Here,” I said to Daughter as I handed her a full plastic bag.  “Take these ornaments to your house, please.  And maybe you’ll hang some on your tree.”  She held the bag in her hands.  “Wait, let me look at those again.”  I took the bag from her.  “Maybe some should be thrown away.”

Who could trash Bert and Ernie?  Handmade, from yarn, and Bert is only missing one eye.  The white crocheted snowflake has just a few yellow spots.  The ceramic angel that I painted would look pretty if someone glued her wing back on.  I can’t trash a Nativity –even a miniature plastic one. A blue Smurf probably means something to one of my children.  The shiny red apple is still pretty.  Why do I have three wooden factory-made stockings?  There’s no name or date on the back of any of them, but they’re cute.

I can’t bring myself to throw away the dozens of calico ornaments that I made in the mid-1970s.  I stitched them at night after our children had gone to bed.  Five-inch stockings and candy canes and wreaths.  Cut from yellow and red and green calico.  Two pieces of fabric zigzagged together and stuffed with polyester pillow stuffing.  Unbreakable.  The only kind of ornament that hung from our tree for several Christmases.  The years when little hands took ornaments off the tree.  And those same hands hung them back on.

I wonder where the picture is of our children when they were 3 and 5.  They were standing beside the Christmas tree and pointing to the ornaments they’d just hung.  Twelve calico ornaments hung side-by-side on the electrical wire between two lights.  Calico really isn’t in style now, but there’s a cotton fabric candy cane and wreath hanging on my tree.

Red glittery plastic bells.  I’m not trashing those.  I bought them at the Dime Store and Husband and I hung them on our very first Christmas tree.  What if I tie a narrow green ribbon through the loop of each one and write “Pop and Gran’s tree, 1969” inside the bellI’ll attach one to the bow on each of our Grand’s gifts.

So the red glittery bells are on my gift-wrapping table and every other ornament that I thought I might cull is back in the plastic bag.  I’ll give them to Daughter.  Surely she won’t throw any away.