impromptu moments: (teaching young children about the world around them)

teaching children

Yes, that is an earth worm being held in the hand of my granddaughter Hannah Grace, age 4 while her cousin Destiny, age 5 looks on. If you look closely each girl is relaxed and ”in the moment” as they discover how it feels to hold the earth worm. Destiny’s mother Rebecca is telling them all about the earth worms habitat and habits and how important they are to our garden soil and, well, that they must keep them safe and not destroy them.
As I looked on I was drawn back in time to more than sixty years ago —

The Summer of 1949 was extremely hot. The red clay soil was so dry it had turned to a fine powder. It felt like silk between my toes and after mid morning became too hot to walk on without shoes. I remember this because I remember that I walked with my grandmother Nannie to a nearby neighbor’s farm to swap her freshly made butter for jam and on the way back I wore my shoes.  All I need do — all these years later — is close my eyes and drift back in time to feel the powdered clay pushing up between my toes and smell the aroma of the pastures on my grandparents farm. This is something that has never left me.

In a way it is the roots that have grounded me all my years. I know the peoples I belong to, what I am part of. The history. The family. My family.

Lately I have found myself revisiting a time very few of my friends can equate to because they did not live it.  They did not live in rural America, did not know the feel of the hide, the stench of a wet barn nor the sweetness of that same barn after being freshly laid with clean straw. They did not swing from rafters and they certainly never tipped a cow.

I wish more than life itself my grandchildren could experience what I experienced as a child or at least when I tell them of my life they would completely understand it.  But I fear the stories are too removed from what their lives consist of today for them to fully appreciate how wonderful it was all those years ago.  At times they look at me in wonderment when I tell them of my grandparents farm.  I’m completely convinced they think I’m making up stories for their entertainment.

When they are elder — sixty years hence — will their grandchildren understand how it felt for them to hold an earth worm? How then can I expect them to know how it felt for fine silken soil to filter through my toes. But I want to keep trying to explain all the things that were so wonderful when I was their age so at each and every opportunity I become an impromptu performer and charm them with my stories.

 

 

 

 

 

Oink is dead!

I named her Oink and much to Mama’s chagrin Oink and I became friends.  Oink, who’d I’d allow to escape her pen, would follow me around the yard after school oinking behind me trying to keep up. She never ran into the road, never ran into the garden, she stayed right at my feet. We were friends. I didn’t equate Oink with bacon at the time. That connecting thread was to come later.

Vegetables were never a welcome site on my dinner plate. Bacon, on the other hand, was more welcome than cake!

And, I continue to love bacon until that fateful day Oink lost her rights.  I returned home from school to find that Oink, who’d by that time had grown from piglet to sow of an acceptable size, had been removed from her pen and taken to my uncles farm. Oink’s fate, which had always been her fate, was to be slaughtered along with a few other hogs. The process was daunting to my father and I’m happy it was daunting. I don’t think I could have endured befriending another Oink.

Having the experience of both rural and urban life during my childhood has its benefits, for sure and for certain. And this is why I have long held to the belief that all children should spend at least once summer during their childhood on a working farm. They should know, first hand, of hard work like this. They should know the value of being responsible for more than the care and feeding of themselves. They should know the feel and smell of a bale of straw, a husked and dried corn cob, the peck of a chicken beak as you snatch an egg, what it is like to pick string beans off the vine just right so others will grow, among other things.

Knowing these things, having a first hand experience, give a new prospective and appreciation a kid can not, under any other circumstance, glean from any other venue.

As sad as it was for me to  learn of Oink’s fate, in retrospect I gained more than I lost.  And, over time I learned to appreciate, even like, bacon again.  Although, I must add: I learned to like bacon less and vegetables more, which is a heart health choice made through more education on good nutrition for healthy body and mind.

My Mom

This is the woman who made me come home from every high school party at 9:30 PM! Today is her 88th birthday.

We all have them — our mothers — and some are a dear pleasure to have indeed. This one is mine, or rather my birth mother. She did not raise me. That was left to my Dad and step-mother whom I call Mama. Right before I entered high school I went to live with my birth mother, Ms. Dee in Southern California. That summer was steamy hot and the smog was so bad I thought I was literally going to die but I did not and survived not only my mother but high school before my first marriage took me out of the situation I was in.  Today, Ms. Dee lives with me and my daughter Lisa in Ohio and I am her primary care giver. She has a good life. Given the past some might say she didn’t deserve this from me but life has a funny way of turning things around on you and in the process making you a better person.

At the onset of this blog one of the things I promised myself was to write a transparent truth of what it is like to be advancing in age, I have not done a good job of this, until now in this post. Of all the whims of mind I wish to share with others — with hopes that in some small way I will enrich another to a degree that when they retire from the grind of a 9-5 job or hang up their shingle for another kind of existence — that their life will be the better for my tell them of mine.

The sad truth is that I really wanted to do a post about my mother but when I tried to do one I simply could not manage it.  When both my Daddy and Mama passed on, and even when all three of my brothers and my dear sister-in-law Peggy passed on, I wrote a heartfelt eulogy that I delivered. I meant every word of those eulogies — they came by way of a lifetime of personal experiences with each one. I had stories to tell and still do.  But, where are the stories of my mother? They are stacked one on top of the other in the deepest and most hidden part of my brain. I simply wish not to recall them.  So, when it came time for her 88th Birthday I found it impossible to write using any form of — Transparency.

WHAT WE TEACH OUR CHILDREN EVERY DAY LASTS LONG AFTER WE ARE GONE . . .

 

I  advocate Action Against Abuse and pray a silent prayer you do as well . . .

Around 1946  my Mum Marie stood tall against abuse — long story short, because she stood tall that year three years later she became my Mum when she married my Daddy bringing with her two new brothers — the elder of my new brothers had (in the beginning of his relationships) a struggle with being abusive (what he saw is what he repeated) but the younger (by six years), who was influenced more from his mother’s new marriage to my Dad, never suffered the same condition. Why is this true? I think because he repeated what he witnessed and what he witnessed was a loving and happy couple.

Why am I telling you this?  Because I need to say it. And, because I want you to hear it.

I also remember doing things, just like my Mum, standing with my hand on my hip, just so, just like she did. This made my father laugh more than once when I was a kid. Kids mimic and are like a sponge soaking up everything parents do and the proof is in the words we, as adults, speak to our own children and sometimes, stop in our tracks and say, “Where did that come from” or “I sounded just like my Mom or Dad!” Yep, there you have it …. so speak love, compassion, empathy, kindness and charity and teach those principles.

 

I beseech you to take-care with the little ones. They are so precious.

 

The Passing of a favorite aunt

RIP: My sweet dear Aunt Runt (Capps-Aulman) who passed away this morning after a battle with infection that caused coma and then a heart attack…she is 94 and in a better place….we’ll all miss her because she was such a bright star in the family. She was a beauty shop owner and ran two for over thirty years and one of the best of the best hair stylists in the business. She stopped cutting hair nearly twenty years ago but continued to keep up with the industry and talked about hair styles non-stop! Love you Aunt Ruth … Winds At Your Back Old Girl :)

Grandma’s Always Know Best


One of my favorite television shows during the 1950s was a show called Father Knows Best. During the years (1945-1962) of my childhood, my family were big evening television users; shows like Father Knows Best, and other good clean family oriented series were enjoyed and rarely missed. I’ve always thought of Father Knows Best as with-out-a-doubt an American classics from that time period. It first appeared on radio (1949-1954) and then on television (1954-1960). It was a wonderful comedy series which portrayed a middle class family living in the Midwest during the 1940’s. The Anderson family were easily identifiable to my values oriented Daddy & Mum. I’ve never been sure if this show was not more a teaching tool used by them, but that is for another post.

The television series was created by writer Ed James [Note: If possible I always give credit to the writer] and honestly, viewing some of the old episodes I think he was a master at the art.

About a month ago three of my grandchildren, all girls (age 2, 3 & 4) came to stay for a few days. Because of all their antics, which kept us adults chuckling most of the time, they as well as their parents reminded me of the 1950’s sitcoms. As a grandmother this happened to make me feel rather good. It made me feel hopeful that my granddaughters’ adult lives would be a happy ones.

After they had left for their respective homes in North Carolina I happen to run across an article about early television shows. Unfortunately, I ran across it in the waiting room of the Oncology Center at Good Samaritan as I waited for my mother to reemerge from her radiation treatment. I’d love to have that article to reference but I do not. Anyway, to make a long story short: I had a flash-back to my granddaughters visit, the little quibbles which were solved by loving parents, the joy and all the fun they had.

Now, I am mentally exploring the possibility that my children are a throw back to 1950s America! Not a bad thing to happen, actually. Let’s face facts here: I am influenced by my growing up years, by the television shows of that time, by how my parents handled themselves and me; ergo, how I was a parent to my children, and how I continue to influence my grandchildren, as a grandmother.

My last thought to this post is: Always Remember Grandma Knows Best . . . this is according my granddaughter Destiny! She is a very intelligent youngster.

Hugging a Sweet-Pea


NO! Not hugging a flower; but hugging this little Sweet-Pea shown running through an open green field in Ohio. I love this picture, how could I not?

I love spending time with my grandchildren. Of course, each and every one of my nine grandchildren have different personalities which means I have a slightly different relationship with each one. For instance, this little joy is Joseph, a shy red-headed boy who does not like the ‘hugging thing’ one bit. His cousins near his age are all big huggers as am I. Joseph please learn to like hugging!

Are you one to hug? If you are not how does it make you feel when someone (like a grandmother) hugs you? I’m interested to know!