Wednesday, November 24, 2004

The day before Thanksgiving..

My house is full. Every bed. Every towel. And it is wonderful. I wake up in the night knowing that family I love is sleeping in rooms down the hallway.

Abe and Kristin arrived from Portland,Oregon last night..it was late and they were tired, so we visited a bit and they went to bed (actually they are still sleeping!)

Adam and Tonya woke early this morning to visit Tonya's Dad..he died two years ago today. Dressed in my yellow raincoat and purple hat and umbrella they trudged off through the pouring rain (which will be turning to inches of snow by nightfall.) I said, tell your Dad I miss him. Bill was a great guy.

Always there is something to miss, isn't there? No matter how full the house is... I miss my parents and sisters and brothers and a special person that I have grown fond of...I miss how it used to feel to be a family at the farm....I think that is the power of story and remembering.

In the John Newbery Award book, Sarah, Plain and Tall written by Patrica MacLachlan...Sarah has a conversation with her friend, Maggie. Sarah was a mail order bride who left the seacoast of Maine to move to the Midwest. She misses the sea, her family. Maggie calmly says, There are alway thing to miss, no matter where you are.

So, on this day before Thanksgiving...oh, how lovely to have the house full of family you love so much...but don't forget to tell stories of those who won't be at your table.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Who Came Down That Road, Mama..by George Ella Lyons

This month at school I have focused on home and hearth...you know the usual assignments..have dinner with your family..talk with each other instead of the big T word (television)...also sent home notes with first graders to talk about family history. OK, I know first graders...the world did not exist before they arrived six or seven years ago..but let's give it a try.

My bulletin board is full of their stories and photos...I have photos rom 1800 Germany, 1932 New York...it is quite wonderful.

A few interesting facts for you: One of my student's ancestors was named Shirley Temperance Wade, December 1939; another had his Great, great grandfather's ashes spread out on Beartooth Mountain Range in Georgia; another had a Great-Great grandfather come here from England to become a cowboy. The stories go on..as they always do..one leads to another..but to my first graders they still insist they come from Hamilton, Indiana.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

The Babysitter's Club...

Last night was my first to babysit my new little grandsons, Jonah (2 months) and Matthew (3 years)...Both have just come into my life his fall.

Karen gave me directions...how to feed, diaper, etc...I listened intently (yes, I raised three children, but..) and then she and Aaron walked out the door.

I have to admit I called for re-informents to be brought in, Adam and Tonya..that was a good thing. Amazingly enough, all three of us were busy...then Tonya invited her family over (Mom, brother, his girlfriend, his children) to sweeten the pot!!

My house was strewn from one end to the other with paints and musical instruments and toys and blankets and diaper bags.

The good news is...we all lived to tell the story. The bad news? Adam and Tonya live in Florida and I doubt they can fly up to help every time I need them!!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

So, send it my way...

It has been six days since I have seen the sun here in Northern Indiana..has anyone out there seen it? I hung laundry out on Sunday (summer, cruise clothes), and they are still there...I am sure each day my neighbors are talking about my summer dresses dripping in damp, cold fog.

I have not raked my leaves...my yard is the only yard covered, I did sweep a pathway so I could walk through to the garden gate, however...and I have driven over the leaves in the driveway so they are now matted down making permanent fossils on the blacktop.

I refuse to hang out Christmas lights and wreaths...although my neighborhood is starting to look like a winter wonderland...I still have Thanksgiving pumpkins all around my doorsteps and stoops...some are a bit rotten, and I am really afraid to pick them up, but, on my honor, they are still there!!

All in all, I do love the week of Thanksgiving..it is my favorite holiday with the solstice and Twelfth Night, and Robert Burns birthday falling close behind. I like the non-commercialism...the candles..the pumpkin pie..the being with people I love without expectations of $$$$(aka..presents).

So, with this Thanksgiving week upon us..I will spend the week end cleaning out candle holders..ironing pillow cases with lavender for my children as they travel my way...put chocolates on their pillows, baking pies...I will also sweep another pathway through leaves..and hope my pumpkins will last just one more week.

Friday, November 19, 2004

November is....

November is........

....long,lonely stretch of train tracts
....cold, wet rain on my umbrella
....John McCutcheon on the CD player
....my Grandma's hand stitched quilt
....wispy strands of smoke
....yellow lamps in the neighborhood
....Orion's belt in the corner of the sky
....vegetable soup in a clean, white bowl
....frost on my porch windows
....chapstick three times a day
....leaves piled high at my back door
....a good book on a foggy night
....someone to share a cup of tea with
....woolen socks in the early morning hours
....family photographs
....missing someone you love
....stories around the fire
....my favorite month

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Foggy Night...

It is such a foggy night in northern Indiana...really no one will be traveling...well, a few will, I guess. My daughter in law, Tonya, is driving from St. Pete, Florida and should be here by the middle of the night to join Adam.

Aaron, Karen, Adam and the boys (my baby is now 14 pounds..and while he hasn't quite mastered French, he does coo a lot!) have been here all evening for supper. They called while I was at school and invited themselves over for supper...my only request...you bring the food, I said.

It was a long day at school..spell bowl at 7 a.m....school all day...then taking tickets at the elementary boy's basketball game after school. It is Indiana, you know, they start early.

Winter is beginning to close in with frost and darkness
coming so early..time for writing, for painting, for visiting, and for curling up with a good book. I am currently reading The Wild Irish, an historical fiction by Robin Maxwell about Elizabeth I. Hope you have a great book for this cold, foggy night.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Alarm Clocks

It was so hard to go back to school today...albeit my sister, Jo, lives for alarm clocks (even on vacation!)..but just to get up and have breakfast and the coffee was already made...so this morning at 5:10 I truly stumbled into the kitchen...it was dark and cold.

The kids at school always want to know where I have been...I like sharing maps with them. They think I am rich because I get to do so many things..ahh, this is my opportunity to teach them about hard work and studying and reading..teacher stuff.

Adam is here visiting with me this week..well, he is at his brother's house (new baby Jonah and Matthew) even so it is nice to have company in the evening..darkness seems to come so early. It is clear tonight..Orion's belt is visible.

Several teachers asked me today what was my favorite part of the trip...without hesitation I recall the evening we watched The Wizard of Oz on the big screen outside. It was just growing dark...the sky was filled with colors of scarlet and rose...we all sat together and sang along with Dorothy and the Lion and the Scarecrow and the Tinman. Dad quizzed us periodically during the movie asking us if we knew how it was filmed and who had the original parts..my Dad knows more about everything than anyone I ever met....So with the sun setting over the Caribbean Sea we sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow..ahhh, don't we always want to know what is over the rainbow?

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Senor..Senorita..Welcome back

It is Sunday morning in Northern Indiana...there was a frost last night covering my unraked yard..skies are blue..and the neighborhood is already bustling about working in their yards geting ready for winter.

I am unpacking a week's worth of memories..photos, trip prizes that we purchased for each other..clothes that will need two washings.

A week at sea with my sisters and parents. It is amazing how different we all are on so many levels...political, economic...yet we could travel together...dine together..laugh, remember stories from our childhood and respect each other's differences.

We swam in the crystal waters of the Caribbean, watched movies by the pool side...shared rum and vodka...slot machines..dancing..and sisterly secrets. It was a hurried good bye at the ship's docking...all traveling to our respective homes with families waiting for us..and even though it is always good to be home...I,of course, am wondering when and where will we go next time.

So, here's to my sisters and parents stretched out across the USA...those who shared my youth...and to a week in Paradise.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Four Sisters and their Parents...

So, I just get started writing, and I an off again. This time with my sisters (there are four of us in all corners of the U.S.) and our parents. We try to get together for sister's week once a year, and this is it.

We are meeting in Houston, driving to Galvelton and then board the cruise ship, The Princess. We will spend the week at sea and in ports such as Belize, Costa Maya. I am sure we will be the last ones off the dance floors, sing the loudest at the new sing along version of the Wizard of Oz and spend many hours telling stories from long ago and from our current lives.

No spouses or sweethearts or children will be going...just four sisters and their parents.

So, with bags packed, I bid you all a Bon Voyage.

Friday, November 05, 2004

About Cats

It's funny how our mind works, isn't it? I mean, I have been thinking about cats....stray cats, neutered cats, wild cats, domestic cats...you know every color. When you think about it cats really have made it into the world of art, yes? I mean...what about e.e. cummings and Andrew Lloyd Webber...they sure made Cats famous. And then there is Carl Sandburg, The fog comes on little cat feet... Even Shakespeare talked about the Runcible Cat...even Charles Dckens plays a word game about cats in his Christmas Carol.

Folks are always using cats as metaphors...she is the cat's meow, hunched over like a cat, cat's cradle, playing cat and mouse, claws like a cat.

And then how much work is a cat? A can opener, a litter box...you can be gone for weeks and your cat will entertain himself by just dozing in the sunlight and watching out the windows. They never need their shirts ironed and don't even care about fresh baked cookies.

Yes, I have definitely been thinking about cats.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The closing curtain..

I stayed late after school to tidy up (how does everything get so messy in a day??) when one of my former theatre students showed up at my door. She is now 18 and had just voted for the first time. She was still a little shaky, very proud of herself, but needed to talk.

She joined my production company when she was 10 and was with me for three seasons..a wonderful actress.

She began to look around the room at the Playbills..costumes..newspaper clippings. She said that voting today made her feel old (grown-up) for the first time ever. She sat down and shared her fears about growing up...college...paying her own bills..being responsible..finding someone wonderful.

Then she stopped, looked right at me..."Was I really good in theatre or did you just tell ne that?" It was with all honesty that I could say, you were really wonderful. She jumped up, thanked me, started to leave, then turned around and said, "You know, I will never forget you and all you taught us even when I am old..like 45!" I hugged her...scooted her out the room as I knew I had to go and vote. I smiled, shook my head, and locked my door on another curtain call.

Monday, November 01, 2004

OK, here's the scoop...

I know I am not very current with this blog....my life is usually a whirlwind..then, of course, Sunday Passage comes along. So, here is he deal. Does anyone even miss this blog site?????? I will have to re-evaluate it...although when I am around I do like to write in it.

Today is cold and rainy and dark...I am just cooking dinner in my lovely old house..lighting candles and listening to Kevin Kling tell stories on NPR...wish my sweatheart were here for dinner......

So, is anyone listening?????