Throwback Thursday – My First Alabama Experience

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Here I am looking up to my big brother. This picture was taken in Montgomery, Alabama about 1963. We only lived in this house for a very short time and I have very few memories from that time. I remember walking up a hill to a neighborhood pool. I remember falling down. I also, for some unknown reason, associate the Praying Mantis, or walking stick bug, with the day I fell. And I remember my first kiss. I was playing hide-n-go-seek with my brother and a few of his friends. I came up behind one of them, I think his name was Greg, and kissed him on the elbow.

That’s about it. I sure wish I could remember more. I have stories from my mom, and I can picture them in my head, but they aren’t my memories.

I have so many photographs that bring back so many good memories. But, some bring back sad remembrances as well. Which is how it should be.

I guess I need to have a sit-down with the big brother and pick his brains for HIS memories of Montgomery.

Throwback Thursday- Better than Abbey Road

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No, these aren’t the Beatles, but the Bells. This was taken only about two-and-a-half years ago, but it seems like it’s been a long time. It was a wonderful Thanksgiving Day celebrated in Tampa, Florida. The weather was perfect for eating outside and my daughter-in-law set a lovely table. What I remember most is not the food, though it was delicious as always, but the peacefulness I felt. It just seemed like the world slowed down that day and I enjoyed every minute, from taking pictures with my new camera and watching Ben and Everett play with bubbles to walking to the park.

I want to capture that again. Here, in my new home in Birmingham. I want to sit on my porch and listen to the train go by just over my back fence. I want to breathe in all the new scents and watch the birds and drink a large sweet tea with lemon in my wicker chair. I hope some of you can join me.

Throwback Thursday – Super Duper

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Is it bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Superman. Or, SuperMEN to be exact.  The photo on the left is my son, Ben, in 1982 when he was two years old. On the right is HIS son, Everett, taken this month at the age of four.

Today there are so many “Super Heroes” out there that I don’t even know what most of their “powers” are. I know Superman can leap tall buildings in a single bound, and Spiderman has clever spider abilities, and the Hulk is a massive green machine. Ever dreamed of having a super power? This isn’t a super power, but I’d like the ability to time travel.

Many of these Super Heroes have sidekicks. Superman has Jimmy Olsen, Batman has Robin, and Spidey now has Alpha. Some also have a love interest, such as Lois Lane and Mary Jane and Betty Ross (I had to look that one up!)

Imagination, super powers, “let’s pretend” – these are timeless, magical things.  But, even better, is a marvelous, timeless, delightful marriage. I know you are wondering how I pulled that out of my hat, huh? Well, this IS a blog, so I think I have a little liberty. *

My son has a love interest and sidekick all rolled into one in his wife, Claire. And that’s how I view my marriage, too. As a team. Sure, we could use some super WILLPower, but all in all we don’t need to be faster than a speeding bullet or more powerful than a locomotive. We need to learn to lean on the source of all power, the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

God is my strength and power, And He makes my way perfect. – II Samuel 22:33

 

He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. – Isaiah 40:29

 

But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” – Luke 5:24

 

*A blog is a portmanteau – for a web log.

 

 

Throwback Thursday – Friendship Fountain

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Anyone who lives in or has visited Jacksonville should recognize these  pictures of Friendship Fountain . The first picture is actually a postcard. I remember as a kid seeing the fountain at night with the multi-colored lights shining in the waters and thinking it was so cool. We would take relatives there when they visited, and years later I took my own kids. And, then even more years later I took my niece, and finally my grandson.

Here’s a little fountain history: It was designed by the same guy who designed the Hayden Burns Library, another staple of my childhood. When the fountain opened in 1965, which was the year we moved to Jacksonville, it was the world’s largest and tallest fountain. It was refurbished in 1985, completely renovated in 2011, and it is still drawing visitors today.

Throwback Thursday – 35 years

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Not the best picture, but it’s me, 35 years ago, Farrah Fawcett hair and everything

 

Last month Chuck and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary. Since it falls just nine days before Christmas, we did what we’ve often done – hung out and did a little shopping. For those who want to have big anniversary celebrations, I don’t recommend getting married in December. To compound that, both our birthdays are at the end of November.

So, I was thinking about changes that have come over these past 35 years. 30 pounds is one change that I don’t want to think about. Back in the baby days, my weight would go up and down with each birth, but I always managed to get it back to my pre-baby weight, at least for a while. Now, I seem stuck with this excess poundage. To use a few clichés: Talk is cheap; I need to face the music.

We’ve been through numerous changes of residence, from four rooms total to four bedrooms, but only within two states. Now, it’s time to move again, not by our choice. We’ve been waiting nearly a year to find out exactly when his move will take place. All we know is that it will be sometime this year. And that it will be to Birmingham. Alabama. Unless God has other plans for us.

The number of people in our home has gone up and down. From the two of us in 1978 to the six of us in 1989. Three of the four kids have come back for short periods of time, plus two other family members were under our roof as well, one for a few months, one for a year. We’ve had various dogs and cats and now we just have Loretta.

We’ve experienced the birth of children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. And the death of family members and friends. Graduation celebrations abounded, three in a row from 1998-2000 which included me from college and our oldest two from high school. We’ve made friends with people from all walks of life through numerous churches, jobs, and neighborhoods.

I am thankful to God for all of this life – the good and the bad. I am thankful He has been there always, even when I fell away from following Him as I should. I am looking to Him for my future, for who else is there to sustain me?

Throwback Thursday – Downtown Jacksonville

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I haven’t done a throwback post in a while, so here goes.

I found this postcard in an antique store a few years back. This is how Hemming Park/ Plaza used to look. It has been redone once or twice since this picture was taken. I like the picture because it shows the May Cohens department store. This is where I worked the summer I got engaged. I worked upstairs in the credit department. I felt so grown up working downtown. Some days I would take my lunch and eat in the lunch room where the TV was always showing “The Young and the Restless”. It was from the snack machine there that I had my first Lorna Doone shortbread cookies and I still love them. On occasion I would venture out with someone to eat somewhere nearby. There were other large department stores down the street such as Ivey’s and Furchgott’s . One of them had a nice restaurant inside.

After I got married I still worked there. We only had one car so I rode the bus. Hemming Park was the main hub where all the buses went, so it was convenient. I enjoyed riding the bus, actually. I was on the phone a large part of the day, listening to customer complaints. I got a headache nearly every day, so I was glad not to have to drive home.

May Cohens was in the St, James Building which is now City Hall. I was there a few weeks ago with my mother-in-law. It was so strange to be inside because it looks completely different now.

I love the history of old buildings and it’s fun having this connection and the memories of how downtown Jacksonville used to be. Some things change for the better, some for the worse. I hope these beautiful old buildings stay around for a very long  time.

Throwback Thursday – Another Era

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I like this picture, but I’m not sure why.  I know there is a story in it but I don’t know that story. So, in my mind I think about the possibilities.

What I DO know:

The man on the left is someone named Cliff Richardson. The woman is Susie, my grandfather’s sister. The man on the right is my grandfather, a man of mystery to me.

The men are both holding cigarettes. They are all dressed up; my grandfather in uniform. They are standing on a railroad track, but you can also see a fence in the background. So this must have been near a house, perhaps near a town.

What I don’t know:

This list could go on and on. I know nothing about my Great Aunt Susie. I don’t know why my grandfather left his first family. I have no idea who Cliff Richardson is. I don’t know where the picture was taken, but highly suspect somewhere in Georgia.

I hope one day to unravel a bit more of the unknown. 

Throwback Thursday – Friendship

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This is a picture of me on the left and my friend Robin on the right, taken in Daytona during our college years.

We met in eighth grade. Well, actually we had been in Brownies together in second grade, but our memories just didn’t go back that far. I only know because my mom was the troop leader and I have a photo somewhere.

We were close through high school, even though we went to different schools then. We decided to go to the same college, but weren’t roommates. I joined a sorority and Robin joined the next semester. She stayed there, at Georgia Southern, and graduated. I completed two years, and then got married.  We were in each other’s weddings, she marrying her high school sweetheart, me my college sweetheart.

We drifted apart after marriage, but stayed in touch with a few cards and calls. I’m ashamed to say I’ve only seen her twice since I moved back to Jacksonville in 2005. But, it’s this second time, this past August, that I’m thinking of. Because that time it was at her father’s funeral. It brought back so many memories.

I went on several trips with her family, including a vacation in the mountains and an Auburn football game. The deal was we had to help take care of her brothers some of the time. Piece of cake, really, for all the fun we had.

But, my best memory that day was of her dad being my boss during my senior year of high school. Then, at the end of the year, since I was in DECA, he came with me to the employer/employee banquet. Two things stand out. One is that  I had to give the invocation before we ate. I was so nervous. The other was sitting at the head table since I was an officer. We were served friend chicken and I was trying to figure out how to eat it with a fork. Her dad leaned over and whispered, “Just pick it up with your fingers – I am, ” and he did!

He was 80 years old and was still a bailiff at the courthouse until two weeks before he died. He was a good family man. I remember he had a sense of humor like my own dad’s.

I’m glad I was able to attend his funeral and see Robin again. It was like all the years melted away. I hope to rekindle our friendship, for friendship is a precious thing.

Throwback Thursday – 1976

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One thing I find interesting about this cover to the program for my high school graduation is the picture of the Bible. I wonder how many public schools today would dare to put this on the cover? It says something about what was still looked at as being important in 1976. It was the year of our Bicentennial Celebration; the 200th birthday of our nation.

Our class song was “We’ve Only Just Begun” by the Carpenters.

Before the rising sun we fly
So many roads to choose
We start out walking
And learn to run
And yes! We’ve just begun

Now, 37 years later, there are still so many roads to choose. I may not be running, but I’m still going on.

Sharin’ horizons that are new to us
Watchin’ the signs along the way
Talkin’ it over just the two of us
Workin’ together day to day, together

This verse can still be sung by my husband and I (well, HE can sing, I try). We have signs and changes on the horizon now. A pretty possible move is in our future. We still talk over everything. And work together. Yes, he folds towels and vacuums very well.

And when the evening comes we smile
So much of life ahead

We’ll find a place where there’s room to grow

We are not guaranteed “so much of life ahead”, but I am living as if there is. I have plans for my grandkids, things I want to do, places I want to go.  But, I understand it is all in God’s hands.

Throwback Thursday – Mom

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As I looked at this picture of my mother, age ten, I was thinking about what to write. I love the photo, but I can’t just write about that. I love her smile, which is still the smile I see all the time. Then I noticed her hair. Parted down the middle. And that brought back memories.

When I was in 7th grade, we battled over my hair. She was of the opinion that parting my hair down the middle made me look like a hippie, so she didn’t let me. Only a side part or pulled back would do. So, I would go to school, go in the bathroom, and part my hair down the middle.

But then I forgot about picture day. Lo and behold, when my pictures came back, there I was, hippie girl. Mom was not pleased.

I had not seen this picture back then. Boy, if I had, what ammunition it would have been. I could have said, “Ah,HA! Look! If you wore your hair parted in the middle, so can I!” Like the way I said, “YOU got married at 18! “ I was 20, but not nearly as mature as she had been at 18. She was working at 14 because she had to. I was working at 16 because I was driving my parents crazy hanging around the house being lazy.

I do think I picked up some of her good habits. I’m pretty thrifty, I can cook well when I have to, and I sorta know how to shoot a gun. I hope that, years from now, if my kids see a picture of my ten year old self, they’ll do more than laugh.