"People from a planet without flowers
would think we must be mad with joy the whole time
to have such things about us."
~Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Who Said This?


"Something whispered something that was not even a word.
It was more like a silence that was understandable.

I was standing at the edge of the pond.

Nothing living, what we call living, was in sight.
And yet, the voice entered me,
my body, with so much happiness.

And there was nothing there
but the water, the sky, the grass."


(A poem from Mary Oliver's new book ~Red Bird~)


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Friday, November 6, 2009

Spiders,Spiders Everywhere

This is my sister's house. Halloween is her favorite holiday for decorations. She hosted a party for friends during the week before All Hallows Eve, so the house was "dressed to the nines" and looked wonderful. I thought all of you would enjoy looking at her beautiful house with all the decorations before she has to disassemble all of her creative , spooky decor and start all over again for the Christmas holidays. She told me , this morning, that the huge pumpkin on the front porch is slowly sagging and she's not sure how to remove a rotting, squishy squash of that size without the whole thing collapsing into a pile of unstrained pumpkin pie pulp. This probably doesn't help her with this problem but....., "Sis, that was a killer pumpkin. Everyone was amazed at it's size and your creative "Boo" on the front of it was beautiful."
There were huge spiders everywhere...., on the walls , climbing the clock, hanging on the lamps...., little ones, big ones, all black and scary. The fireplace had these lights in it that flickered so it looked like there was a small fire in between the leaves and the happy pumpkin. Every corner, every window and every shelf was a spooky delight. Please click on the pictures for a close up of it all. Enjoy!

After the grandboys made the rounds of my old, and their new, neighborhood we drove over to my sister's house. The boys went around to a few courts nearby with Mom and Dad, and then came back to the porch where my sister was sitting and giving out candy. The bean wanted to help. The candy was in a Harry Potter magic book. When you opened it a voice said things to you. The Bean thought this was very cool and that's a "thumbs up" while trying to hold the book on his little lap and open it...., and close it...., and open it...., and close it.
He was getting a little glassy eyed by then, but he gave out some candy and he didn't tell the kids how to do it like last year, when he told a little girl, "you spose to say twick or tweet first" and would not give her any candy until she said it. He's grown up so much since then. He's 4 and 1/2 years old now. He's a BIG boy. He loves his new house and his Aunt Lisa..., and a book that talks when you open it up...., or could it just be all that candy in it.
The Bean and his brother were almost asleep as soon as they got into their car seats but before they fell soundly asleep they wanted their bags of candy to hold and a promise that I would come over the next day. I said "You betcha. See you tomorrow Bambinos." and off they drove.
What a weird wonderful feeling it is to remember being the same age. To remember the excitement of Halloween night and the magic of it all. Rachel Carson called it "A sense of wonder". I have found it,again, with my grandchildren. I didn't really lose it. It was just tucked away in the grown-up part of my life. It was there all the time.
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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Halloween Beans


Halloween is about an evening of fun and excitement. It makes a new neighborhood friendlier and makes children less likely to be afraid of the Boogie Man. You put your pajamas on underneath your costume so you are ready for "crashing" after all the activities...., then Dad tells you it's not time yet and you have to wait for everyone to go together, so you let your Noni take some pictures of you.
(please click on photos for close-ups)

You pose for your Grandma..., and you pose.., and you POSE. Then you sing a song, that you just made up, about saving people from a burning buildings and how Fireman are the greatest. Then you start giggling about something with your brother and the photo shoot is, basically, over with. And finally.....

Here we go....
"See you later Noni."

....,and so, as I wait for some children to come to the door, I waved goodbye to my two beans and watched them leave the house on Halloween with the excitement that I remember having when I was a little girl. The street is the same..., the trees are much bigger, you can't see Mt. Diablo from the porch anymore because of them. It has been 50 some years since I ventured out into the Autumn evening with my friend Dawn and the other neighborhood kids on this street. The first few years I held my mother's hand, too. Then, when I got older , one parent would take all of us. We would run around like little Flash Gordon's, going from house to house, with our pillowcases dragging behind us..., seeing who could get to the next house first.

"Trick or treat"..., hold your bag out, feel it become a little heavier..., "Thank you." and run like the wind to the next house. It was a rite of passage each year. Learning to be braver, faster, maybe going a little further.
Then..., getting home and counting how many pieces you have..., and sorting all the candy by size, or color. Trading some of it. Having them check the candy for strange unwrapped ones. Sharing some with Mom and Dad. Sometimes sharing with a sick brother or sister who couldn't go with you. Learning when too much candy in your stomach is really too much. Oh, the fun of it all.....

Disclaimer:
For all of you that don't let your children participate in this holiday, I can only say.., this is your choice. I don't believe that it's about worshiping evil or giving the devil strength. It's about giving and sharing happiness and treating your neighbor with goodwill and kindness. It's about happy little faces that learn to understand that receiving something from others can be a "windfall", but not without some effort and a "Thank you" at the end. It's a happy tradition that gives a child many wonderful memories. It's about family, goodwill and two little boys who are on a safe journey with their parents. It's a legacy of love that continues on this lovely street in Pleasant Hill, California.
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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Day Past Due Tuesday: Finding Things in an Old Box


This is a silk dress; wrinkled, fragile, thread bare in places with smocking and a scalloped hem.Sis and I found it in the very bottom of a box filled with letters and diaries. Inside this box were my grandmother's letters from her husband who was a traveling pianist in movie theaters..., letters that gave us some insight (and some questions) about our family. Interesting letters about a time when our grandmother was very young and life was written down in long letters and personal thoughts were put into small books and dated, written with pens that had to be continuously dipped into a container of ink, sometimes dripping onto the page when hands were shaking with emotion. Life spilled out..., hand written, onto pages of small books and journals. Letters and saved things that were important to someone, that meant so much to my grandmother, so long ago. Old photos, report cards, class pictures, advertisements, announcements and obituaries. Life and death, happiness and sadness...,

...,and then, in the very bottom of this old box, folded together.., a young girls dress. A lovely blue silk dress with hand painted flowers and a pink hat, a small hand made purse and a blue handkerchief. It was the only clothing in the old box. It must have been very special. I picture the late 20's. The "flapper" style dress; short, sleeveless..., the "cloche" hat. This was not a grown up dress. It's seems more for a young girl or pre-teenager. A dance dress perhaps. A very special dance. My Mother's? Her sisters? We will never know, for a certainty, who this lovely dress belonged to, but I suspect it was either my Mom's or my Aunt Marcia's because this was my grandmother's box of things.

We found a lot of my Aunt Marcia's letters and journals, school things, pictures she drew and wonderful childhood items that my grandmother had saved.
You see, my mom's sister was always getting sick as she grew up (they think, now, that she might have had Leukemia) and she died at Merritt Hospital in Oakland, CA. in 1937, when she was only 18 years old. My grandma never got over her death. I only remember one picture of my aunt, a large one in a beautiful frame, on her living room wall. She never talked about Marcia unless I asked her and then she didn't say very much.
Mom told me that her little sister was very beautiful, popular and talented. Mom said she had a sweet personality and liked everyone. She was 2 years younger than my mother.
I think that this little box was a place where Grandma put all the memories of her daughter and laid them to rest. I think the dress was Marcia's. Maybe it was made for a "first" dance.
I wish we had known her. I know how important my sister was and is to my boys. There can be such a wonderful connection to an aunt. It's like having a "back up" Mom when you're tired of the one you live with. Another opinion, another point of view and another place to lay your head.
It would have been nice to know my Aunt Marcia, in life, but now I know her a little better ...,because we found this old box of memories.

Please go to Roomies for more Past Due Tuesday posts about old things and stories that need to be told again.
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