I found this bit of writing when looking through my mother’s photograph album.

The things I miss and the memories I cherish … .

I am an old lady and this is the day before Easter.

We only had one child, a blond-headed baby girl named Phyllis, who we called Dottie as she was very small.

I miss the first bouquets of spring of a few yellow dandelion and perhaps a violet or two, clutched tight in a grubby little hand and given to me in love to put in a vase.

I also miss the May baskets the neighbor’s children hung on our door, who would come in for ice cream and cake afterwards. Now it seems the children don’t have time for the simple joys of life anymore.

I also miss the country schools and the programs put on in the old country church, and the happy little faces when Santa Claus came in.

These are just a few of the things that take me back many years. They were the good old days when we lived on the farm and you had neighbors who cared about you, and would always help each other out, if needed.

We had lots of hard work, but many pleasant memories, never forgotten.

We have lost many dear friends through out the years and made new ones also, but the memories linger on–never to be forgotten.

Now it’s my turn to be the old lady. I too remember

those days as a child on the farm and the country school.



Note: My husband, Richard and I moved to Warsaw, Poland, where he served as pastor of the Warsaw International Church for four years. One of the first letters I wrote:

18 September 1989

Dear Fran,

I will send a headliner until I have time to cover all the news in depth.

We are here comfortably ensconced in our third floor flat (if you’re British). Yesterday afternoon we moved rugs and furniture around so that it now feels more like ours. Probably if the furniture had been this way to start with, we’d have moved it the other way, but one has to redo any nest to get it feeling right.

Last night we sat in our newly arranged living room with our tea playing Scrabble and the radio playing on a Polish station. It plays very nice music some of the time and sometimes it’s just talk, which we cannot understand, of course, but the voices are pleasant and well-modulated. They may be talking about the music, selling communism, political lectures, talking about great books, or telling jokes.

Shopping here is a major occupation and sometimes a chore, I would guess. I understand that most Polish women spend two hours a day shopping. Tomorrow, I’m to have my first outing at a Polish supermarket. I’m told one must often wait to get a basket or cart. That’s how they control the number of people in the store. Then you must ask for what you want and decide if you want it. Then you are given a slip of paper to take to another person and place to pay for your items.

Saturday, Richard and I went exploring up a major shopping street near us. We finally bought some apples from an older lady on a corner—drops I think that she found. They were cheap. Then we purchased cauliflower, onions, carrots, dried peas, lettuce, tomatoes and some flowers. We got home and figured we’d spent about fifty cents.

Today I bought a large plant, bread rolls and a crystal vase. In all, I spent 17,600 złoty, or about $1.75. I changed $100 bill for 970,000 złoty. It’s a real lesson in a different economic system.

Note: When we left four years later, Poland had gone from a state system to a private system. These amazing prices had gone away. For Polish low wage earners, it was causing problems.



The decision I must make each day when I rise. What will I do today? Because I’m no longer employed, it is more open than for people who must go to a job each morning. Still there are decisions.

How do I feel? Well? Happy? Tired? Sad? Put upon? The answer to this may choose my clothing for the day. How do I want to appear? Don’t care? Pretty? In charge?

An instance wanting to appear in charge happened to me one day when as an elementary teacher, I was scheduled to meet with parents who had demeaned a teacher at a previous parent-teacher conference.

I chose a skirt and blouse, a blazer, and took high-heeled shoes with me for the interview. Apparently looking professional and believable, those parents agreed with my assessment and offered no negative comment, as they had when the other teacher, dressed in less formal clothing, told them the same thing.  Was it my clothing? I can’t prove it, but I think the formality of my dress changed their attitude.

Think about a particular piece of clothing and why you love or hate it? If you hate it, do you feel grumpy wearing it? If you love it, do you feel happy?

An experiment to try. If you awake tired for some reason, put on something bright and happy—your favorite skirt of slacks. Choose bright colors. If someone says how nice you look, say “Thank you” and smile. I’m willing to bet you won’t feel as tired.

Give it a try!






Words and Their Uses

Yes, words matter. Words come from our lips–speak without thinking of the harm and hurt they may cause. Words spoken that show caring and love which may give peace to another.

Words written in truth or lies. They matter.

Be careful with your words. Know that you are giving the truth of a matter before repeating them.

Words written to

Wanderings of an Elusive Mind

I love words. I love playing with words. I respect words, and what they can do to uplift or bring down. Build or destroy. Comfort or agitate. Words should be treated with caution, I believe, because words are forever. Though invisible when spoken, they cling, worm their way into your subconscious. When written, they do the same, but they are more obvious, more readily reviewed in total, without variation.

Stating the obvious, I am now putting words on “paper” (digital though it may be), and those words will become part of me, part of my life, part of my identity. Because they are “out there”, for any who wish to read. To quote. To misquote. Which leads me to the purpose of this blog, my realization that words taken out of context, words distorted to represent what I want them to rather than the whole truth, pushes my buttons faster…

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When the Mind Opens . . .

All these thoughts make me smile because they are so familiar. Sadness too for all the people being hurt by Mother Nature in our world as well as the victims of hatred and meanness of leaders around the world.

Wanderings of an Elusive Mind

You never know what might pour out. There are a lot of daily duties in life that don’t require much thought, or any thought, or any thought that matters at least. It’s at those times I sometimes think my mind works the hardest – at going nowhere with any semblance of coherence, certainly, but go it does. At odd times like those, I think things like this:

Looking at the wardrobe I am accruing for fall/winter/spring – because I have grown weary of the costume for casual wear of jeans/t-shirts/sweatshirts that I have worn for oh so manner years – and because as I grow older, what becomes the most important thing is comfort of what I’m wearing. There are certain items of clothing we females have been taught we must wear that will never ever be truly comfortable, and we deal with those – but why not seek out…

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This week I canned five jars of tomatoes and two of tomato juice. This is something I’ve done most of my life.

Simultaneously, I have been re-editing my children’s novel about life on a dairy farm during World War II. In it the protagonist realizes that summer is all about preparing for winter. The farmer puts hay in the barn to feed his animals. The farmer’s wife cans strawberries, makes jam, and gathers vegetables from the garden to can and store in the cellar. The ten-year-old girls are called to help inside and outside.

I’ve realized that while I can go to the grocery any day and buy tomatoes, fresh berries, and vegetables of all kinds—fresh, frozen, or canned—there is a part of me that finds comfort in having a supply of my own prepared food in my cupboards.

When I want to prepare a recipe, I may not have the exact ingredients but I always seem to have substitutes for whatever is called for. There is something about being prepared for whatever may arise that was built into my psychic that drives me.


Yesterday morning, I did something fun for myself. I sat and played written piano music instead of just playing a bunch of notes or chords as I passed by the piano.

After muddling through a couple of songs, I remembered I’d played the Prelude in C# Minor by Rachmaninoff for my piano kids recital about the last year I taught in Afton. The Prelude has a series of chords that require overlapping your hands. The first bars were terrible, but as I came to the repeat of those few measures my fingers remembered what they’ve been taught and played them without my thought.

It’s interesting to me that your fingers do remember. I didn’t have to read every note.

A concert pianist once told me he could play “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin anytime because “it’s under my fingers.”

I think each of us has something under our fingers. If you work at a computer as a writer, typist, or any job requiring reports, you do not think “I must press the little finger on my left hand for “a”. You see “a” as a word or in a phrase and your fingers remember.

I watched my accountant use his calculator at lightning speed. He sees a number and it is immediately appears on his screen.

No matter what keyboard you lay your fingers on, your fingers recognize what they do there. True sometimes they get confused and strike the wrong letter, number, or sour note, but they also immediately recognize their error.

What is that connection between the tips of your fingers and the brain that allows for this memory? I’m sure it’s been studied, but I don’t know the answer, do you?