I sat down to write a query about Herkimer “diamonds”. Then I read Laurie Buchanan’s post about moving and forgetting or leaving things – “mind-gnawing.”

We’d lived in the parsonage of my husband’s first church as pastor for about ten years. During that time we acquired some of the antiques that still make their home with me. When it came time to pack, the movers came and spent the day loading a 53-foot trailer.

The house was stripped. But on the lawn was our eight-foot heavy duty picnic table, and an antique cabbage slicer. The iron slicer was incredibly heavy. It stood about three feet high. Its purpose was to cut cabbage for animals. Although you could also make a lot of sauerkraut rather quickly. The movers said, “It won’t go in the trailer. It is packed tight.” What did we want to take? We opted for the picnic table being strapped tightly on the trailer doors.

As we drove away the cabbage slicer stood sadly alone on the porch.

During a winter move at another time, two boxes of wanted stuff, some music and my son’s shoes were shoved over to the boxes of trash we were leaving. Many, many times I have wished to have one antique music book with some silly songs in it that I loved, and have never seen printed elsewhere. My son got new shoes, but I have no idea what else was in that box.

Our first big move after four years of college was from a mobile home eight feet by forty-two feet. It required our car and a 6X8 U-Haul. From that city to our first church took a moderate-sized panel truck.

The most complicated move was to Warsaw, Poland. It only required we take personal items to live in a furnished apartment. However, we had to empty a two-story house with filled attic and basement, and my husband’s office. Some had to be sold, some packed for overseas, some to go to our new twenty-eight-foot square cabin. What was left was packed for storage.

In all of these moves I spent ample times waking to write notes, or moving something out of place to remind me of an idea.



Ancestors and Ordinary Lives

The more information I find on my ancestors, the more I realize that they lived the same ordinary lives as I do today.

No, they did not have cell phones, 3-D copying, a world-wide internet, or television which lets us see events in Russia or Britain or Thailand as it is happening. But do those things change our everyday life in our homes or communities.

I remember my great grandmother who always had delicious fresh baked cookies in a jar. She had a garden and chickens she cared for. After my great grandfather died,  her ordinary life continued.

Robert  Kitchell, my eighth great grandfather, was born in 1601 in Rolvenden, Kent, England. There he grew up and owned property. He married Margaret Scheaffe on July 21, 1632. A few years later he sold his land and goods. The Kitchell and Scheaffe families left England together on the ship “Arabella” (probably because they were Puritans who were not welcome in England). In New England they anchored in New Haven Colony. He was the first signer of the Guilford Compact, saying that the Puritans would remain together, while they still on board the ship.

Robert negotiated to purchase land with Squaw Sachem, Shaumpishuh, and settled in Guilford formerly Menuncatuck.

He served as an attorney for Mr. Scheaffe when a Mr. Bishop brought damages against Mr. Shaeffe due to his hogs damaging Mr. Bishop’s corn.

In 1666, Mr. Kitchell was elected to be commissioner at Guilford.

Robert’s and Margaret’s son, Samuel married Grace Pierson, Daughter of Rev. Abraham Pierson. The couple moved to Newark, New Jersey. Robert and Margaret decided to go with them. In Newark he purchased land from the Indians. In the history of Newark, Robert was called “the benefactor of Newark.” The family grew to be very influential in New Jersey.

So Robert and Margaret lived ordinary lives doing those things they thought best for their families.

I honor all those who have made me who I am in my ordinary life. I thank all those people who came before me and paved the way for my life.

Is that very different from wanting to pave the way for our children, when we become the ancestors.


I am past the age when I need to worry about pregnancy. I am not for ending a pregnancy on a whim, but neither should a man have control over any part of my body.

It seems to me that men are the biggest criers over Roe vs. Wade. Do they carry the baby?  Do they pay for the care of an unwanted child?

Do men not know how women get pregnant? Think about it. There are two facilitators for each and every pregnancy. Why are only women required to be punished?

Would men scream “unfair” if women demand that any man causing an unwanted pregnancy spend nine months in jail for their pleasure.

How about requiring a vasectomy? That doesn’t seem quite right though.

Perhaps the man should have to wear one of those fake pregnancy outfits for nine months.

I know there are many women who also decry Roe vs. Wade. I believe the biggest majority of women who get pregnant have a child without trauma.

Not all women are as fortunate. I went through three nine-month pregnancies. From them and a miscarriage, I had one live baby. The second stillbirth nearly over whelmed me mentally and emotionally. I survived because I had an exceedingly understanding husband. I do not believe I could have survived another pregnancy. What would I have done? I don’t know.  Fortunately, I didn’t have to make a decision.

Still when I hear the call to overturn Roe vs. Wade, I go back to asking where is the man in all this. For men, it is easy to say “every life is of value.” This includes the woman’s life, the one who must bear and care for that life.




I have a lone strawberry plant in my backyard which is doing its very best to give me the flavor of fresh-picked summer. So far I’ve had 12 berries, but more are on the way. It is a “forever” plant so throughout the next two months, I may find one or two bright red berries every few days to keep  that first warm berry taste in my mouth.


When I was a child on Dad’s farm, a few wild berries grew along the driveway. I watched them daily as they blossomed, formed green berries, and gradually turned red enough to pick. Wild berries are small, perhaps the size of my little fingernail, but twice as sweet as cultivated ones. If there were two berries or more, I’d share them with Mom and Dad. That very first taste made all that watching so worth it. It was the promise of more and of a sweet summer.


As an adult I continue to cherish the first taste of locally grown berries. Whether from my back yard, the Thursday farmers’ market or those from “pick your own farms,” they are a treasure.


When I have a dish of berries, I struggle deciding whether to make a biscuit shortcake, have them in a bowl with sugar, or just sit down and enjoy them one by one. It is a dilemma!


Celebrate May Day the “Old Fashioned Way.”

Find a nine-inch square of paper. When I was a child we used scraps


of wallpaper. Today I chose a piece of colored computer paper

1. Fold it into a triangle

2. With the fold toward you take one of the points and fold it to the middle of opposite edge.

3. Do the same with the other point.

4. Now fold the front flap of the top into the front bottom cup.

5. Poke or punch a hole into the top flap.

Now go outside and find flowers – even dandelions will be pretty. Tuck them into the pocket or cup you have made.



As children we would hang them on a friend’s door, knock, and then run and hide. The person coming to the door was surprised and hunted down the giver to thank them with a kiss.

* * * * *

You can use this cup for many things. It will hold a drink for a short time.

As a teacher, I always made them for children who lost a tooth at school. It could be safely stored in a lunch pail or coat pocket for the tooth fairy.

Mostly I remember the fun we had making these baskets at school and then going home to search for flowers. I’d beg my mother to let me go down by the creek where I knew the May flowers were in blossom along with purple, white, and yellow violets. I never really went alone because Chum, our cowdog, would not let me. He assumed the duty of protecting me no matter wherever I wandered.



Icicle lights have hung on the front of my porch since the beginning of Advent. Now they are gone back into hiding for several months. Christmas was four months ago, but the cold weather has remained. The question everyone in the Northeast is asking: When will Spring finally arrive?

My daffodils are up and in blossom, so I feel lucky. On a pleasant day a few weeks ago, I cut and pulled away the dead leaves from last year’s plants. The perennials in my small garden are sending up sprouts and tentative new growth, but they too are longing for warm weather to do their stuff.

The only plants that seem to have no problem are the grass and wild garlic. Of course, I don’t want them where they’ve chosen to grow.

The sky is gray. Where is the sun and warmth we seek?

Know this! It will get hot this summer and we will be moaning about it. It is always safe to complain about the weather. Wait a minute, day, or week—it will change.






April 9 is my childhood friend’s birthday. The date is like a holiday in my mind.

How long we’ve been friends? I don’t know. We lived in farm country. We probably went to the Sanford Methodist Church Sunday school together before we started first grade in the Sanford country school. Neither building exists today. Now we live hundreds of miles from one another with but a few annual contacts.

Yesterday I called to wish her “Happy Birthday.” We laughed about the stuff we did as kids.

She remembered the float we’d built on my dad’s pickup truck. We were 4-H members with my mother as our leader. We couldn’t remember what we did although she thought it had to do with cream cheese and sandwiches. This morning my 4-H Achievement book, I’ve kept from those years, yielded pictures of us in white uniforms and caps.

Somehow it must have demonstrated the 1946 Labor Day Parade theme Food for Europe. Our float placed third.



The pictures were taken in front of my house. The float was done totally in green and white.