Old Writing: Part 8::School

I am going to guess this was 4th grade. It was written in cursive and I think we had fruit breaks in 4th grade and another piece that looks identical is from fall of 1966. This was the year I had Mrs. Tidwell, an opera singer-shaped single mother who lamented not being an opera singer, loved Hawaii and for some reason had a huge model of the Marna City building complex in her classroom. I despised Mrs. Tidwell.


I like school because we have a fruit break every morning. I don’t like school because I don’t finish my work sometimes. I like school when we have records to play. I don’t like school when we have a short recess. I like school when it’s warm to walk to school. I don’t like school when we have hard work. I like school when we have parties. I don’t like school when we play outside when it is cold. I like school when I am not at school. I don’t  like school when I don’t bring any fruit. I like school when it’s fall and leaves change color. I don’t like school when I get hurt at school. I like school when I go outside and play. I don’t like school when we have a fire drill sometimes. I like school when we have a fire drill sometimes. I don’t like school when I don’t get a ball. I like school when I get a ball.

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Mom’s Artwork: Exhibit 3: Man With a Camera

This piece has no date, but it was Lesson 21, Assignment 2. Therefore it was completed after the lighthouse if the lessons were completed in order.

man with a camera

Man With a Camera

The artists at the Famous Artist School sent the painting back with critiques via a piece of translucent paper over the original piece and suggestions in writing and on the drawing itself:

critiques of man with a camera

Critiques of Man With a Camera

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Dad and friends at the Shangri La

Found this among the photographs/letters/recipes/magazine clippings at Mom’s house. I wish I knew where the Shangri-La Bar was located. The photo was inside a two-fold handmade card with the Shangri-La Bar drawing taped to the front. On the inside, facing the photo are the addresses of the other sailors.This is not politically correct and quite offensive, but this was probably 1949, so let’s give it a pass. Anyway, that woman was probably about to turn around and give the wolves a piece of her mind.

Three wolves dressed in navy gear at a bar

Shangri-La Bar. Front of a handmade card

I love the look on the bartender’s face. These days we’d call it photobombing.

Four sailors and a bartender

Dad (far left) and friends.

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Mom’s Artwork: Exhibit 2: Lighthouse in Several Shades of Gray

This piece was completed July 27, 1967. It was lesson 1B, Assignment 2. Opaque Plate – 4. She was 32 when she painted this. I was 10, soon to be 11. Kevin was 4.

While my mother was not completely personally unfamiliar with real lighthouses in 1967 — she probably saw the Two Rivers lighthouses many times on her trips there to visit family — I don’t think she’d seen one that looked like this, on rocky cliffs. The idea of this drawing/painting was likely taken from a magazine photo.

I like the serenity of this piece. The ocean (or lake) is completely calm. Not a ripple or wave in sight. The sky is either cloudless or completely overcast. It must be dusk or dawn since the lighthouse is lit and it seems like there is a hint of light on the horizon. It could be anytime in between, though, and the glow is a city on the other side of a large lake.

The small house’s door seems too big, compared to the size of the lighthouse, but maybe it was a short lighthouse on top of a large hill.


Lighthouse in several shades of gray

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15 Ways to a Man’s Heart

I am nearly at the bottom of the last box of memorabilia I brought from my mom’s house — at least the last box from the most recent trip. I’ve still got to sort everything and put things in their proper places, but at least I don’t have any more sealed boxes.

My favorite find yesterday was a Zip-Loc(R) bag of recipes, some clipped from magazines, some handwritten, some typed. There was even a two-page menu for a Swedish dinner party from someone’s high school home economics class (1934).

I liked this particular trifold from Betty Crocker. Especially the 5th page. And the recipe for Spaghetti Loaf with Shrimp Sauce. Yum!

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RAS 4: Charlotte Gray — Sebastian Faulks

Charlotte GrayOh dear me God. I am so glad I have finally finished this book. I would have stopped, but didn’t want to give it away (like I had to with The Bronte Myth).

Like The Book of Ruth, I don’t know where the book came from, I just remember remembering that we owned it shortly after I saw the tail end of the film, Charlotte Gray, and thinking that the ending was just too romantic then looking at the ending of the book and feeling righteous in my assessment.

Where to begin? I cannot say I liked Charlotte Gray. But I didn’t hate it either. I didn’t like the author’s style of writing the first third of the book, it reeked of man-writing. (just a type of writing I can’t explain but I dislike)

The book is about a Scottish woman during World War II who joins the special services and flies to France to deliver a message. She discovers that her lover has gone missing and resolves to stick around German-occupied France to try to help him. While in France she meets French folks involved in the Resistance and joins forces with them. There are sub-plots, some heart-heartwrenching, some horrifying, others boring.

The end of the book was much more interesting and kept my attention, but come on, it took me nearly two years to read this book. I don’t think I will be reading another book by Faulks, at least not until I am done with this project.

Stats: 401 pages (paperback and Kindle version). Started June 2015. Finished March 18, 2017.



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Old Writing: Part 7::What Do I Want to Be?

It seems like this was from a prompt. I wrote it in 1969 so that would have made me going on 13 years old. I was either in 5th or 6th grade.

Dona P. 23

What Do I Want to Be?

What do I want to be? Well, I’ll tell you. I want to be a Kindergarten teacher. I want to be a book writer also. I want to write because I like to read and the writers now don’t write enough books to keep me busy reading so I if am a book writer I can have a side job as a Kindergarten teacher or vice versa.

I want to be a kindergarten teacher because I adore small children. I would not like to be any other grade teacher except maybe first grade.

So there, I told you my secret. I’ll probably change my mind because I have in the past, many times. For instance, I used to want to be a surgical nurse. But don’t you think that’s too gory?

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Mom’s Artwork: Exhibit 1: Bottles with Martini

Among other things, my mother was an artist. She dabbled in lots of crafty things, but she held a certificate that she was actually an artist — or at least that she finished coursework to be an artist. She took a correspondence course from, I think, the Famous Artists School. I was young, but I remember her doing her artwork and sending it in to be graded. The books from the art school are still at the house in Elgin. Here, I think, is one of the pieces she created for the course. I think she might have hung this in the house at one time. I certainly remember it.

Two bottles, one orange and one yellow, and a martini.

Bottles with Martini

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Greeting cards from yesteryear: Card 1 “Happy Birthday”

Among Mom’s things are many greeting cards. I am tossing most of them, but there are a few that have caught my eye because they remind me of the past. Here’s a birthday greeting. I don’t know who the card was for, nor do I recognize the names of the people who sent it.

Green greeting card with rural scene and Happy Birthday written at the top

“Happy Birthday”

continuation of drawing from front and greeting

You’re far away, but every day brings special thoughts of you, of happy times we used to have and things we used to do, so, with this “Happy Birthday” go good wishes from the heart of one who thinks a lot of you although we’re far apart. From Walter, Evajeanne, and Christine Anne.

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Probably the best gift I ever gave anyone was the Christmas I gave my brother a puppy. He’d recently lost his dog, Franz, and somehow Dean and I found out about a litter of puppies that were being given away in Elgin. Dean and I picked out a female, brought it to my apartment for a few days, then presented it to Kevin on Christmas Day.

I think he liked her.

Dog with a bow

The best gift ever

Tanner biting Kevin's fingers

Sharp puppy teeth

Kevin named her Tanner and she grew up to be a wonderful companion. Unfortunately, however, she only lived about 18 months. Our next door neighbor misused weed killer near the fence that separated our properties and it eventually killed Tanner as well as his own dog.

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