Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Sunday, December 4, 2011
I call this HOPE.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
I myself have always just considered windmills just as decorative objects, not really considering their use--something to do with water?? Being a woman with no sisters, married to a man who had 6 brothers and no sisters, being a mother of 3 boys and no daughters, and being a grandmother to 3 boys and only 1 grandaughter (totally a new experience for me!), it was time once again to find out what the fascination was about these windmills, or was I thinking, "Okay, we're both retired, and we need to find some common interests that both of us can share in our days together."
Now that we're both retired, it's a whole new world for us this year. Think about it. Never in our lives were we both without jobs at the same time!!! My mother-in-law told me this would not be a good idea--did she know something I didn't know? After all, she had a husband and still has 7 sons!!! I felt that if we had the opportunity to be retired and be in good health, that's what we should do! Why wait until you get sick before you head off for the sunset.
Our retirement, I'm finding out, is quite an adjustment. We're not travelers per se, and we don't pick up and go very easily--something we'll have to learn! We're lucky to have our own varied interests, but there needs to be some common ground to further promote the days spent together in our perfect state of marital bliss we have experienced our whole married lives! You got it right--I'm joking! Why should retirement be any easier than working and raising 3 sons! The work is just beginning, my friends, so thus the windmill museum!!! At the same, I feared going to the museum because Steve has always threatened to build his own windmill in front of our house!!!
Reflecting now, I learned a lot about windmills, about my husband, and about myself.
I knew a little about some of these things, but reminded myself of one of the reasons I married this man--he has always had an easy way about him. "They" say why you marry your husband will drive you crazy and later, and it has (another story)!!! But that is part of Steve's charm--easy-going and pensive. Because he is a man, you won't find out everything you want to know unless a magical moment presents itself. The windmills did present the magical moment. I found out the fascination of windmills for him has always been in the wind that can drive this machine to supply water and flour. It also reminded him of his paternal grandfather's farm.
A windmill was a source of play for him and his 6 brothers when they visited Grandpa's farm. The windmill was definitely a form of play. When the boys continued to pump water to fill the overflowing bucket, Grandma would always complain they were wasting water--if Grandma could only see what goes on today!!!! If they weren't pumping the handle, the boys were climbing the cross members on the side of the windmill frame.
Just below the windmill veins was the mechanical platform that was used to help grease the gear box. This was a great place for boys to sit and dangle their feet until Mom screamed you down before you fell to your death!! If the windmill caught a sudden gust, the whole windmill could turn and off would come some little boys!!
For myself, I have learned that while my husband traveled all the paths of the outdoor windmill museum, I was following my own path--so usually like our interests. I was fascinated by the koi pond located at the beginning of the path and talking to the caretaker who noticed my fascination with the koi. I also noticed a frog on the shore of the pond and took pictures of him, too! Then I was reminded of the windmills when I looked up. Okay, where will I be lead to now? I never was really fascinated by windmills other than to notice their beauty in a farm scene. I saw my husband on his own path, as usual, following the windmills.
I sat down on one of the few benches on this utterly beautiful, fall day and took some pictures of the windmills and the colorful trees behind them. I noticed only two windmills were actually turning on this very calm day. One windmill was making a rusty, grinding sound, and another was doing a better job of rotating in the soft breeze, making a creaking sound. Both windmills said to me, "Look at me. Look at me. I'm still as good as I was 'in the day,' and I'm proud." That's me though at the windmill museum!
I heard my husband comment later, "I traveled through the whole path of windmills, and there she was mesmerized by koi!"
This is why I'm working so hard on our retirement!
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Hoping the flowers will last as long as the frost keeps its bite.
Clipping the flowers,
Arranging them in a clear vase which will soon be empty.
Walking the path,
Reminiscing the warmth that enveloped sandaled feet.
Feeling the sun,
Remembering it in early morning and late at night.
Watching the campfire,
Burning bright as the moon.
Tasting the garden,
Relishing tomatoes, peppers, and pumpkins.
Rustling the leaves,
Changing with color to yellow and red.
Boating the lake,
Feeling the coolness more than ever.
Entering the night,
Opening the window to sleep.
Awaiting the crisp air,
Leaving the cherished warmth behind.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
a sunset's color.
a dog's whimper.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Shadows cast early.
Cicadas play songs.
Petunias lose flair.
Veggies grow hardy.
Flowers go to seed.
Birds meet in flocks.
Grass begs for water.
Fairs bring their bounties.
Schools replace sand toys.
Busses drone down roads.
Children opt for indoors.
Parents: "We made it!"
For fall is peeking through
And winter's portal will open,
So celebrate summer's twilight
With all its warmth and beauty still.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Leaving the teaching field for retirement does not let one just ride off into the sunset as I thought I would.
More personal activities take precedence now which is the greatest part of retirement, and I find teaching is still a large part of me but on a different scale. I still want to create, read, write and be an influence. Trying to influence 80 students every day for 180 days a year was becoming quite an overwhelming task for me in the last few years before retirement. It was time to go to a different place.
My arena now consists of 2-4 children who are all different ages and have different needs--mainly 2 1/2 years to 6 1/2 years. There are 3 boys and one girl. I cannot be with them 180 days a year, but I can make a difference when I am with them. I am a grandparent, and I love being with them especially when they create.
We all have our writers notebooks now--some are writing, and some are just drawing. I am tickled to death especially when Lilly (4 1/2) finds and grabs her notebook without prompting and says, "I'm ready." We try to write/draw with "No walk, no talk"--really hard to do!!! Noah (4 1/2) likes to print his name and others words with his race car drawings. Lucas (6 1/2) prints sentences with many different drawings, and James (2 1/2) loves markers and circles!
Monday, June 6, 2011
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
In my life after college, I've never missed a beat living with a full backyard. I am blessed and grateful for this. I watched my one set of grandchildren, Noah and James, play two days ago on the ground, tumbling, running, jumping, and laughing in the soft, green, sweet-smelling odor of dirt and grass!! Also, nothing can beat lying on your back and looking up into the big, blue sky, feeling and being a real part of the green earth. Lawns can never be underrated!
In May of 1965, the year I graduated from high school, I wrote an essay about My Backyard for English class. I had forgotten about some of these backyard memories I wrote about, and the essay helped me remember. I guess my backyard left an impression on me even into my high school days when the yard was vacated as a playground and traded for teenage tanning and Kodak photos.
I have alluded to my backyard in my post about The Clothes Line. The lines became the basis for huge tents out of blankets and clothespins besides being where the weekly wash hung. My yard also became a sandy beach when I wanted it to become one. The tide that came in was the slow descent of the sun behind a large tree that cast a shadow. The yard also became a ballroom where my partner, the hoola hoop, and I danced and twirled under the bright sun and breezy evenings. Countless tag games took place with neighborhood kids. I remember playing here and around the neighborhood in the summer evening, becoming sweaty and thirsty for water that tasted "Oh, so good!"
There was also a low point in the middle of the yard that became my caldron filled with a mixture of sour lettuce, mud, and green onion tops from the garden behind the white cement bricks that kept the raised garden from the grass. It was sometimes my job to plant the umpteen onion bulbs every year. There were also rose bushes, tulips, daffodils, and many other plants. Next to our yard was the property where Mrs. White lived with her sister. She had sweet smelling lily-of-the-valley plants galore. Bright, fragrant, fuscia four o'clocks grew by the back concrete steps which was a good place to sit and think or cry and wish.
Winter days were filled with heavy snows that led to snowball fights with my brother Richard and his friends. The snow was so high, we could build tunnels, caves, and forts.
As I write about my apartment home so far, I am realizing that I had praiseworthy, outdoor memories of the building on 6th Avenue. This leads me to my next and final part of my childhood home--the ten family apartments and the basement.
Monday, May 2, 2011
Since the eastside of my brick building had a wooden porch, glider, and steps with access to the best alley playground ever with its dramatic rain flow to one of the city's sewers, many hours were played out during sunny or stormy days.
The front side of 517 East 6th Avenue definitely had its own glamour, and the west side presented itself as a place to play pretend and more games. I want to leave the backyard last as this was the best and largest playground ever!!
When you walked down the 6th Avenue sidewalk, coming from my school (2 blocks away), you noticed as you approached the red brick building, the east side porch, of course, and the three floors of windows. The building had two stories but also had a basement and three basement flats. These basement windows always had blinds or curtains, so people on the outside couldn't look down into the apartments--never liked this floor of apartments except for one thing. My grandmother or as we called her "Baba" lived there later with my Uncle Walter. It was below ground, lower than the world, dark, and gloomy. More on the basement later.
As you walked past the first set of windows, you could see the front door to the building. This was home. It was a heavy brown door with a large window at the top and small windows on either side. There were also paned windows above the door. The door opened heavily and closed itself with ease. On the right were steps going to the first floor and on the left were steps going down to the basement. Since both sets of steps were curved, I remember falling down and up them frequently.
Before you chose which stairs to take, a set of 10 golden-like mail boxes all in one row were right in front of you. The apartment numbers were on the front with the last names of tenants inside when the postman opened all of them at once. One had to have a key in order to get the mail. If you looked above the boxes, you would see a short runway of a hall with a wooden bannister and two apartments on either side. I rather liked the looks of the entrance--plenty of light, open, and 10 friendly mailboxes where birthday cards, Christmas cards, and letters arrived--a highlight to everyone's day!
Out the door again and on to the west side of the building, we had bushes instead of a fence surrounding this side of the yard. I remember having to trim them when I was older and keeping them even. I also had other jobs to do around the apartment building because my Auntie Mary owned it, and my family lived in it.
On this side was an enclosed porch on the first floor the second with a large set of 7-8 (?) concrete steps with concrete bannisters leading down and out of the building. The steps were where the game Captain May I was played over and over. It was also the best place to take group pictures for birthday parties or to just sit on especially on the bannisters. The enclosed porch housed a pretend store and newspaper office. One summer, we held play weddings because some how we gathered fancy and formal clothing.
We also waited for the Dixie Dairy Man there who gave us pieces of ice out of his truck and then delivered the gallons of milk to our apartment doors. We also watched for the ice cream man and bought banana popsicles! There was an egg man who also delivered "fresh" eggs in a basket to whomever, but who bought them, we don't know. The sidewalk in front of the west side was where one could be pretty much alone, playing under the trees or walking down the block.
Those are the good thoughts/memories of the front and west side of the brick apartment that raised me. Thanks for being with me as I try to picture my home as I remember it.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
Monday, April 11, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Friday, April 1, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Late in the morning or afternoon, the robin would perch himself on a small berry tree in our native plant garden in the backyard. I just thought this robin was a fluke. On January 21 in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, a picture appeared of a robin with the caption of "A robin sings as it rests on a branch during snow showers Thursday afternoon in Fort Wayne." On January 26, I saw three robins!