Times have changed..the sweet smell of pine can always be purchased in a spray can from the store.
The Houghton Lake Resorter
A weekly newspaper in Houghton Lake, Michigan
MUSINGS OF A HOMEMAKER..Written by me at the age of 28..
The Christmas tree stands in the corner, colorful and lonely. Gaily wrapped gifts no longer gather beneath its branches. The sweet smell of pine no longer remains in the air.
Shiny bicycles and curly haired dolls have disappeared from view.
The annual celebration of the birth of Christ
has filled our expectations.
Glittering and once lovely wrappings lie crushed in empty cartons awaiting their disposal. Under the tree lies a ribbon of red reminding us of our passion for loving. Nearby lie wrinkled bows; blue for the richness of living, gold for the bright rays of learning, and green for the promise of new life in the coming year.
Mixed emotions now wrap our package of memories; sadness and laughter, hope and regret, faith and tenderness, and a colorful memory of the quickly fleeting twelve months.
1963 has flown away as swiftly as hummingbird’s wings, never pausing for more than a fleeting moment to enjoy the sweet nectar provided by the flowers of life.
The approaching year offers twelve new months to store more gifts. Once again, at the end of the new year, we will have a treasure of memories both happy and sad. We’re starting anew.
The final design will be original, personal and full of colorful hues shading the months ahead with a rainbow of memories.
Gracious living to you and yours in the new year of 1964.
And now…at the age of 84..
(How times have changed.)
The sweet smell of pine can always be purchased in a spray can from the store.
The artificial tree is stored in a box to be retrieved from the storage room each December.
There are no pine needles to be vacuumed and no shiny trucks in the corner. There are no more snowy excursions to the nearby woods to look for the perfect tree which was to be evenly proportioned on at least three sides.
(We always turned the flat side toward the window.)
We now delight in flannel shirts and an occasional bottle of after-shave. Perhaps there will be a sweater for me and a current book I’ve been thinking about.
The family is here and that’s the best part of all.
In a few moments the gifts are unwrapped and the shirts are checked to make sure they will fit the intended one. Paper and bow must be carefully folded and used again next year.
The grandchildren are now in their thirties but determined to spend Christmas morning at the farm.
Our Christmas morning tradition is to have breakfast together, open gifts and visit. It’s a time for recalling all the memories of years gone by.
We now have two daughters-in-law, a granddaughter -in-law and a grandson-in-law, bringing us three beautiful great granddaughters.
It’s a happy time.
We once gave our 6-year-old granddaughter a goat for Christmas. Recalling her expression when she found “Peppy” in a special pen in the barn with a big red bow tied around his neck, brings a sweet memory and laughter each year.
The years bring new beginnings.
Life becomes more precious as each year passes. The future is shorter and the years went by too quickly.
One year can bring many changes.
My husband, Don and our son Tim, have passed on to another life. I’m blessed with our three great-granddaughters to love and enjoy in the coming years.
A small artificial Christmas tree stands proudly before the east window. Sixty years have passed in this wonderful old farm home where memories are enjoyed every day.
Listening closely to commercials, occasionally gives me food for thought, but not often.
I need to hear one many times before the substance finally sinks into my thoughts.
Today, this commercial got my undivided attention.
Apparently, a certain pill “can” help to make old folks, like me, remember things better. It is highly recommended by “pharmacists”. Did you get that?
Of course it is!
No comment was given by the medical society. No comment given by those who may have used it and remembered where they left their glasses. No comment by old friends who suddenly remembered the name of their kindergarten teacher in 1940. No comment was offered by my former neighbor who recommended it to me but couldn’t remember the name on the bottle she kept in her cupboard.
( Actually, she couldn’t remember which cupboard she kept it in either.)
I certainly don’t want to discourage anyone from taking this remarkable antidote (or is it anecdote?) regarding loss of memory brought on by the aging process.
As a young girl, I was asked to baby sit for my infant nephew while my sister and her husband went out for the evening.
The child had a slight cold. My sister’s instructions were to give him a spoon full of cough medicine from a bottle she had placed on the kitchen counter.
When it was time to give him the medicine, I picked up the bottle, poured the liquid into a spoon and offered it to the baby; not bothering to turn on the light. The baby coughed and cried. He choked and spit out most of the medicine on his pajamas. I didn’t feel it was an unusual response to bad tasting medicine. Turning on the kitchen light to assess the situation, I saw another bottle sitting on the counter.
Reading the label on the bottle I had used, it was suddenly clear the liquid I had given the baby was Tincture of Benzine Compound, a substance used in vaporizers for the easing of breathing problems. The cough medicine, which I had been instructed to give, was in a second bottle on the counter, which was not noticeable to me in the darkened kitchen.
I was devastated that this baby I loved so much could have been poisoned by my irresponsible action. (He was fine and suffered no ill effects from my carelessness.) (see note at bottom of article)
Because of that experience, I’ve adopted a discipline that has served me (and others) throughout my life. Never administer, nor take, medication without first checking the bottle’s ingredients and directions, in the light.
This custom has served me well.
I’ve been thinking. When the habit of attending church becomes customary to us, we are ready to live, worship and praise. We are able to love and be loved, to listen and share His word within the congregation of Christ on Sunday morning. We are not burdened with a weekly decision.
This custom serves us well.
When we make a decision to be in a study group with other Christians, on Sunday morning or another time during the week, we place ourselves in a position to grow. We are in a position to incorporate the meaning of His Word into our lives.
It becomes our custom.
Jesus gave us the example by His own life. “He went to the synagogue, as was His custom”….Are your customs serving you well?
Are your customs serving Him well?
The answer may save your life.
Lord, teach us your ways. Shine your light on us. Help us to develop customs that will allow us to be used by you in your ministries..Amen
(Note: My “infant” nephew is now 67 years of age..enjoying retirement and a happy life.)
Back to the days of raising a family. We were enjoying summers at home. This article was written for the Houghton Lake Resorter, the weekly newspaper in my home town. The time was the early sixties. My boys were 13, 11, and 7. Dad was working at his Ace Hardware seven days a week. I was a stay at home Mom.The editor’s instructions were: “Write about any subject you choose”. Readers were invited to send recipes which were printed at the end of my column.
LET’S EAT OUTDOORS TONIGHT!
Here we are in the midst of the “let’s eat outdoors” season, and it’s a hearty and appetizing family time for all ages.
Just mention grilled steaks and you’ll find Dad with eyes aglow and seasoning in hand preparing to take over at least this one chore from Mom.
For him, the grill must be at a precise measure above the coals. The steak must be of proper quality and thickness. No one is allowed to infringe on his outdoor culinary domain. The man who enjoys this natural cooking is quite adept at presenting a pleasing and palatable taste treat for family and friends.
Cooking outside is relaxing for him. It is a fanciful comparison to his usual work-a-day routine. His approach is precise and scientific. He’s in command.
Let’s not overlook the fact that Mom also enjoys Dad’s taking over in the grilling department. The kids are wild about grassy carpets that lap up spilled milk. There’s a noticeable lack of such parental reminders as “don’t slouch” and “don’t talk so much” and “for heaven’s sake haven’t you eaten enough?”
Outdoor eating time is fun time and the entire family welcomes the change of routine and the cooling breezes after a warm day engaged in summertime tasks.
June, July and August are the months when hot dogs, hamburgers and potato salad become household words. Fried chicken, ham and iced tea are old standbys that we’ve come to love and enjoy.
Today’s family shares memories of the days when the picnic table beckoned and the family awaited the enjoyment of the outdoor eating season
* * *
Sounds wonderful, although not nearly as poetic as our memories would like us to think.
The grill now resides in a lonely spot on the deck.
Dad still does the grilling, then brings the meat into the kitchen. Hamburgers or pork chops, they will be eaten at the table setting which Mom has prepared. There we find two plates, two glasses of something, forks, knives, spoons and two slices of bread.
The call to dine finds us already at the table.
There are no reminders about slouching or talking too much. Slouching is permitted. There’s not much to talk about. The chops have been joined with potato salad, Dad’s baked beans and Mom’s cookies.
Iced tea remains a necessity.
The picnic table broke a leg.
It had to be sent to a table retirement home.
Let’s eat indoors tonight.
* * *
Once again, times have changed.
Now it’s easier for me to go to a nearby restaurant and order a salad or a hamburger and a cup of coffee.
My husband and one of our sons have passed to their next life. Another son lives “downstate” and the youngest remains in our home town. Grand-kids have homes and children of their own along with busy lives.
That’s life and it’s still wonderful.
There are many plans for the future with no limitations of time.
1964 – It should be of increasing concern to America at large that we are becoming hopelessly addicted to the output of the beckoning television networks. I, for one, have resisted the temptation mightily.
Musings of a Homemaker (Houghton Lake Resorter)
Houghton Lake, Michigan
(Weekly Newspaper) 1964
It should be of increasing concern to America at large that we are becoming hopelessly addicted to the output of the beckoning television networks. I, for one, have resisted the temptation mightily.
The 21 inch screen which sits on the north side of our living room holds little or no attraction for me. Only recently, I remarked to my husband, (as I left the breakfast table to eat with Hugh Downs “Today Show” in the living room), “Television is not interesting to me, not with my busy mornings.”
Later, as my older son left for school just as Mr. Green Jeans was showing Captain Kangaroo the baby chicks, I couldn’t help but wonder if we aren’t ruining our children’s minds by letting them watch so much television. ( The program was almost over, so I watched the rest of the Captain’s program in my housecoat after the children had gone.)
While clearing up the kitchen and absorbing the intricacies of “American Government”, my thoughts strayed to carefree summer days when I could relax and watch the “Detroit Tigers” ball games which are all televised.
After exercising with “Ed Allen” and enjoying my mid-morning coffee break with “Lucy”, I turned off the television, turned on the radio, and set its timer so it would turn off when “Pete and Gladys” was over.”
My kindergarten son was off to afternoon session when the “CBS Mid-day News” had finished. After lunch I took some time to watch my favorite serial,
“As The World Turns” which I’ve watched nearly every day for the past eight years, is only half an hour. One could scarcely call that an addiction.
The kids get home from school 20 minutes after “The Secret Storm” and 20 minutes before “News, Weather, and Sports” I usually try to have supper on the stove.
On Monday night, my husband leaves for his bowling league just before “The Donna Reed Show”. Tuesdays find me missing, but not by far, (as I leave for my own bowling league at the local lanes), “Mr. Novak” and “Red Skelton”.
We try to visit our folks on Wednesdays at 5 minutes to “The Virginian”, (they have color television and we haven’t acquired one at this time). Thursdays, about a quarter to “Dr.Kildare”, I like to fix popcorn and soft drinks to spend a most enjoyable evening of relaxing with television.
Fridays bring evening grocery shopping. By 10 minutes to “Jack Paar” I’m ready to rest. Groceries are put away for another week.
On Saturday, of course, it’s family night with our kids staying up until almost “Saturday Night at the Movies” and then they must go to bed so they won’t be too tired to watch “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” on Sunday evening. I thoroughly believe in letting the young ones watch special programs of such high quality.
You know, now that I think about it, it’s difficult to believe that there are people in this world who get so wrapped up in television viewing they scarcely ever use a clock.
I just cannot understand…
I’m not sure my viewing schedule has changed too much. I have many more choices. The television screen is larger. Programs are many and I have time alone. My children have grown to adulthood and have homes of their own. It’s up to me to choose how to spend the hours in my day.
At the age of eighty-four I realize I don’t have as much future time to “spend” as I had in 1964. With that in mind, I find myself very interested in the news, the state of the world, the government and music.
When all of the above has filled me with as many political reports as I can handle, I turn to “the music”.
Classic Country is my choice. Current “country music” doesn’t hold an attraction for me. So I turn to Classic Country and find myself singing along with Ray, Loretta, Patti and Reba, the songs I remember.
You know the ones I’m talking about. I enjoy listening to the Statler Brothers singing “Whatever Happened To Randolph Scott?”.
They say music is good for the soul and the body. I’m in a good place.
I don’t remember what it was I said that day. I must confess, from a very young age I was prone to say things without thinking. Whatever it was, it offended her. I was banished from the County Farm for a year when I was twelve.
What a wonderful lady! Mrs. Kelly and her husband and family came to be caretakers of the farm across the street from my childhood home.
The ironing will be much easier if all the clothes are hung on one clothesline. Install your clothes posts so you will receive a strong West wind. When your clothes are dry, you can sprinkle them with a garden hose all at the same time. As you remove them from the clothesline, roll each one up in preparation for later ironing. If you cannot iron within a day or two, place them in the freezer
I was young when the Kelly family came to live in our neighborhood. I adored the majestic old buildings easily seen from our front yard. The house was a very large, very old two-story building in which elderly folks who couldn’t afford a home came to live.
Some townspeople called it the Poor Farm. But to me, it was never poor. It always displayed a dignity which deserved the regal title, “County Farm”.
When I was very young and began my visits to the Farm, there were seven people living there. A section of the large house was set aside for their comfort. Mrs.Kelly cooked the meals for the residents. One of the more able ladies, whose name was “Rilla”, helped with the table settings on the long dinner table in their special dining room.
Rilla always turned the plates at each place upside down when setting the table before each meal. First the plate, then the cup was placed upside down on top of the plate. Mother wasn’t happy when I tried to set the table at home in the same style. It seemed quite picturesque to me. I could never understand Mother’s disdain for it.
On the front side of the house, which I passed on my way to visit Mrs. Kelly, there was a porch. The older ladies often sat there in rocking chairs, watching the world (and me) go by.
On one such occasion, I noticed one lady had a newspaper spread out across her stomach as she sat quietly in her chair. I asked her why she had the paper placed there and she said, “It’s to keep my bowels warm.” Now that’s a remedy I would never have thought of on my own.
The Kelly family had a grown son and daughter pursuing careers in far off parts of the country. Their youngest daughter, Jeanne, still lived at home and was soon to graduate from high school.
I don’t remember what it was I said one day, I must confess. But from a very young age, I was prone to say things without thinking. Whatever it was I said, it offended Mrs. Kelly. I was banished from visits to the farm for a year when I was twelve.
It was to be a lifelong lesson. Be careful what you say. Be aware, if you can, of how the other person may be receiving your words. For the next year I didn’t follow my favorite path to the County Farm. At thirteen, I ventured a return. No ill feelings were shown toward me by Mrs. Kelly. Our friendship continued.
Many times, I watched Mrs. Kelly kneading a very large pan of dough in the County Farm kitchen.
Her homemade bread was wonderful. I now bake my own bread and would never be able to knead such an enormous amount of dough at one time. My recipe dictates kneading the dough for ten minutes. I’m sometimes able to stay with it until five minutes have passed. ( Mrs. Kelly would no doubt suggest to me that the bread would be finer if I followed directions.)
When visiting at just the right time, the aroma of her baking bread greeted me near the kitchen door. Not far behind me, there were bread customers waiting to purchase a wonderful loaf of Mrs. Kelly’s homemade bread. As I recall, she charged $1.00 a loaf.
Mrs. Kelly’s long gray hair was always braided and carefully wrapped around her head. She never walked anywhere slowly. Always on the move, she hurried to get things done. The kitchen and her family’s living quarters were always neat. The dishes were done; everything in place. In the pantry next to the kitchen,always sat a basket of eggs waiting for customers who wished to purchase the freshest eggs in town. Sometimes, Mrs. Kelly allowed me to go the chicken coop with her to gather the eggs. I loved it.
I once observed Mrs. Kelly preparing a bountiful meal for the eight men who had come to help Mr. Kelly with the threshing. Never have I seen nor smelled such a wonderful array of food. I remember the table and men filling their plates again and again. No one ever left Mrs. Kelly’s dinner table hungry.
As years went by, Mrs. Kelly and I became closer friends.
When I graduated from high school near the top of my class, as had her own son and daughters, Mrs. Kelly invited me into the room where graduation pictures of her children were displayed on an old upright piano. She was very proud of her children. She had displayed my graduation picture next to those of her children. This was her way of showing how much she cared for me and was proud of my achievements too. There couldn’t have been any clearer proof.
After high school, I became employed in the same town in which I had grown to adulthood. Mr. & Mrs. Kelly still lived at the County Farm. Arranging to arrive for work a half-hour early, I could spend time visiting with Mrs. Kelly in the County Farm kitchen. She was often baking bread for her special customers. The aroma of those wonderful baking loaves greeted me as I left my car to approach the kitchen door.
A few years later, I married and moved to a neighboring town. Opportunities to visit Mrs. Kelly were few. I often felt lonely and sad without friends I’d left behind in my home town. It was easy, as always, to share my feelings with Mrs. Kelly. She offered me the understanding of a caring friend.
After the birth of our first child in the hospital in my former home town, Mrs. Kelly came to visit me. That is the only occasion on which I ever saw Mrs. Kelly outside the walls of her home at the County Farm.
Putting her hand on my arm as she stood near my bed, she said; “Now you’ll never be lonely again.” I needed to hear that.
One day, while I was visiting my former hometown, I decided to go to spend time with Mrs. Kelly. She wasn’t home. I was told she was in the hospital. Going directly to the hospital, I sat down in the waiting room.
Just then, Mr. Kelly came through the inner door. He was crying. I was informed by the nurse, Mrs. Kelly had suddenly gone into cardiac arrest, and died.
Our times together had ended, but my memories of Mrs. Kelly remain in my heart.
Knowledge of her presence has allowed us to face the seemingly insurmountable challenges of life…
IN THE BEGINNING…
“When I was young”..hmm..how I dislike the phrase. I “am” as young as I think I am. So much for my feelings on the subject. When I was a young HOMEMAKER, 27 to be exact, I had an opportunity for two and a half years to write a column in our weekly newspaper. (The Houghton Lake Resorter) The friendly editor was kind enough to give me a by-line, MUSINGS OF A HOMEMAKER.
The little picture at the top was always placed above my weekly offerings.
I wasn’t sure what a by-line was at the time. It was nice of him to offer it to me. I was told I could write on any subject. People were invited, by me, to share favorite recipes to be printed at the base of my column. It’s so much fun to look back on those articles realizing where my thinking was in my late twenties. The years were 1962-1964 and a few in 1965 before I ended my newspaper career.
Perhaps you will enjoy reminiscing about my HOMEMAKER years with me. If you do, please let me know.
He Cared Enough To Send The Very Best
One day each year is not often enough to proclaim the affection and love we hold
for the one whose apron strings we liked to be tied.
We can never repay her, nor does she expect us to, for the hours of love, labor and devotion so happily bestowed upon our little heads.
How many times have childhood cares of monumental stature, been patiently reduced to a size easily handled with the love of our thoughtful and caring Mother?
“Mother is here.”
Knowledge of her presence has allowed us to face the seemingly insurmountable challenges of life, growing up and learning to give. One day we will find a new and different kind of love. Mother’s love will carry us through many more of life’s challenges and decisions.
From diapers to dates, it’s mother to whom we turn for loving advice.
Marriage and family may renew our impressions of mother. She always cared and always loved. How did she manage?
Ever changing times have altered the role of motherhood.
The mother who works outside the home still manages, loves, and cares for her family.
When all is said and done, whether or not she works inside or outside the home,
Mother finds a way to be there for us when needed.
Whether she is young and vigorous or silver haired and content,
she’s Mother and we’re pleased that when He sent our Mother,
He cared enough to send the very best.
I never saw her angry. My mother was a pleasant woman, a nurse by profession.
She cared as much for her patients as she did for her family. I don’t remember ever hearing her talking about anyone in a negative way. Everyone was her friend and to this day, many who remember her do so with love in their hearts.
Mother died thirty years ago.
Never a day goes by that I don’t think of something she said to me or shared with me. She cared for my sister and me and our Dad just as she did her patients, with love.
When I was seventeen, our family moved away from the home in which I was raised. We settled in a town thirty miles away. (Houghton Lake, Michigan) I was crushed. I had attended school from kindergarten through the eleventh grade in my home town. Now I wouldn’t be able to graduate from that same school with my friends and my memories.
Mother decided to seek employment as nurse in a doctor’s office in our former town. That allowed me to finish school and graduate from there. It didn’t impress me at the time, but my parents had to pay a tuition in order for me to continue my schooling there. I learned, in later years, the price was $200 for that year. (Calculating to $1,888 in 2018). Two hundred dollars doesn’t seem like much in these times, but calculating the difference in the value of money now, it was quite a bit then.
Mother and I drove the miles back and forth every day until I ended my school years at graduation. The uninterrupted time we spent together in the car and the chance to visit with each other alone, offered a special opportunity to share which we would never have known.
The passing years now filled with memories will live forever.
We don’t often think about the hours of love and hope and caring which our mother shares with us.
Married four years in 1959, living on the lakeshore with a toddler of three and an infant of six months, we began to look for another, safer, and perhaps more friendly place to live.
Safer was my thinking.Never having learned to swim, we were living on the lakefront, surrounded on three sides by water. In addition to the lake at the front, there were deep canals to the north and west.
We had no preconceived idea about the style of home for which we were searching. Looking at several locations, none seemed to be the answer.
Someone told us there was an old farm for sale nearby. Perhaps we should check into that possibility. Neither of us had been raised on a farm.
The idea of a farm was a bit of a stretch.
Approaching the owners, we learned the farm included twenty acres. a cobblestone house and an old barn. A local business had planted pine trees to later harvest for Christmas trees at both ends of the long and narrow property.
Checking it out, we found there was also an old garage, chicken coop, root cellar and corn crib.
We decided to take a look. The old farmhouse had been built by the sons of the original owners in 1936. We’ve always assumed that’s when it was constructed since the date is embedded at the top of the 13 cement steps leading to the basement.
Eventually we learned the barn had been built in 1917. It was in need of painting along with other repairs about which we hadn’t yet learned.
After our visit with the owners, we talked on our way home. “Well, what do you think?” my husband asked. “I liked it”, I said. “And you know what, I felt like I’d been there before”. He responded, “So did I”.
It seemed this was where we were meant to be.
In 2019 we celebrate our 60th year of life at Hidden Meadows Farm.
My husband and I were in retail businesses. He owned and operated an Ace Hardware and Sporting Goods for 25 years. I owned and operated a Hallmark Shop for 13 years.
During those years of involvement in retail businesses, we raised sheep for ten years.
A flock of 100 was ours when we sold them in 1998. At that time, since we both had retired from retail, we purchased a fifth-wheel and made plans to look around this great country in which we live.
Over the years, we’ve had goats, pigs and chickens. Our pasture afforded us the opportunity to have horses
for our sons and grandchildren.
We’ve also entertained ducks and geese and peacocks. (Or did they entertain us?)
Many wonderful dogs have graced our acreage, including a St. Bernard , German Shepherd, and a Collie. Several hunting dogs added greatly to the enjoyment of our sons. Last but not least, we enjoy the one we have now, a Toy Poodle. Yes, there were a few cats too. I seem to remember a rabbit living in the house for a time. But, that’s another story.
When we first arrived, there was an apple orchard which has now been reduced to four trees. (They have grown old even though we have not.) We have two pear trees still producing very, very small fruit. This year, one tree produced two pears. (It may be time to plant new trees.) In the beginning of life on Hidden Meadows Farm, we had a small orchard of cherry trees.
There are enough maple trees surrounding the house and barn to hang ten or twelve sap buckets in early spring. Many labor intensive hours have provided us with wonderful maple syrup for the family. The hours of labor are, of course, provided by my husband.
The years of “Living The Life” which have been given to our family at this wonderful homestead are indeed a treasure.
When we were considering the purchase many years ago, we asked my Dad, who was a carpenter by trade in his early years, what he thought about the place. He said, “There’s probably nothing that’s level or even. It seems solid enough, though. If I were you I wouldn’t put much money in it, because you don’t know how long you’ll be living here.”
Programs on television.. re-runs of videos…towers in smoke and flames..people standing in disbelief, not knowing what to think about what they were seeing or what to do at the moment…
Stand? Run? Where should I go? Is it real? What is happening?
It seems like only yesterday. Has it really been 18 years?
It all comes back to me.
REMEMBER how you feel when a loved one dies? Emptiness, hurt, sadness…Those feelings didn’t go away in the days to follow. Feelings of despair remained.
I remember one night shortly after September 11th, I had gone for a ride in my car. I was alone and darkness had fallen earlier. My husband was at work at his business and I wanted some time to be with my feelings of loss. I couldn’t get rid of them it seemed.
The radio was on in the car.
A song began by Alan Jackson, country singer.
“WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE WORLD STOPPED TURNING?”
…Did you go to your church? I did, as did many others . I don’t really remember all the lyrics to that song, but I still remember how they spoke to me at the time.
I was driving down a lonely road in the darkness of the night and the song comforted me.
God bless Alan Jackson for writing and recording it. Through it, he touched everyone who heard it then, and now.