(Published in the Houghton Lake Resorter, Houghton Lake, Michigan, weekly newspaper)
Even the rules change in 56 years. Conversations change even more. It was my privilege to have a weekly column in our local newspaper for almost three years. I’ve added a little here and there. But you’ll get the idea.
MUSINGS OF A HOMEMAKER by Mary Anne Tuck
Is it really the weather that makes us disagreeable, or are we just naturally hard to please?
Seems like just a few short weeks ago, we were pining for summer days.
Summer days arrived and we began to long for cooler fall weather.
Our nature is to search for lost opportunities and unfulfilled dreams.
At the age of ten, we wish for things we don’t possess. It would be nice of my name could be Susie instead of Mary.
How wonderful it must be to have beautiful red hair instead of brown.
Then we reach high school. In high school we yearn for a steady date and find to our amazement that the steady daters have visions of playing the field and dating around.
If our choice is not to attend college, we may soon nurture envious thoughts of those who went on to higher education.
The bride who marries young sometimes wishes she had waited a bit for that magic moment. She’s surprised to learn that the woman who works outside the home may sometimes feel she has wasted those precious years when she could have been staying home and raising a family.
We may be overflowing with discontent from childhood to adulthood of one sort or another.
Keeping up with the Jones family is a desirable way of life for many. The wish to have as much or more as the folks next door may never go away.
When your neighbor belabors the fact that the days are much too long and the weather is much too hot, your neighbor is following the rules of the game.
The game is called “Making Conversation”.
The objective is to see how much better we can make our everyday living with good-natured complaining and a few constructive thoughts.
What can we do to make our lives more blessed than they are already?
Maybe we should change The Rules Of The Game. Let’s talk about it!
I’m seeing myself in these words at the age of twenty-eight.. It was during a time when I had three little boys ages one, four, and six; no more working in an office and dressing up each day to go to work and meet with people.
Maybe I just wanted to be different; different from what, I’m not quite sure.
Maybe I thought I’d missed out on the opportunities that had once been before me and now had seemingly disappeared.
I married at twenty and had my first child at twenty-one. At twenty-seven I’d become a full fledged Mom of three and homemaker.
Establishing a home and family may sometimes begin at a later time in life, but there was never a career pursuit for me. From the age of twenty I was faced with laundry, dishes, meals and cleaning.
The house we lived in, although we loved it dearly, was much less sophisticated than the homes of our friends and neighbors. Of course, I knew the future was out there, somewhere. At the time, though, I couldn’t see it. What is it the jokesters say, “just another day in Paradise”.
My Christian walk had not yet begun. Or maybe it had and I just hadn’t recognized it.
The following article, by me, was printed in the Houghton Lake Resorter weekly newspaper in Houghton Lake, Michigan..The “byline” as shown above was chosen for me by the editor of the paper, Bob Hamp. I must admit, I didn’t know what a “byline” was at that time. (But now, I do.)
In case you may have kept a copy of this article, I have edited a few things which I deemed to look better before presenting it for your perusal at this time. After all, it has been 55 years since it was written and I tend to look at things differently now. (I know you’ll understand.)
…..continuing the article
To sum it up, each of us is guilty of harboring “I know better” feelings which emerge annually on the “first” day of January of any given year. Those memories are immediately forgotten on the “second” day of January; the same year.
For instance, “I know better” than to let the ironing pile up week after week while stashing the clothes I like to iron least in a lonely basket behind the door. When the unfavored basket overwhelms the operation of the door, the guilt becomes evident.
“Therefore” I resolve to keep my ironing up to date; even the items I don’t preferto deal with..
“I know better” than to chide my friends in far off places for not being regular in their correspondence with me. To be honest, I am equally as irregular with mine.
“Therefore“, I resolve to keep all my correspondence up to date.
“I know better” than to continue driving our car without refilling the gas tank. My husband has often mentioned he doesn’t care to run out of gas on his way to work in the morning.(He doesn’t say it quite that way, but you get the picture.)
“Therefore” I resolve to keep the gas tank filled at all times.
“I know better” than to let my bank statements pile up in a drawer until my checkbook balance requires a notice of service charge from the bank for overdrawing my account.
“Therefore” I resolve to balance my bank statements promptly upon their arrival.
When you have successfully written down your “therefore” list, you may feel properly girded for the onslaught of uncharted days and months ahead in 1965.
Let me give you a word of warning.
Mention to no one that your list exists. Immediately upon completion, place it in an envelope, seal it, and promptly convert it to ashes and smoke.
Your ironing will continue to accumulate, your correspondence friends will think of you warmly at Christmas time, your husband will get good exercise, the bank will feel you accept and respect their bookkeeping procedures and your conscience will be free to glide into 1965 in friendly and familiar surroundings.
2019 AND CONTINUING….
It’s been a long time since I’ve made a New Year’s resolution.
Please don’t think ill of me. I learned years ago that such an endeavor was a complete waste of my time.
Thank heaven for permanent press clothing that needs no ironing.
I remember the days when my grandma took my clothes needing ironing and sprinkled them with water. Then she rolled them up, put them in the freezer, told me they were there and that I could iron them later. (That was a mistake.)
I did, however, learn something that may be of use to you. If sprinkled clothes are stored in the freezer for two weeks or more, they will be surprisingly damp when you thaw them. If the time is more than a week or two your clothes may have to be sprinkled again. (Grandma never approved of that outcome and I’m not recommending it to you.)
Thank heaven, (and time), for the invention of the computer and emails.
I am now able to respond within minutes to correspondence from my friends. Why didn’t someone think of this before?
I try to fill the gas tank as soon as I see the little space that emerges after “full”. The price of gas has reached an unthinkable $2.38 per gallon. So if you fill the tank before you use much, it’s cheaper. (Does that sound right to you?)
Although I’ve asked the bank to send me printed statements at the end of the month, I also have my bank records on the computer.
I leave the mailed statements unopened in a drawer. There is always the possibility of being without electricity for the computer, which would restrain me from checking my balance. In such an event, the unopened and printed statements in the drawer would be a blessing.
I DO NOT RECOMMEND NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS!
If you feel the need to put resolutions in writing, this is my advice. Use a sealed, unmarked envelope.
Destroy it as quickly as possible on New Year’s day.
FIRE IS STILL THE MOST RELIABLE SOLUTION!
The sealed envelope may also be thrown in the garbage. But, hear this! There is always the possibility that someone could find it at the dump.
GIVE THIS SOME SERIOUS THOUGHT!
(It’s already nearing the end of the year…May 2020 be your best year ever!))
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.
I rested my elbows on the windowsill and videoed away..so to speak.
I can’t tell you how upset I am with myself.
It’s been at least three years since I’ve seen a fox in the neighborhood. This morning at quarter to 7 I looked out the “next to my computer” window and there he was. It was only starting to get daylight and there was always the possibility the photo wouldn’t finish well. But, I took it anyway. In fact, I took several shots and the one above is the only one that worked.
“That’s not the end of the world”, I said to myself.
Just then large flocks of Canadian geese began to fly over the far hay field in preparation to land and feed. They were making a great deal of noise, as only the large flocks of geese may do, and I immediately set my camera to video. By this time, the sky had become light and the view from my camera lense was perfect. I rested my elbows on the windowsill and videoed away..so to speak. What an exciting opportunity for me. The flocks circled the fields three times, honking and calling all the way. One portion of their flight passed very close to my home.
Eventually, I decided to work with my pictures and see what I had accomplished. There were pictures taken yesterday and I saved the ones that were good. There weren’t many. The photo above, of the fox, was the best I had on the camera.
The videos require me to send them to a different place on my computer, so I decided to delete the still pics and the videos to work with later.
After marking each photo for deletion I arrived at the place where it says, “delete all?”, and I said “yes”.
And I did…delete all..that is.
My camera is empty. I wanted so much to share with all of you the wonderful videos I had made of the geese, sound and all.
They’ve been deleted.
Maybe they’ll fly by another day. Maybe they won’t. But take my word for it, those videos were really something else.
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.
It has always seemed unusual to me that a horse named Mable will win a race in which a horse named Star Of Glory will come in six lengths behind.
AMERICAN LITERATURE ASSIGNMENT….1952
Mary Anne Whitchurch….10th Grade High School…
West Branch, Michigan
I am intrigued by the names of race horses.
My observation has been, the most beautiful names are given to the plain horses while the most beautiful horses get the stupid names.
For instance, you will notice such beautiful names as Show Boy, Black Beauty, Silver Star, Arabian Knight and Princess Ann are attached to the old plug who can pick up only three of its feet.
Then, of course, there is Beetlebaum.
On the other hand, a really beautiful and fast race horse, who leaves all the others in the dust, is named Blackie, Dutch, King, or Major.
Then, of course, there is Beetlebaum.
It has always seemed unusual to me that a horse named Mable will win a race in which a horse named Star Of Glory will come in six lengths behind.
I don’t know how Beetlebaum entered this little story although it seems to be a good name. I wish he would leave the same way he came in.
To continue…………It is now 2019…I’m surprised (at the age of 84) how many people don’t remember Beetlebaum. However, as times change and so do we, I can now share “him” with you. Spike Jones will tell you the story.
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.
As often happens in life, my future was unknown. I couldn’t have imagined at the age of 50, I would become the owner and operator of Mary Anne’s Hallmark Shoppe.
Holiday of Love…
Houghton Lake Resorter
Houghton Lake, Michigan
February, the month of sweethearts and historical birthdays. Gifts and cards are abundantly given and received.
Red is the color of this holiday of love. It represents the warmth and caring which doesn’t end by the passing of time nor the graying of crowns. From grade school parties to a valentine for the teacher, the bloom of romance,the joy of marriage, or an annual pledge of sentimental thoughts, moments of love and friendship are conveyed through the verse on the card.
From a commercial standpoint, the greeting card industry prospers from every holiday.
(Talk to a Hallmark dealer and they will tell you Valentine’s Day is the best card selling season of the year.)
Some holidays have been long standing, while others have been more recently incorporated into the lives of the public.
The card purchaser sends a card of congratulations for many celebrations. From birth to graduation, from weddings to anniversaries, from operations to get well cards, there is a card suitable for every occasion.
Are your friends leaving town or have they just arrived? Has someone recently purchased a new home or remodeled the one which they already own? Hallmark has a perfect card for the occasion.
Good wishes can be found in the card shop in just the language you want to use.
Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas and the New Year rate high on the holiday card list. As the years go on, St. Valentine’s Day will remain the sentimental favorite.
Send a card or a gift, the affectionate gesture is always thoughtful and pleasantly received.
To Mom and Dad, friend and lover, children and neighbors,
Happy Valentine’s Day 1963.
* * * * *
My thoughts were penned in 1963.
I was twenty- eight years old, a stay at home Mom with three little boys. The youngest was one year old.
My life was closer to Valentine’s Day grade school parties than to browsing through a Hallmark shop looking for the perfect card to send to family and friends.
As often happens in our young lives, my future was unknown. I couldn’t have imagined at the age of 50, I would become the owner and operator of
Mary Anne’s Hallmark Shoppe.
For thirteen years I observed my caring customers. They took the process very seriously. Choosing the perfect card with just the right sentiments, for their loved ones, was what they were seeking.
Valentine’s Day is truly the most heartfelt card sending day of all the celebrated holidays during the year.
My most intensely involved customer was the gentleman choosing a card for his wife or sweetheart. No amount of time spent was too much, when choosing that card with a special message of their love. Valentine’s Day will always be