(Published in the Houghton Lake Resorter, Houghton Lake, Michigan, weekly newspaper)
Even the rules change in 56 years. and as a result, conversations change even more. It was my privilege to have a weekly column in our local newspaper, continuing 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 could be found pining for summer days.
Then summer days arrived and we began to long for the cooler, fall weather.
Our nature is to search for lost opportunities and unfulfilled dreams.
At the age of ten, we wished for things we didn’t possess. Such as, maybe it would be nice
if 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. Sometimes, during our high school years, we yearn for a steady date and find to our amazement that the steady daters have visions of playing the field and
If our choice is not to attend college, we may soon be found nurturing envious thoughts of those who went on
to higher education.
Sometimes, the bride who marries young wishes she had waited a bit for that magic moment. She’s surprised to learn that the woman who works outside the home may feel she has wasted precious years when she could have been staying home, and
raising a family.
We may be overflowing with discontent during the transition from childhood to adulthood.
Keeping up with the Jones family is a desirable way of life for many, and 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, perhaps your neighbor is following
the rules of the game.
The game is called
The objective is to see how much better we can make our everyday living with
good-natured complaining along with
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 the words once written by me at the age of twenty-eight.. Those were the years when I had three little boys
ages one, four, and six;
no more working in an office, and dressing up each day,
going to work and meeting new people.
Maybe I just wanted to be different; different from what? I’m not quite sure.
Possibly I thought I’d missed out on the opportunities that had once been before me,
now they had seemingly disappeared.
Married at twenty with my first child at twenty-one,
I’d now become a full fledged Mom of three, and
a homemaker, at the age of twenty-seven.
Establishing a home and family may sometimes begin at a later time in life, but
there was never a career pursuit
From the age of twenty I was faced with
meals and dishes, laundry, and house cleaning.
The house we lived in, although we loved it dearly,
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
How many “therefores” can you handle at one time?
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.
Never feel guilty about those memories being 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.
You’ll realize the problem when the unfavored basket overwhelms the operation of the door, the guilt becomes evident.
“Therefore” I resolve to keep my ironing up to date; including 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. Come to think of it, 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.
You’ll feel better 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.
Rules help to protect your reputation.
Let me give you a word of warning.
Mention to no one that your list exists. Here is my advice.
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….
They say “confession” is good for the soul.
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.
May God bless my Grandma!
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.)
The computer is your friend.
Thank heaven, (and time), for the invention of the computer and emails.
With my computer’s help,I am now able to respond within minutes to correspondence from my friends. Why didn’t someone think of this before?
Complaints Complaints Complaints!
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.
Read this if you’ve passed up the rest.
This is the most important part.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’S RESOLUTIONS!
If you still feel the need to put resolutions in writing, this is my advice. Use a sealed, unmarked envelope.
As a last resort..
Destroy it as quickly as possible on New Year’s day.
FIRE IS STILL THE MOST RELIABLE SOLUTION!
If fire is not your thing, 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!))
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
My husband and I were standing at our living room window, watching a man walking down the distant road. The man lived nearby in a broken down house. Every day he walked two miles to a neighborhood bar where he spent his time.
“Night fell, and darkness hid the two from sight”
He worked at walking.
Stumbling, weaving, tumbling, falling…and
Each night at dusk he headed home, deaf to traffic sounds.
Sometimes reeling into a roadside ditch, he would lie upon the ground in bleak half-conscious stupor.
With effort, he would crawl laboriously to the ditch’s edge, then work at walking once again.
The man continued through his nightly ritual.
Someone approached the sodden hulk and bending down, they knelt beside the fallen man. With steady arms, they began the rescue.
The person was not a hero. And I was a bystander. Though years have passed, the vivid scene remains.
Whose life is changed when a journey reaches a crossroad? When is a path interrupted by a chance encounter? Could it be the rescuer? Perhaps it was a friend? Maybe it was me as I watched this scene unfold.
What are you thinking now?
Night fell and darkness hid the two from my sight.
Many years have passed since this incident took place.
While my husband and I were standing at our living room window, we saw a man walking along the distant road.
The man lived nearby in a broken down house.
And each day he walked two miles
to a neighborhood bar
where he spent the entire day.
We didn’t usually see him traveling on the morning journey to his destination. Nor did we see him when he was going home at the end of the day.
But this time
we saw him walking toward home. As we watched, he staggered and stumbled, falling into the deep ditch beside the road.
For moments he was out of our sight. Then, we saw him crawling out of the ditch and struggling to his feet. Walking a few steps, he fell once more. Again, he crawled up the side of the ditch on his hands and knees
and attempted to stand.
I became aware my husband had left my side. Now, in his truck, he was driving down our driveway toward the distant road.
He stopped at the place where the man was lying beside the ditch. Getting out of his truck, he approached the figure.
Taking him by the arm,
he helped the man to his feet.
My husband later told me he intended to help him into the cab of the truck, but the man protested.
“I’m not clean enough to sit in your truck. Help me into the back. I’ll ride home there.”
As I watched this scene unfold before my eyes, I was surely not aware it would be in my memory and my heart many years later.
How many of us, including me, would leave the comfort of our own home to help a drunken, smelly man get safely to his home?
This was a view of my husband about which I wasn’t aware. Yes, he was kind, gentle and caring.
The scene I watched was more than that.
The experience changed me and maybe it has changed you.
At this stage of life it has become clear to me that we all need to be rescued.
Our Friend is on His way.
In later years, as we discussed the incident some facts revealed themselves about the man who was rescued.
He was a veteran from World War 2.
As years have passed, we’ve become aware of the experiences our soldiers endured during that time of war.
They were too horrible to remember for many of the soldiers.
We now call it PTSD.
It has been found, for some of the veterans, it is easier to drink away the memories
than to relive them in their minds.
In our village, there were three World War 2 veterans who spent their days at the same local bar.
The world called them drunks. Should we call them heroes?
The older you grow the greater is your responsibility toward life, society, and the two people who created you, your Mother and Father.
To Don..from Bill….
April 22, 1930 – February 24, 2017
Note: To be opened the last morning you are at sea on going home to the USA.
16 February 1953
When I came overseas many moons ago, I was sent with a letter from my Mother. In it she stated how on long voyages years ago, people were sent with ship messages. There was then an age of letter writing which seems to have passed, except for the ghosts that may rove the skeleton of some long lost ship. There was then wind in the sails and the creak of the boards of the ship at night. There could be heard the rustle of silk in women’s dresses.
Then…Men and women were probably doing just as we do today if given the opportunity. That is, jumping from bunk to bunk.
Right now, right at this living moment, I am writing this on the usual, sunless, dull, German day in the office of the captain.
However, in time, all our importance melts away, and yet as a part of history we remain an important factor in time. The way you live, the love you have for life, the love you have for others and the understanding of them, the love you have for a woman and your unborn children are of great importance.
Whether you are ever known as an individual, it is the way you are which makes the “To Be” of a better world. Now you are nearing home to the land that I love so deeply. I would want to clain that land in a deeper way than you can in your youth.
Someday you will know what I mean. Someday you will know that the earth in a bog swamp when you are out duck hunting is the cleanest mud in the world.
But, don’t ever forget that part of your life which you spent in a foreign land. There were circumstances you did not like. They have helped to keep that mud as clean as it is. Sometimes Don, I hope you are looking at that lost land where you like to lose yourself.
Now..you’ll find the air just a bit sharp. You will like the smell that time of year.
Whether it is summer, fall, winter or spring, just breathe deeper because you are alive.
God is in Nature and you are close to it and to Him. In college it would be called Pantheism. I’d rather call it the awareness of Don knowing Don. You can call it whatever. It doesn’t matter what you call it just so you remember that when it happens and it will.
Now, the sea where you read this is deep. Your feet will soon touch shore. Right now you are pipeline and lost.
Soon the inevitable pattern will establish itself. You will be a civilian with all the responsibilities of one. To drive safely, to love right, to build a home, and to vote are small and important things. To be aware when you’re on a hunting trip
that you are the greatest being God ever made is important too.
That’s about all I have to say, Don.
This is my shipboard letter to you with the exception of one thing.
The more you grow the more you will become aware of this.
And the older you grow the greater is your responsibility toward life, society, and the two people who created you, your Mother and Father.
April 22, 1930-February 24, 2017
* * *
My husband, Don, passed away in 2017. In going through his special drawer for saving things important to him, I found this letter. I didn’t know his friend “Meade”. I don’t need to know him.
Although we shared 62 years of marriage, I didn’t know Don as a soldier or when he was newly discharged from the service. He would have celebrated his 87th birthday in April of 2017.
His great respect for God, family and nature never ceased.
Ann was healed and she was in heaven!
The Holy Spirit was giving to me the knowledge of her healing.
I received the confirmation of her new life
as a gift.
It is a gift I will remember and cherish all the days of my life.
A gift to cherish….
Ann lived a short distance from our house. She and her husband moved to the neighborhood from the southern part of the state where she had worked in a factory and he had been employed as a heavy equipment operator. Now retired, they spent their time caring for their home. They had no children and were deeply devoted to each other.
Plain looking and soft spoken, Ann had the proverbial heart of gold. Her graying hair was not stylishly fixed in the fashion of the day.
Each year she raised a beautiful circular flower garden with a birdbath in the center surrounded by colorful flowers. The garden prospered under Ann’s tender care.
Ann and her husband were always nearby, lending a helping hand when one was needed. Appearing on a summer’s evening to visit for a time, there was always encouragement for us in planning our young lives, with an offer to help in any way they could.
Ann unwittingly helped me to acquire a taste for sauerkraut. I could never abide the bitter taste no matter how I tried. One day, I stopped by her house. The wonderful aroma in her kitchen caused me to inquire about what she was cooking. Her answer was sauerkraut. I shared with her my utter dislike for it. Ann suggested I should add brown sugar and a couple of quartered apples to the sauerkraut as it cooked. What a difference that combination made.
Perhaps there’s a lesson here. It may be the LACK of seasoning that causes bitterness But the ADDITION of something sweet changes bitterness to joy and gives us a new appetite for life.
One day I was told Ann was in the hospital for stomach surgery. The results were not good. She had cancer and nothing could be done.
Ann came home to spend her remaining days in her own bed in her own home, surrounded by things and people she loved. By this time, Ann was in her late sixties.
Life for me, at that time, had been completely turned around by the joy and knowledge of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible was exciting. Scripture was leaping off the pages of the Bible, to me, as it had never done before. I prayed incessantly for Ann’s healing. I had faith and prayed for more faith and more understanding and always for the complete healing of Ann’s body.
Time passed and healing was not evident. I searched scripture for more information. There were many passages for guidance. 1Thess.5: 27 “pray without ceasing”.
The disciples asked Jesus why they had not had a healing for someone by praying for them. Jesus responded; Matthew 17:21 “this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” Further (in Mark) it is noted He said to them., “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting”.
For the first and only time in my life, I fasted. I prayed without ceasing for 24 hours. The fasting directed my complete attention to the prayer, to Ann, and to the Spirit of God.
I was confident that Ann would be healed. She was not. A few weeks later, Ann died.
I questioned God, my faith, and myself.
Ann was a devout Catholic. Her funeral was held in the local Catholic Church. Our family sat in the back of the church quietly observing the unfamiliar funeral rituals.
I was sad for the loss of my friend, Ann. The words of the service fell on closed ears and a heavy heart.
Suddenly I was amazed. I felt a great feeling of joy welling up within me. I was overwhelmed with the knowledge being given to me. Ann was healed. She was in heaven. The promises of God were fulfilled. “I go to prepare a place for you. Where I am you will be also.”
Ann was healed and she was in heaven!
The Holy Spirit was giving to me the knowledge of her healing.
I received the confirmation of her new life as a gift.
It is a gift I will remember and cherish all the days of my life.
A Gift To Be Shared
One treasures the people in life who made a difference in the way we lived then and now.
I would not have identified Ann as such an important person, until my experience at the time of her death.
I now believe that God called me to Ann’s friendship so He could show me
It’s hard to explain my experience the day of Ann’s funeral.
The feeling was instant, intense and oh so joyful.
I’ve shared my feelings of the experience with friends and family. There is no way to convey the intensity of the joy I felt as I sat quietly in the back row of an unfamiliar church during an equally unfamiliar funeral service. Maybe that was part of God’s plan too.
Belief in Ann’s healing and belief in life after life in a perfect state of being will never change for me.