(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,
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.
Sadly, shiny bicycles and curly haired dolls have disappeared from view.
The annual celebration of the birth of Christ
has filled our expectations.
Now, glittering and once lovely wrappings lie crushed in empty cartons awaiting their disposal.
Waiting 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. For us, the still colorful green bows bring the promise of new life in the coming year.
Now, mixed emotions wrap our package of memories; sadness and laughter, hope and regret, faith and tenderness. Bringing to mind colorful memories of the quickly fleeting twelve months.
1963 has flown away as swiftly as hummingbird’s wings, while 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 this 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.)
If needed, the sweet smell of pine can always be purchased in a spray can from the store.
Our artificial tree is stored in a box to be retrieved from the storage room each December.
No pine needles are on the floor waiting to be vacuumed. And no shiny trucks hiding in the corner.
There are no snowy excursions to the nearby woods to look for the perfect tree which must be evenly proportioned on at least three sides.
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.
Looking forward to Christmas morning, our 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 our sons and two daughters-in-law, a granddaughter -in-law and a grandson-in-law, bringing us three beautiful great granddaughters.
It’s a happy time.
Years ago, we gave our 6-year-old granddaughter a goat for Christmas. We all recall her expression when she found “Peppy” in a special pen in the barn with a big red bow tied around his neck. It always brings a sweet memory and laughter at the breakfast table each year.
The years bring new beginnings.
Our memories become more precious as each year passes. The future is shorter and the time 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.
The gymnasium was filled to capacity when we arrived. Two large blocks of chairs, with an aisle between, faced the lonely casket.
Friends and family were quiet. It seemed best, for us, to sit in the bleachers.
Row upon row of floral arrangements had been placed on tiered shelving, occupying an area the length of the gym. Local florists had been asked to stop delivering orders since there was no more space for display.
Many were already seated..
Moments before the appointed hour of the service, a group of young men began to arrive. Neatly groomed in white shirts and jeans, carrying their hats, the young rodeo men quietly took their seats near the back of the congregation.
He was so young..
His name and date of birth were printed on the program. Nineteen short years on earth and today we were mourning his passing.
Riding chaps lay draped over the casket. A large painting of the deceased was placed at the side.
Travis was a rodeo man.
He traveled the circuit..
On his way to Alabama to compete in his specialties of Team Roping and Saddle Bronc riding, he was tragically killed while driving through the state of Kentucky.
Tired and excited about the next event, he asked his friend to drive while he rested his head against the back of the seat. As he slept they came upon an 18-wheeler parked on the side of the road. Too late to react, their truck veered off the road and lodged underneath the semi.
The friend survived the crash. Travis did not.
There were many reasons for sadness..
I am usually in control of my emotions at funerals. My husband and grandson were attending this sad occasion with me. Our grandson was, at that time, a bull rider in the rodeo circuit. Knowing the potential for injury and death, our love and concern for him and for these young men was strong.
For them, the excitement and the challenge outweigh the potential danger.
I was determined to control my emotions.
Near the end of the service, the Dad and Mom of the young man quietly approached the casket. A song I’d never heard before, was played through the sound system.
It was the perfect message in a time of sadness.
There are angels among us. I hope you take the time to listen to this song.
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.
Since 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.
Quickly reading the label on the bottle I had used, it became 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 practiced 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 enabled to love and be loved, and to listen and share His word within the congregation of Christ on Sunday mornings.
… 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.
The opportunity to incorporate the meaning of His Word into
our lives may become 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 answers 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 Dad’s 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, a fanciful comparison to his usual workday routine.
The approach is precise and scientific. Dad’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 is fun time and the entire family welcomes the change of routine along with 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 everyone awaited the enjoyment of the outdoor eating season
* * *
“81″ Is Really Younger Than It Sounds..(That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)
The” Twentieth” something also sounds wonderful, although not nearly as poetic as the calendar 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 and pork chops will be eaten at the two table settings which Mom has prepared.
There we find two plates, two glasses of something, forks, knives, spoons and two slices of bread.(You get the picture.)
The call to dine finds the two of 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.
* * *
Here I am and times have changedonce again.
Now it’s easier for me to go to a nearby restaurant alone 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.
My oldest son lives “downstate” and the youngest remains in our hometown. Grand-kids have homes and children of their own along with busy lives.
And life begins again
with three great-granddaughters and another on the way.
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
Ever wonder what kind of an impression you left on folks today? Think about it.
How can I tell you my story without letting you know the main character? Would that be the sheriff, the little girl, or my grandson?
When he was seventeen, our grandson entertained an interest in bull riding.
Yes, I said bull riding. We had taken him with us to several rodeos when he was very young.
It soon became apparent that his main interest was the activity in the bull pens. There was always a place to stand behind the spot where the contestants began their ride.
Always visible to us from our place in the grandstands, there was no need to wonder if he was okay. Closely watching the riders, his attention was riveted on their every move.
We shouldn’t have been surprised at this fairly unusual pursuit of the sport of bull-riding. Beginning in junior high school, his interest was maintained in many sports including wrestling, weight lifting and football, well known teen sports throughout high-school years.
Nothing could keep him from attempting to become successful at the projects he decided to pursue. With personal determination and a plan for accomplishing the goals he set for himself, dedication brought results.
Although we planned to be at every bull riding event in which he participated, there was one in the northern part of our state we were unable to attend.
A surprise communication arrived…
Sometime after the event, a letter arrived for him from the sheriff in a northern Michigan community. The sheriff was asking our grandson to consider sending him an autographed picture.
In explanation, he wrote that he was working with an eleven year old girl who was having difficulty, as he explained it, in finding a good path to follow in her life.
The sheriff went on to write that during his counseling he had asked the girl if she had any heroes. She said yes, and then indicated our grandson who she had seen riding in the rodeo in the northern part of our state,
was her hero.
Think about it. She must have indicated our grandson by name or there would have been no way for the sheriff to make this personal contact.
Bull riding events are well attended and the grandstands are usually filled to capacity. There was no personal contact between the girl
and our grandson.
This scenario amazed me.
Being the grandmother I am, I didn’t miss an opportunity to offer a lecture on good behavior. “What do you suppose you were doing when she saw you?”, I asked. “You had no idea you were being watched other than when you were actually riding. Were you chatting with other riders, were you watching the activities?”
At bull riding events, the young riders I’ve noticed, are neatly dressed. Our grandson always pressed his shirts with a crease in the sleeves.
(Only a Grandmother notices things like that, or so I thought.)
He didn’t smoke, or drink or chew. Any of those things could have been noticed by someone observing him at an event.
This time, a confused young girl was watching our grandson and later counting him as her hero.
He found a photo of himself, as the sheriff had asked, and penned a message on the back. In the message indicating that he hoped she would find good paths for her life in the future.
Since this incident happened, and it was a long time ago, I’ve had many opportunities to think about people who may be watching you and me right now.
What are they seeing? What are they hearing?
It would be unusual to be aware that someone is observing our actions.
We may never know when it’s happening. Are they noticing the way we’re dressed? Can they hear what we are saying? Have we influenced someone’s life? Did we make them wish they could be like us? Or, did they wish they would never be like us? Were we an influence for good? Do we present a pleasant space around ourselves?
Perhaps, in an off moment, we may convince someone never to act as we do. It’s quite possible something we’ve done, or said, or the way we have planned our lives, has influenced someone to change direction, or maybe to continue in a direction they’ve already chosen.
Someone is watching and listening to you and me right now. We will never know who it is or how our lives may have influenced them
to direct their own life.
I’ve shared this story with many people over the past years. The incident has made a difference in how I see myself, Sometimes I hope no one is looking or hearing; other times I hope I made a good impression.