AND THAT HAS MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE…

Ahead  were only dreary, boring days and years of waiting to get “old.”  There was nothing new to do nor places to see or ROADS to travel.

“When you come to a fork in the ROAD,

take it.”

(Yogi Berra had the right idea.)

I love to  reminisce and write about bygone times, remembering the people I’ve known, especially those who have made a difference in the ” me” I’ve become at the age of 83. I once thought 83 was really, really old. It isn’t.

Actually, I once believed that 50 was old. As I recall, 50 was old when my grandmothers were alive.

I was devastated the day I turned thirty. Life was over, I was no longer “twenty-something”. Looking forward, there was nothing left to life.

Ahead  were only dreary, boring days and years of waiting to get “old.”  There was nothing new to do nor places to see or “roads” to travel.

There were no college years for me.

When I am required to check off my level of education on an application, the box to check must be “graduated high-school”.

My Dad always commented, ” Some folks attend college and still don’t have enough sense to come in out of the rain.”

I feel good about his comment because my high school education helps me to remember to carry my umbrella on a cloudy day.

That reminds me, a week or so ago I purchased a new umbrella. It was very easy to raise, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to lower it when I got inside a building.

You’ll be happy to know, with a great deal of concentration, I finally figured out how to  return it to its original closed position by pushing the little “down” arrow located right underneath the “up” arrow.

Who says a high school education isn’t worth much?

I grew up in a small northern town in the lower peninsula of Michigan. My family moved to another town, thirty miles away, when I was seventeen. When we are living them, the years seem long.

One could hardly think of me as a world traveler, but I’ve learned much about life from the shores of Michigan’s largest inland lake; Houghton Lake.

Married sixty-two years, my husband and I raised three sons. It’s difficult to imagine someone as young as I, having sons who are now in their fifties and sixties. Facts are not always as they seem.

Life is like a dream.

I heard someone make a statement just the other day about “alternative” facts.(Perhaps I should research some of those when describing my attributes.)

copyright©2018

Photography By Mary Anne Tuck

* *

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one to where it bent in the undergrowth.

And took the other as just as fair

And having perhaps the better claim

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that, the passing there

Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day,

Yet knowing how way leads unto way,

I doubted that I would ever be back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood,

And I, I took the road less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

robert frost mailbox

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

We traveled to New Hampshire many years ago and found this old mail box. It resides on the narrow  gravel road in front of one of the summer homes of Robert Frost. It’s a lovely place. This writing of his has always been my favorite. I carry a copy of it with me at all times. I read it over and over.

It speaks to me.

memoriesaremadefromthis.com

DOORWAY TO MY MEMORIES

The view was recalling a MEMORY.
 It was taking me back
to a time in my life
of great happiness and joy.

“Memories exploded as I stood in the doorway”
* * * 
Our congregation was considering the possibility 
of constructing
a new church building.
The one we were in at The Heights in Houghton Lake was old and too small for the growing congregation.
The basement often flooded in the spring of the year.
Sunday School class attendance was increasing.
Although the choir was small, it was increasing in numbers.
The neighboring town of West Branch had recently built a beautiful new church.
A committee in our church, seeking ideas, was formed.
Let’s go to West Branch and check out their new building.
Of course I wanted to be on that committee. 
The new church was in my former home town. Any excuse to re-visit the memories of my youth, was a great idea.
I was thirty-three at the time.
The new United Methodist Church in West Branch
was built on the County Farm property
across the street
 from the house where I’d lived
 until I was seventeen. If you’ve read in my blog post
“Some Folks Called It The Poor Farm..”
you have some idea of my emotional attachment
 to the County Farm.
I have many memories of the wonderful lady 
who was my friend.
As the committee entered the new church building, we were shown the kitchen area and the classrooms.
We visited the sanctuary and the dining area.
As others wandered the hallways
I decided to take a little side trip
 down a different hallway.
At the end of the hall,
 there was an exit door.
Standing quietly, staring out the door,
I realized long forgotten memories were suddenly returning.
I’d stood in that very place
 many times 
over the years of my youth.
It appeared to me, this doorway was exactly where the doorway to Mrs. Kelly’s kitchen had been.  This was a view I’d seen many times before.  (“Was that the aroma of homemade bread?)
 
Still today,
 when I’m in town,
I  drive into the parking area
 and sit for a few minutes.
The location of this West Branch United Methodist Church
 gives memories of pleasant days of 
youth.
 
 
There was and is, 
an oil well pump on the East side of the parking lot. 
The old barn bridge is often visible,
depending on the time of year,
and how many leaves are remaining on the trees.
The barn is gone.
In my memory,
 the chicken coop is there.
The pasture where the sheep were kept,
exists in my memory also.
 
I remember Mr. Kelly
 driving his team past our house
on his way to the hay fields.
Next door,
 at the North end of the parking area,
is the West Branch Township Hall. 
It hasn’t aged.
I have.

****

On the day of our committee’s visit, 
long ago, 
I could feel emotions rising in my throat,
I was glad I was standing at the door alone.
I couldn’t have spoken to anyone right then.
The view was recalling a memory.
 It was taking me back
to a time in my life
of great happiness and joy.
As we were returning to our home town,
I casually mentioned to my fellow travelers
my experience
 at the doorway in the church.
No one seemed overwhelmed by my revelations.
Should they have been?
A few days later,
 traveling to a meeting with my Dad for which I served
as secretary and he as a board member,
I shared my experience of recalling the treasured memory
of the County Farm
Once again, it was difficult for me to speak.
Regaining my composure,
I shared with my Dad my emotional visit
to the United Methodist church
 in West Branch.
He listened attentively.
Then he began to share his thoughts with me. 
“Most people encounter experiences such as you had,
as they grow older and their lives have changed,” he said.
“They remember the joys of youth.
They remember people who were important to them
who have passed away 
or are no longer living nearby.
Buildings have often been removed by deterioration
or replaced by new construction.
You are young
 to be having such memories  overtake you.”
****
Today, when I’m visiting the town of my youth,
I’m still making memories.
 The doorway to my future is open.
Life for me is still experienced
 one day at a time.
Have you stood in a doorway lately?

copyright©2019
 
Photography By Mary Anne Tuck

 

memoriesaremadefromthis.com

 

 
 
 
 
 

SHOW ME AN EAGLE..

ODD YOU SHOULD MENTION IT. I JUST SAW ONE…

Sun is shining; Sky is blue,

Everyone’s busy, free moments few.
Economy’s rising,  dollar holds true.
 

I Saw An EAGLE Today

 
Church pews half empty, more folks at the store.
Few cars on the highway,
Been here before.
 

I Saw An EAGLE Today

 
Some feel lonely this time of  year.
Laughter and family, for them, disappear.
Doesn’t seem right without happiness here.
 

I Saw An EAGLE Today

 
Why does it seem like today passed me by?
Yesterday’s memories cannot tell me why.
 
Tomorrow will bring me another blue sky.
 
 

I Saw An EAGLE Today!

Today, as I left the church service
My eyes were drawn to the sky. 
At that moment an American Bald Eagle flew over me.
Those who know me have often heard me say, 
“Any day I see an eagle, is a perfect day for me.”

The day wore on, blue moments overtook me.
Time and again the picture in my mind
Was that of the soaring American Eagle.

Early evening approached.
It was then that I realized
 I’d had the perfect day
Thanks to that beautiful moment this morning.

“I saw an eagle today.”

 
copyright©2018
Photography By Mary Anne Tuck
 
memoriesaremadefromthis.com
 

WHERE THERE IS SADNESS, JOY

She began to talk to me of times of JOY. She spoke of happy things and times and places. 
Upon leaving, I said,
”See you when you come home”.
“Ok honey”, she said

 

Always Generous, Gracious and Giving

 
 

She was my JOY.   Now she was gone…
 
I asked her, only hours after Grandma died;
“How does it make you feel?”
“Like an orphan”, was her answer. 
“But Mother”, I responded, “You have us.”
“I know honey”, she said. “But this is different.”
 
Carrying our second child,
I was filled with the JOY of life and annoyed at having to deal with death. 
I wanted Mother to tell me it wasn’t so bad.
Grandma was old. Eighty years was a long full life.
In a coma, Grandma hadn’t suffered. 
 
I wanted Mother to move on to lighter talk and future plans.
  I wanted her to ask how I was feeling today,
resuming our daily ritual.
 
She was always the giver. I was always the taker.
 
Years passed and now Mother was in her eighties. 
She shared with me the ominous news
that she had found a lump in her breast. 
“Mother” I said, “I am absolutely sure that it will not be malignant.”
 
When the report came back Mother said,
“Well, you were wrong. It is malignant and the involvement is extensive”.
 
Now, I who never wanted to deal with anything uncomfortable
was required to face the unimaginable.  
Mother was  going to die. 
Try as I would, I couldn’t get my mind around that fact.
 
A friend said to me,
“It’s part of life, although it’s not the best part.”
I was angry with my friend
for her crude and thoughtless remark. 
How could she be so matter of fact in the face of my devastation?
 
She offered.  I refused.
 
 

In the days and months to come,
Mother calmly accepted the diagnosis. 
She was always generous, always caring, always gracious and giving.
 
She was ever accepting. I was ever refusing.
 
The following January,
a friend and I vacationed for two weeks in Florida.
Upon our return I learned that Mother had suffered a heart attack
a few days earlier.
She didn’t want me to be told
because she wanted me to enjoy my vacation.
I could learn of it when I returned home.
 
She was protecting. I was accepting.
 
 
I visited Mother in the hospital the day after returning home from vacation. As she lay in her bed she was cheerful
and interested in me.  
“Maybe it wasn’t so serious after all”, I said.
  She answered “No, something very serious is going on.” 
She began to talk to me of times of JOY. She spoke of happy things and times and places. 
Upon leaving, I said,
”See you when you come home”.
“Ok honey”, she said
for she was due to come home on Monday.
She would be in the hospital one more day.
 
The next day, she died.
 
She always gave me her love. I always accepted it.
 
 
 
 
Mother was gone.
I felt smothered by a blanket of grief.
She was as much a part of my life as my heart and soul.
Now she was gone.
Her belongings were still here; her clothes hung in the closet.
Pictures she had painted hung on the wall.
They were only “things”.
 
Weeks passed and my seemingly endless river of tears
began to subside.
 
On a stark February night, I visited my friend
who is a shepherd.
It was lambing time.
She was required to make frequent visits to the barn
to check on the well being of the ewes.
I found her there
and we began to talk.
Surrounded by the rumblings of her flock
and the sweet smell of freshly scattered straw,
the rawness of my grief began to pour out.
 
 
With gentle encouragement
my friend shared her own journey
through the painful loss of both parents
during the preceeding years. 
With deep compassion she shared her healed grief. 
I knew that with her consoling love,
I too would be healed through this journey of grieving.
 
My friend offered. I accepted.

Next morning as I prepared my morning coffee,
my glance fell upon a plaque hanging on my kitchen wall.
Reading it as if for the first time,
I understood the message of St. Francis of Assisi.
 
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness,JOY
Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled
as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in the giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
 
Dear Lord
Thank you for the loving, giving people you have placed in my life.
Help me to be the consoling,  understanding, loving and giving instrument of your peace
which has so graciously been given to me.
 
Amen
 
 
copyright©2019
 
Printed May 2017 at Sunlight Press
 
          Photographs By Mary Anne Tuck
          memoriesaremadefromthis.com

Holiday Celebrations As The Years Continue..

This may become one of the most interesting THANKSGIVING and Christmas holiday seasons to date.

THANKSGIVING-1964

(Musings of a Homemaker – Houghton Lake Resorter newspaper)

“Get that thing out of here and don’t you ever bring a snake into the house again!”(Turning from  the kitchen sink just as my young son proudly showed me the snake he had captured in a jar.)

It was the fall of  1964.  We had three young boys under the age of seven and dirty laundry in the laundry room. Now I was being confronted with a snake in a jar.

Reality was here to stay.

Our countryside is beautiful today. The joy of living in this wonderful place never changes for me.

Snow covered fields have not yet arrived. Even so, the pleasant anticipation of the arrival is a given in this precious season of Thanksgiving in northern Michigan.

There will be no time for me to fix turkey and pumpkin pie this year. With three boys to keep an eye on, laundry to do, and dishes waiting in the sink, where would I find the time?

As is often the case, Mother and Dad will rescue me. They will calm our appetities with an invitation to a bountiful table at their peaceful home.

The joy of the annual Thanksgiving family gathering offers not only good food but pleasant conversation filled with memories of being together during the holiday season.

My greeting card list has not reached the length it will be in the future. I’m trusting that some of our friends who send cards to fill our mailbox will understand when they don’t find one from us in theirs.

Each year it warms our hearts to reach out to friends and family. But, little boys in need of attention at unexpected times assure the notes from me will be short.

The printed verse on the card must say it all.

Mother always had her Christmas greeting cards prepared to send the day after Thanksgiving.  I’m sure she reserved the time to prepare them even when pressing family matters used her time too.

I can assure you there were no snakes in jars at the home of my Mother during the growing up years of my sister and me. Mother and I shared our dislike for those little creatures.

 Mother was ever faithful with her early holiday greeting and enjoyed the notoriety of being the first greeting to be received by family and friends.

A portion of Thanksgiving day was spent composing her handwritten notes expressing love and best wishes for the coming year.

Time will tell if I inherit Mother’s other traditions as the years go by.

* * *

New Memories New Traditions

2019

This may become one of the most interesting Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons to date.

Married sixty-two years in 2017, my husband, at the age of eighty-seven, passed on to his next life during the month of February.

Two of our little boys are now grown men. Our middle child died six years ago.  The experiences of all our lives have taken a very different turn.

The joy of grandchildren and the arrival of three great-granddaughters, Willow, Eva and Meadow, have filled our hearts to overflowing.

At the age of eighty-four, it may be a bit too much to entertain the entire extended family here at the farm for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Looking at it in a different way, it’s sure to become memories in the making for the younger folks who will take on that pleasant responsibility.

There is a large electric cooker in the cupboard and many recipes from my grandmother waiting in the recipe box. 

I’ve been thinking about putting up the Christmas tree.
 How could I fail to do that?
 This precious season is all about memories, families and the welcoming of the Christ Child.

The passing of years doesn’t change everything. Some things never change.

It really is the season of living and loving.

copyright©2019

Photographs By Mary Anne Tuck

memoriesaremadefromthis.com

THE MILES BETWEEN

How we live out our purpose,
and with whom we travel,
is our choice.

 Our Son

Tim

 

October 31, 1959 – October 11, 2013

 

 

He was employed as an “over the ROAD” truck driver.

In three week stints,

his purpose was to cover thousands of miles delivering freight

to various destinations throughout the country.

He chose to have his wife and their little dog travel with him.

 

The goal was to arrive safely at his destination.

The journey enabled him to experience the miles between.

 

Our journey is the same.

We have our point of origin (birth)

And our destination (death).

How we travel the miles between

defines our purpose in life.

 

How we live out our purpose,

and with whom we travel,

is our choice.

When we choose to travel with Jesus,

the Holy Spirit is our constant companion

Every experience, every encounter, every trial

is bearable,

because He is with us.   

 

We grow in our faith

as the mile markers accumulate.

 

God says to us….

“I am with you always,

even unto the end of time.”

 

My Prayer:  Thank you Lord,

for being one of Tim’s traveling companions

as he lived through his life

on his way back to You.

copyright©2019


Photographs By Mary Anne Tuck

memoriesaremadefromthis.com

THE JOURNEY BEGINS

Remember the promise to beloved schoolmates?
“Our class will be different. 
We’ll keep in touch and we won’t forget.”

 

Summer begins.
School years end. 
Sheltered and familiar halls of learning
will be left behind.

 It’s time to venture into the unknown future.

For some, the promised journey is exciting.
Others are hesitant 
to take this next step 
into an unfamiliar and very large world.

Emotions are deep. All paths lead to life.

Many  have traveled
along this road.

Hopefully long, 
sometimes narrow,
It is always a winding avenue. 
Complete with side trips,

choices may lead to
 higher education, 
marriage 
or family.

One decision will lead

 to service of country. All will hopefully lead to success.

 Each traveler uses his personal key 
to open the door to the future.

Ahead lie many unexpected opportunities.
Some may lead to a detour or temporary failure.

The insight needed

 to understand complicated directions
can help to find an individual’s happiness. 
 Life’s journey 

 guides us  by trial and error.

Remember the promise to beloved schoolmates?
“Our class will be different. 
We’ll keep in touch and we won’t forget.”

 Friendships of high-school and college days

 are never forgotten. 
Names may slip from mind,
  faces may fade,
 but memories of the times spent with friends and comrades 
will remain for  years. It matters not
which path is chosen.
 There will always be
 fond recollections 
 of the time of graduation.

 
 
 

The journey begins

One step 
and then another.

 

Musings of a Homemaker 

Houghton Lake Resorter newspaper – 1964
copyright©2018

Photographs By Mary Anne Tuck
 
 
https://thatremindsmenet.wpcomstaging.com

PEARL HARBOR

Tenth Grade English Composition
 1951

Mary Anne Whitchurch

December 7, 1941

 On a cold, grey morning

when the fog had yet to rise;

The seagulls made a flutter
 like a bird of paradise.

The waves were as a rose vine
 coils in an arbor,

Thus began the day
  Japanese bombed PEARL HARBOR.

The sun had yet to rise that day, 
December seven.

Dawn had just receded 
to another day in heaven,

When from the sky a frightful noise
 came booming from the guns.

Now in the place of clouds and sky
 had come 
The Rising Sun.

Their guns were all ablaze.
From the air there came a shrieking of bullets whizzing by to find their targets,
 quickly streaking.

The planes upon the ground 
were shattered as they stood.

For the men to take their stations,
would of course, have done no good.

The people who had lived at PEARL HARBOR
 were not spared.

Families of the fighting men 
were sadly not prepared.

A couple that had risen right at dawn
 to walk for pleasure

Were shattered,

killed by bullets 
which were made for such a measure.

A moment quickly passed.
  The air was filled with death.

Looking toward the morning sky, 
only clouds were left.

The sun had risen in the east; 
its bright light showed a flood

of red, red streaks 
upon the ground,
 now sadly stained
 with blood.

The stillness in the morning air 
seemed empty, 
dark and chilling.

A group of planes had quickly come. 
 Their one intent was killing.

The second world war began.
 With it came the strife

for families

of the men 
whose fate it was 
to lose their life.

PEARL HARBOR was the turning point 
in nineteen forty-one.

It was to bring a mask of death 
for five long years to come.

The seventh day of every month 
we pause 
and should remember…

The Japanese bombed PEARL HARBOR
on the seventh of December.

* * * * * *

I’ve often wondered at the intensity of thought
 of a 16 year old girl, (that was me),
 considering the awful event of PEARL HARBOR.

This was written in 1951.
 The event had happened only ten years earlier.
 Although it seems to us in 2018 
as only a point in history, 
it was very real to a teen-ager 
in those days.

The war had been over for 6 years at that time.
 It remained fresh in the minds of our people.

The men and women who served in the war, 
some  of whom are still with us today,
 can never erase the images 
of  horrors they witnessed
 during their time of service to our country.

December 7th is a date to remember.

If we cannot remember what happened on that date,
investigate the history books.

It must never happen again.

***

copyright©2018

Photography by Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck

memoriesaremadefromthis.com

WHERE'S THE BEEF?

 When lilac bushes appear in a vacant field,
we know an old Michigan farm 
once stood nearby.

Where’s The Beef?
Spring 1964

Musings of a Homemaker (3) – Houghton Lake Resorter


Strolling down our lane 
one may be overwhelmed

 by the aroma of lilacs and apple blossoms.

 Tiny pink flowers
 nod gently in the spring breezes.

 When lilac bushes appear in a vacant field,

we know an old Michigan farm 
once stood nearby.

We are careless with adjectives;

 lovely, cute and sweet. 


 When something is found worthy of a special description, 

words are used

 in a careless fashion.

They are overdone and unimpressive.

Have we become a nation of adjective droppers?

Little girls are sweet and cars are sweet. 
Dresses are sweet.
Fishing rods are sweet.

 Sugar is sweet.

The weather is lovely.
 Your wife is lovely.
 Children are lovely. 
Dinner is lovely.

Freckles are cute. 
Puppies  are cute.
 Babies are cute.

Everything is sweet,cute and lovely.

WHERE’S THE BEEF?

Teen-agers are sometimes
 juvenile delinquents.
 We may have delinquent taxes.

Senior citizens may have
 gray hair.
Gray haired people may be
 senior citizens.

Phrases overused
are lost.

 Adjectives become
 bruised, broken and meaningless.

Let’s save them for another day.

***

(This all seemed like a good idea in 1964)

And then..

2018

Where Are We Now?

What happened to the adjectives? 
They were sweet,cute and lovely.

 Now it’s PC,

G and LOL,. It may be ESP and APP
We are politically correct. 

Or are we?

Oh, and by the way, we type PC for “politically correct” now.

Those in the know understand 

what we mean.

We  type G for “grin.”
LOL  means “laugh out loud.” 

ESP stands for “extrasensory perception”;

APP for “application.”

We type COOL for good, 
wonderful,
 smart 
and up to date.

A perfectly wonderful language
 has been simplified 
to nothing.

Children in elementary school are not being taught cursive writing.

Much of their writing  
is unreadable.
Making matters worse,
many young people
cannot “read” cursive writing.

Think about it!
The United States Constitution
was produced in cursive writing.

President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
was written by him, as the story goes,in cursive writing,
as he was seated on a train
on his way to Gettysburg.

Why have we decided
to avoid teaching cursive writing
 to generations of  young Americans
who will never be able to read
those original, historical papers?

In response to questioning,
 a teacher informed me,

 “Within ten years
 no one will be using handwriting.

 Everyone will be using computers.”

Think of the handwriting experts
who will be unemployed.
(That’s a joke.)

With this information in mind,
 the overuse of “adjectives ” becomes cute and darling.

Describing anything at all
with the terms, “sweet and lovely,”
for they have become the only remaining,
 desirable speech.

Our English language
 is bruised and broken.
 It has been transformed into 
disconnected letters.

Bring back the adjectives.
 Bring the verbs and the adverbs.

I long for them.

Is it just me?

copyright©2018

Photography By Mary Anne Tuck

memoriesaremadefromthis.com

I WONDER IF HE KNEW

I wonder if He knew that I would question the little things that happen in my day..

Just WONDERING

How difficult to think of Him

As merely man.

Did He have cabin fever

In mid-winter too?

 

Was He reflective,

After spending time with folks

Because of things He said

Or didn’t say?

Did someone need to talk with Him

While He hurried on His way?

Was He discouraged by the weather?

 

Was He tempted to make bread from stones?

The Bible says He was.

Does that mean

When I’m tempted

I am not alone?

Will God be in my heart and head?

If I listen well to Him

And learn His teachings

Starting now,

Is there still time?

Was time His enemy

Is it mine?

Did He finish all His daily chores

And wake at night

Wishing He’d accomplished more?

If I could gain acclaim

With talents given me by God,

Would I, as He

Refuse the moment’s gain

For certain pain?

I WONDER IF HE KNEW

That I would question

If He really understood

The little things

That happen in my day.

He said He would.

Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck

1995

copyright/©2018

Photography By Mary Anne Tuck