Post 613: I don’t remember much about then…

Family photos sometimes form the only memory we have of times and places we’ve been. Seems obvious. Yet, looking through some family photos taken before I was born, I saw a past that never existed for me. It is an odd place to be!

The paternal grandparents.

The paternal grandparents.

Her name was Mary. The little girl in the photo, the older of my two sisters, is Marijean, whose name is a combination of this grandmother’s first name and “Jean”, our mother’s first name. I got my paternal grandfather’s name for my middle name: “George”. This photo has to be from the WWII era, and the house appears to be one on Sweetwater Avenue, one of many where my father’s family lived before my grandparents retired to Englewood, Colorado, where I met.  them.

They were from Missouri. Salem, Missouri, to be specific, which is in the southeast part of that state. It was where they met. Their families both farmed.

At some point, a sister encouraged my grandfather to come to Nebraska. Cambridge, Nebraska, in the south central part to the state, on the Republican River. Her husband owned and ran the “The Kaleidoscope” newspaper, a man of substance. My grandfather lived with them for a time and got a job helping build the railroads of Nebraska west. That was how he and the family ended up in Deadwood, Newcastle, and Alliance, where the photo was taken.

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Our Scottish immigrant maternal grandmother.

Our Scottish immigrant maternal grandmother, with a couple “wee fairts”

Mom’s mother was a hoot! If our Gram in Englewood was serious and spoke with a soft southern accent, as I remember her, our maternal grandmother was known to take off to Denver to visit her sister Margaret (“Aunt Maggie”), who lived in a mansion on High Street. Aunt Margaret was a hoot, too! She’d get Gram to drink mixed drinks, convincing her they were not alcoholic. At least that was what we were lead to believe. The two were best buddies!

I remember Aunt Margaret’s parrot Polly, who ate tea, egg, and toast from a spoon it held in it’s claw. Pretty exotic as pets go, and one of the treats of visiting Gram’s sister. The other was an endless supply of Seven-Up pop, a treat in those days, a luxury we rarely had at home. She didn’t have a pronounced accent, but our grandmother had a thick Scottish brogue.

My brother can duplicate that accent pretty well, I think, because he’s a clever fellow! Myself, I remember words she used, or how words she used sounded to me. “Girl” sounded like “gettle”. “Candy” sounded like “gundy”, and she had a terribly insatiable sweet tooth. I was in my 40s before it struck me, that I had an epiphany and finally realized  what my Church of Scotland-proper maternal grandmother was speaking of when she referred to “wee fairts” (“children”, usually meaning my siblings and me…) was “little farts”! Grandmother…! For shame!

My poor sister Marijean got this grandmother’s first name as her middle name, with a small spelling change.

The photo was taken in the mid-1940s. Our grandfather died of cancer in 1940, so only one of us has much sense of what he was like. He was a master carpenter on the railroad. My brother got his first name for his middle name: Murdoch! My mother’s family, too, moved around to many of the same places my father’s family did during those early days of the 20th Century when area railroads built up.

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That's me in the buggy. Richard and Kathy, my other siblings treated me well.

That’s me in the buggy. Richard and Kathy, my other siblings, treated me well. “Spoiled me”, more like it!

That’s Laddie, my maternal grandmother’s dog. He and I both were born in the same year. His mother had papers, and his father had his nerve, the mutt! The puppies, consequently, weren’t suitable for sale. Nonetheless, Laddie was a loyal and relentless guard of the baby in the buggy. He was a good dog! When I got my dog Peanuts in 1959, he and Laddie had issues. They never did become buddies, which disappointed me. Though I don’t remember this scene in my grandmother’s backyard, I have this photo. It makes me happy!

Post 610: the game

"Peek!"

“Peek…!”

"Peek-a-boo!"

“Peek…!”

"Peek-a-boo!"

“Peek-a-boo!”

Post 575: Why, it’s Caturday again!

How better to observe Caturday that to post a selection of handsome Dougy poses?

Hey! Pay attention, Dougy.

Hey! Pay attention, Dougy.

This shouldn’t be harder than giving medicine to a kitty…!

Um...better.

Um…better.

One last shot. Make it heroic!

"Cats are heroic. I don't need to put on an act for you!"

“Cats are heroic. I don’t need to put on an act for you!”

Obey the cat!

Yes, kitty. As you say, kitty. Kitty is right, kitty.

Have some treats, kitty.

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No humans were harmed making this post. Well, not much!

Post 464: in which I return to routine…and reminisce a wee bit

A good night’s sleep put me right physically. Then I made a light breakfast of whole wheat English muffins with cream cheese and marmalade, strong coffee, and cranberry juice. I finally cut up the watermelon, too, and put it in the refrigerator, something I intended to do while my brother was here so I didn’t have to eat watermelon morning, noon, and night. Oh well!

The boys are in better form today, too. Dougy was up for play with their Neko dragonfly toy; Andy was less ready at first, but came around to play later.

One thing Andy did do was stop by my chair while I caught up on reading, put his front paws on my arm — his way to getting my attention. I hadn’t given him his blood pressure medicine yet. He forgot that, I guess, but wanted the post-dose treat of Greenies. Silly cat! All I had to do was reach down and pick him up, cradle him on his back (without the towel, even!), and squirt the dose in his mouth.

He took it like a big kitty. Good boy! Then Dougy ate his treats. Geez! What’s a kitty gotta do to get some Greenies around here? I put out some more Greenies later, and he got his treats.

🙂

May 1971, off Sardinia on a blustery, miserable day at the beach filming a missile firing.

May 1971, off Sardinia on a blustery, miserable day at the beach filming a missile firing.

The photo has nothing to do with anything. I didn’t remember it, found it among other photos, scanned it, and realized I didn’t really have anything similar to tie in with it. But I like it!

🙂

Um, sorry for the brief loss of my train of thought! Back to getting back to routine, I took a look at a five-week-long stack of magazines that accumulated during the family visits. I couldn’t work reading them into my day, so now have five weeks’ worth of magazines to read, which I began during breakfast. What a concept! Reading at the breakfast table! It was nice.

Though I enjoyed family talk during the visits, I am not a morning talker by habit or choice. Reading, though, is comfortable as an old pair of jeans.

🙂

At the Paris apartment of Ralph and Deborah in 1971. I'm second from the left, Tim's next, then Ralph, Deborah, and Deborah's sister Kathy.

At the Paris apartment of Ralph and Deborah in 1971. I’m second from the left, Tim’s next, then Ralph, Deborah, and Deborah’s sister Kathy.

There is a time and place for chatter at mealtime, and some of the more pleasant moments of life center around family and friends sharing light conversation and a delicious homemade soup or a dish new to some at the table. (Unless the dish involves squid, stinky cheese, or durian fruit, for example. 😉 )

Of course, if you are chatting at the table with friends in an apartment on rue des Boulangers in Paris, the food and wine taste much, much better!

Post 462: “Are you up!?”

I noticed in Facebook my friend Ralph’s birthday was yesterday. I looked at my brother and said, “That’s odd. I thought Ralph’s birthday was July 10th…!” After a pregnant moment, I thought out loud, “Oh! This is July!”

What can I say? I’m nearly two-thirds of a century old and the inexorable process of entropy has robbed me of some of my, um, “mental acuity”! 🙂

In 1971, I think it was, Ralph and Deborah came to Kaiserslautern on a visit. They’d been great hosts when I visited Paris, so I wanted them to have an equally memorable visit to Germany. One day trip we made was to Heidelberg, where we climbed the hill to Schloss Heidelberg.

ralph tim deborah doug Schloss Heidelberg 1971

The foot scene above is from the climb to Schloss Heidelberg with Ralph, Deborah, and army friend and Beethovenstrasse roommate Tim. We were strong. We were fun. We were playful. We wanted to have a different way to remember our day trip to that city. I believe Deborah proposed the idea above. My big foot is in the foreground. Counter clockwise, the feet belong to Ralph, Deborah, and Tim.

Then, on a trip to Paris — the one Tim was able to take with me — Tim, Ralph, and I stopped by an Alsatian bar (best beer!) Ralph liked for ambience and product. Low light, slow ASA 100 black and white film — this was 1971, I think — and this surreal scene revealed itself to us all.

alsatian brasserie tim and ralph paris 1971

I also took a photo of the proprietor, a happy Alsatian who insisted I take his photo, too. He was an institution there and a camera ham, so the proprietor’s photo turned out heroic: “Noble barman at the helm of his bar, awaiting the next onslaught of thirsty patrons demanding perfectly pulled draughts of tasty Alsatian beer…!”

I suppose I could post the proprietor’s photo with no issues, but I am hesitant to post anything with recognizable people without their permission.

Anyway, the point and purpose of this entry today is to honor the birthday of a well-tested friend, someone responsible for many of the happiest times in my life, if not a few of the more horrific…. Given my age, he must be a real antique by now!

Ha! Just kidding, Ralph! I love you and cherish our friendship so much I hope I die before you so I don’t have to know a world where you aren’t there, waiting to ask that famous (infamous) question that always lead to adventures of a life time, “Are you up!?”