Category: photos (Page 1 of 2)

Morning Glories, All

So far, today has been

smiles . . . . . .

a young girl smiles

 

a young boy plays with a toy car

 

a man and a dog smiling at each other

art (inside and out). it appears i am the proud grandmother of a 2 year old graffiti artist. And with boxcars not being readily available, a 2 year old resourceful graffiti artist . . . 

a child’s art marks on a brick wall

 

a child’s drawings on a chalkboard

Showing Bubbles (that’s me) all the things he’s learned to do for himself since February . . .

a young boy putting his shoes on

Expressive faces, like what to do when Bubbles says “give me surprise” 

a young child makes a face

and “give me pensive”

a young boy laying on a floor pillow

Serious talks with Bubbles. Seems Handful did not have a very good day at school today, and when I asked if he’d like to talk about it, he said yes. So I asked him why today wasn’t a very good day, and it seems he had to do way too much 2-people, 3-people, and rug work when what he really prefers is 1-person work. Just like his Bubbles prefers.

a young boy

And Morning Glories of the blooming variety. i especially love Morning Glories because that was one of the things my mother called me when i was a tot. other nicknames were fruit loop, peanut, and doll. You can’t go wrong with special names like that. Or “Handful” and ‘Sprout”.

a morning glory blooms

And we still have bedtime to look forward to. Baths to be taken. Books to be read. Songs to be sung.

a young boy sleeps on his fire truck bed

 

a young girl sleeps with Ana from Frozen

I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings here in Heaven.

Hostage, The Adventure Begins

Vintage boy’s shorts and shirt, vintage embroidered doilie, two red embroidered circles, all appliqués to the top of a small vintage quilt

 

Till the day he died of natural causes, my daddy talked about the barrel of that shotgun placed against the back of his neck. It was a feeling he never forgot.

Daddy was five years old when bandits came to the house, intending to kidnap Granddaddy and rob the bank. It was a weekend of horror I can scarce imagine. After spending my entire life gathering the stories, photos, and information, I am at last sitting down to write the book about that event that happened in my family on May 5 and 6, 1933. It is a story  of many stories woven together, and I will tell them all in books and in quilts.

The red circles represent the double barrel shotgun he felt against the back of his neck when, on Saturday morning May 6, 1933, five year old Crawford Jr. (a.k.a. Daddy) forgot that the bad men were in the house and did what he did first thing every morning: ran for the outhouse.

When I decided to tell the story in quilts as well as words, I went straight to my closet and began culling through all the things I’ve rescued and adopted over the course of more years than I can count. Quilts someone made for their babies; baby clothing that caught my fancy; embroidered doilies or dresser protectors or coasters – not sure what you call them. In less than 2 hours, four quilts were pinned together, using only what I have on hand. That is one of my intentions for this year, you know, using only (okay, mostly) what I have on hand. It’s an idea I got from my talented friend Linda Syverson Guild, who doesn’t buy any fabric the first six months of every year, using instead what she already has. I smile as I weave these storied, already well-loved items into my family’s stories. I also smile feeling grateful  that I listened to my Bones and purchased these things, even with that dreaded voice of authority on The Committee of Jeanne booming in the background things like “You don’t need this” or “You have too much stuff already” or “What on earth do you plan to do with that?” (The others who sit on The Committee of Jeanne are saving up for a firing squad.) Score one – a great, big, fat one – for my Bones.

~~~~~~~

If you’re wondering about The 70273 Project, we’re still here. I’ve been regrouping and hatching plans that I’ll share with you here next week. Thanks for stopping by and trekking through these adventures – all of them – with me.

Daily Dahlia #66

IMG 8749

The temperature hovers near freezing at night now, so The Engineer dug up our dahlia tubers. We’ve never had much luck overwintering the tubers, they always rot. Living on a waterfall probably contributes to the high humidity. This year we’re trying something new – letting them dry out a few days, then we’ll chop off the ends, dip them in Clorox, and wrap them in clear plastic wrap. Cross your fingers. I’m working on making my dahlia photos available on notecards, canvases, and other useful items. Stay tuned.

74: My Mother’s Garden

Ada16oct15c

She inherited her mother’s green thumb
which means that no matter the soil
or sun, shadow, or rain,
she can grow anything.
Can make any plant come to life
and thrive.
“See that dogwood tree right there?” she asks.
“When Robin gave that to me,
it was about 3 inches tall
and in this little ole’ pot.
And now just look at it.”
I do look,
but I can’t see the top
because it’s too high.

Iris are her favorite flowers,
though she fancies roses
and sunflowers, too.

She likes to share her plants with others
and grow plants from seeds.
This morning we walk through her backyard
looking at what’s faded
what is still green and growing
what I might want to bring up the mountain.
She tells me on of Walter’s favorite jokes,
but I can’t remember it now.
Something about two men, one wife, and honesty.

She climbs up and over and through
her backyard,
her right knee now hugely swollen
and infected from the fall she took
three weeks ago in front of the GNC store.
“Thank goodness she didn’t hit her face,”
her friend Mama Helen tells me.

“I need to snip off some Mexican Lavender,”
Mother says. “I had some that was doing just fine,
but the men who pressure washed the house
killed it, so I need to start over.”
I like to try to root things,” she tells me.
“Some things take root, others don’t.”

~~~~~~~

And from my garden, The Daily Dahlia:

DailyDahlia16Oct15

57: Personable or Oblivions? Depends on Who You Ask

NotecardReady6

The Daily Dahlia

The first time Daddy ran for election, he lost. Mr. Floy Farr gave him few days to lick his wounds, then called Daddy up and told him to get dressed and go see about this one particular job opening. Daddy was hired in a management position at what was then Tyrone Rock Products Company, and I ‘spect the day he was hired is the day I became a lifelong rock hound. The rock quarry was located in Riverdale, so we’d occasionally stop by on our way home to see Daddy at work.

One night Daddy was unusually quiet at supper.

“Crawford,” Mother said, attempting to enkindle some supper table conversation one night after we’d stopped by for a visit on our way home from the Farmer’s Market. “I tell you, those men you work with are the nicest people. They just talked and talked and talked with me this afternoon when we stopped by. They shared with me so much, I like to have never got to leave.”

“I guess they did, Ada,” Daddy said, laying his fork down rather firmly and raising his eyes to meet hers square on. “You parked on the only scales at the quarry and shut the whole damn plant down.”

~~~~~~~

Life was just too much with me the past couple of days, but I’ll catch up and get myself back on track. To those who asked after me, thank you. It’s nice to be missed.

~~~~~~~

IOOL4 21

In Our Own Language 4:21

Still stitching Nancy’s drawings. Today, the 21st drawing in set 4.
But you knew that.

In case this is your first trip here,
I’m penning 100 stories in 100 days.
And, while they last,

I publish a dahlia a day.
I also stitch the drawings of
my developmentally disabled sister-in-love
Nancy every chance I get.
If you want to ride shotgun,
mash the black “right this way” button
in the orange bar at the top of the screen
and follow the directions.

55: Insert Foot In Mouth (And This Time It Wasn’t Me)

DailyDahlia24Sep15

The Daily Dahlia . . .
in a beautiful mug created by my friend Sorrow

~~~~~~~

Once upon a decade, I did some freelance graphic design for the local board of education. I reported directly to the Superintendent – a man I liked immensely – and got to do things I enjoyed. Like marketing, for example. Making the system, schools, individuals put their best side forward on paper just made me love going to the computer. One of my favorite projects was the in-house newsletter the Superintendent suggested we create and publish each month, highlighting all the varied wonderful things schools, staff, and students were doing. It was, by all accounts, a smashing success as people enjoyed putting their best foot forward to all the other schools in the county.

Things were rolling along swell . . . until a new Director of Marketing was hired. She was young and you had only to spend two minutes with her to know that she felt she had something to prove. Her attitude reeked of step-aside-and-let-the-girl-with-the-title-show-you-how-it’s-done. She took an immediate dislike to me, along with anybody else who had been there before her and whose job description overlapped hers in any way, big or small.

Br’er Jeanne, she lay low.

You know the type: to the Superintendent, she was Miss Cheerful Optimism. A real can-do, rah-rah kind of girl. Behind the Superintendent’s back, she shot daggers and glares and stuck her proverbial foot out to trip you up at any and every opportunity.

Needless to say, she did not make friends easily.

And Br’er Jeanne, she continued to lay low.

Fortunately for me, I was only in the office about once a month and I continued to report directly to the Superintendent, not her. The Superintendent asked me to show up weekly to help her learn the ropes . . . something I did not tell her because with her attitude, I didn’t see any way that was going to do anything good. You know what I mean?

So Br’er Jeanne, she just showed up weekly to see if there was anything she could do, and continued to lay low.

One day, Miss Director of Marketing informed me that she’d scheduled a meeting with the Superintendent, me, and herself. From her smug demeanor, it was obvious she had a plan to get me fired.

Br’er Jeanne, she lay low.

We sat at the small table in the Superintendent’s office, and the Superintendent asked her to start, since she was the one who requested the meeting. She started out with little nit-picking things, all delivered with a lot of batting of her eyes and a broad smile.

Br’er Jeanne, she lay low and took notes to look attentive.

Then in an unexpected turn of events, Miss Director of Marketing suggested that we do away with that “ridiculously frivolous and unnecessary in-house newsletter.”

Now Br’er Jeanne, she lay really low, somehow stifling a smile and forcing herself to stay focused on Miss DOM without so much as a sideways glance at the Superintendent.

“Nobody likes it,” Miss DOM informed the Superintendent. “It’s a big waste of time and money that we could surely put to better use somewhere else. I’ve never heard of an in-house newsletter that reports only good and positive things. Oh, I’m sure it was a good idea at the time Jeanne suggested it, but now, well, like I said, it’s just an extravagant waste of time and money.” And with that, Miss DOM shot me a quick smarmy got-you-now smile just before directing her gaze back to the Superintendent.

Br’er Jeanne, she lay low . . . and also turned her gaze to the Superintendent.

The Superintendent smiled like he was kind of enjoying himself, paused a beat, then said, “The in-house good news newsletter was not Jeanne’s idea, it was mine.”

Br’er Jeanne had to bite the inside of her mouth to keep from laughing out loud . . . but still she lay low.

The meeting ended shortly after that when Miss DOM remembered that she had a Very Important Phone Call to return. She left, and we somehow let the door close behind her, the Superintendent and I, before we cut loose in that kind of laughter that’s just downright good for the soul. Despite Miss DOM’s horrendous attitude, behavior, and intentions, our laughter wasn’t malicious or self-righteous. It was just plain ole’ delighted guffawing cause we both knew that it’s not often you get to see somebody hang themselves instead of the person they were gunning for.

~~~~~~~

IOOL4 20

In Our Own Language 4:20

Nancy (my developmentally disabled sister-in-law) draws.
I (the woman who flat-out loves her) stitch.

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Thank you for reading along.
If you have stories or comments to share,
I’d sure love to hear them.
To see more of the Daily Dahlias, join me on Facebook or Instagram.
And if you want to keep up with these 100 Stories in 100 Days
or my stitchings,
just mash the black “right this way” button in the orange bar
at the top of the screen and follow the directions.

54: Tickling the Ivories

GMBPlaysABHPianoSept1975

Katie Belle Wesley Ballard (a.k.a. Grandmother) September 1975

Upon her graduation from high school, Grandmother received what is now known as a full-ride scholarship to the Piano Conservatory. She went the first year, and as she prepared for her second year, her father told her that girls didn’t need a college education – especially in music – and declared she was to stay home and find herself a husband. She stayed home, found a husband, and her children all agree that Granddaddy married up.

She may have left the Conservatory, but Grandmother never left the piano. At the end of each summer, she set up a schedule giving each grandchild a day and a time to come for piano lessons. Granddaddy picked us up after school and treated us to ‘cream and Co-Colas (in the small bottles cause they taste better). When Grandmother beckoned us to the piano, more often than not, Granddaddy followed us into the living room, sat on the sofa across the room from the piano, and said “Play me a tune.” We’d roll the piano stool up or down, depending on our height, take our seat, and loosen up with five-finger exercises.

What are piano lessons without a recital, right? So every Christmas came the two words that struck a chord of dread in every parents’ heart: The Program. In early September, Grandmother sent Mother to Newberry’s in downtown Atlanta to fetch the sheet music on her list. Assignments were made, sheet music handed out, and practice began in earnest in early October. By Christmas Day, we were ready. Or at least as ready as we were ever gonna’ be. We all moved to the living room (well, not all of us, really. Daddy, for example, who never spent much time with babies suddenly loved them and volunteered to hold at least one of them. In another room.). Grandmother called us to order, introducing each grandchild, and we took our turn, adjusting the piano seat and playing our piece.

I always wanted to play Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town because it was such a fun tune, and it was the hardest piece on Grandmother’s list, but that song always went to my cousin Cynthia (remember, Grandmother did not abide nicknames) who, I have to admit, really could tickle the ivories better than any of the rest of us. (She still can.) The boys: Jerry, Scott, and Brain played the same thing for 32 consecutive Programs: The Caisson Song. My cousin Stacy bypassed the piano altogether and went for the trombone. He lived in New Jersey.

She never talked about it, and I often wonder if Grandmother ever really got over having her daddy yank her scholarship from her. If this letter is to be believed, she was very good. And I can’t help but wonder – even if it means I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this – how her life would’ve been different had she finished the program.

GMBPianoConservatoryLetter

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IOOL4 19

In Our Own Language 4:19

Nancy (my developmentally disabled sister-in-law) draws.
I (the woman who flat-out loves her) stitch.

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DailyDahlia23Sep15

Today, we feature the Daily Dahlia’s flip side

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Hey, if you’d like to join the chorus:
To see more of the Daily Dahlias, join me on Facebook or Instagram.
And if you want to keep up with these 100 Stories in 100 Days
or my stitchings,
just mash the black “right this way” button in the orange bar
at the top of the screen and follow the directions.

53: Late Bloomer

KYDerbyPrograms2

Swizzlestrut.

Jet Assembly.

Mississippi Mama.

Dark Pet.

I love race horse names.

Mother and Daddy always came back from the Kentucky Derby bearing gifts. Armloads of goodies. Suitcases filled – nay, Steam trunks filled to the brim with all sorts of things to let us – their three children – know they were thinking about us and missing us the entire time they were away. For my sister, they brought stuffed animals, new dresses with socks and shoes to match, a new bicycle. My brother got footballs, golf clubs, a new four-wheeler. And from behind those cateye-with-sparkles glasses, my eyes glazed over when they put their Official Kentucky Derby Program in my hand along with a fistful of bookmarks.

I was a sophomore in college before I knew that those bookmarks were actually swizzle sticks.

~~~~~~~

IOOL4 18

In Our Own Language 4:18

Nancy (my developmentally disabled sister-in-law) draws.
I (the woman who flat-out loves her) stitch.

~~~~~~~

DailyDahlia22Sep15

The Daily Dahlia

~~~~~~~

Hey, I’m sure glad you’re here.
To see more of the Daily Dahlias, join me on Facebook or Instagram.
And if you want to keep up with these 100 Stories in 100 Days
or my stitchings,
just mash the black “right this way” button in the orange bar
at the top of the screen and follow the directions.

52: Ink, Paper, Stamps – Remember Them?

StrattonLoveLetter1

The letters – written on khaki-colored YMCA stationery – begin with loving salutations like “My Dear Byrdie” and “My Own Dear Baby” and “My Dear Sweetheart”. They close with a little more formality: “With all good wishes, I am” and “I am as ever” though occasionally a little sweetness creeps in: “Yours until death” and “With all my love and kisses”. He signs them as “A. J. Jack Stratton.”

ByrdieAndJack1

ByrdieAndJack2

Andrew Jack Stratton (The Engineer’s grandfather, affectionally called Pops) penned the letters to Jakie Byrd Wright (The Engineer’s grandmother, affectionately known as Maw) as he wooed, then courted, and eventually married her on April 20, 1918, a scant three months before he shipped out to France to take his place in history by serving as a Doughboy in the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) of World War I.

StrattonLoveLettersBundle1

In late 2000, I found the bundle of love letters Pops wrote his new bride during World War I, all 67 letters held together with a piece of orange yarn. They are so precious and such a treasure of family history, I set about replicating a set for each family member, scanning the letters and creating a collage of scanned stamps, postmarks, and addresses that I printed then cut, folded, and glued into envelopes. Once all the letters had been recreated and stuffed into envelopes, I tied them together with a piece of orange yarn and put each set in one of the antique wooden boxes I’d been quietly collecting.

StrattonLoveLettersBooklet2

Because some of the letters were near illegible, I transcribed each one and put together a little book along with the little research I had time to do about the places and events mentioned in the letters. As I worked, I channeled Pops and Maw through the silver Mont Blanc fountain pen that Pops actually used to write the letters, his name inscribed on the barrel.

Newlyweds1

Through his letters, we get to know the young Jack and the woman he loves, Jakie Byrd. We witness his flirting, his declarations of undying love, his pledges to stay away from the French wines. We are with him when he checks in at Camp Lee, as he petitions his Captain with a plan to get his sweetheart to visit, and later as he finally sees land from the boat as he arrives in Europe. We feel his homesickness, his angst at not being promoted, his eagerness to “show the Kaiser what the US boys can do.”

SoldierJack1

SoldierJack2

The centenary of World War I began in 2014 and continues through 2018, so it seems a fine time to dust off the letters and give them another read. Maybe do some more extensive research about where and how he served. Though the letters are deliberately devoid of details and effusive emotion to allow them to pass through the hands of censors, much can still be gleaned about Pops, Maw, and so-called War to End All Wars, and the climate of America at the time. We know so much about history thanks to handwritten letters, and I fear how much will be lost to future generations because, really, who’s going to sit down and sift through the thousands of emails in our computers? Preserving history – especially primary source history – is not an expenditure of time, but an investment. So let’s get out the pens and paper and write more letters. It’s a fine legacy to leave, and our posterity will thank us. I’m sure of it.

~~~~~~~

IOOL4 18JPG

In Our Own Language 4:18

Nancy (my developmentally disabled sister-in-law) draws.
I (the woman who flat-out loves her) stitch.

~~~~~~~

DailyDahlia21Sep15

The Daily Dahlia

~~~~~~~

Hey, I’m sure glad you’re here.
To see more of the Daily Dahlias, join me on Facebook or Instagram.
And if you want to keep up with these 100 Stories in 100 Days
or my stitchings,
just mash the black “right this way” button in the orange bar
at the top of the screen and follow the directions.

51: The Eyes Have It

She’d been a writer
since discovering the written word in first grade,
so it’s no wonder she sat in a corner at their twentieth reunion,
watching her former classmates and
sketching them in lines and words. . .

CuteLittleCreature copy

One gal had a bad cold which kinda’ made her look like a clown.
About all she could mutter intelligibly was “Oh”,
so she sounded constantly surprised.
Or sad, depending.

DidntBelieveAWordSheSaid copy

JoeBob sought her out
and apologized
for having stood her up the night of their Senior Prom.
It may have been twenty years ago,
but Cleotia still didn’t believe a single word he said.

EyesBuggedOutOfHerHead copy

While some people needed name tags to recognize former classmates,
everybody recognized Bernice immediately
because the years hadn’t reduced the size
or placement
of her eyes.
Not one little bit.

FlirtyEyes copy

In the some-stereotypes-never-change department,
the captain of the cheerleading squad
spent the entire night giving flirty eyes
to the captain of the football team.

GrouchoEyes copy

The older he got,
the more he looked like Groucho Marx.
Everybody said so.

LoungeLizardette copy

While other folks went off to college,
Peony stayed home and became a Lounge Lizard.

MadAndUnconvinced copy

Even though Diotra spent the better part of every hour
trying to convince Dilbo that he,
the man she came to the reunion with
not the fourth grade fella
who’d helped her craft that flour and water map of Italy,
was the true love of her life,
he remained steadfastly mad and unconvinced.

OneEyedBeaked copy

Flossie Belle took home the Most Unchanged ribbon
for the way she still reminded everybody
of the school mascot:
of a rarified one-eyed beaked
ornamonfagnothingazimbo.

OneEyeListensWithHeartPortraitPose copy

The years had not been kind to Hybrid.
Neither was that fascinator she wore perched up on her head.

OwlEyes1 copy

Twinkle Towez may have had the eyes and the stutter of an owl,
possibly even the night vision,
but when she opened her mouth and started talking,
it became glaringly obvious that
the owl analogy stopped there.

Peeking copy

Those unfortunate close-set squinty eyes,
gave everybody the impression that Leotia had trust issues.
Or allergies.

SadEyesBeingWatched copy

A couple of girls from the Glee Club
sat in the corner and cried all night
at the inevitable conclusion
that their lives had peaked in seventh grade.

She1 copy

The accident left Pet R. Fried with
a swollen, stitched-up right eye,
a blackened left eye,
a mouth sewn shut,
a chin that would need several more surgeries to take in the slack,
and the in-and-out ports on his chest.
But you had to give him bonus points
for donning a tie
and coming to the reunion anyway.

She2 copy

Su Songbird had this way of looking right through you.
It was unnerving, really.

WaitedUpAllNight copy

Jim Beamtofroid was up drinking all night the night before,
and it kinda’ showed.

WearySleep copy

One cup of punch,
and LizaMae was snoring over her cheese straws.

WinkingEyes1 copy

Bette wished
she could’ve gotten in that class
on how to draw better eyebrows
before the reunion.
Her classmates did, too.

WiseGuyAlwaysTalking copy

When Junior got to drinking,
he looked a whole lot less like Clark Gable
and a whole lot more like Captain Hook in a jester’s hat.

~~~~~~~

IOOL4 17

In Our Own Language 4:17

And if I haven’t worn your imagination slap out,
tell me what (if anything)
you see in this stitched version of Nancy’s drawing.
Nancy (my developmentally disabled sister-in-law) draws.
I (the woman who flat-out loves her) stitch her drawings.

~~~~~~~

DailyDahlia20Sep15

The Daily Dahlia

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Thank you for joining me on my story quest.
To see more of the Daily Dahlias, join me on Facebook or Instagram.
And if you want to keep up with these 100 Stories in 100 Days
or my stitchings,
just mash the black “right this way” button in the orange bar
at the top of the screen and follow the directions.

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