Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
April 18th, 2014


The upheaval is underway full-tilt! The little room that once held a cot, chest of drawers, bookcase, computer snd printer, racks and shelves of clothes, miscellaneous window and wall appurtenances–gone, gutted, the lathes and plaster carted away; there never was any insulation. GUTTED! Everything worth keeping is somewhere else.

Next comes the big room, the living room, where I essentially lived when not in thr kitchen. Who wants all the stuff that has to be gone forever? Books galore, hundreds of cassettes, CD’S now going into boxes. Take down the pictures, put the TV somewhere else. Away with them! It’s Good Friday! Strip it!

We live in an opulent throw-away society, a time of “conspicuous consumption,” a time when a kid needs new sneakers as soon as the tops get dirty. I come from a time when you wore your sneakers until they had no soles, a time when we saved buttons and zippers and shoelaces. A time when Aunt Sue’s Sunday dress would eventually become a frock for little Nellie, then part of a quilt or a braided rug, and finally a pot holder or just plain rag. Actually I just threw out a lovely bag of shoelaces, all sizes, many colors, some not even opened yet. Such bounty–but who would appreciate a lovely collection of shoelaces other than some child in a garbage dump in Haiti? And getting them there would be such a chore. Out with it all!

Before the upheaval I had a bookcase in my bedroom on one whole wall from floor to ceiling, as well as bookshelves or bookcases in at least five other locations. It seems such a crime to throw out all that good reading! True, some are yellowed with age, and some only paperbacks that cost 35 cents in their day. Erma Bombeck, Rachel Carson, Eric Fromm. It’s going to be such a task to sort through them to make space for better(?), newer tomes which have not even been read yet, but had no shelf space.

AWAY! Till next time.

March 18th, 2014


I was talking with my son about sensitivity to gluten which seems to be a malady that flesh is heir to in recent days. He is of the opinion that people are eating much more in the way of gluten-containing foodstuffs than ever before in the form of breads, muffins, cookies, cakes, pizza, and the like which explains why our bodies can’t handle it. Apparently in the “olden days,” before cross-country trucking and railroads, and refrigeration, wheat products were more of a seasonal thing and the ordinary joe ate more fruits, vegetables, and meats, and less starches.
On the other hand it was my thought that bread has been a staple for millennia and at least since the time of Jesus people have been breaking bread, the kid had loaves for Jesus to multiply, and his disciples were reprimanded for eating a few kernels as they passed through a wheat field. It could be we were both right. We eat more wheat but bread has always been with us.

Speaking of refrigeration I mentioned in the course of the conversation that when I was about 7 or 8 my family had a icebox in the kitchen, with a drip tray at the bottom, and a sign to put in the window telling the iceman how big a block of ice we wanted. The iceman would drive his horse-drawn cart through the back alley every day and we kids would follow along behind, hoping to get some chips of ice on a hot day. It seems I had never before mentioned to my son that I dated back to the time when the iceman actually came.

All of which caused wonderment as to how, without refrigeration, the iceman was able to deliver ice to us on a hot summer day. The next day it was explained to me that they cut huge blocks of ice from the frozen pond in the wintertime which was stored in a big warehouse where it was surrounded by sawdust for insulation until needed.

Which left two more questions: Ons, how did they cut and lift those big ice blocks, and.two, where did they get all that sawdust? Obviously I should have asked more questions when I was around.

September 10th, 2013

BACK TO 1910

I was born in 1923.  Our country was much different then but even I didn’t appreciate how different it was until this arrived via email today.  I have copied it just so readers can get an idea of how very different things were just 13 years before I was born.  It came with a note that rent at that time was $5 a month and a photo of a 1910 Ford which refused to copy along with rest of it.   We did have a Ford back then and since we lived in Detroit I assume it was a pretty current model.  I do remember a crank in the front to start it.

Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.
Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads.
The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower !
The average US wage in 1910 was 22 cents per hour.
The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year,
a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year,
and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.
More than 95 percent of all births took place at HOME.
Ninety percent of all Doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION!
Instead, they attended so-called medical schools,
many of which were condemned in the press AND the government as ‘substandard.’
Sugar cost four cents a pound.
Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.
Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
There was no such thing as under arm deodorant or tooth paste.
Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.
The five leading causes of death were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza
2, Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke
The American flag had 45 stars.
The population of Las Vegas Nevada was only 30!
Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn’t been invented yet.
There was no Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.
Two out of every 10 adults couldn’t read or write and only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.
Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.
There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE U.S.A. !

Yes, it was a very, very different world and it takes something like this to help us understand how much things have changed.  Dad worked as a carpenter in Detroit during the building boom before the depression hit.  Mom not only graduated from high school as valedictorian but studied bookkeeping and stenography afterwards.  Even so, the depression hit us hard and they left their little house in Detroit, packed us four kids in their Ford, and headed for Pennsylvania where Uncle George put Dad to work in a silk mill.

May 22nd, 2012


This arrived by email today – perfect for this blog. Unfortunately it came with photos of old cars and such to illustrate the various points. The pictures did not copy and paste for me along with the text. What to do? Post it anyway and plead senility!

How Old is Grandma?

Stay with this — the answer is at the end. It will blow you away.

One evening a grandson was talking to his grandmother about current events.
The grandson asked his grandmother what she thought about the shootings at schools, the computer age, and just things in general.

The Grandmother replied, “Well, let me think a minute, I was born before:
‘ television
‘ penicillin
‘ polio shots
‘ frozen foods
‘ Xerox
‘ contact lenses
‘ Frisbees and
‘ the pill

There were no:
‘ credit cards
‘ laser beams or
‘ ball-point pens
Man had not yet invented:
‘ pantyhose
‘ air conditioners
‘ dishwashers
‘ clothes dryers
‘ and the clothes were hung out to dry in the fresh air and
‘ man hadn’t yet walked on the moon

Your Grandfather and I got married first, and then lived together. Every family had a father and a mother.
Until I was 25, I called every man older than me, “Sir.”
And after I turned 25, I still called policemen and every man with a title, “Sir.”
We were before gay-rights, computer-dating, dual careers, daycare centers, and group therapy.
Our lives were governed by the Ten Commandments, good judgment, and common sense.
We were taught to know the difference between right and wrong and to stand up and take responsibility for our actions.
Serving your country was a privilege; living in this country was a bigger privilege.
We thought fast food was what people ate during Lent.
Having a meaningful relationship meant getting along with your cousins.
Draft dodgers were those who closed front doors as the evening breeze started.
Time-sharing meant time the family spent together in the evenings and weekends -not purchasing condominiums.

We never heard of FM radios, tape decks, CD’s, electric typewriters, yogurt, or guys wearing earrings.
We listened to Big Bands, Jack Benny, and the President’s speeches on our radios.
And I don’t ever remember any kid blowing his brains out listening to Tommy Dorsey.
If you saw anything with ‘Made in Japan ‘ on it, it was junk.
The term ‘making out’ referred to how you did on your school exam.
Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, and instant coffee were unheard of.
We had 5 &10-cent stores where you could actually buy things for 5 and 10 cents.
Ice-cream cones, phone calls, rides on a streetcar, and a Pepsi were all a nickel.
And if you didn’t want to splurge, you could spend your nickel on enough stamps to mail 1 letter and 2 postcards.
You could buy a new Ford Coupe for $600, but who could afford one?
Too bad, because gas was 11 cents a gallon.
In my day:
‘ “grass” was mowed,
‘ “coke” was a cold drink,
‘ “pot” was something your mother cooked in and
‘ “rock music” was your grandmother’s lullaby.
‘ “Aids” were helpers in the Principal’s office,
‘ “chip” meant a piece of wood,
‘ “hardware” was found in a hardware store and.
‘ “software” wasn’t even a word.

And we were the last generation to actually believe that a lady needed a husband to have a baby.
No wonder people call us “old and confused” and say there is a generation gap.
How old do you think I am?
I bet you have this old lady in mind. You are in for a shock!
Read on to see — pretty scary if you think about it and pretty sad at the same time.

Are you ready?????

This woman would be only 59 years old, Born in 1953.

March 10th, 2012


Until this very day I did not even know  that  the Irish tenor John McCormack starred in a movie way back in 1930.   It seems so, so strange, after listening to him over these many  years on red label Victor records, vinyl records, and even today on YouTube, that I can all of a sudden see him as he sings The Rose of Traleee  and Plaisir d’Amour  and other beloved songs of old.

It all happened because my son, Dan,  gave me a TV at Christmas-time with a bigger screen, and took away my old TV that was able to play VHS tapes and DVD recordings.   I suddenly realized that I was now unable to play my collection of VHS tapes which meant I would be unable to watch The Passion of the Christ on Good Friday, as has been my custom.  I wailed and moaned until my good friend Dolores said she had a VCR that had never been unwrapped and son  Johnny installed it for me.  Going through my VHS recordings I came across two that I had never listened to — I have a vague recollection of  their being given to me some years back — one was Ferrucio Tagliavini in the opera Cavalleria Rusticana and the other something called Song O’ My Heart.   I must have been busy at the time and they were long recordings so I tucked them into my library and forgot about them.  Until today.

You need to know that my husband loved John McCormack and his songs are engraved on my heart.    When I finally played Song O’ My Heart  there was John McCormack singing (and singing and singing) in a sentimental movie written just to display his talent.   It is really quite quaint, with the horse-and-buggy, the clothing of the twenties, the Irish brogues and those funny old telephones.  Part of it is set in Ireland and it is said McCormack  was paid $500,000 to do it.  That was real money way back then.

Here is what one reviewer of today had to say about Song O’ My Heart.

This is not a great movie. It isn’t really a very good one, frankly. I can’t imagine any reason to watch it other than to see John McCormack. If you like McCormack, however, it is not to be missed and, while he’s on screen, very enjoyable. Unlike so many other opera singers who have taken a turn on the silver screen, McCormack is very natural and relaxed. He’s fun to watch and, when he sings something good – which is too often not the case, alas – a joy to hear.

Much of what he sings is, in fact, forgettable. But there are two numbers that make time stand still. The first is the Rose of Tralee. It’s not great music, perhaps, but McCormack makes each note a perfectly polished gem in one perfectly arranged necklace. It is nice music elevated by great art to a very moving moment.

And then there is I hear you calling me, the most successful of all McCormack’s many successes. This is beautiful music set to a perfect text. And then performed as no song has ever been performed before or since. Yes, perhaps one of his 78 rpm versions is even better, but the version in this film is already great enough to make time, and breath, stop. The song tells a story, and you follow it as it unfolds. In the last verses, when he goes up to the suspended high note on “I hear you CALLING me,” you would think that you in fact heard his beloved calling him from beyond the grave. It makes you understand why Caruso envied McCormack his pianissimos.

So here we have  John McCormack in Song o’ My Heart singing  I Hear You Calling Me.  It was recorded in Los Angeles Philharmonic Auditorium, 5th and Grand, with Edwin Schneider at the piano.  This was the second talkie, after Jazz Singer.

The VHS recording that  I have was apparently videotaped from a Visual Artists International presentation of Firestone Classic Performances.  It can also be purchased in a 1991 release on Amazon.


February 22nd, 2012


Joan Crawford and her 1929 Ford Town Car

I was six years old in 1929 and Daddy had a black Ford, too, but not nearly as fancy as Joan Crawford’s. 1929 was also the year that my baby brother, Ernie, was born. Daddy worked as a carpenter in Detroit and from what I hear there was also a depression in 1929  and my Daddy lost his job.

It’s funny the things you can remember from the age of six. In those days doctors would come to your home and, though I was born in a hospital, Mom’s next three kids were delivered at home. One day the doctor came because one kid was sick and Mom was terribly worried.  Whatever the doctor  said or did seemed to make Mom much happier and when Mom was happy, I was happy. I remember kissing the doctor’s hand and he laughed and hoisted me into the air. Twice since then I have wanted to kiss a doctor’s hand, but didn’t have that six-year-old freedom from inhibition.

I guess Daddy couldn’t find another job in Detroit at that time so my parents packed the four of us up into our black Ford and headed for Lebanon, Pennsylvania, where Uncle George was the superintendent in a silk mill and had offered Daddy a job.

Here we are. Aren’t we a sight?  Left to right:  Me, Bobby, Annette, baby Ernie.

Hodson kids, 1930


What else do I remember from 1929.  There was a big dog named Buck that I was afraid of.  I recognized a tomato plant that had grown from seed by its smell.  Mom taught me how to say the German alphabet and the prayer to my guardian angel.  I learned to sew on a treadle sewing machine.  All I remember about school is that we ran around in circles and I wondered why I never had to have a bowel movement in school.  (In our family we went tinkle and squeeze, not pee and poop!)

Who says six-year-olds  don’t have a life?  And that’s how it was, in 1929.

February 8th, 2012


Email wisdom, author unknown.

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”

The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles, and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana . In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 12,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

January 24th, 2012


Do you remember, you elder folk, back in the days of old when every family had both a Sears & Roebuck catalog and a Montgomery Ward catalog?  How we pored over them, both parents and children, to see what we  could order  if we but had the money and what could be sent to us by mail!  Sears was my favorite and was the source of my maternity clothes, asphalt kitchen tiles, Melmac dinnerware and even some furniture.

Imagine my surprise when I received via email the following pages from that old Montgomery Ward catalog. The clothing looks familiar and we can remember wearing and buying those things.  Look at those shoes (genuine leather) for $1.99!  Can you imagine paying 9 cents for socks?   Back in those days, about 1936, as a freshman in highschool (should it be freshperson nowadays?) I couldn’t wait to grow up so I would stop growing out of my clothes and could wear my favorite apparel until death  It disturbed me was that I had grown out of my best skirt which was now too short. At the time skirts were worn at half-calf (no women wore pants in the thirties). Those were depression years and we were a family of seven. Most of my clothing was second-hand but I do remember that Mom bought me two NEW dresses and sent me to visit friends in Washington DC when I graduated from grade school.

To get back to hemlines, by the time I graduated from highschool in 1940 skirths were considerably shorter and the one that was too short in l936 was again wearable in 1940. Rayon and acetate were popular materials. Nylon had just been invented and sturdy nylon stockings (with seams, of course) wore forever. That was remedied by making them shearer and shearer until they were easily snagged and needed to be replaced often. It was during the thirties that lingerie which had previously been a peach or flesh color, started to appear in white. Of course I wore a girdle – even at sixteen – everybody did – if only to hold up my stockings! Pantyhose did not appear until the sixties

And here – pages from that old Montgomery Ward catalog!  (We called it, fondly, Monkey Ward.)

We all know that Sears has been around forever and continues going strong.  From what I read Montgomery Ward underwent struggles and bankruptcy.  Imagine my surprise when  I googled Montgomery Ward and came up with an online catalog!  It seems to be under new ownership but has some of the feel of that oldtime catalog.  Some of it is still “coming soon.”   There is an old-fashioned quaintness about it.  The prices, however, on the merchandise they are offering, are quite modern.

Behold the penny postcard (1928) added here because I have it and it’s old and I have no place else to put it.  Penny postcards have risen to 32 cents in a mere eighty years!




If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away – behold, the new has come. — 2 Cor. 5:17

In the 1930’s my family was necessarily frugal. We didn’t throw anything away because “we might need it someday. — MaryEllen on her blog, Grandma’s Musings.

December 26th, 2011


This arrived by email today and said important things.  I don’t know the author.

You know, time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years. It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate. And yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went. I know that I lived them all…
And I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams… But, here it is..the winter of my life and it catches me by surprise… How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where did my babies go? And where did my youth go?
I remember well.. seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that winter was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like… But, here it is…my friends are retired and really getting gray…they move slower and I see an older person now. Lots are in better shape than me… but, I see the great change… Not like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant… but, like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we’d be.
Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore…it’s mandatory! Cause if I don’t on my own free will..I just fall asleep where I sit!
And so, now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did!!  But, at least I know, that though the winter has come, and I’m not sure how long it will last…this I know, that when it’s over…its over….Yes , I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn’t done ….. things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I’m happy to have done. It’s all in a lifetime….
So, if you’re not in your winter yet…let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think.   Whatever you would like to accomplish in your life please do it quickly! Don’t put things off too long!! Life goes by quickly. So, do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether this is your winter or not! You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life…so, live for good today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember… and hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past!!
‘Life is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after.
Make it a fantastic one.’
December 3rd, 2011


In the olden days, (and this time I don’t mean when I was young) but way, way back when Jesus walked the earth and time changed from B.C. to A.D., communication was markedly different.  There were no iPads, cell phones, televisions, telephones, postmen, printing presses – rather news was spread by word of mouth and rudimentary “books” and “letters,” seriously limited by the lack of paper.

Jesus taught his disciples, accompanying his teachings with signs and wonders.  He died on the cross, and rose again.  (Quite a wonder in itself.)   After his followers were filled with the Holy Spirit, they travelled about  and did what Jesus had done.  All the apostles but one  were martyred.   How, then, did these few, in the absence of television and printing press,  change the Roman Empire into what became known as Christendom?

The answer:  Through their personal testimony!

It is no different today.   True, news spreads much faster, with an instantaneous tweet or post, and  live video circling the globe in no time.   Still it is in the telling – “this is what I saw” – “this is what happened to me” – “this is how God worked in my life” – that the Christian faith is spread. The apostles knew Jesus personally.   They knew Jesus had been crucified, had risen from the dead and had walked among them.   There was power in their testimony!

In my lifetime I dare say I have read or heard hundreds and hundreds of testimonies.  They are all different and they are all the same.  They all tell about the difference that Jesus has made in  their lives.  And I believe them.   Why?  Does it seem reasonable to think that these people who are trying the follow the ten commandments, who are trying to love their neighbor as themselves, who seem to be living upright lives (for the most part!)  are ALL lying?  They have been remarkably changed —  they have done remarkable things — and they all claim it was because of Jesus.

Is a not a wonder that Mother Angelica, a contemplative nun, should have started an international television network that is still broadcasting worldwide  although she is now 88 years old?  Is it not remarkable that Pat Robertson, with a wife and children and $27, should have bought the TV station that has become the Christian Broadcasting Network?  And started Regent University?  And helping millions of needy people worldwide with Operation Blessing?

I recently read a book, Spirit Driven Success, by Dani Johnson.  She says she had been living in her car until one day, at the beach, walking in the water, she heard a voice say, “Pick up your mat and follow me.”  She picked up her beach towel, followed God, and two years later was a millionaire – preaching the good news of the gospel.

In my car I sometimes listen to CDs of  Christian testimonies.  Mary Vogrinc was a housewife, mother of five, and foster mother of 54 children, who travelled about talking about her journey as a Catholic mother.  On one such plane trip she chanced to sit next to a man who said he was from Turkey but travelled a lot.    She thought his eyes looked lost, he asked her to tell him about Jesus.   A few days later  she saw his photo in the newspaper and realized she had been sitting next to one of the 9/11 hijackers who caused the plane crash in Pennsylvania.  Mary’s plea:  Never pass up a chance to tell what Jesus has done for you.

Another such CD told the story of an American soccer player  who played professionally in Brazil for a while.  He was praying about what he felt was a call to the priesthood.  Back in the States, in a strange city, he stopped into a church to pray.  Across the front of the church was a banner which he could read because of his time in Brazil.  It said, in Portuguese,  “I will make you fishers of men.”

Such stories are multiplied over and over again.  All of these people think trying to follow God  has made a big difference in their lives.   Some have done remarkable things.  Many have experienced odd “coincidences.”  Some have died for their faith.  Are they all crazy?  They seem pretty normal except for their changed  lives which they attribute to following Jesus.  It has been said that people will not sacrifice their lives  because of  a story they have heard,  but they will sacrifice their lives because of an experience they have had.

What accounts for the power of testimonies?  It is, first of all,  the character of the people who tell them.  These are believable people.  It is hard to think they are either crazy or lying.   Secondly,  I think the Holy Spirit kicks in and witnesses to the truth of what they are hearing.

The people of God are commanded to go forth and spread the good news of the gospel.   “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.'”  Matt. 16:15.”    WE are God’s letters to the world.   Others are to read us and believe.

As St. Francis of Assisi said:   “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”




“Be always ready to give a reason for the hope that is in you but with respect and gentleness” 1 Peter 3:15

This is my letter to the world,
That never wrote to me, –
The simple news that Nature told,
With tender majesty.
Her message is committed
To hands I cannot see
For love of her, sweet countrymen,
Judge tenderly of me!
……………..Emily Dickinson