Thursday, June 11, 2015

Sibling Assignment #165: A Day in the Life

Sister Carol gave the assignment this week. "Since the last of the Turnbow siblings just passed away, I think it would be nice to write a special memory or memories about time spent with this family as we grew up. You can read brother Bill's post reflecting on the memories of men events here. Sister Carol will post soon.

When my parents married and moved to Kellogg they didn't have family in the valley. Kellogg was full of extended families that had migrated to the valley and settled there, working in the mines or doing other jobs at the Bunker Hill Company. The large extended Rinaldi family included us in many family outings. Because of their family and other Italian families in Kellogg I always yearned to be Catholic and Italian. Their lives were filled with rich tradition. 

The other family that treated us like part of their clan was the Turnbows. It was tradition that Jerry and Corrine hosted a huge Thanksgiving gathering each year. Brother Bob was in charge of Christmas Eve. Brother Ted hosted a "men only" New Year's sports day in his basement and Jerry hosted the epic Fourth of July gathering at the lake each year.  Recently the last two brothers Jerry and Ted have died. It was fitting to share memories of our years spent with this family for our weekly sibling assignment.

Thanksgiving with Jerry and Corrine was the event most memorable to me. Tradition always kept it the same. Men arrived with their twelve packs of Heidelberg,Olympia,or Budweiser and headed to the TV room to enjoy the football games. The women gathered in the kitchen preparing the meal, arranging the potluck spread, and forming a circle around the table talking, gossiping, smoking cigarettes, sipping coffee or an occasional cocktail. As soon as I arrived I headed to daughter Judy's bedroom for our own talking, gossiping, drinking Pepsi, eating chips session. When we were younger we had this facination with Sears catalogs. We played this goofy game of flipping each page and picking out our favorite dress, coat, or outfit. We could do this for hours. We were also obsessed with Judy Garland and loved "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

When we entered our preteen years, we discovered The Beatles. Thanksgiving 1967 began an obsession with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. When I arrived that year and ran up the stairs with Judy was mesmerized by the album cover. There was so much to see. It was "psychedelic"...which was pretty cool for a twelve year old girl from Kellogg. (Later there was much controversy about the symbolism of Paul being dead on the cover... but I save that for another post.) . As we always did during the phonograph days I am sure we played certain songs over and over again that day. I can remember swaying and singing "I'll Get By With a Little Help From My Friends". We also loved "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds." Actually we loved it all. I think both of us were "Paul girls" and loved to listen to his sweet voice. 

We took time out to grab food, get more Pepsi or cream soda, and giggle over one of the women getting tipsy or one of the guys in the TV room falling asleep. We would grab pumpkin pie with way too much whipped cream and head back up to the bedroom for another rendition of a song on that album. In early evening I would hear Mom's voice calling upstairs that it was time to go. Games were over, food was put away, men were drowsy from too much beer and turkey and the kids were wound up for more fun. Sadly, another Thanksgiving ended.

Today the song from the album that struck a chord with me was " A Day in the Life. " I don't think I understood this song in 1967, but today the melody and lyrics represent something different. " I read the news today oh boy" often means learning of the death of another person that was a big part of my life growing up. Fortunately I have many  " A Day in the Life" days to remember.  Today I also decided this song is quite a masterpiece with the orchestra, piano parts, and of course The Beatles.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sibling Assignment #164: Back in the Hood

I gave the sibling assignment this week. "Since I will be moving back to the old neighborhood soon here is the assignment: "Share a memory of  hanging out with people from the 'hood during childhood . "

As of July 1st. I will return to living in the neighborhood I grew up in since I was in second grade. There are three big blocks of houses that were always called  "the Bunker houses". They were build in the late 50s and there are are six floor plans for the neighborhood. It is interesting to now drive around and see how the original houses have changed in color and style in sixty years. The house I am moving into is next door to my childhood home which my mother still resides.. 514 W. Cameron has had four owners in that sixty years, I am to become the fifth. 

There are so many memories surrounding the neighborhood growing up. One thing that comes to mind today is Halloween. It was an event shared with glee with all the kids in the neighborhood. Whether it was the Morgans, Absecs, Faracas, Kenyons, Longs, Saaris, Cralls, Higbees, Whites, Reeds, Rinaldis, Chapmans, Cummings, or the Dorendorfs, all would agree that trick or treating in our neighborhood was like the Mother Lode. Each year we could recite who would give us big Hershey's bars, homemade popcorn balls, giant Butterfingers, Snickers, Big Hunks, or Milky Way bars. It was safe. No razor blades in the candy in our neighborhood. The sidewalks were packed with children dressed up and parents following along with the little ones  just in case. It was fun, it was tradition, it was a bit magical in those days. 

By the time we would get home, our bags were very full.  No tricks at the houses in our neighborhood. We also wondered if grumpy J. Hanson would drop us an apple or something nutritious, but even his wife pulled through. 

What I loved about this memory was the community feeling surrounding our neighborhood. At that time we never thought anything of it. That was how Halloween was. Now... I am eager to see in October if I can continue the tradition. Mom still has her huge bowl of candy bars and doesn't give out as much, but the tradition is alive and well. Perhaps I should learn how to make Halloween popcorn balls.

This was the only image above that could have been Halloween. Sister Carol is front and center. The other two siblings are on the sides. I can't explain our costumes. That was the other nice part about Halloween back in the day. We didn't buy costumes. We were creative about what we wore. That was part of the fun.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sibling Assignment #163: A Room With a View

Since Carol is taking an online photography class, let's do an exercise together.  

1.  Read this article:  here
2.  Make yourself pause, look, and see and create a well-composed picture following the instruction of Bobby Baker.  In other words, keep the picture simple.  
3.  Write a paragraph about your experience doing this. 
When my two siblings have posted theirs, I will link them.

I really loved the article brother Bill had us read for this assignment. During a hectic time of preparing for a moving sale, packing, teaching, and house showing this exercise caused me to take a deep breath and just see a room in my house from a simple perspective.

The room we like to call The Annie Room once was a breezeway connecting the main house to the extra bedroom and garage. Everett decided to enclose it to make a room that was filled with light, music, and heat in the winter. Our dog Annie loves this room, thus the name. One goal we had with this house was to grow ivy that covered the wall outside The Annie Room. As you can see from the picture, we accomplished this.

About this photo... I love the way the ivy glows in the morning sun. The door provides light and a view of our favorite climbing rose. What struck me the most was the beautiful combination of colors and how the green, yellow, brown all complement each other.  The dash of eggplant purple catches the eye on the pillow. 

I look forward to creating another Annie Room in our new dwelling.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sibling Assignment #162: Creating Emmy Lou

Sister Carol gave the assignment this week: " Think back to something that happened when you were a student at Sunnyside Elementary, and why you think that incident has stuck in your memory after all of these years.". You can fine hers here and brother Bill's here soon.

I could write twenty sibling assignments on this topic, but today I will focus on art. Down in the basement at Sunnyside School is where the lunchroom was located. The smells from the homemade cooking rose up the steps and down the halls every morning. Those smells included homemake bread, cinnamon rolls, baked chicken, and other delicious meals the cooks were preparing.

 We had assigned seats in the lunchroom and we had to eat quietly. If we drank our milk too fast some teachers would put it in the window sill so could have it at the end of meal...I guess they didn't want us to get full on milk. If we didn't sit up straight one teacher came along and told us we would be hunchbacks or old ladies or something to that effect. If we hated something like peas, teachers made us eat the number of our age. If you were nine, you ate nine peas.. 

What I remember most about the lunchroom was the artwork. Each month a teacher was chosen to display student artwork on the walls. The best artwork done by the students was posted. I loved studying that student artwork while I sat up straight, didn't drink my milk too fast, and ate at least nine peas. I always wanted mine on display. The art project that always stuck in my mind was the project Mrs. Tregoning, the sixth grade teacher displayed. She had students create comic strip characters using drawing and watercolor. I was always intrigued by that project each year. Popeye, Olive Oyl, Lulu, and Charlie Brown looked so real. I wanted to try that project. 

I did get Mrs. Tregoning as a sixth grade teacher. I couldn't wait for the time we did that project. She had examples of all different comic characters for us to study. She demonstrated how to sketch them, then how to use watercolors with thin brushes, less water, and precision to create the character. 

I chose Emmy Lou because she drew me in. Now that I have researched her a bit more, I understand. She represented teenage angst at that time, before I knew what angst was. Her comic strip spoke to me. Her character was perfect for me to create. I will have to dig through my archives and Mom's archives to see if I still that piece of art. I just remember her long skinny legs, her determined stance, and her spunk.

During my sixth grade year I began to fell that I had artistic  talent.  I did this watercolor picture, I won a prize in an art contest doing pencil shading still life, I learned to appreciate reciting poetry, loved picture study, and other creative activites we did.  After thirty seven years of teaching, I still want my students to capture that same feeling as we do creative activities. Maybe we should do cartoon characters this week after six hours of required testing.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sibling Assignment #161: What I Will Leave Behind

I gave the sibling assignment this week.  My sister reminded us of the beauty of our hometown  here and my brother illustrated with his pictures the beauty of his new town here.
"When you want to surround yourself with beauty, where do you go? Take five pictures of that place and share your thoughts on it's beauty"

Today I took five pictures of what I will leave behind. We are moving in June and leaving behind beautiful gardens that hold memories, have been perfect subjects for photos, and brought us joy that is immeasurable. Today I took a break from packing up the house to focus on the simple beauty that surrounds us in late April  around our gardens. 
 The combination of a tulip, light, and rain brings the simple beauty of this gorgeous plant front and center. I wish I would have kept track of the names of the tulips of planted. Hopefully I will be able to duplicate them.
 We visited the gardens at Manito Park about fifteen years ago and saw this shrub in bloom in early spring. We thought it was a rose, but knew that couldn't be because of the time of year. I called to inquire and learned it was a Kerria plant.I had to plant some!  Planted in a row they form a hedge that blooms and blooms in early spring. Today ours was in full bloom in front of the greenhouse. Hopefully I can take some starts with me.
 Another tulip I love because of the blurring of colors in the blossom. Raindrops are an extra addition of beauty.
 When I lost my beloved dog Nikki in 1996 my mother gave me a gift to honor her the next spring. This dogwood tree has never bloomsed as beautifully as it has this year. I am blessed with its beauty as I leave it behind ,but hold precious memories of my dog and my mother's generous gift.
Everett wanted a small orchard and the apples have been very successful. There is nothing more striking than the blossoms of apples and a signal that fruit will be on the branches in the autumn months. I hope the new owners of our house love apples.

There will be more pictures as I take garden walks and slowly say good-bye to the gardens at Martin Creek. I am already creating the gardens on Cameron Ave. in my head and on paper.