Blog, nostalgia

The Teaberry Shuffle

Day 210

I woke this morning with the Teaberry Gum commercial playing on my mental film reel. This music was stuck in my head for years. In the 60’s when these commercials were prevalent, I was much younger and of course did the Teaberry Shuffle. Not sure I could do it today without my knees giving out! The song (Mexican Shuffle) was written by Sol Luck and performed by Herb Alpert. Herb Alpert’s music was heavily featured on television and radio back in the day. I loved the gum, too, so there was that!

From that thought, my mind went to gum in general. We chewed SO much gum back then. We all made chains from gum wrappers. The goal was to make one as long as possible. These days gum does not have the individual branding label on every piece, so making one of these treasures would take a long time.

I tried to find a video on YouTube to explain how to make a gum wrapper chain, but none of them matched the way we once folded the gum wrappers. Most of the images I found were not clear on the copyright, so if you are curious to see images you can do a Google search. I did see that making similar chains, purses and the like are now made with Starburst wrappers.

From there, I went on to remember Christmas ornaments we made. They were 3D paper stars made from strips of paper. At one time I could fold and weave these with my eyes closed. I thought they were Moravian stars, but in my research, the stars we made were German Froebel stars. After ours were made, we dipped them in hot paraffin wax and sprinkled glitter on them. Then, with needle and thread we attached a loop to hang them on the tree. Hmmm, wax covered stars with old strands of incandescent lights seems fraught with possibility of disaster now that I think about it.

I have no idea where we got the strips of paper to make these stars, but you can order packs of supplies online if you want to give it a go. I would recommend staying away from the wax dipping, though. The stars really are beautiful.

Now we come full circle. Back to gum. We had two choices of bubblegum. Dubble Bubble or Bazooka. I much preferred Bazooka because of the Bazooka Joe comic wrappers. Dubble Bubble also had Fleer Funnies, but I do not recall them as much as I do Bazooka Joe. Since I am lazy this morning and believe both are copyrighted images, I will not post images. There are a couple of YouTube videos out there, but some things are best remembered in our minds and not with irritating music or dialogue.

So, that’s my Wednesday nostalgia mind dump. Glad you were brave enough to tag along.

Blog, education, grandchildren, nostalgia

My Weekly Reader

Day 170

I sat with my 9 year old granddaughter as she did her homework last night. She had an exercise on the women’s suffrage movement. The article was in The Scholastic News. After her work was complete, we talked more about the history and she said “Grandma, how do you know so many things?”

Image courtesy of

Sitting with her reminded me of receiving My Weekly Reader when I was in school. I remember looking forward to Friday when we all received our personal copy. I loved reading the short articles. I also remember one summer when we were given the opportunity to receive it at home over the summer. I am sure it was a stretch for my parents’ budget, but I always looked forward to it.

My Weekly Reader was published from 1928 to 20012 according to Wikipedia. It was them merged into Scholastic News but eventually the Weekly Reader name was dropped.

In reading some recent blogs, there is some criticism on the content of the old Weekly Readers. I am sure the news was not written without the prejudice of the writers and editors of the time. Nothing has really changed about the news, regardless of our age. It is still a very fond memory for me.

I did explain to my granddaughter that my knowledge of our history comes from my curiosity and from reading. She looked up and smiled at me and told me she loved to read, too.

We both decided we should write to each other with an agreement we would always write each other back. I am not sure why I did not do this earlier. I always send our grandchildren cards, but a letter seems so much more personal.

Now, I am off to fulfill my end of the bargain. I feel good about encouraging her to read and write more. In this time of upbringing in a digital world, learning to sit calmly and express her thoughts seems like a great skill to have.

Blog, growing up country, Mountains, nostalgia

The Appalachian Serenade

Day 141

In the small valley where I grew up, there were many old mountain customs and celebrations. Bizarre to some I am sure, but delightful memories for me. One of my favorite memories was serenading a newly married couple.

What is a Serenade?

The Appalachian serenade (or shivaree) is the custom of celebrating (or hazing depending on your point-of-view) a newly married couple. Most likely taken from the French charivari, it is a loud and unsettling event often occurring on the wedding night of a newly married couple.

The community plans the serenade and waits until about half an hour after the couple turns the lights out and retires for the evening. The community encircles the house and starts to make a loud disruption by banging on pots and pans, ringing cowbells and, yes, even shooting guns outside shouting for the couple to come out.

I remember participating in serenades as a young child, pounding on pots and pans along with the best of them. Our custom was to parade the couple from their home to the local country store where the couple was required to treat everyone to a snack of some sort. Usually a pack of Nabs (Nabisco crackers) and a pop (soda).

In the earliest serenades I remember, the woman was put into a wheel barrow and her husband pushed her all the way to the store. For those who lived in the holler (a hollow nestled in the mountains) it could be a long ride on unpaved roads.

Most people who grew up in our valley knew to expect this. It was not always on the first night because it was a real surprise if the timing was unknown. For the poor people who were from away, this custom could be quite unsettling, although always based in good fun.

My Own Serenade

This custom was still ongoing in 1974 when I married my first husband. We knew it was coming eventually, but the timing was, of course, unknown. The anticipation was the worst part! He thought it would be funny to sneak out the back when the commotion began, but when people surround your house shooting off 22s (a rifle) you think twice about it.

I was not put into a wheel barrow. We did get paraded to the store with the sound of cowbells along with banging on pots and pans and the occasional rifle being fired into the air. We got to the store where we bought snacks for the 30 or so people and then went back home, laughing but also glad it was over.

As I write this, I think how frightening this might sound to some. Even now, after moving back to the mountains, I have a physical reaction when I hear guns being fired by hunters or those target shooting.

I asked my brother if anyone was ever serenaded these days. He could not remember anyone in recent memory. It is a different time, indeed. We no longer always know our neighbors or necessarily associate with them. I suppose it’s best left as a memory of a time gone by.

Blog, flowers, Love, nostalgia, rainy day

Random Thoughts on a Sunday

Day 136

It’s late and I decided to just throw out some random thoughts for tonight.


I just spoke with some friends about our favorite flowers. Mine is an iris. Flowers bring up a lot of thoughts for me:

  • I always prefer natural planted flowers above cut arrangements.
  • My mother’s favorite flowers were portulaca, bleeding heart, and lilacs.
  • I like orchids and pansies because they look like they contain faces or figures.
  • I miss the yellow tab trees in Florida when all the flowers fall to the ground.

Rainy Days

It’s pouring rain right now. Some random thoughts about rain:

  • I love to walk in a spring drizzle of rain.
  • I love the sound of rain when I sleep.
  • I do not like threatening rain.
  • I remember my grandfather teaching me that when the leaves turned upside down it meant it was going to rain.


I’ve been thinking a lot about love since Valentine’s Day. Some random thoughts:

  • I do not understand why it is so hard to love one another.
  • One should never be fearful of love.
  • Sometimes a bouquet of flowers doesn’t necessarily symbolize love.
  • As children, we used to break milkweed and if it grew back our love was true.

Nostalgic Items

The memory of some things make me smile every time I think of them:

  • Gum wrapper chains
  • Dotted Swiss
  • Marionette shows
  • The TV show Where the Action Is


I love thinking back on the things I wanted to be when I grew up:

  • A Breck girl
  • An elevator operator (I thought this was the MOST glamorous job ever!)
  • A diamond cutter
  • An archaeologist

Tomorrow is my sister’s birthday. I want to be happy about the day and not sad.

Blog, flowers, Mountains, nostalgia

Friday on My Mind

Day 134

This morning, Friday on My Mind was spinning in the jukebox that plays in my head.

The year was 1966. Why is it I do not remember much from that time but I have every word of this song and every inflection of their voices firmly committed to memory? I do miss the era of amazing radio stations — are there any still in existence outside of Pandora, satellite radio, or Spotify? I guess it (and my transistor radio) is another time gone by.

I listened to several versions of this song on YouTube and it brought up so many memories, but I am not going down that rabbit hole today! (I am currently arguing with myself concerning the merits of researching whatever happened to Wolfman Jack.)

I feel inspired today and for some reason, I had Friday on my mind all week. Not sure why, but here we are just the same.

Today, I am keeping it light-hearted. Enough heavy stuff in the world today without polluting my blog with it all.

We have several bushes sporting blooms this week. Late winter / early spring can be quite a dichotomy here in the foothills. Allergies are kicking in because of early blooms and my property still shows the look of winter for the most part. The photos are a bit blurry due to the wind that’s stirring and bringing the camellia blossoms to the ground. I also noticed signs of a woodpecker on the tree closeup that I did not see until I looked at the images on my phone. Such is life in nature.

I am still loving my MasterClass subscription. Last night I took a break from my Judy Blume class and tuned into a little Gordon Ramsey cooking. Today I intend to sharpen all my kitchen knives the correct way. Then I want to try my hand at fine dicing some veggies like a real chef. I am absolutely loving MasterClass and I highly recommend the annual subscription if you, like me, have a lot of varied interests. and have the budget for it. (No, I in no way get anything from MasterClass from talking about their programs. I just really like them!)

That’s about it for all the things on my mind, other than a constant carousel of changing 60s tunes.

Have a super weekend.