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Throwback Thursday #65 – You Don’t Have to Be American to be Thankful Today

Happy Thanksgiving fellow bloggers – wherever you are! Since Lauren is cooking Thanksgiving and I am not, I volunteered to post today. I am posting a day early since so many people may be otherwise occupied tomorrow.

This week’s prompt is: Being Thankful

Since today is Thankgiving in the U.S. I thought it would be good to think back to your childhood, your family life, and the place where you were raised and reflect a little. Out of that reflection, simply write something about your past you are thankful for today. It can be one thing or many – that is totally up to you. Feel free to share an old photo or a simple remembrance. My response is below.

May peace and gratitude find you wherever you are today.


This will come as no surprise to those kind enough to follow my blog. One of the reasons I write about nostalgia so much is because it makes me happy. I am reminded of times that were simpler when I was surrounded by all the people I now miss so much.

I am so thankful for my memories. They keep a part of me alive that has long since passed. The memories can be fleeting so I hold on to the few pieces that provide tangible proof they are real! Photos, letters, and little momentos whose touch and smell cause memories to come flooding back.

I am thankful I remember the smell of honeysuckle, the feel of a touch-me-not popping in my hand, and the earthy deliciousness of a freshly cracked black walnut.

I am thankful I can sometimes hear little snippets of the voices of my family. My Dad’s voice rings crystal clear.

I am thankful for the advice of my sisters that still echoes in my mind even though they are no longer with me.

I am thankful I lived a simple life that helped me to realize the importance of people over things.

I am thankful for the mistakes made on holidays that taught me not to take life too seriously. The turkey cooked with the giblets and paper bag still inside the cavity. The gravy that never got thick so it went down the sink instead of to the table. The pasta that tipped over and slid across the kitchen floor. The fudge that had to be eaten with a spoon. Go ahead and make the mistakes – they turn into the best memories! ❤️

Today, I am thankful for the family and friends, near and far, that make up my tribe. Their numbers may be small, but their worth is immeasurable.

Enjoy this article by Rick Bragg that appeared in Southern Living magazine in 2011. It says everything about the perfect Thanksgiving.

Magazine article.

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Throwback Thursday #64 – Spaces and Places


Surprise! It’s Maggie again, stepping in for Lauren this week. Today we are going to amble around through the places of your youth.

This week’s prompt is: Spaces and Places

I had four different homes while I was growing up. You may have moved a bit, too. Think about the place you most consider home, or answer for all of them. And as always, you can free write rather than answer the questions. It is totally up to you!

  1. Did you grow up in an urban or a rural environment? How would you describe the geographic area where you lived? Was it mostly buildings or mostly trees? Four seasons, or always warm or cold?
  2. What about the place in which you resided? Was it a house, an apartment, a mobile home, a boat, or something else? Did you like it and do you miss it now?
  3. What about the bedroom you had in the home? Did you share it with someone or did you have it all to yourself? If you shared, with whom? How was the space decorated?
  4. When you did family activities at home, in what room did you spend your time? What did you do together? TV? Cards? Board Games? Reading?
  5. Did your friends’ living situation seem similar to your own? Did you prefer to be at your friend’s home or did you prefer your own? Did your friends like to hang out at your house?
  6. What kind of school did you attend? Large or small? Religious or secular? Public or private?
  7. Did you attend church, synagogue, temple, or some other religious facility? If so was it large and ornate, or small and homey? Did you feel comfortable there?
  8. Did you have a hang out spot? Skating rink? Mall? Burger joint? Bowling alley? Friend’s house?
  9. Where did you typically go on dates (if you dated)? Movies? Out to a restaurant? At home watching tv? Library? Gym? Dances? Clubs? Mall?
  10. What kind of place did you live in when you first moved away from home? Was it a big adjustment or were you ready to strike out on your own? Describe your first place.

Did you grow up in an urban or a rural environment? How would you describe the geographic area where you lived? Was it mostly buildings or mostly trees? Four seasons, or always warm or cold?

I lived in four different areas during my years living at home. Two of them were quite rural with four seasons. Even the buildings in the closest towns were not really that big. The other two places differed greatly. One was farther south with consistent warmer weather all year round. The other had four seasons but being further north, the winters were pretty cold. Both of the latter two places were small suburbs in cookie cutter houses.

What about the  house or place in which you resided? Was it a house, an apartment, a mobile home, a boat, or something else? Did you like it and do you miss it now?

We always lived in houses. My favorite by far was my grandmother’s house in the Valley. I loved that house and miss it terribly.

What about the bedroom you had in the home? Did you share it with someone or did you have it all to yourself? If you shared, with whom? How was the space decorated?

I was the youngest of four children so I never had a room of my own until everyone moved away. I shared a room with my sisters until I was a junior in high school. Then I decorated my room with posters, and I think I even painted the walls a pale pink. I was happy to finally have space of my own although I did miss my sisters. Just not enough to give up my space!

When you did family activities at home, in what room did you spend your time? What did you do together? TV? Cards? Board Games? Reading?

All our houses had a living room and that is where we spent our time. We watched tv together (roller derby, Disney, and all my mom’s favorite war and Western movies), talked, played games like Twister and listened to music (records and 8 tracks).

Did your friends’ living situation seem similar to your own? Did you prefer to be at your friend’s home or did you prefer your own? Did your friends like to hang out at your house?

My friends loved to come to our house. We had cool parents. I would spend time at my friends’ houses, but I was always awkward there. Not because of the house, but because family dynamics seemed so distant from ours. Most of my friends lived in houses similar to my own.

What kind of school did you attend? Large or small? Religious or secular? Public or private?

I always attended public school so no discussion of religion was allowed. All my schools were small in comparison to schools today.

Did you attend church, synagogue, temple, or some other religious facility? If so was it large and ornate, or small and homey? Did you feel comfortable there?

We always went to church. All churches I attended were small and intimate. Everyone knew everyone. There were relatively few things I would consider ornate. Always wooden pews and stained glass windows, usually both an organ and a piano. I always felt at home at the churches we attended.

Did you have a hang out spot? Skating rink? Mall? Burger joint? Bowling alley? Friend’s house?

I never lived in a terribly urban area, so there were no real hang out places. We usually hung out with friends at someone’s house. We had huge yards so we played flag football, badminton, or horse shoes. A few friends had swimming pools so that was always a treat to get invited there!

Where did you typically go on dates (if you dated)? Movies? Out to a restaurant? At home watching tv? Library? Gym? Dances? Clubs? Mall?

Dates were usually going to the movies, occasionally out to eat, or hanging out at someone’s house. It was not unusual for my dates to come to my house and hang out with my family and watch tv. We always knew each other’s parents because of that. I enjoyed the extended family vibe.

What kind of place did you live in when you first moved away from home? Was it a big adjustment or were you ready to strike out on your own? Describe your first place.

When I graduated from high school I joined the Air Force so my first home away from home was a military dormitory. The first few months were tough, but after training was over, it was like living with a bunch of friends.  It was a learning curve making my own decisions and following my own rules.  I always missed home, but I did love spreading my wings.

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Throwback Thursday #63 – Then and Now

I’m back to ask you to do a little time travel with me. Today, think back on the kid you were, the you that many consider your authentic self.

This week’s prompt is: Then and Now

I will give you some components of personality and behavior to consider.  None of us are all one side of the scale or the other, but I do think we tend to lean one way or another. My answers will follow below.


Think about yourself as a child and tell me :

  1. Were you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
  2. Did you have a boisterous or a more reserved personality?
  3. Were you more confident or did you tend to be insecure?
  4. Were you social or were you more of a loner?
  5. Were you a good listener or a good talker?
  6. Did you like school or dread it?
  7. Did you like the outdoors or did you prefer staying inside?
  8. Did you have deep thoughts about the world, the universe, etc., or did you only see as far as where you lived?
  9. What did you want to be when you grew up?
  10. Looking back, how did you fare as an adult? Are you still that same person or have you changed? If you changed, was it a dramatic shift or just slight changes? Did you end up in the profession you thought you would?

1. Were you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

As a child I was probably somewhat introverted. When I was around people I knew well, I was more outgoing. Still, I enjoyed talking to people, meeting new people and just having fun.

2. Did you have a boisterous or a more reserved personality?

I was more reserved. Being the youngest of four, it took a lot to be heard above the crowd.

3. Were you more confident or did you tend to be insecure?

I was confident. We did not have a lot and I wore mostly hand-me-downs, but I never gave that a thought until one day a ‘mean girl’ did her best make me feel bad about myself. I was a bit more insecure after that. I think that was the first time I realized not all people were nice.

4. Were you social or were you more of a loner?

I was social in my small group of friends, but again, as the youngest of four, I spent a lot of time by myself. I was the pain in the butt no one wanted hanging on them. Looking back, I am sure I could be annoying trying to get attention in the family.

5. Were you a good listener or a good talker?

Never much of a talker but always a good listener. I wish I had been more assertive in the talking part.

6. Did you like school or dread it?

I absolutely loved school.

7. Did you like the outdoors or did you prefer staying inside?

My preference was always to be outside exploring and being adventurous while running around the Valley. We were self-supervised and no one seemed to worry about us unless we missed meal!

8. Did you have deep thoughts about the world, the universe, etc., or did you only see as far as where you lived?

Always deep and disturbing thoughts. I contemplated things like the universe and infinity and God and time travel and all the things most children probably do not think about. Even though I thought about those things I never shared them with anyone. I did not have a far reaching desire to discover the world.

9. What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be an archaeologist or a diamond cutter.

10. Looking back, how did you fare as an adult? Are you still that same person or have you changed? If you changed, was it a dramatic shift or just slight changes? Did you end up in the profession you thought you would?

I think my personality is much the same. I do think I have become even more introverted as I get older. I do not see the world through rose colored glasses any more, but I still try to find the good in people. I still ponder the mysteries of the universe and marvel at the miracles of life.  Ha! I never managed to become either profession, though. I still have a keen interest in archaeology and love documentaries about discovering our past. I did take lapidary classes and have cut some lovely stones, but no diamonds yet!

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Throwback Thursday #62 – Suds, Buds, and Vino


Lauren is back and has a mind-altering topic this week. I’m afraid you will find I was a boring teen, but let’s move on.  Head over to her blog to read the rules and join in.

This week’s prompt is: Suds, Buds, and Vino


1) Did you grow up in a family that had beer or wine at family meals? Were either beverages part of your parent’s “relaxation” time?

When we lived in the Valley, I was aware of alcohol from a distance. My grandfather made his own wine and stored it in huge glass bottles in the cellar. I was grossed out from the look of it because it was dusty and a bit crusty looking as if it had been there a long, long time. I never recall him drinking it, but I do have a vague memory of tasting it once and I found it utterly disgusting.

My grandmother was opposed to alcohol and she was adamant about no one bringing it in her house. The only one that ignored her wishes was her brother and I remember how much that upset her. Looking back, I believe my great uncle was an alchoholic.

In my high school years, my Dad had a Beer Meister Kegerator on the back porch, but It was not used that much that I remember. My parents drank cocktails when they went out and we did have alchohol in the house, but it was never part of our family meals.

My father would give me a shot of whiskey if I had bad menstrual cramps, and my mom insisted I taste her cocktails. She said she wanted me to recognize the taste in case anyone ever tried to slip something in my drink.

2) Was wine consumed as part of religious or family celebrations? If so, when?

No.

3) Were you allowed to have a “sip” of the adult beverages?

My father would give me a shot of whiskey if I had bad menstrual cramps, and my mom insisted I taste her cocktails when she had them. She said she wanted me to recognize the taste in case anyone ever tried to slip something in my drink.

I was aware of all the mixed drink names, so they must have at least been discussed. (Tom Collins, 7 and 7, Gin and Tonic, Whiskey Sour, Rum and Coke, Old Fasioned, Daquiri – all the classic 50s and 60s cocktails.)

4) When you were a teenager did it bother you that your parents had one set of behaviors, yet you were expected to have another?

Not at all. I hated the taste of all of it, so there was no temptation for me.

5) When you were in high school, did you or your friends drink alcohol? If you were underaged, how did you acquire the booze?

No. If any of my peers drank, I was oblivious to the fact.

6) Were you offered marijuana or other drugs while in high school? If you chose to partake, did it get you into trouble, or were you never caught?

No, again, my crowd was rather tame. I spent all my free time with band activities so I may have just been in the dark.

7) Did you ever get too drunk or too high to function? How did your body react to that?

I never really drank until I was in the Air Force. We would go to the Airmen’s club and order pitchers of beer for the table. Someone would pour me a glass and at the end of the night, the same glass of beer was still there, untouched.

We often hung out outside the dorms on a blanket when off duty. Those were the days of Boone’s Farm, Annie Green Springs, Ripple, and MD 20/20.

I did drink too much at a party one night. Thankfully, I had good friends that watched after me. I went to another party off base one night. Someone had rented a motel room. There was pot there that night, but I declined. To this day I still have never even heard tried it. My first roommate in the Air Force smoked in our dorm room frequently. She broke all the rules. I was thankful when I was able to change rooms. Our personalities did not mesh.

8) Have your opinions about taking drugs and drinking alcohol changed over time? Are you more conservative or more liberal than you were in your youth?

I drink an occasional glass of good red wine and once in a while a nice cold beer. We do have some liquor in the house, but it has probably been here untouched for years. I used to like Bailey’s in my coffee, and occasionally, a Margarita.

I am pretty conservative. I have many negative memories watching people I loved destroy their lives with drugs and alchohol and ‘harmless’ drugs.

9) If applicable, did you raise your children with the same beliefs that you grew up with?

It was not a frequent thing in our house, so I am not sure there was too much discussion about it. I shudder to think of the level of things out there for kids to experiment with these days. Thankfully, my children are pretty conservative in their consumption and focused on their families.

10) If you had any input over alcohol or marijuana laws would you change them?

I have opinions, but I am not sure I am knowledgeable enough to make decisions for the whole of society. There is amazing ongoing research related to certain hallucinogenics. I think drugs proven as having medicinal uses should be available to those that need them.

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Throwback Thursday #61 – Costumes


I had ten days off so I am giving Lauren a break and stepping in for her this week. With Halloween coming up, I thought we should do something surrounding that. I know everyone does not celebrate Halloween, so I thought we could address costumes in general. It is always fun to dress up and let your alter ego take the reins!

This week’s prompt is: Costumes

I will give you some questions to help you along. Or, free write if you would rather. You can either respond in the comments or link back to this post. My response will follow.


1. Did you celebrate Halloween? If so, what was your most memorable costume?

2. When was the last time you dressed in a costume? What was the reason?

3. As a child, did you like pretending you were someone else? Did you create costumes with things around the house?

4. Did you ever attend Mardi Gras, Carnival or any other festival with masks or costumes? Did you wear a mask or costume?

5. Were you ever in a play (school or otherwise) that required a costume? If so, who were you?

6. Do you participate in cosplay or go to Comic Conventions?

7. What character from movies, comics, or plays has the best costume?

8. Think of scary or horror movies. Which character’s costume and/or make up was the most frightening? Was it the costume alone, or the movie itself which made it frightening?

9. Have you ever visited historic places where the staff wears period costumes? If so, where was it?

10. Have you ever attended a Broadway or Off Broadway or Community Theatre production with great costumes? Leave a clip or photo here of your favorite.


1. Did you celebrate Halloween? If so, what was your most memorable costume?

When we lived in the Valley we celebrated Halloween, but didn’t do trick or treating. Instead we had a huge Halloween party and everyone wore costumes, most of which were made from things around the house. I did have a half mask one year and borrowed my great aunt’s long black dress and dressed as a witch. I won second place in the costume contest. When I was in high school and a member of Civil Air Patrol, I rented a harem girl costume with a fringed veil. I won first place that year and as my prize I got to go up in an aerobat’s airplane (a small Cessna). That was an experience!

2. When was the last time you dressed in a costume? What was the reason?

When we lived in Florida we had a big Halloween party one year. Everybody wore costumes. I think I dressed as a witch again, this time with orange hair! There were a lot of witches at that party as I recall.

3. As a child, did you like pretending you were someone else? Did you create costumes with things around the house?

Westerns were big when I was a kid so we were always dressing like Western characters. I had no qualms about slinging on my brother’s holster and his cowboy hat. We would find a handkerchief to throw around our necks as a “kerchief” and find some kind of food the carry as our ‘hard tack’!

4. Did you ever attend Mardi Gras, Carnival or any other festival with masks or costumes? Did you wear a mask or costume?

I did not, but when I visited both New Orleans and Venice I was fascinated by the masks. I actually had two ceramic carnival masks that once adorned my guest bathroom.

5. Were you ever in a play (school or otherwise) that required a costume? If so, who were you?

No, I was not cut out to be a thespian!

6. Do you participate in cosplay or go to Comic Conventions or Star Trek Conventions?

No, but I find them fascinating. There is a whole cosplay world out there that I know very little about!

7. What character from movies, comics, or plays has the best costume?

I always loved the creatures and villains in the original Star Trek television series. Costuming came a long way from the Flash Gordon days!

 

8. Think of scary or horror movies or tv shows. Which character’s costume and/or make up was the most frightening? Was it the costume alone, or the movie itself which made it frightening?

Being a child of the fifties, I grew up on “Frankenstein” and Dracula and Hitchcock. I remember being frightened by “Frankenstein” when he threw the little girl Maria into the lake. It was not the make-up so much but the action that scared me. Current horror films are too horrifying to me. After “Night of the Living Dead” I decided I did not need to watch many more horror films.

One of the most frightening to me was Richard Kiel (Jaws from James Bond) playing the alien from the Twilight Zone episode “To Serve Man”.

9. Have you ever visited historic places where the staff wears period costumes? If so, where was it?

Oh yes! Several. My most memorable was our high school fieldtrip to Dearborn, Mich to visit Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum. A close runner up would be the Ballenberg Swiss Open Air Museum outside the wood carving village of Brienze.

10. Have you ever attended a Broadway or Off Broadway or Community Theatre production with great costumes? Leave a clip or photo here of your favorite.

My favorite has to be my favorite show of course “Phantom of the Opera”. This coming year is its last year on Broadway! And “Cats” had some pretty fantastic costumes as well.