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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Ky and Clyde

Ky and Clyde
In the week that leads up to Valentine's Day, I am reflecting about the couples and marriages that have been part of my understanding of love and commitment. Both my maternal and paternal grandparents and my parents had the "until death do us part" kind of marriage.  And since they lived a fairly long time, that meant many years together.

The photograph above is one of the last ones I have of both of them.  It has been stored away for many years, and Joe's scanning project brought it to my attention again.  I am so grateful for these two and their love for me.  I remember Papa's hearty laugh, his toothless grin, the way he bent down low over a small radio to listen to baseball games. I remember Grandma's hands kneading biscuit dough, scattering scraps for the chickens, tucking me into a feather bed, doing fine needlework and quilting, the way she lived out her faith.  Life was not easy for them.  They had few comfortable amenities, and a great deal of heartbreak. But they did their best and shared what they did have. Ky's birthday, February 17(1885), and Clyde's on March 15 (1887) prompt me to think of them with great respect and admiration. They were married in 1905, and were together until Ky's death in 1965, a month short of his 80th birthday.  Clyde lived on for another 12 years, dying in 1977.  Their 60 years of marriage is a tribute to making a life together.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Family Photo

 Ben, Joe, Sean, Mary Ann and Jeremy on Nana's couch, probably 1979 or 1980

My last posts have been about postcards, but along with all the other saved things, there are plenty of photos in the boxes I have been sorting. I also found a number of 35 mm slides, which Joe has been busy scanning and converting to digital images that we can store on our computers. I am often less grateful than confused at all the techology we use in our home, but I am most grateful for his work on these photo prints and slides.

For awhile after we were married, I continued using my 35mm camera, but then we began using polaroid cameras - great for seeing the photos right away, but terrible for their quality and durability. Then we switched to a very simple point and click camera, which involved developing and negatives. Many of those have faded terribly. I was not a great photographer, and was usually in a hurry to capture a moment, so many of our pictures are poor photos.  I confess to having had very little organization with photo storage, with only a few making it into albums - which certainly makes it hard to organize them after over 50 years of family life.  We want to keep the ones we have in a way that allows us to view them easily, and digital storage allows us that plus ways to organize and share with all our family.

There are so many more ways to turn out great photographs now. My smart phone works better for me than my good camera most of the time because I have it with me, and it is so quick and easy to get good candid shots. I can capture an image of a granddaughter, view, edit, and post it on FaceBook for friends and family to see more quickly than I used to be able to take off my lens cap, focus, and click!  I take more photos, and have learned so much about cropping and editing. These, too, will be stored in files on my computer I am finally organizing pictures!  Old dogs really can learn new tricks.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

More Postcards

As mentioned last week, major cleaning and sorting continues here.  This is more than Spring cleaning, but it will serve as that as well.  Some boxes are easy to sort into Keep, Discard, and Donate containers, but others take time because they are full of little pieces of memories, seeds of stories. One thing obvious in boxes of family correspondence, notes, and cards are the picture postcards. I am holding 3 postcards that Joe mailed to our sons when he traveled to Japan in 1983. There are similar postcards he mailed to my mother in that box and letters to me. It was a good way for them to see what he was seeing. I love the way he chose different things to say to each boy.  He knew them well.

Each card is addressed to our home, 2224 Old Orchard Court, Plano, Texas.

Sean's card is a photo of "Nijubashi" of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo -the double arched bridge hanging on the moat of the old castle. 
 Dear Sean,
I miss you. I know you are taking care of Mom and your brothers. Keep it up.

You would enjoy TV here. Lots of videos and Solid Gold. You would laugh to hear Michael Jackson in Japanese.

I love you, Dad

Jeremy's card has a photo of the same bridge from a different angle.

Dear Jeremy,
I wish you could be here to see all the sights with me. You would enjoy the fish and birds in the park near my hotel. Funny thing...the crows speak English...They say the same thing as Plano crows.

Love, Dad

Ben's card is a picture of Nagoya Castle. Originally erected in 1523 and rebuilt in 1959. Famous for a pair of dolphins on its roof.

Dear Ben,
How's this for a castle? It is beautiful here. Wish you could be here to share it with me. I miss you and can't wait to see you again.

Love, Dad

I was grateful then and am grateful now for the ways Joe kept us with him when he traveled!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Postmarked Santa Barbara, California, July 16 1986

I have been doing some serious opening of boxes and sorting and clearing. Family correspondence, greeting cards, memorabilia from years past that some might have discarded long ago become not only memories, but stories that surface.  I am glad that my Mother saved many things that remind me of details of family story.  I prefer to pass on some things, discarding others after a photo and passing on the story itself. A large picture postcard featuring the inn above in Pismo Beach, California, is postmarked Santa Barbara, California, July 16 1986 and contains the photo and following description:
                                  Shore Cliff Lodge & Inn (Best Western and Triple A logos)
                                                       2555 Price STreet
                                               Pismo Beach, California  93449
                                                     (805) 773-4671
                                          "Your complete Resort at the Beach"
Restaurant open from 7a.m., Cocktail louge.  Banquet facilities, Heated swimming pool.  Hydrotherapy pool, 2 lighted tennis courts, Spiral staircase to the beach, Cable,color TV with bedside remote, Air conditioning. Claming, fishing, dune buggy riding, All rooms and kitchenette suites overlook the ocean.

Addressed to:
                         Mrs. Opal Teal
                         413 Tena Street
                         Jacksoville, TX 74766

The content is in pencil, in my handwriting:

Hi!  We stayed here last night & the boys & Joe (notice I omit me) rode 4 wheel motor bikes on the beach today.  Ben hurt his leg but still had a good time.  We went to Hearst Castle yesterday & Joe took Jeremy to sight see at the local emergency room last night.  Some kind of allergic reaction, probably from eating too much shellfish.  He is OK today but had to have 3 shots.  We have had good food-lovely meals- Ben got a birthday balloon at dinner tonite. We will spend tomorrow (the 15th) in Santa Barbara - then back to Thousand Oaks. Love, M

This was the year that we lived in Southern California prior to moving to Indonesia.  That summer we drove up the coast on "the 101."  I am remembering several things about that time - 1. We knew we would be moving out of the country soon.  2.  We wanted to see more of California before we left, planning stops at several places on the beach.  3. Ben celebrated his 13th birthday on July 15, our last night of the trip in Santa Barbara,  the postcard was mailed.

In just over 2 months, our family said goodbye to California 1 day after an earthquake shook the Los Angeles area.  As the blog subtitle says - the joy of journey as a family!

Apparently, the Shore Cliff Inn is still in operation, although their website no longer mentions a spiral staircase to the beach!

Friday, January 8, 2016


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Gifts from the Past

This necklace and bracelet of cowrie shells was sent to me from Taraway, Gilbert Island by my uncle, whom I loved dearly. Travis Terrell was serving his country in the Navy in WWII.  He printed my name on the above pictured note, but the handwriting below is my mother's, Opal Terrell Teal. As mentioned, I received the jewelry September 4, 1944. I remember handling the tiny shells and loving the jewelry as a little girl.

Oddly enough, it is only now, well over 70 years later, that I consider the circumstance of how and when my uncle obtained the shells, how homesick he would have been, how much he longed for home and his family. (His 2 oldest children are slightly younger than I).  It would have taken some time for a gift to arrive in Texas, putting the shells very near the months less than a year prior when

More than 1,000 U.S. troops were killed in action and some 2,000 were wounded in only three days of fighting at Tarawa. Word of the heavy casualties soon reached the U.S. and the public was stunned by the number of American lives lost in taking the tiny island.

Finally, I am understanding more of the meaning of my gift of shells.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Collage

If one picture is worth a thousand words, this is a very long (and happy) post!  More comments about our Christmas Day next week, but for now, please enjoy our gathering and celebrating!