My five senses help my memory to recall events

•July 4, 2013 • Leave a Comment

As I think back I find a joy that has been dormant in the closet of my mind.  I am amazed to realize that everything and every memory has been associated closely to one or more of my five senses.  I do not know if this is the usual for everyone or whether I am just unusually strange.  Most of the smell and sounds are of nature; the leaves eroding and rotting into in the woodlands or the smell of the air after the snow, or the sea and the sea gulls.  The cry of catbirds or animals purring, barking, or the parrot making her funny laughing or cat cries.  I think my Cherokee heritage has something to do with my sensual sensitivities.  Indians were very dependent on the ability to hear, smell and feel the changes around them and in many cases it was a survival necessity.

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early memories

•July 4, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I have in fact a very good memory and I am sure some will think it untrue.  I remember the pediatrician’s office on Hooker Ave- His name was Dr. Stone.  I can recall sitting on his examining table with my big toe in my mouth probably about 2 years old- I could describe his waiting room too.  It was in the basement of his home.  I can recall the trials of potty training and the potty chambers or ceramic pots used for nighttime or when in need and someone else occupied the other throne (these were not especially memories through my senses).  Later on I went to Dr. Jacobus on South Hamilton.  He made “house calls” and I saw him frequently as I was prone to tonsillitis and ran high fevers.

My grandfather worked in Brooklyn shipyards doing mechanical designs for ships I believe.  Each morning he would get up while it was still dark and quietly call me to come out to eat with him (Kelty’s sugar buns) and chat with him while he ate and  got ready for the taxi to come for him probably around 430 am or so.  I would go back to bed and he to work.  I would wait at the end of the day for him to come home and I would sit with him while he ate his dinner (the family ate at the usual time and he ate about 730 or 8 pm.  He was my best pal and it was mutual.  When he finally stopped commuting, after the war ended he built the Floral shop as it was called and started the business up – probably about 1949.  The shop later became Lovelace Florist (a more dignified name) and it was a family run business.  One thing I recall as a landmark of sorts was the neon clock in the window facing North Clinton St.  It was pink and Green and I still wonder what became of it after the fire?

We hav come a lng way in 60 years

•July 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment

One of the things we did before TV was radio (of course).  I used to listen to the Lone Ranger, The Thin Man, The Fat Man, Amos and Andy, The greatest Story ever told and Don McNeal’s Breakfast Hour.  I guess at about four or five it did a lot to stimulate my imagination.  I would close my eyes if something scary came on (like I could see it).  My mother and grandmother would get me to “March around the breakfast table” – I guess it kept me out of the way when they were busy doing laundry or ironing.  My Grandmother was a much regimented individual and each day of the week had it assigned tasks.  Wash day she would start a load with whites, then colors and finally dark dirty clothes (used the same water) as the clothes waited for rinsing they were placed into one of two deep set tubs (kitchen sink, bathtub for children and for Thanksgiving turkey too).  The wringer was attached to the top of the washer and once rung out hung outside to dry on the clothes line.  The smell of air dried clothes compared in no way to today’s dryer’s smell.  Our first TV was bought by my aunt and uncle and was about four or five inches.  I remember the Friday night wrestling show black and white little men going at it.  Not much else on the TV then.

Later the TV stations started to offer more programs like Winky Dink and You, I love Lucy, cowboy programs, Mr. Rogers, Howdy Doody and Clarabelle, I remember Mama, comedy show with Red Skelton, Bob Hope, Jimmy Durante, George and Gracie Allen, William Benedict, The Nelson’s and others.  Movies with stars like Bella Lugosi, the werewolf, vampire, and Frankenstein which scared the daylight out of me then on to Twilight Zone, and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Theater.  I also remember fondly the Loretta Young Show and Queen for a Day.  Many, many more than I can’t recall just now.

So May changes in the life span of 60 years most making less work for house wives and their husbands like lawnmowers rather than push mowers and weed whackers and leaf blowers.  Now we have more idle or free time to spend doing things never dreamed of then.  Like emailing friends or sending pictures over the phone or actually viewing the caller on Skype or other devices capable of video transmission.

days gone by

•June 30, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Searching my memory banks I am fascinated by the number of men who delivered to the house (and one woman). Here are what ones I can recall:

  • Milkman
  • Acker’s meat delivery man
  • Laundry man
  • Coal delivery men
  • Insurance man
  • Mail man (Jim Ingraham)
  • Rag man (who did not deliver but went through the streets calling “Rags”
  • Avon Lady Mrs. Fogarty
  • Krug’s bakery
  • Iceman (very early on)

Who would have guessed then that ATM machines would supply us without going to the bank or milk machines could supply and replace the milkman; plastic could replace real cash; phones would have visual pictures of the caller or caller ID if a call missed; computers would replace for the most part typewriters or word processors; voicemail or automated messages accompanied with multiple choices would replace the operator.  So many changes.  Washers and dryers that replaced the old washer with ringer and the clothes line that made the clothes smell fresh and extra clean. Store bought butter or margarine would replace the war rations of a plastic bag of white margarine with a red dot in the middle- it had to be kneaded to get the color to make it all yellow.  I have many memories of sounds, smells, visual pictures, tastes and feelings (touch) from that period and others.  Everyone transporting me back mentally to a happier place when experiencing these sensory things now.

1950’s continued:

•June 28, 2013 • Leave a Comment

More about life in the 50’s:

I walked to school at the age of six without parents fearing I would be abducted.  I remember snow storms then were often more like blizzards.  The smell of the air after a snowfall clean and fresh and the noises muted as the blanket of white absorbed it.  There was also a hint of wood burning fires in the air, probably from the cooking stoves.  We had an old cast iron stove which was fed with coal.  After being out in the snow my feet were so cold that my grandmother had a chair in front of the oven and wrapped my feet with a towel and had me put them into the oven.  Now it seems like a Hansel and Greta story.  I have a picture of me age four sleigh riding down a three foot pile of snow my grandfather made.  Those were the days! 

My first days at school were exciting.  I remember the teacher Miss Dickerson who had a screechy voice and looked witch like.  I loved art time the smell of the newsprint and crayons which to this day conjure up memories of then.  One of my friends Debby was a shy petite little girl whom I chose to protect.  We grew into lifelong friends.  We both became nurses but while I spent over 45 years of nursing she lent her talents to Mary Kay and became excellent at it.  She even got a diamond ring for her sales.  She was an orthodox Jew and I learned much from her about their holidays and practices.  Now she has abandoned much of these rituals (I guess having spoken to her about riding in a car on Saturdays).

My grandmother would start a Christmas club for me the first of the year.  It was $12.50 and I would go down to Lucky & Platt and Woolworth to shop all by myself at a very young age 7-8.  One thing I always got for my grandfather was $.50 white Handkerchiefs and a special box for them.  He used to travel to NYC on business and I thought he could use them (boring but I had to budget my little money).  I remember also buying Evening in Paris for mom (whew it was awful smelling)!

Easter, Mother’s day, Memorial Day, Christmas and Thanksgiving were big holidays for flowers only second were weddings and funerals.  At the age of twelve I was employed for every one of these holidays and made $25 which I used to buy clothes for myself.  I worked every year thereafter in the shop until I was forty something (when the fire caused the whole corner to be torn down and with it the business too).  It was a sad day indeed for me.  Now I miss the house where I grew up and all the nooks and hiding places which were special to me growing up.  When I hear “I’ll be home for Christmas” it tears at my heart and brings longing for home.

Life was so simple as a child no responsibilities or bills to pay just a safe and secure time when the world was a beautiful place.

Days of my life

•June 27, 2013 • Leave a Comment

My whole life has been one of serving my fellow family and friends.  Until I was thirty something I worked in the florist business also working part and full time in my nursing career.  I was taught at an early age that it was necessary for everyone to pitch in with regards to the family business, while I did these things I also managed to factor in time to work as a Sunday School Superintendent, work on the Lady’s Parish Aide, embroider and decorate items for their bazaar and even make Christmas costumes for the pageant.  During period in my life I had four children and kept busy with my own arts and crafts.  Looking back I cannot imagine how I did all of this.  My brother went into the Army and eventually to Vietnam.  My father fought like a wild cat to get him out on family hardship.  He had me write letters attesting to the need of his only son to work with him in the family business.  He made weekly trips to Washington DC and finally succeeded in getting him discharged before the end of his assignment.  He had his heart set on this business being a father and son venture.  His dream was crushed when my brother Dave chose to go with IBM rather than fulfill Dad’s dream.  Dad bottomed out and totally let the flourishing business go down the proverbial tubes.

I saw what had happened and tried to pick up my father’s interest by redecorating the shop, sending for literature for pottery and decorative planters and other things.  Eventually after I had separated from husband and was living in a small apartment, now working full time nights (11p-7a).  My father would call me and insisted that I wake up and deliver floral orders for him.  Nothing was too much for him to expect from me.  The kick in the head was Dave was the number one (and only) child in his heart.  There are many painful memories associated with my father especially but also my mom who favored my brother.  I felt like a second class citizen.  My role as caregiver (whether in nursing or not) was sketched out for me early on in my life.  My mom went through a postpartum depression at my age of three.  She would not eat and would lie in bed and cry.  My father tried to get her up and she carried on so much that I rescued her by kicking him in his shin and yelling at him to leave her alone.  From that day forward I decided to take on worrying about her even until she died.

Being so engulfed in my role, I have taken on too many problems of others and offered to help when instead I should have been first I always put myself second.  This too has carried on until March of this year when I offered free housing and meals to a childhood friend who became homeless.  It is ironic that one of those whom I helped (my ex-husband a drug addicted man of thirty years) is now being supportive of me and checking in to see if I am ok.  I had prayed and had seen him through years of rehabs and jail.  He has been “clean” for seven years now.  I have learned that God has his own time table and when He decides the time is right it will happen and only them.

This writing is a catharsizes for me it also helps me to review how and why I am the way I am or was.  It

1950’s memories…

•June 27, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Recently I have had less on my mind to trouble me and have been able to reflect on life in the 50’s.  The world was so different then.  It was recovering from World War II and economy was picking up.  I was seven years old in 1950 (Nov).  I was innocent and trusting.  While in most cases I had no fear with the exception of Thunderstorms.  I was petrified of and even lost my ability to speak during them. 

I attended Warring Grade school and was a pretty fair student occasionally I got called to the principal’s office.  On those occasions I was afraid I had done something wrong but I was summonsed to stuff envelopes or some other kind of work to relieve the secretary.  I was enrolled in ballet and toe dancing classes and also piano lessons.  These were implemented by my paternal grandmother Edith.  I guess she wanted to insure my future to be one of a “lady”.  Brownies and Girl Scouts were next on her list for socialization.

I “endured” these for five or more years though I wanted to take tap lessons.  I would have been much more inclined to practice since I loved the music and glamour of the stage.  At ten I had become quite chubby and my father and uncle made fun of my dancing.  They pranced around like the hippos in tutus in the movie Fantasia.  During recitals I was nervous and my hands would shake and I would hit the wrong keys on the piano.  This of course brought laughter and snickers from the audience.  It was humiliating for a child of ten to be forced into lessons that someone else decided I needed.  During the summer before seventh grade I lost a lot of weight and started to blossom into a shapely young lady.  This brought much attention from my classmates especially the boys ages twelve and up.

Things I mostly love to think about are as follows:

  • Boys
  • Clothes
  • The way we dressed for church especially on Christmas and especially Easter.  Then we had play clothes, work clothes and church clothes.  The Easter outfit consisted of hat, shoes, pocketbook, gloves, dress or suit, spring coat and corsage.
  • Easter was special the flower shop was always busy for weeks prior and everyone worked long hours to prepare and work through this holiday.  We had a woman who was hired to fix meals and keep the younger children away from the shop.
  • Christmas was and even more exciting time imagining what we would find under the tree that morning.  Santa Claus was truly a real person (I thought until I was ten).  The colored lights, brightly wrapped presents, smells and music of the season, and tastes of candies, cookies and more all made it the most pleasing memory of all.
  • Summer vacation to Asbury New Jersey for ten days every year was another wonderful magical time.  The houses welcomed tourist trade; they were big old houses many Victorian, with awnings and rocking chairs on their porches.  The smells of salt water and sun tan lotion, the sounds of waves breaking the tastes of hot dogs at the beach, the feel of warm sand to lay on while you were between swimming and the feel of the wet sand disappearing beneath your feet as the waves rushed back into the ocean – all a wonderful memory.  Smells still conjure up this memory.  My grandfather smoked cigars and a pipe; we also had fresh fruit in our room which ripened and the smell of bananas especially evoke this wonderful period.

If they complete the time machine in my lifetime I will be in line with the first to volunteer to go back to this era it was so much happier even with the things and people I was not fond of then.