Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday -- a time when family, food and football are enjoyed without all the hassle, hustle and bustle that will soon prevail.

Below are a few vintage images from Pinterest that illustrate this American holiday in simpler times. 

The cook no longer has to conquer the turkey, as was the case in times of old. Now that's something to be thankful for!

So 1950s, isn't it?

Love Charlie Brown

Children presented in old images were so precious.

I have prepared many of the side dishes and placed them in the freezer, to be thawed and cooked for the Thanksgiving meal. A good thing, as it allows more time to focus on Baby Katie!

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

That Day in Dallas

Ask anyone old enough to remember Nov. 22, 1963 and they can tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news that the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy Jr., had been shot and killed in Dallas, Texas.
google image
So much changed after that day – both for the nation and the world.

So what was life like in 1963? It was scary. The country was deeply immersed in the Cold War. People had built fallout shelters in the event of a nuclear attack. Children practiced “duck and cover” exercises at school and were issued military-style dog tags, ostensibly so their bodies could be identified , just in case.

A few other facts about America in 1963:
  • The population was about 189 million (313.9 million in 2012)
  • The median family income was $6,200
  • Gas averaged 29 cents a gallon
  • A new car averaged $3,233
  • The average cost of a new home was $12,650.
  • A loaf of bread was 22 cents
  • A postage stamp cost a nickel
  • The new Zoning Improvement Plan, or ZIP codes, had just been introduced
  • AT&T had introduced the touch-tone phone, successor to the rotary dial
  • The Instamatic camera and Lava Lamps went on sale
  • Troll dolls, created in 1959 by a Danish woodcutter, became a full-fledged U.S. fad in fall 1963.
  • Pull-tops on aluminum cans were introduced
  • Coca-Cola introduced its first diet drink, TaB
  • Oscar Mayer began airing the radio jingle, “I wish I were an Oscar Meyer wiener”
  • Showing at the movies: “Cleopatra,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” The Great Escape” and “To Kill a Mockingbird
  • On television:  “Beverly Hillbillies,” “The Flintstones,” “My Three Sons,” “Dr. Kildare,” “Perry Mason” and “The Jimmy Dean Show”
  • The number one song: Deep Purple by Neno Tempo and April Stevens
  • What is believed to be the first U.S. news story on the Beatles ran on NBC’s “Huntley-Brinkley Report” the evening of Nov. 18, 1963. The morning of Nov. 22, the “CBS Morning News With Mike Wallace” ran a story on the group. The network planned to repeat the 5-minute segment on Walter Cronkite’s evening newscast. But a few hours later, Cronkite was on the air reporting the news that shots had been fired at Kennedy’s motorcade in Dallas. All regular television-news programming was canceled for almost four days while the networks covered the assassination and funeral of the president. “The CBS Evening News” finally aired the Beatles segment Dec. 10.

The assassination changed the way we get our news. Until then, people trusted newspapers as their main news source, but after Nov. 22, television screens became a serious way, and the principle means, of getting news.

google image

But those were physical conditions and events. That day in Dallas changed other things too. It left us feeling vulnerable to the heartache and turmoil that was yet to come. It felt the country was falling apart: The murders of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr and Robert Kennedy; Vietnam; campus unrest; racial turmoil; Watergate; assassination attempts on other presidents; more wars; political upheaval; a divided country.

Time moves on and we adjust and adapt. Somehow we get through it all and life goes on. But we are left cynical, doubtful, not trusting. We can get past most of it.

But it seems we are not able to get past Nov. 22, 1963. Not half a century later. Maybe never.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Mysterious Anderson School Mural

Anderson School will close at the end of current school year. It will be a sad day indeed for the community and all who have been associated with it for the past 90 years.
Front view of the old Anderson Elementary School
Credit: Florence-Lauderdale Library digital archives

Side view of the old Anderson Elementary School, which has now been demolished.
Credit: Florence-Lauderdale Library digital archives  

I don't know when the white two-story wooden structure – which originally housed grades 1-9 -- was built, but my mother attended school there until when, in 1936, a brick one-story building was built for grades 7-9. Hers was the first class to graduate 9th grade in the current brick building in 1937.
I attended elementary school in the white building, but some years later it was deemed a fire hazard, demolished, and all grades consolidated in the brick building and an auxiliary building built alongside it. I don’t have a photo of the brick building as it looked when constructed.

In the school's auditorium, at the rear of the stage, was a mural that most of the time was rolled up. But on certain occasions it was unfurled and even back then, we were amazed because it was so “old.” My mother certainly remembered it from her school days.

At the present time the mural is being displayed on a side wall in the auditorium.  Not knowing what the future holds for the structure, let alone the mural, I visited a few days ago to get some photos.

The artist is unknown, as it is not signed!

The history of the mural also is unknown, insofar as I've been able to determine. School officials don't know, and unless someone in the community can provide documentation, I suppose it will remain a mystery.

The painting consists of ads" for local businesses. Did the school sell ads to fund the painting? To raise money for the new school?

All of these businesses are "long gone," but my mother remembers them all. Only a few remained by the time I came along.

An oddity: The painting scene in the center of the mural is Norris Dam, the first TVA dam to be built. It is located in East Tennessee, far away from Anderson, Ala. A more logical choice would have been Wheeler Dam or Wilson Dam, two TVA dams that are nearby.  Since Norris Dam is in Anderson County, Tennessee, could the artist have thought he was painting the mural for a local school? And is it possible the artist was from that area?

I am rather amazed the painting has held up so well all these years. The canvas shows no sign of deterioration, nor does the paint. I only hope this historic mural finds a home when the school closes.

If anyone locally reads this, and can provide any information about the mural, please let me know!

Thank you.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Only the Stones Will Remain

Not very far from where I live there’s a winding rock wall, the largest non-mortared rock wall in the United States. Containing 8.5 million pounds of stone and 1.25 miles long, it is a memorial to a Native American woman.
It was built by Tom Hendrix as a tribute to his great-great grandmother, a Euchee Indian, who as a teenager was forced from her home in North Alabama to the Oklahoma Territory along the Trail of Tears in 1839.

Te-lah-nay was 18 years old when she was relocated by the American government to Muscovy, Okla. She stayed one winter and wanted to return home. She walked all the way. It took her five years.

Tom Hendrix
 flickr photo by Paul Mashburn
Upon her return to North Alabama, she was called Mary Hipp and earned a living as an herbalist. She befriended a Methodist minister named Wiley B. Edwards by curing him of “a bad case of yellow toes and a disorder of the middle.” He recorded stories of the remainder of Te-lah-nay’s life in a 168-page journal.

Official records are scarce but Hendrix said she lived to be about 35 years old and is buried in Parsonage Cemetery in Lauderdale County.

Nearly 100 years later, when Hendrix was a child in 1936, he sat by his grandmother, Parmelia Hendrix, and listened to tales of his Indian heritage. It was there that Hendrix learned of Te-lah-nay’s incredible journey.

In 1988, Tom Hendrix felt a need to honor his great-great-grandmother and began constructing a memorial, in stone, because his grandmother told him, “We all shall pass this earth; only the stones will remain.”

The wall contains 8.5 million pounds of stone. Hendrix kept track by weighing his trailer while empty and then weighing it filled with stones for each load.

In 2000, he wrote a book about his great-great-grandmother’s journey and the wall, and called it “If the Legends Fade.”

Please go here to watch a four minute video and see more photos. It will be well worth your time.

Also, here for additional info and another video of Hendrix speaking about the Wall.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Mr. Webster's Dictionary

Have you ever wondered why some English words are spelled differently in America? For instance, color rather than colour; center instead of centre; honor rather honour; program rather than programme?

I had often wondered this myself, and then I ran into some information about Noah Webster.

Webster (1758-1843) authored readers and spelling books that were dominant in the American market at the time. Believing in the developing cultural independence of the United States, the chief part of which was to be a distinctive American language with its own idiom, pronunciation, and style, he published in 1806 A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language, the first truly American dictionary. He included technical terms from the arts and sciences, where previous dictionaries only used literary words.
An 1888 advertisement for Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
Credit: wikipedia

In 1828 he published his American Dictionary of the English Language, and in 1841, a corrected version with five thousand additional words.

His work was not well received in the beginning. The culturally conservative Federalist party declared it radical – inclusive in its lexicon and bordering on vulgar. Thomas Jefferson’s Republicans attacked Webster, labeling him mad for such an undertaking.
Daniel Webster
One facet of Webster's importance was his willingness to innovate when he thought innovation meant improvement. He was the first to document distinctively American vocabulary such as skunk, hickory, and chowder.

Some of Webster’s  attempts at reform didn’t meet with acceptance, such as his support for modifying tongue to tung and women to wimmen.

Now we know why some American words are spelled differently than in the Mother Country. Now if we could just know why there's a difference in British English vs. American English pronunciation! 

Do any of you have an answer to that one?
And this discussion doesn’t even touch on the reason why we call the same item by different names, does it?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Pet Talk

It's been a week filled with much time and attention devoted to pets, especially the dogs. They always get plenty of attention, mind you, but during the past week I made a trip to the veterinarian for both Kris, for his chronic ear infections, and Val for a recurring skin sensitivity.

Kris received injections and ear cleaner and drops to be applied twice daily. He knows what's about to happen and this is a typical posture he takes when he knows I'm about to "doctor" his ears.

Or he might give me this sad eye look as I get near him with the medicine.

Valerie was put through the wringer, so to speak. Her tummy had to be shaved where she had scratched and bitten herself from the itching; received two injections; toenail clip; shaving of a hot spot on her face; plus two injections brought home and given the following day as well as two capsules twice daily for 10 days.

The conditions each dog has are caused by allergies to "something" and we just treat them as they occur.

Both dogs are really patient about getting treatments at home. I have found an easy way to give them their pills: hide them in a teaspoonful of peanut butter. They love it and are none the wiser!

Then there are the darlin' kitties. One night the wind blew quite hard and they were so afraid. I was back and forth trying to comfort them but they were restless, in and out until bedtime.

Here's Murtie hiding in a flower box. Look at those eyes!

Photo made another day, when Myrtle was sleeping peacefully in the sun room  their new home!
Carl checking out the fish in the pond.
I am hoping I don't have to make a trip to the vet's office this week. It's 25 miles from home, it's usually a long wait and it stresses out both the dogs and me as well!

I was advised to give each dog 1000 mg of fish oil over their food to "maybe" help their problems. It's not a 100 percent cure, but helps most dogs. I'm off to buy a large quantity of them!
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