Remembering 1970’s Halloween

candybags

A selection of little treat bags, circa 1970s

I’ve been traveling down Memory Lane lately. My Trick-or-Treating heyday was in the 1970’s…from ages four – 11. By the time I got to junior high, it wasn’t cool to trick-or-treat anymore, and we shifted to house Halloween parties or dances.

Not that we didn’t have house parties in those days, too. As I wrote about in a Halloween post last year, my mother made tons of homemade pizza and offered bowls of chips, candy, and cups of soda for some of our famed parties and haunted house in the camp each year.

AlcProfHalloween1Here are a couple recipes posted in an pamphlet, circa 1975. I might have to try making that cake!

brachs_12Candies like these were common, as were unwrapped sorts, like mallow pumpkins and candy corn, tossed in our trick-or-treat plastic pumpkins by the handful.

Ad from 1975I saw ads like this all the time. It’s amazing how prices have changed in just a few decades!

d0b361383f73f911b1b2002699b548b529795b7b54425e850af721b4394892e5cadb4969df31abfdb959395fc54d48c49080e724f2cf044bf66d75d25448221eThere was an abundance of Witch and other Halloween decorations that had a definite 70’s flair, though it was a favorite activity each autumn to pull out the colored construction paper and fashion jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, black cats in front of yellow moons, witches flying, and spooky trees – all of which were hung on the windows or walls in the house…

IMG_2596I had this exact decoration hanging in my home and probably another one just like it hanging in our classroom, on one of the windows.

witchBecause my mother hand-sewed all of our dance costumes, bedspreads, and curtains, as well as some of our clothes (which is a feat in and of itself, considering the time constraints in a household of nine, with three meals a days and loads of laundry that had to be spaced out because of the well water issues), some years we got to select a box-packaged, store-bought costume come Halloween.

830ee5b332a2f04d42b638374b695067On those special occasions, choosing our costumes at the local 5 and Dime was a trip much anticipated!

We’d get to wear our purchase, once for the school party and once for trick-or-treating. Then they were packed carefully away, since often, we’d have to go back to the old costumes and choose from them in future years; as an adult, I know that it must have been because money was especially tight on those Halloweens, but when I was a kid, it was just something that needed to happen periodically. We never complained.

BWx20x7ex202505_3LI had this “gypsy” one, one year.

ae3d182e66ce5a13357e59e893526f34My sister, who was always more “princess-like” than I was – beautiful, fine-boned, and blond – wore one very much like this.

I can still smell the plastic scent of the mask and feel the slight condensation from breathing through the always-too-narrow nose holes as we participated in the classroom party or  ran door to door Trick-or-Treating on a crisp Halloween night.

It was an innocent time, especially in my earlier years. The whole scare about razor blades in apples and medication or drugs tainting candy didn’t get started until nearer to the time I was getting too old to participate in candy-gathering…and of course home-baked goods were still always allowed to be brought into school for classroom parties and treats.

beistle-halloween-decoration-black-cat-moonAs the day approaches this year, I’m hanging some decorations and getting into the spirit, hoping to give some children the same happiness when they trick-or-treat at my door that I felt on those Halloween nights long ago. 🙂

Do you have any treasured Halloween memories to share? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Apple Picking at the Homestead

imageI went home to visit my mother at the old Homestead the first weekend in October, picking her up to come to a concert with us near where we live, and then bringing her home two nights later. I bought her some mums on an earlier visit, and this time we added a pumpkin to the old well cover for a little more autumn flair. 🙂image

Before I had to leave to go home myself this time, we decided to pick some apples from the two trees my father and she had planted more than two decades ago. We both love to bake/make pies, and several of my sisters still live in the area and might use some of the apples too.

imageWhen we drove up the driveway, several deer had made their way out of the woods in the back to sample the fruits as well. It was a beautiful sight, watching them. imageAll the wildlife that makes its way through the yard – deer, turkey, rabbits, the crows…even skunks (the babies are adorable) and a few times a fox – is one of the reasons my father loved this home he made for us all.

imageThe tree he planted in the back yard, where the deer were sampling, is a Macintosh , but the one in the front is a mystery. Based on the color, crispness, and flavor of the apples, we’re thinking Cortland or something similar. They’re never sprayed, which is great as far as I’m concerned. I’d rather deal with a few spots than to have pesticides all over the apples.

imageThe trees were loaded with apples this year, so 30 minutes of picking (some with the trusty apple picker on a pole) yielded multiple bags of apples.

It was a beautiful day, crisp and sunny, made all the more wonderful for sharing it with my beloved Ma and having the fun of apple-picking with her too!

imageThe end result was a pan of salted caramel apple bars…and a nice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown-sugar laced apple pie! 🙂

An Unexpected Sale

PSA:

So, the e-book versions of Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven was set at a special sale price of $2.99 for the last three weeks of May, in honor of its appearance at Book Expo America 2015 in NYC.

It’s back up to its usual $4.49 price now – BUT, for reasons unknown, amazon is once again listing it for $2.99 for kindle (and showing that it’s a sale from its usual “Digital List Price” of $4.49)!

So if you want to catch the deal for kindle (whether you have a kindle itself, an app on your phone, or on your desktop), go now. I have no idea how long it will last. 🙂 Click on the cover to be taken to the amazon page and its sale price.

MooseTracks_Cover

Foreword Review!

Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven

Reviewed by Maya Fleischmann
April 29, 2015

A woman discovers her rich relationships in this exquisite exploration into themes of time and connections, love and loss.

Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven tells the story of protagonist Elena Elizabeth Wright Maguire, who reexamines her life and relationships after she is involved in a minor car accident.

M. Reed McCall skillfully transitions between different periods with segues that invite further exploration into memories triggered by a comment made in the present. For example, when Pa says he can hardly wait to put Christmas decorations around the house, the narrative flashes back thirty-two years to the Christmas Eve when Elena was almost seven years old. This movement in the narrative not only serves to keep the story flowing but also creates an intriguing and natural flow in the stream of connections that Elena makes as she unravels the journey she has made in her life.

McCall captures the unique voices of different personalities and their relationships with one another with evocative and heartfelt precision. This creates a vivid image, not only about Elena, but also about the people around her and the place she lives. This is clear in Pa’s letters to Elena, which offer wisdom, and in radio disc jockey Willard T. Bogg’s announcements on WGRR FM 103.9 about the events in Moose Junction. Elena’s transformation to a mature woman is contrasted with her past idealistic and youthful eighteen-year-old voice in a diary entry about her love, Jesse: “I can’t wait to give Jesse the card and giant Hershey’s chocolate bar I bought for him. I’m SO in love!!!”

While the narrative itself is deeply moving, the black-and-white photographs scattered throughout further contribute to the story’s heartrending quality by lending a unique sense of reality to the story and giving it the feel of a personal history unfolding, adding to the book’s allure and effectiveness.

Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven forges a path straight to the heart.

**For a limited time, Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven is still on sale for $2.99 for Kindle and Nook!

May Flowers

No, not THE Mayflower.

May Flowers.

imageThese grow in my little garden behind the kitchen door. They have tiny little bulbs and I have no idea what they are or where they came from. They just started growing the year after my father died, next to a few of the beautiful iris he transplanted to this same garden at his last visit to my house before he became ill. The almost glow in the early Springtime, wide open purple and white blossoms atop slender but strong stems.  I consider them a little “gift from heaven”. ❤

imageAnd here to the right is a picture of what my father and I called the “little blue flowers”. I don’t know what they’re really called. I looked it up once, but then promptly forgot. 🙂

Anyway, this little patch was transplanted from my parent’s yard into my yard about six or seven years ago. They grow prolifically all along the side of the old Homestead and have always been the first harbingers of Spring to me. He cut out a 12×12 square of sod with the flowers in it and we placed it next to my house. Every year they come up and I look forward to seeing them (though they haven’t spread much, even though my father had thought they would considering how much they spread at the Homestead…not enough direct sunlight at my house, I think).

These little signs of spring and the thaw of winter’s ice and snow fill me with joy. They are signs of new beginnings, while being at the same time lovely connections to treasured memories long past.

Happy Spring to all of you! I’d be glad to hear some of your stories connected to plants or spring renewal (and if anyone knows what either of these flowers is really called, please let me know!)

Moose Tracks – a BIG Sale

MooseTracks_CoverPSA: For the merry month of May, Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven is going to be priced at 40% off its original price for Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook. That means you can get it from either of those eBook sources for only $2.99 (which is a whopping 79% off its print price)!

Here are the links for Amazon or Nook

If you like a good book deal as much as I do, please feel free to share this info via re-blogging or anywhere else that strikes your fancy. 🙂

Happy shopping…and reading!

It’s National Siblings Day in the US

Ma and seven daughtersseven girls 1As the sixth out of seven daughters, with two bonus”sisters” thanks to the Fresh Air Fund program (children from NYC who spend summers up “in the country”…we were blessed to have the same two sisters each summer for most of my childhood and have remained in touch with them both for 40+ years), much of my memory from growing up revolves around my family.Carol and Judi

I wouldn’t trade having these sisters for anything in the world. Being in this big tumble of a family helped to form who I am and how I view the world, and I often recall those times with great fondness and love.

I wonder how the dynamics might have changed if there had been a brother or two in there? 😉

Happy Easter!

imageWishing those of you who celebrate a joyous holiday.

imageWe’re all ready at the McCall house to host dinner after church.

imageThe table is set with my mother-in-law’s Easter tablecloth and our wedding china, purchased by her for us some 25 years ago.

On the menu: glazed ham with pineapple and cherries, brown-sugar sweet carrots, steamed green beans, mashed potatoes, and my mother’s recipe of cauliflower cheese puff (which is a family favorite). 🙂

If I can snap a photo quickly before it’s eaten, I’ll do a recipe post for it. It’s yummy!

Going Out On a Limb

heartI’ve had a few limbs break off behind me. I’m still pumping my wings like mad to keep from hitting the ground, though every now and again, an updraft helps lift me up.

Sometimes it’s an unexpected, nice comment or even a review of one of my books. Sometimes it’s a hug, or seeing something beautiful out in nature or the world. Sometimes it’s a piece of music that seems to pierce in a wonderful way to my inner soul. Sometimes it’s a cup of tea and a quiet night in, with the wind howling around the house while I’m snug inside.

What are your little updrafts, when you’re pumping your wings to stay afloat? 🙂