It’s Almost Time…

tgpc2Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, probably because it’s about being together and sharing food, time, and memories, without any need to focus on material gifts and the like.

turkey tom 1I’ve always loved it. I can remember being a little girl and sitting in the living room watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, eating a bowl of grapes (a special treat, along with tangerines, for the holiday).

The big picture window would be all steamed up from Ma’s cooking in the adjoining kitchen, and the delicious smells of the turkey roasting, onions and celery sautéed in butter for use in the stuffing, and sage filling the whole room with a homey, delicious scent.

So…what are some of your favorite Thanksgiving foods, if you celebrate the holiday? I’m always looking to add something to our table, so please share in the comments! 🙂

Halloween Memories

Halloween in the 1984

This was done my first year at college, when I came home on break…

Reminiscing Halloweens past, and the decorating we used to do at the Homestead with all homemade materials.  All the pictures in this post are from the 80’s (as the clothing and hairstyles will attest, LOL)!

Ma with pumpkinCutting jack-o-lanterns with Pa and Ma. Ma is having a bit of fun with her pumpkin. 🙂

Pa and Mary with pumpkin

Admiring the finished products with Pa

pumpkin and mary

And finally, sitting atop the little shelter Pa built for us to stand in while we waited for the school bus at the end of our long driveway…sharing the space with a giant pumpkin Pa grew, and a little orange cat he and Ma took in.

Happy Halloween!

Vintage Christmas

Vintage-Christmas-card-christmas-33061199-500-363It’s true that I enjoy vintage Halloween and Thanksgiving  pictures…but I adore vintage Christmas images. Here are a couple for you to enjoy  as a start (you know there will be more in coming days, LOL!)…

Vintage-Christmas-christmas-32887773-1200-881This one is a favorite for the atmosphere it evokes. It’s peaceful and warm, all at the same time. It reminds me of the Night Before Christmas book my father used to read to us…and it also kind of reminds me of this scene from Anne of Avonlea (another favorite film made from a book, this version featuring the irrepressible Megan Follows as Anne Shirley. You can see her performing now on the CW’s series REIGN, where she plays Queen Catherine de’ Medici, pictured here on the left, just behind Adelaide Kane, who plays Mary Queen of Scots, and Toby Regbo, who plays King Francis). 1212-final-580x385

I always loved this second entry into the “Anne” trilogy, because she became a teacher in this film and experienced the freedoms of life on her own for the first time. I had my own VHS copy of the trilogy, and when I was a first year teacher (newly-armed with my undergraduate degrees in English and Russian, and a mere 22 years old), living away from home and not in college for the first time in my life, I would watch this video again and again, snuggled into my little studio apartment above the diner in Hancock, NY, where I had my first teaching position. Cozy and wonderful – the perfect situation at a perfect time in my life.

There are many more reasons why Christmas-time – the whole month of December, really – holds such a special place in my heart, as it does for so many others. But those will be subjects of other posts. Here is another lovely image for now, and I’ll save some of the other stories and pictures (and another sneak peek from Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven) for later!Vintage-Christmas-christmas-32837432-1024-768

Some “Cozy” Images of a Favorite Holiday

Vintage-Thanksgiving-Dinner-CardI think I’ve already said I love Thanksgiving as a holiday best of all. Now, the “fictions” that have built, perhaps, over the way it began are a little different, and I’m not going to get into that in this post. I’m talking for now about what the American Thanksgiving holiday has come to be and represent.

It focuses on one of my favorite qualities (Gratitude!) that I’ve been trying to make a more concerted effort to recognize and pay attention to in this life that (as is also true for many of you, I’m sure) has become very busy, work-packed, and sometimes complex in challenging ways.

It’s a day set aside to spend with people you love, eating delicious food, without expectation of giving or getting material presents. There are plenty of intangible gifts given, however, in memories, shared humor, love, and friendship, and to me, those are the best kind. 🙂

thankgiving 1 thanksgivingHere are a couple more images I like for their “coziness” factor. I’ll be a posting a few more in the coming week or two, but for now, since my busy life dictates I have to run to the auto dealer and get some service done on my vehicle, I have to dash and dream of a couple weeks from now and the happy day of Thanksgiving.

If you are from a different area of the world, do you have any holidays that are similar to America’s Thanksgiving holiday? I’d love to hear about it in the comments, if you do!

Halloween, 1970’s Style

Halloween circa 1975 edited framed

At the Homestead, circa 1975

So, I was going through some old photos recently and stumbled upon this photo –  one of the few I have of the epic Halloween parties we used to have when I was in elementary school.

Everyone is sitting around the big kitchen table at the Homestead, chowing down on the homemade pizza, cupcakes and popcorn, along with bowls of chips and corn curls, all while dressed in their costumes.

One of the cool things about this picture to me is that none of the people sitting around the table are me or members of my family: They’re all friends from school or up the road.

See, this was the only occasion all year when I and my two closest-in-age sisters (who were the only ones young enough to have this kind of party, still, since we were the youngest three of the seven girls) could invite several friends each to the house for a “big blow-out” party.  Oh, we had friends over all the time, and there was always enough food for another three or four plates, but this was one time when we could have up to 14-15 guests AT ONCE. It was an event planned by us and anticipated by our friends all year.

Most of our friends lived in the small city nearby, where our schools were. We were in the country, and that made a huge difference for a Halloween celebration, much of which could still take place outside, in beautiful mid-October weather.

We’d set up a “Haunted House” in the one-room camp that Pa had built years before out in the woods behind the garage, and some of my older sisters would “man” it. Big, black tarps were strung throughout to make “rooms” and in each room was a different “spooky” tableau…some with moving characters who would jump and frighten those touring it.

We’d have games, like “Guess the object” where the players had their eyes blindfolded and had to guess what was in the bowls…peeled warm grapes for eyeballs, a turned out jello-mold for brains, warmed pasta with sauce for “guts” – you get the idea) 🙂 Of course we’d also play “kick-the-can” and other running-around-in-the-yard-and-woods kind of games. Loads of fun.

It was a great opportunity to be creative, in this simpler time before technology and our addiction to it made everything more accessible and therefore less mysterious and exciting.

Halloween Mary framed

Me in the costume my mother made me to be a “Scheherazade”-type princess

Halloween framed 1

One of my sisters as an “Executioner”, complete with a “bloody” axe with which she cut off my head, LOL

I never realized how much work it must have been for Ma, though, preparing all that food. And of course, we almost always had homemade costumes, not just because they were “cooler” than anything we could find in the store, but also, I learned later, because they were more economical. My parents were frugal in all the right ways, so that I never experienced a sense of “want” other than the healthy kind. 🙂

It was an innocent time filled with great memories, when Halloween was centered on fun instead of “evil” connotations, and living in the country made for some rousing good times.

Anyone else have any memories of old time Halloweens to share? Please do in the comments!

 

Vintage Ghosties…and the Power of Imagination

ghost vintage
A house is never still in darkness to those who listen intently; there is a whispering in distant chambers, an unearthly hand presses the snib of the window, the latch rises. Ghosts were created when the first man awoke in the night.
~ J.M. Barrie
imagesTHYNH9HXI like this Barrie quote, because along with the descriptive aspect of “ghostly” elements, he also acknowledges our own mind’s power to frighten ourselves. I’m guilty of that myself: imagination can be a wonderful and a terrible thing. 🙂
When I was little, on nights when I’d spooked myself by reading my “Witching Hour” comic books or a spooky short story, I wouldn’t walk into my bedroom to climb into bed; I’d back up, run to the doorway, and leap from there into my bed, to avoid the “things” lurking in the dark under there, and to prevent them from grabbing my ankles.
skeletonWe’d also watch “Monster Movie Matinee” on Saturday afternoons, just before nap time (I’ll have to ask my mother why she allowed that, LOL). I recall one episode, called The Screaming Skull. After watching it, no nap was to be had, because my sister kept “seeing” the shadow of a skeletal hand moving down the hallway toward her bedroom and shrieking that it was coming to get her. 🙂
I’ve gotten better at managing my imagination, now that I’m older. Usually I can reason through whatever is spooking me…though I can still experience a shiver and freeze up with the feeling that someone (or something!) is watching me from the dark, if I allow myself.Vintage-Halloween-Pumpkin-Head-Image-GraphicsFairy
I’ve had a few ghostly experiences as well, in the old house we first lived in when we were married, but those will have to save for another day.
What about you – can you scare yourself silly…or have you had moments where you believe you’ve experienced something outside the natural world?