You Used to Be Beautiful!

Kathleen Holdaway in flowered dress0002One warm afternoon in late May, 1960, Billy and I were lying on the living room floor as Mother reclined a few minutes with her feet up wearing the heavy surgical weight stockings the doctor had ordered.  She was  six months into a difficult pregnancy with her last child,and was supposed to be off her feet.  She had spent a good portion of the morning tying to keep an eye on her fourteen-month-old, Connie, while trying to coax twelve-year old Phyllis and me at ten to do a little housework, help with Connie, and even get a little work out of seven year old Billy, while keeping him out of trouble.  Phyllis was watching Connie.  We were all terminally lazy, slacking off at the first excuse.  None of us had any intention of doing anything we could avoid.

As we dawdled at her feet on the floor in the draft of the attic fan, one of us pulled out an old photo album.  I quickly found a picture of her made her senior year of high school, the peak of her youth and beauty.  “I graduated thirteen years ago today,” she remarked smilingly.

In my infinite wisdom, I proclaimed, “Oh Mother, you used to be beautiful!”

I turned for her smile, only to see a snarling, slobbering, swollen beast ready to pounce on me in rage! “”Used to be beautiful!  Let’s see what you look like when you have five kids in twelve years!  Put this stuff up, right now.  Linda, you take your smart mouth and get those dishes washed.  Phyllis, you put a pot of beans on for supper.   Billy, you…”

By the way, this is not the picture in question.  That one mysteriously disappeared

The Bear, the Princess, and the Hearing Aid

Papa Bear doted on his only daughter, Princess Bear, who was not only beautiful, but sweet, gentle, and wise.  He adored her, trying hard to give her all she needed for a good life.  He rocked her, ran behind her on her bicycle to catch her, lest she fall, dried her tears, and brushed her long, curly fur, never tugging at tangles.  He tucked her in at night, dreading the day she’d leave his cave.

One day, his lovely Princess Bear ventured out into the wood.  Young bears started to coming to pay court to her.  Papa Bear asked, “Please bring your friends home to meet me.”  Of course, she didn’t really care for the idea, but since she loved Papa Bear, and he was so kind, she did as he asked.

One evening, she brought yet another young bear to the cave to meet Papa Bear.  “Pleased to meet you, Sir.  I’ll have her home by eleven.”  He said in an extraordinarily nicey, nice bear voice.

“Grrrrr.”  said Papa Bear.  “I’ll be waiting for you at nine-thirty.” They were home at nine-twenty eight.

“I didn’t really like him,” said the Princess Bear the next morning.  “Something about him was a unbearable.”

“Oh, well,” said Papa Bear.  “Sometimes that just happens.”

In a few minutes, there was a knock at the cave door.  “I don’t want to see you again.  Don’t call on me anymore.”  Princess Bear closed the door.

Seconds later, a second knock sounded.  “I told you.  I don’t want to see you again!”  Papa Bear was right behind his little Princess, not the sound of any of it.

He asked her, “Is that young bear bothering you?  At her nod, he stepped from behind her, speaking to the pushy young bear, quite gruffly.  “Princess Bear doesn’t ever want to see you or speak to you again.  Now, if you’re having trouble understanding that, I’ll be happy to meet you in the woods and explain it!”

The young bear understood Papa Bear perfectly.   He had just needed a hearing aid.

Quilt Treasure

imageI had the gift of a lifetime!  My sister bought a trunk full of quilt tops for $10 at an estate sale and gave them to me.  These beautiful tops were pieced in the 1930s and 1940s.  I just completed this Dutch Girl.  It included 30 beautifully pieced 12″ squares on buff colored cotton sugar bags.  I added borders to make it into a king-sized quilt for my son.  Each square is different and meticulously pieced, a work of art.