Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday Feature . . . Father's Day

* Happy Father’s Day * 
To all the dads, papas, grandfathers & Great-grandfathers.
From the time I was a child until the day my father passed away, I always gave him a gift; sometimes big but most of the time some small token of my appreciation for all he did for me. When I was just a child, my mother would select something for him and tell dad it was from me. That was fine until I had a little money of my own and I chose his gift.
I can’t begin to tell you how many boxes of cigars I bought him, until the day he stopped smoking them. Then the pipe graced his lips from which a sweet-smelling cherry tobacco claimed the air that encircled his head. That, too, came to an end and it was getting progressively more difficult to find a gift for him. Of course, there were the neck ties, handkerchiefs, wallets, cologne, books, and tools.

My dad loved tools. Some of those tools are still in the basement and a precious few in our Family Museum. When I touch them, I can still feel his presence. I wish I had more.  

In a previous post, I wrote about my dad’s career in the Navy. He will never read it and that makes me very sad. It is one of those things that many of us need to do . . . write, record, whatever method you care to use . . . and save your father’s words, his voice, his memories.
Why? Because,
“I promise that if you will keep journals and records, they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to your families, to your children, your grandchildren, and others, on through the generations. Each of us is important to those who are near and dear to use and as our posterity reads of our life’s experiences, they, too, will come to know and love us. And in that glorious day when our families are together in the eternities, we will already be acquainted.”                   Madeleine L’Engle  


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tuesday Treasures . . .

After reading, “After decades in heels, Barbie™ puts on flats,” written by Lindsay Wise, I had to comment, because Barbie™ has and will always be a treasure to me.  
Though Barbie™ still cannot stand alone, she can now finally feel steady on her feet. No longer does Barbie™ have to totter around on sky-high heels. She can finally kick off her stilettos and put on a pair of comfy flats. Since 1959, Barbie’s permanent arch has dropped to the ground and she can wear a flat shoe. Introduced this year, Barbie’s ankles can move and can still wear her high heels. Now, no matter how odd Barbie™ looks barefooted, wearing flats will make her feel better regardless of what careers Mattel has in store for her. My head spins just listing the 26 careers and counting this lovely lady has accomplished.   
 v  1959  Teenage fashion model
 v  1961  Registered nurse
 v  1965  Astronaut
 v  1973  Surgeon
 v  1975  Olympic athlete
 v  1984  Aerobics instructor
 v  1985  Veterinarian 
    v  1992  Rapper, Marine Corps Sergeant,      Business  executive 
     v  1993  Police Officer                              
         v  1995  Firefighter 
  v  1997  Dentist
  v  1999  Airline Pilot
    v  2006  Ballerina
  v  2007  Chef
  v  2008  Soccer Coach, Swim Instructor
 v  2010  Race Car Driver, News Anchor, Computer Engineer
 v  2011  Architect
 v  2012  Residential Candidate
 v  2014  Entrepreneur
 v  2015  In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition, the magazine teamed up with Barbie™ to feature this image in February. Mattel said the move was an effort to celebrate entrepreneurs such as Tyra Banks & Heidi Klum who like Barbie, “launched their career in a swimsuit."
I played with my Barbie™ dolls for many years. I got my first doll when I was 10 years old. The second and third came soon after and I played with all three for many years, finally putting her to rest when I was fourteen and going to high school. But I was reluctant and sad to do so. Those three girls were my best friends, confidants, inspiration, and badly needed company, as I grew up in a very rural area and had very few friends. No pity party, here. Just telling it like it was and how important Barbie was too me.
And talking about inspiration, Barbie™ was very pivotal when I came up with the idea of a Family Museum. Since Barbie and a few of her precious things had survived years of neglect, she took center stage, along with the kitchen set, wardrobe box, and books. (I saved Ken from a box heading for the dump). Her original clothes were a mess and just at that time, Mattel offered designer dresses without having to purchase new dolls, so I picked out three outfits and happily dressed them in their new fashions. Unfortunately, the dresses did not fit my Barbie’s, whose upper body is broader than today’s Barbie dolls, but that didn’t impede me from fastening the dresses, even the shoes, and then proudly displaying them in our Family Museum.      
I just received in today’s mail my Barbie Collection Summer 2015 catalog. On page 5, Welcome Home, Willows, WI™ Collection tells this story: “Before Barbie™ took Malibu by storm and became the quintessential California girl, she grew up in the small town of Willows, Wisconsin – a place filled with friendly neighbors, white picket fences and endless blue skies. This new series pays tribute to the nostalgia of Barbie doll’s hometown and her rich heritage.”                                                                
On page 7, there is a story titled, LIFE BEFORE THE DREAMHOUSE written by Bill Greening, Principal Designer and a digital scrapbook to explore at
A truly cultural icon, Barbie™ continues to celebrate a rich heritage and continues to inspire and encourage each new generation, just as your Family Museum should celebrate your heritage.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Happy Birthday, Charlie . . .

28 years ago today, at 12:10 PM, my son, Charlie, was born. 

When he entered our world of three, his father, me and his sister, Tiffeni, he changed our lives. His sister was seventeen years old at the time and as she got older, it seemed unlikely that she would have a sibling. So you can imagine what a surprise it was when I found out I was pregnant. After an arduous birth and when he was placed in my arms, life was good and we began a new chapter in our lives that would, once again, bring back the magic of childhood.

Birthday parties, holidays and special occasions had new meaning and we all had a blast from the past. Beginning with the toys, we went from baby dolls to battleships. From tea sets to trains. Boy clothes were so darn cute, we wanted to dress him up all the time. And when it was time to go to school, all of us were so out of touch with what was going on in the world of education (Tiffeni was getting ready to go off to college) we didn’t know where to begin.

So what does Charlie’s birthday have to do with this blog’s platform? Everything!

As our children grew up, toys, clothes, books, etc., got tucked away in boxes, stored in attics and basements, regulated to a limbo that served no purpose. With every move, we needed to give away and dispose other things, each time a little bit of our family memories went too. But then, all was no longer lost because we created together our Family Museum, with Tif & Charlie having their own. And they are both grateful that their childhood keepsakes are being preserved and best of all, on display, to be seen and talked about, giving them much pleasure and pride.

So from Sesame Street, riding the rails with Thomas the Tank Engine, and saving Charlie’s baby clothes and toys for his future son, this is what having a family museum is all about. Keep the magic of your children’s childhood alive. It’s never too late to start.
"Preserve, Protect, Display. Create your Family Museum today!"   


Monday, June 8, 2015

Monday Memories

June . . .  a month of celebrations, from school graduations, weddings, and the first day of summer, this month as much to offer and reason to save the moments.
Starting with graduations, these events are rites of passage; ceremonial, traditional, formal, or unconventional, this custom is practiced world-wide and commemorate achievements the graduates worked hard to accomplish. So why is it that later in years, after the photos have been placed in albums are long neglected, caps & gowns given away, maybe a tassel or two kept but languishing in a box, not to mention all those yearbooks with cherished but forgotten salutations, funny poems, signed photographs, and teacher’s encouraging words. Why are all these things no longer important? Because you don’t see them! Out-of-sight, out-of-mind.  Sad indeed! Instead of recapitulating this subject matter, please read the blogs I posted in June 2014. And I hope these writings have and will continue to encourage everyone, especially young people today, to take care of the things that at one time gave you much pleasure and that by preserving them, you will be able to relieve those moments again.
Weddings. Wonderful weddings. There is a plethora of advice on everything: when, where, how, what’s in-what’s out, even something called eco-bliss, a.k.a., ways to go green. Our local paper created a 46-page Bridal Guide that left nothing out and is by far one of the most informative and helpful bridal guide I have ever seen. Of course it concentrates on local venues, but it also included a wedding checklist, a budget page, a groom’s guide, and even ideas for remarrying, all so you and your mate can have “your day . . . your way.” Gosh, I wish I had something like this when I planned my wedding 45 years ago. So once again, not to recapitulate this topic, please read the blogs I also posted in June 2014.      
Sunshine, beaches, picnics, backyard fun & frolic, tis that time of year when school books are closed, uniforms and backpacks replaced by swimsuits and flip-flops. Vacations taken along with hundreds of photographs. And after it is all said and done, where do those memories go? Hopefully in your family museum. Be it a seashell, swim trophy, or souvenirs, save them. Make a shadow box with a postcard and souvenir you bought on your trip, same with that beautiful seashell with a picture of the person who found it, and don’t put that hard-earned trophy in a box. Display it proudly, on a bookshelf or where ever there is space so the winner can look at it and talk about their achievement. For these are the things memories are made of and like any good recipe, it’s the ingredients that make life enjoyable.

"You live as long as you are remembered." Russian proverb


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Back Home . . .

It took us about two weeks to get back to normal, unpacking suitcases, laundry, grocery shopping, and catching up on life’s every day functions. And as we did, we recalled what a great time we had on our trip to Germany.
After meeting with family for a grand celebration, the four of us traveled Germany’s Romantic Road, taking in medieval towns, ancient castles and sumptuous palaces. I did not think about work, however, now that I am sitting back at my computer and reviewing where I left off on my blog, the one thing that pops into my head is exactly what I was promoting in my last blogpost . . . educating the young on the principle of value. And that value is part and partial to preserving the past, being medieval, ancient, and generational history, everything that happened then is what made and gave shape to who we are today. And if those histories were not saved and taught to everyone who visits, especially younger folks who may not value history as much as others, where would we be today?  What stories could one age group hand down to the next one if the next generation doesn’t care, of which I fear may be today’s millenniums. What history of people, places and things would we have and improve upon to make our lives better today if we did not know about all the ways and means of the past?
For instance, hearing about all the gory ways of punishment inflicted upon those who may or may not have deserved such wretched forms of chastisement such as at Harburg Castle in Bavaria. Not terribly fainthearted, but enough to make me not want to recall those ghastly methods, yet from that history came less merciless techniques used today.
Castle walls surrounded and protected many medieval villages and as we walked along the one in Rothenberg ob der Tauber, we were pleased to see embedded into the walls plaques from contributor’s who donated money to the preservation of the castle walls. And using our imaginations, we could picture a sumptuous dinner served on gold-plated china in the palatial banqueting hall in this Renaissance palace in
Weikersheim, Count Wolfgang II at the head of the table. If none of this history, if none of these antiquities have not been saved, I ask you again . . . what would our lives be like today?
"It has been said that at its best, preservation engages the past in a conversation with the present over a mutual concern for the future."
William Murtagh, National Register of Historic Places