Grandfather versus the banks, or, Not with my money you don’t!

United States #bank failures

My grandfather came of age when there were few banks in our rural area. He was gradually warming to them when the Great Depression hit and so many of them failed. It was an attitude that he never really overcame. “They’re out … Continue reading

Grandmother learns to smoke, or, Hollywood must smell awful

#woman smoking #cigarettes #tobacco #cigars #women smoking

My grandmother was a fan of sophisticated movie stars, and one day decided that she should learn to smoke. And she never did anything halfway. With a determined look on her face, she planted herself in the rocking chair in the middle of her bedroom and applied herself single-mindedly to becoming the world’s greatest smoker. None of us will ever forget it. Continue reading

Poor Johnny, or, The case against educational toys

#Christian Bortes #cat #redheads #girls #little girls# #Children #play with animals

Johnny’s problem was that he had too many toys. Educational toys. We would always be excited when a new one arrived and he would carry it across the street, breathless in anticipation of its many delights. Unfortunately, that was always the high point. The reality never met the expectation. I had never seen such things as Legos or Lincoln Logs. I had glue and twigs that could be snapped to any length and used to make realistic looking log cabins. Why would I want to fool with some silly thing that came in a box? Continue reading

Grandmothers and child psychology, or, How not to be Queen for a Day

Elderly couple with woman #parents #grandparents #elderly men #elderly women #family

There are certain things they don’t tell you about grandmothers: they can be cunning under all that silver hair and talcum powder. Gullible, unsuspecting little girls don’t stand a chance. I know. I learned the hard way. Here is my cautionary tale: Continue reading

The Versatile Blogger Award

I was so tickled and flattered to be nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by My Personal Thing. As I enjoy her blog so much, it was a joy to be the target of her generosity. It is difficult to nominate just fifteen others – there are so many wonderful people doing good work here. The outstanding ones below are deserving of the award and special attention:

The rules of the Versatile Blogger Award require a person to tell the person who nominated them seven things about themselves. Here goes:

  1. Proust is my favorite author. His translator called him “the most intelligent man who ever wrote a book”, and I agree.
  2. I’m from a little Southern town.
  3. I write my blog because I have such happy memories of my childhood and can’t bear to think no one else has them. So now I pass them on to you.
  4. Mahler and Saint-Saens are my favorite composers, but nothing beats a good jug band.
  5. My three favorite films are “Jules and Jim”, “La Strada”, and “Babe” (yes, the little pig movie!)
  6. I love photography and have a Flickr account, which is suffering neglect due to this blog. I also make miniature books.
  7. Despite writing three novels and a boatload of short stories, the only things I have had accepted for publication are nonfiction magazine articles, needlepoint patterns, and photographs. Realizing that I just don’t have a commercial novel in me was very freeing.

Great-grandmother’s candlestick, my most treasured possession

Mary Ethel Wynne Helvenston tintype photo. #Mary Ethel Wynne #Mary Ethel Wynne Helvenston

My great-grandmother lived during a time of great injustice. Slavery was practiced in the South; child labor was rampant in Northern factories. As the daughter of slave owners, she was too young at the time of the Civil War to comprehend all … Continue reading

Happy family reunion, or, how to get in trouble without really trying

Little girl with a pan of corn #children #corn #summer #girls

A family reunion and a platter of corn on the cob earned me a reputation as a terrible dinner guest. Maybe I was, but in my defense I was only three or four years old at the time and my social graces were limited. Nevertheless, you would have thought I’d managed to violate every code of Southern honor and Emily Post rule of etiquette that ever existed. But maybe I’d better tell you what happened. Continue reading