Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Writer's Group...Join us

Are you a writer in the Hermiston, Oregon area?  Join our writer's group.  We just finished up a "class" at BMCC Hermiston and decided to continue to meet to share and discuss writing.  We're hoping to meet twice a month in the late afternoon.  If you are interested in joining our group, leave a message below in the comments and we'll let you know when and where we will be meeting.

Mother's Day 2010

I have had three children, two girls and a boy but they haven’t all met. My daughter Michelle and I found each other in 1993 and have kept in touch since. She lives in the mountains with her doctor husband and five children. My other daughter lives in New York City, Manhattan and calls me nearly everyday so even though she is the furthest away and I haven’t had the money to go see her or her come here for twelve years we are the closest. My son and daughter-in-law live next door with my grandson and we don’t talk a lot because he’s so busy with his own work and family. So it’s very strange that my daughters are so far away and I miss them so much. My son and Michelle have met but my daughter in New York hasn’t been home since she left in 1988, mostly because of a lack of money to travel. So my greatest wish is to have all three of my children meet and be in the same room before I am dying or something. I want some good time with them to enjoy them.
This Mother’s day I spent out in my back yard planting flowers. I bought my mother’s favorite geraniums and planted them by the seagulls statues she loved. I moved up here from Medford when my Mom thought she had cancer. She didn’t but I got to have about twelve good years with her before she died. We were very close and did all kinds of things together, like antique shopping and just long talks out on the patio next door. One time we went to Weston to see my grandmother and took the back roads and got lost out in the wheat fields and laughed and had a good time. I want that kind of precious time with my daughters before I’m gone so they have good loving memories like I do to cherish too.
After my daughters called my son came and told me to come over for barbeque chicken. He and my grandson had gone to the nursery and bought a whole truckload of plants for his wife. Just a tidbit of jealousy that she gets so much but then she has to live with him too. We’re ok it’s just that he’s a typical male that has to be in charge so we but heads sometimes. We do love each other though. It would really be interesting to see all my kids that are so different and live such different lifestyles in one room. Maybe for a Mother’s Day Barbeque someday in the near future like my family used to do when I was growing up before all of us got busy with our own lives and families the five of us brothers and sisters had awesome time with my mother and Mother’s Day was special.

This Mother’s day was both sad and special. It’s wonderful that my birth daughter thinks of me and calls and we get to talk. We found we have many things in common but she’s made a lot better choices with her life and finished college which is why I let her go in the first place. Neither of my other children went to college even thought they are smart and work hard and are good people. They just didn’t have the advantages that Michelle did with having good parents with the money to raise her well. It makes a difference when children are raised with and have the benefits of enough money. I can tell you this from my own experience and can see the results. I’m living it everyday seeing the children I raised not even get together because of a lack of money. Maybe it’s just that they are so different and it’s deeper than just the money issue. I don’t know for sure. It would be interesting to find out someday soon. I’d love to see all of my children in one room together to meet each other. My son would probably say “ too much drama Ma”. I would probably cry like mother’s do sometimes but that would be a happy cry.

written by ccwriter

What I Did on Mothers' Day

“Mom,” Barbara said to me on Saturday, “Did you expect a Sunday brunch?”

Mother’s day is a standing joke in our family. We don’t celebrate it. On Sunday I was balancing high on an aluminum ladder leaning against the wall of Barbara’s house, reaching out far to the right, to line up blue masking tape with a window frame. Barbara was perched on top of another ladder, hanging on to the other end of the tape. We secured the tape to the top of the window, gingerly stepped down one rung of the ladder, unraveled a thin plastic sheet attached to the tape, and fastened the horizontal edge of the plastic to the window frame. One more step down, more tape. Then to the bottom of the window, where we taped the plastic to the window sill. I ran my thumb along the edge of the sill to check for air leaks. One more window done. We were getting Barbara’s house ready to be spray painted. The scruffy yellow walls will soon turn a sophisticated dusky rose.

“Actually,” Barbara said, “This is what most mothers’ days are like: the mothers work their tails off, while the rest of the family is off doing their thing.” And the boys in our family? Were they scrambling up ladders too? Nope. They spent a leisurely day fishing on the Clackamas River.

I get my Mothers’ Day attitude directly from my mother. She thought it was inane. Another commercial holiday. I absorbed her attitude and have resisted any attempt to modify my position. And Barbara is continuing the No-Mothers’-Day tradition in her own family.

“For Mothers’ day I only want hugs and kisses,” she told her nine-year-old son.
“I know,” he answered in a bored you-don’t-need-to-tell-me-that voice.
However, in school on Monday he told anybody who wanted to listen a different story.
“For Mothers’ Day I caught my Mom dinner,” he said.
“And what was that?” teachers and kids asked.
“A 20-pound Chinook,” he answered nonchalantly.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's Day

As a daughter, I honored my mother on Mother's Day; and my father honored his mother. In this way I was taught that mothers were special, and deserved a day set aside to remember how important they were to our lives.

When I grew up and had my first child, I was suddenly a MOTHER, but since Michael was not old enough to know about Mother's Day, my husband gave me a card and bouquet.

More children arrived, and as soon as they could hold a crayon they created their own cards to give me. The girls folded paper and decorated the outside, and made up a poem for the inside. Janice drew flowers with "Roses are red, violets are blue, and I love you" on the inside.

Karen's more often portrayed horses, cats, or dogs, but again the "Roses are red....." inside. Michael was not the artist the girls were, and he was color blind, so his usually had a green tree with brown leaves. On the inside was just a sweet "I love you, Mom".

Ken came along five years after Karen, and he was artistic and his cards were often quite beautiful. His poetry was more original than the "Roses". He is the one who sends me flowers on Mother's Day.

Now they are all grown up with families of their own; but they still send me cards. On Sunday it is a race to see who will make the first phone call. They are four unique individuals who have made me understand the meaning of Motherhood.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

House Hunting

Have you ever been faced with having to move on a short notice? Not just any move, but one that requires room for two horses and two stock dogs? Let me tell you it isn't easy! We recently discovered, quite by accident, (our landlords didn't see fit to warn us) that the old dairy next door was going to be renovated and opened again to up to 1,000 head of milking cows. Now in case you are unfamiliar with living next to a dairy, let me explain. First there is the noise, mooing, stamping etc; then there is the smell (I don't need to describe that); and of course the flies! Also all the workers coming and going at all hours. So you can see why it is necessary to move.

Next came looking for a place with a couple of acres, that would be in our price range. I soon discovered anyone with acreage and a decent house on it thinks it is very valuable. No matter that they paid about half the amount they are asking; but when you are desparate you consider all properties. Finally we found one that was in a good location, didn't need a lot of fixing, was fenced, and priced too high. We made an offer, rejected with counter offer, we countered the counter offer with our original offer which was finally accepted.

Now we come to the financing. I had wisely checked with a couple of banks before we started looking, and was told what was available, interest rates, amount needed for down payment on property within our price range. OK, didn't sound too bad. They checked our credit and said we would be good to go. One stipulation was we didn't want to use all our savings and we wanted to keep the monthly payment no higher than what we were paying in rent. After all my husband and I are on Social Security, which means a fixed income. Oh, no problem they said.

All right, I go to the lending institution armed with bank statements, proof of income, and various other papers. This won't be any problem, just put down most of your savings, and we can get your monthly payments, including interest and insurance, down to only $150 more a month!

I ask you, does that sound reasonable? The nice lady then reminded me that if we got everything in order right away we would be eligible for the tax rebate of up to $8 ,000. In the meantime, we will be hoping nothing happens to either of us, and cutting back on anything in the way of fun and relaxation.

That dairy isn't looking so bad after all.

Written by Carrie

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rich, not Gaudy

My grandmother, Märta Cederström (1879-1934), traveled to Italy in the 1890’s when she was a teenager. She was likely accompanied by her mother Clara Blixen (1855-1925) and her three sisters. Their visit included stays in Rome, Venice, Florence and Naples.

Both Clara and Märta were interested in art, art history and antiques. Besides extensive sightseeing they did some shopping. I have several items that the ladies may well have purchased in Florence: a small oval box, an oval waste basket, and two picture frames, all covered in elegantly gilded leather.

For hundreds of years Florence has been a center for gilded tooled leather work. Today the Franciscan monks in the monastery at the Santa Croce church run a leather working school keeping this old art form alive. Barbara has several small gilded boxes that belonged to Moster Brita. They are newer, in excellent condition (except the one that Claes bit when he was one) and were likely gifts from some of Brita’s close friends who lived in Italy.

I got the waste basket from Moster Brita after she died in 1993. It sat next to the antique Italian writing desk in her living room. My mother gave me the oval box, when I was 11 or 12. I got the two picture frames after my mother died in 1990.

The leather is in excellent condition on the smaller items, but the waste basket shows signs of wear and tear. The thin leather has worn off in places and there are a number of spots. I occasionally oil the leather, but I doubt anybody else has ever done it. My guess is that all the pieces date back to the late 1800’s.

The little box is one of the many things I have that I really treasure. I have seen it most days of my life, but never given it much thought. I love the patina of the faded soft leather, the dainty gold leaf work, and the graceful shape of the box. I think about my mother when I see it, and I wonder about the grandmother I never knew.

Oval gilded red leather box (3h x 5w x 3w cm)
Oval waste basket (30h x 28w x 19w cm)
Gilded brown leather frame (26h, 20w, frame width 17mm)
Gilded brown leather frame (30h, 25h, frame width 35mm)
This is part of a collection of notes I make about objects I have.
Each item has a picture, size, materials, condition, age, place of origin, history.
I also tell whatever I can think of in connection to the object: the object becomes the starting point to a story of a person or an event.
The collection has family tree information, where people lived etc. as separate entries.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

To Milton

H.D. Lamb (1864-1927) was an entrepreneur with his finger in many pies in Red Oak, Iowa. He bought and sold pieces of real estate, ran a grocery store, an undertaker venture, and a furniture business, and did some farming. It seems like the ventures he was involved in were successful, but never made the family really prosper. In 1906 the Lambs left Iowa to seek their fortune in Oregon.

The Lamb family, H.D. and his wife Mabel (1867-1940) and their children Marjorie, Harold, Frank, Fred and Harry boarded the train west in Red Oak headed for Portland. They interrupted their journey in Pendleton to visit their friend John Bolt who had moved from Red Oak to Milton. However, the Lambs liked Milton so well that they decided to stay instead of continuing to Portland.

H.D. took his heavy, eight foot long furniture maker’s work bench along on the journey, expecting to rely on his furniture making skills to make a living in his new home. Years later H.D.’s daughter-in-law Willie gave the tool bench to her son Gib.

“You can have it, but don’t ever give it away,” Willie said to Gib when he asked if he could have the tool bench. Today Frank has his great-grandfather’s workbench. It is a sturdy implement, the wood darkened with age, a much used piece of equipment.

Few things remain of the belongings that the Lambs carried with them on that long ago train journey. A carved oak clock some ten inches tall sat on the seat beside them on the train ride. Later it sat on Gib’s TV for years, a treasured belonging. (There is a story about somebody—Willie—who couldn’t sleep when it was ticking or perhaps not ticking)

Stashed away in their luggage, Mabel Lamb also carried some silver. Those days silver flatware was a sign of prosperity. Silver was a luxury item and one that was easy to show off. When the lady of the house had company over for coffee she would dig out her silver coin spoons. Willie Lamb inherited Mabel’s spoons. She eventually gave half of the spoons to Clark and Arleen Lamb and the other half to Gib and Helen. After Helen died the spoons were divided between her children.

H.D. stayed active in business and the community in Milton. Gib remembers that his bald Grandpa was fond of saying, “You can’t grow grass on a busy street.” (Add short recap about business ventures)

This is a work in process, recording objects and events. It is hard to make it come alive.
Other belongings: Blue Willow Ware china, crazy quilt
Attach H.D. Lamb family pictures and Lamb family tree
Silver spoon story