How do you feel about writing?  Journaling?  Maybe I’m just a bit sentimental but I wish I knew more about my grandparents and how things were; I wish I knew more about what it was like when my parents grew up; I wish I remembered more about my own childhood (though some of those high school/college years I wouldn’t mind forgetting!); I wish I’d written down more about when Chad was a baby, a toddler, a school boy (again . . some of those times I’d like to forget!).

When I wrote the other day about my Catholic friend with the holey tennis shoes, mom called and reminded me of a story when I was about 3 or 4.  We were walking down the street and met a nun.  I had probably never seen one before.  Mom said I just couldn’t stop staring!  As we passed her on the street, I stopped, turned and watched her.  Mom was holding my hand and trying to drag me along so I didn’t blurt out something and embarrass her.  I don’t know how I knew she had something to do with religion but when we got home, I went in the bathroom, draped a towel over my head; walked into the room where mom and dad were and said “My name is God!”

Back in the days before seat belts, I remember dad driving at night with the lights on bright.  There would be a little round light on the dash that showed the lights were on bright.  There was a little button on the floor that dad hit to dim the lights.  Anyone remember those?  Now it’s all on the lever on the steering wheel!  Anyway, I would lean over the seat and blow and dad would dim the lights and I always thought I was blowing the light out.  Didn’t take much to entertain me as a child or as an adult! 🙂

My dad’s mom was old when I was a little child.  Dad’s dad had passed away when dad was a teen so I never knew him.  Granny Miller had given up housekeeping.  I only remember her house being abandoned . . never remember her living there.  Even my oldest memories of her, she was old.  She probably seemed older than she was but I don’t even remember her being any younger than 70-ish.  She would ride the Greyhound or Continental Trailways buses and spend a week here and a week there with her five children.  She had 7 or 8 or more kids but some of them were no longer living.  She was pretty cantankerous.  The three daughters-in-law seemed to have lots of problems with Granny.  Mom was the only one of the three who worked so Granny spent less time with us than with the other four families.  It never seemed fair to me as a child but now, oh goodness . . I can’t even imagine having my mother-in-law (don’t have one anyway!) coming to spend a few weeks with us several times a year.

Do any of you use Vicks VapoRub? Our family seems to be addicted to the stuff.  My friends laugh at me because I never go anywhere without it.  There’s some in my car, I sleep with it under my pillow.  There are jars of Vicks all over my house!  Both sets of my grandparents were the same way and mom and dad are too.  If you’re not familiar with it, it’s about the consistency of Vaseline.

Granny was staying with us once and she was sleeping on the sofa.  As always, she had her little glass jar (they’re plastic now) of Vicks sitting on the end table next to the sofa.  It was dark and all the lights were out.   Without turning the light on, Granny reached over to the end table to retrieve her Vicks.  She was laying down, and was holding the bottle over her head as she unscrewed the cap to run her boney little finger over the top of the salve.  Mom and dad were in bed and heard Granny exclaim “Lord, God . . what have I done?” They went running into the den and there was Granny . . covered in ink!  She’d grabbed the glass jar of ink and since she opened it with it upside down, the ink had dumped all over her face, all over the sofa . . what a mess!

These are a couple of funny stories but we’re living in historic times.  The events of our day (presidential election, economy, technology) will be the things our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc. read about in history books.  Not everyone, but hopefully someone in future generations, will find our stories interesting.  My grandchildren or great grandchildren may find it interesting to read about life before cell phones; before computers; our feelings watching the events of September 11, 2001 unfold; our experiences and memories of an election year when America elected the first African American president.

As a child, my parents and the parents of my friends got a job and stayed with the same job for their entire career.  Anyone doing that these days?  Think many of today’s young adults will retire from the same company they went to work for fresh out of college?  Will anyone even believe it was possible to have done that back in the 60’s and 70’s?  Just little things that we take for granted may be an amazing story to someone 50 or 60 years from now.

I had mentioned taking Jessica Sprague’s Stories in Hand class.  Whether I’m writing a journal, diary or recalling stories I remember, I want to save these memories for future generations.  The Stories in Hand class has been a tremendous help for me and if any of you are halfway interested in writing, you might want to watch for the next class.  I’m so glad I took it!


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    A. L. says

    I remember all those things! Do they even sell ink in a bottle any more? I doubt it.
    I am the youngest of 5 and only remember my Grandmother as “old” too. She had a hard life for sure. They lived on a small farm and she milked the cows morning and evening – sometimes by herself. No machines then. With that done she would carry the milk in an open pail to the milkhouse and pour it in the large canister. Canister was picked up at the edge of the road probably every other day.
    No one got ill from the milk- despite the conditions. I remember having a glass of fresh milk but did not like it.
    Grandmother loved to garden but the growing season was very short where they lived. (U.P. Michigan)
    Vick’s– must get some next time I am at the store.!!!

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    June Piper-Brandon says

    I had to smile reading your blog this morning. I remember the Vicks, my Dad was addicted to it too – it was the be all and end all cure for anything and everything. Then there was the Watkins menthol and the petro carbo saave (sp?). The Watkins man used to come to the house and sell my Dad this and it was great stuff. The menthol was better than Vicks (can you believe it) but we had both.
    Now days (I feel so old) the kids don’t know much about high beams if they live the in city. A friend of ours leant their son his car one night and the kid was out really late. When he got home he was all out of sorts, and finally decided to wake his Dad up because there was a blue light on on the dash of the car and he thought he had broke something and was really upset and didn’t want his Dad to kill him for breaking the car. I laughed so hard when he told me the story I had to run to the bathroom!!
    I wish my parents had written stories down so I would know about things gone past too. And, now that they are both gone there are so many things I want to know about and have questions about and have no one to ask. Oh well.. just means I have to write things down, so my kids don’t have the same questions.
    Take care

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    Pat says

    Vicks…I STILL love it, too. They now have a cherry-scented one for kids. My dad used to sometimes put a pea-sized amount of Vicks under out tongues. I’m guessing today we would be told that was poisonous, but we all lived to tell about it! I, too, would like to write down some things for the kids and grandkids to have in the future. My daughter found a nice book for grandparents to fill in and I’ve worked a bit on it…but not in about a year now. I think you post will motivate me to get it out and do a bit more in there. I know of someone whose family has video and audio tapes of the “elders” telling family stories from years back and I’ve always thought how lucky they are to have that as a permanent record. Otherwise, once the “elders” are gone, the stories are gone, too. Of course, in writing is better. With technology always changing, who knows if their tapes will have a machine on which they can be played in years to come. (Remember the old reel-to-reel tape recorders??? GONE now.)

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    All good memories, Judy. I forgot about the high beam thing on the floorboard! I think you’re spot on about the number of jobs folks have in their lifetimes. Mom had one and my brother had one. Dad had two careers and I’m on my second. It’s probably because there’s easier access to career information nowadays.

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    My mother-in-law used Mentholatum instead of Vicks but she never went to bed without putting a little under her nose to help her breathe at night. 🙂 blessings, marlene

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    Judy, you must be doing alot of thinking while your working on those quilt projects that you can’t show us yet. I had forgotten about the switch for the brights being on the floor. One day after we had moved down here to southern Indiana from Chicago the car radio was on and it was all static and my son said, ” Whats that noise?” and it took me awhile to realize he meant the static on the radio and it dawned on me that he had grown up with CD’s (and now a ipod) and didn’t know what it was like to not be able to hear music because you lived out in the boondocks and the station won’t come in. In Chicago, the station always came in …the kid had never heard static before. That left me thinking for awhile.

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    Oh, what great stories! Thanks for sharing them. Loved them all, especially, “I am God,” and blowing out the bright lights in the car.

    Yes, I am addicted to Vicks as well, love the stuff. And A.L., yes, they did still sell ink in bottles for those who use fountain pens. (like my son)

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    Brenda says

    I journal all the time, but not about events…. world events I mean. But, I do wish I had jounaled my Grandmothers stories. She was an amazing woman- born 1900 and did she have ideas!! She actually left her husband when she had had enough, I believe in the 20’s or 30’s, and woman just did not do that back then!! He convinced her to come back, but she would not put up with alot of crap. At 75 she gained my total respect!! I was (I thought!!) a pretty strong 10 yr old – and I was afraid of the dark, so when Grandma had enought of my back talk and threw me in a closet and shut the door – darn right I fought tooth and nail to get out!!! That door did not even budge!!! I went in thinking what did she know??! I came out knowing that this woman could do no wrong!!! She gained my total repect that day, and it has never gone away. So, stories of the past, you are so right, they need to be remembered. If I don’t write them down, who will?? Thanks for the thought provoking and memory filled post Judy!

    She was also the woman who taught me to knit! Something I enjoy, but don’t do well……. I just have bad tension, and need to work on that. My daugher wants to learn to knit, so I think I will find a class and both of us should go…… I love the sock that’s you’ve shown and I am glad you have decided to finish the 2nd one!! I didn’t see a problem with wearing differnt socks…… 🙂

    I am really enjoyng visiting this site. I am glad I found it. Now I have to check out the site you suggested we go see. Thanks!

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    Wow, the memories that came to me after reading this. I know I’m only 32, but my Grandmother and Great-Grandmother raised me, Great-Grandma also taught me how to quilt by hand. Great Grandma always had the vicks vapor rub around, I never really liked the smell of it, but when I get a whiff of it now it reminds me of her and makes me smile. She also loved the Ben-Gay lol, She swore by those two medicines!!

    And as for the bright light switch on the floor, yep I remember those too, Grandma had a Pinto (remember those? lol) and it had the button on the floor too. It took me some time to realize how she would make the lights brighter also. Those little cars would take a beating and keep on going.

    Thanks for posting this today, it really brought back some memories and has put a smile on my face.

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    Marla says

    I remember using Vicks as a child and still do when I get a cold. I have also taught my 20 something kids to do this too and they have good memories of me rubbing the stuff on their little chests as youngsters. Bet my daughter will end up doing this to her kids someday too!. I have another to add to that…my mom used to rub the stuff on my neck and then wrap a sock around it. Now it couldn’t have been a clean sock…oh, no.. it had to be a dirty one. (now where did that horrible memory come from??)

    I too remember the dimmer switch being on the floorboard and sometimes when my family and I were on a long distance trip traveling at night, the sound of that switch going on and off periodically would lull me to sleep.

    Bring on more memories Judy and everyone! This is fun!–Marla

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    Beryl says

    Judy, I want to tell you I think you have missed your calling! You should be a writer. I do so enjoy your adventures and escapades. But I also love your quilting which is a calling also. I read your blog everyday!

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    I always wanted to keep a journal, can’t tell you how many times I started one and didn’t keep up with it. Blogging, while I don’t share private things, fills my journaling need but as you say, there are lot of memories out there. I signed up for the class but didn’t keep up because it wasn’t what I was expecting – I like the fact that I will always have access to the material and maybe after the holidays, I’ll go through it step by step.

    I also hate the idea of losing my blog….I have parts of it backed up but not all of it.

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    Dawn L says

    I too remember the light dimmer on the floor. A while back while blog surfing I saw an idea that I wanted to do. It was a quilt that had dates and summaries of what happened that day. It could be that it was 60 degrees in Jan in the Northeast, or that you had a special visit from so and so etc. It was a cool idea for a memory quilt and I thought how wonderful for the first year in the life of a baby when Mom notices how you turned over today or hey, Gramma found your first tooth! or how about just a great way to remember funny things, or even what life was like in 2008 etc.
    What the gal did was each day, wrote in a journal and then with pigma pen summarized the best part of each day in her quilt.
    cool idea huh?
    For my nieces and grandkids I started a book when they were small. I had 2 nieces going through a nasty divorce with their parents and my house was neutral grounds. they would come over at 3 yrs old and help me make meatloaf for dinner or set the table and put potato chips on the plates etc. I have the books still and the oldest is 16. to this day she still loves to read what we did, or funny things she said. My now 3 yr old grandson comes over and the first thing he does is say grammie can I look at the books? we have drawings and four leaf clovers we found, flowers we pressed, painted handprints to see how small they were etc. it is fun to look back and I am glad I started doing that for them. they will at least have some funny things to look back on and know what life was like when they were young.
    Dawn in Massachusetts

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    Jane says

    I also have been working my way through Jessica’s Stories at Hand class and it has been wonderful for triggering memories! Geneology is my other passion (after quilting) and the class has helped me learn to add “color” to my facts, so to speak. You are so right, history is moving swiftly and we forget things like the high beam button on the car floor!

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    Nancy says

    Ah, the memories your stories bring back! The dimmer switch, the Vicks, and my grandmother making me sit by the radiator in the kitchen after a bath and towel-dry my hair…no wonder I had such “muscular” arms for a girl!

    There used to be a college that put together an annual list of what “kids turning 18 this year” won’t know about. Some of the entries are humorous, and some are serious, but they’re all interesting and show just how much the world has changed. Such as, to the kids turning 18 this year, Germany has always been one country, or McDonald’s never came in Styrofoam boxes, etc. It amazed me how quickly the world around us changed. Does anyone remember that?