It Seemed So Good The Way We Had It…

Every now and then a song will catch my attention, and express exactly how I feel.  The other day, I was watching GAC, when the music video of the song Automatic by Miranda Lambert began playing.  I hadn’t heard the song or seen the video before, and it stopped me dead in my tracks!

There was Miranda, in the attic of an old house, digging through an old trunk.  As she pulled out various things, she sang about things of the past.

Since I’ve recently been sorting through closets, chests, cabinets, and drawers at my late mother-in-law’s house, the song was especially poignant to me.  I’ve definitely been taking more than a few strolls down ‘memory lane’ lately!

Automatic

Quarter in a pay phone; Drying laundry on the line

Watching sun tea in the window; Pocket watch, tellin’ time

Seems like only yesterday, I’d get a blank cassette

Record the country countdown, cause I couldn’t buy it yet

 

If we drove all the way to Dallas, just to buy an Easter dress

We’d take along a Rand McNally, stand in line to pay for gas

God knows that shifting gears, ain’t what it used to be

I learned to drive that ’55  just like a queen, three on a tree

 

Hey what ever happened to waiting your turn?

Doing it all by hand,

cause when everything is handed to you

It’s only worth as much as the time put in

It all just seems so good the way we had it

Back before everything became automatic

 

If you had something to say, you’d write it on a piece of paper

Then you put a stamp on it, and they’d get it three days later

Boys would call the girls, and girls would turn them down

Staying married was the only way 

to work your problems out

 

Hey what ever happened to waiting your turn?

Doing it all by hand,

cause when everything is handed to you

It’s only worth as much as the time put in

It all just seems so good the way we had it

Back before everything became automatic

 

Let’s put the windows down; Windows with the crank

Come on let’s take a picture; The kind you gotta shake

 

Hey what ever happened to waiting your turn?

Doing it all by hand,

cause when everything is handed to you

It’s only worth as much as the time put in

It all just seems so good the way we had it

Back before everything became automatic

Yep, Miranda and her co-writers have captured exactly what I’ve been feeling lately!  Whatever did happen to waiting your turn?  What ever happened to doing things by hand?  Now a days, we rely on machines to do everything!  Heck, cars will even park themselves now!

These days, things are so easy and freely given, people don’t really appreciate them any more.  People drawing government checks right and left… Children getting new stuff all of the time, instead of just on special occasions, like we did…   Kids with ipods, smart phones, or the latest and greatest new gadgets…  Teenagers all driving cars of their own–sometimes getting the car before they’re even old enough to drive! We’ve become an ‘entitlement society’.  Enough already!

As for the memories Miranda shares in her song, I can definitely relate to those, except I think I can remember when a phone call was only a dime!  Oops, is my age showing again?  My grandchildren will never know what a phone booth was, but they’ll know what a cell phone is!

Among the items I found while sorting through my late mother-in-law’s things:  some very old (78?) records, some cassette tapes, a ragged Rand McNally road atlas, lots of Polaroid pictures, and dozens of cards she’d received in the mail throughout the years!  Oh, and I also found a clothespin bag!  Those were the days, weren’t they?  If only life was still so uncomplicated!

To quote the chorus of the song, “It all just seems so good the way we had it, back before everything became automatic!”

 

 

 

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Published in: on April 16, 2014 at 8:01 am  Comments (6)  
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The Tale Of Two Kitchens…

I’ve been scanning old photos for the past several days.  In the process, I’ve been taking a long walk down “memory lane”. The picture below was taken of mine and Ed’s parents together, on Christmas Day, 1981.  That’s their granddaughter (and mine and Ed’s daughter, Brandy) standing in front of them.

Ed's parents on left, mine on the right

It wasn’t uncommon for mine and Ed’s parents  to spend holidays together.  My parents usually celebrated most holidays early, because my brother and his family lived out-of-state.  So my parents usually spent the actual holiday at Ed’s parents’ house with all of us.  It was wonderful how our parents always got along so well.

These photos were taken in the new kitchen that Ed’s dad had recently built onto the back of their home.  See that brick wall in the background?  It used to be the back outside wall of their house!

Their original kitchen was small, and after adding new kitchen cabinets on the back wall, Ed’s parents discovered they needed more room to  dine–desperately!  Their family was growing– in the form of daughter-in-laws and grandchildren!  There simply wasn’t enough room to eat in the kitchen anymore.

Ed’s dad was a retired carpenter at the time, so he got out his hammer and saw, then added a new, larger kitchen to the back of the house!  I love a “do it yourself” kind of guy!  He was proud of his handiwork, and we soon put the new kitchen to good use.

After the kitchen was finished, Ed’s parents bought two large folding tables and placed them together.  It made a very large dining table, and we all had a place to sit–for a while.  Back in those days, we still put the food on the table, “family style”.  We almost needed some “pot passers”  like the Clampets used on the television show, “The Beverly Hillbillies”!

cousins setting the table for MeMa

Eventually, we outgrew this table, too, and at that time, the grandchildren began eating in the “old kitchen” while the adults ate in the “new kitchen”.  Of course, the children loved having a kitchen to themselves!

Those folding tables are long gone now, as are all the chairs.  We haven’t had a large family dinner in the old house since 2004.  My parents died first, both during the nineties, followed several years later by Ed’s daddy in 2002.

These days, Ed’s mama spends most holidays with us, but occasionally she visits one of her other sons.  Last year she chose to spend Christmas at the personal care home where she currently resides.  I didn’t blame her, cause I was overing a nasty case of the flu!

For the moment, our son, Brad, and his new wife, Jennifer, are  staying in the old family house.  (You may recall that Brad lived with his grandmother prior to her health issues.)  The house still has those two complete kitchens, but Brad and Jennifer use the original small kitchen.  It’s just right for two of them.

I find it interesting how the old house has come full circle.  Over sixty years ago, it began with a family of two…hosted a family of eighteen at its last dinner in 2004…and now has dwindled back down to a family of two again.  I don’t know what the future will hold for the old family house, but that house sure holds a lot of sweet memories for me–two kitchens and all!

Published in: on July 19, 2011 at 8:24 am  Comments (11)  
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My Old Neighborhood…

 Actually, I had more than one neighborhood while growing up.  My family lived in at least six different neighborhoods during my childhood!  The final house we lived in was my favorite, and I’ve always considered it my childhood home.  We moved there when I was eleven, and my parents lived there for about eight years.

Before we moved to my final childhood neighborhood, my uncle and his family were living in the house that we eventually ended up moving into.  My family and I lived one street over, so I was a frequent visitor to my cousins’ house!  My uncle had two daughters just a couple of years older than me, and we had some fun times playing at their house.  The house was already like a “second home” to me by the time we moved there. 

mama during one of those fun times...Christmas 1970!

The house was located beside the main strip of Highway 301 which runs through our town.  In those days, the teenagers rode up and down the strip of Highway 301, between Reese’s 301 Drive-In and The Dairy Queen–because there wasn’t anything else to do!  (there still isn’t!)  Teenagers weren’t supposed to loiter, so they had to keep riding!  I could see the “main drag” from my bedroom window, and it was always fun to see who was riding up and down the strip!  Teenagers love to ride, you know!  Sometimes all that riding caused excitement!

this car belonged to a friend...he actually drove his "convertible" around town!

Late one night, my future hubby and I were sitting in his car, parked in front of my house.  We did that a lot at the end of our dates.  I had to be home by 11:30, but Ed could stay later if he wanted, so we frequently sat and talked a while.  Ed’s car was  facing away from the main strip of highway.  Suddenly, we heard a very loud crash down by the highway!  It turns out that a couple, out on a date, were going way too fast, lost control of the car, and hit the light pole at the end of the road in front of my house!  Not only that, but somehow the car flipped!  The couple had some minor injuries, but no fatalities, thank goodness!

There was a small vacant lot beside our house, and a larger vacant lot across highway 301.  Eventually, someone decided that the larger vacant lot across the highway would be a great place to host the yearly carnival!  So for a week each October, the carnival was held across the street from our house!  Lights, noise, action–until 1 o’clock in the morning–for six days!  Oh, and that vacant lot beside our house?  It became the parking lot for the carnival! 

me and a friend...the small vacant lot is behind us, then Hwy 301, then the larger vacant lot where the carnival was held

The house next-door to ours was a rental house.  At one point, a mother and her teenaged daughter moved into the rental house.  The daughter was a couple of years younger than me, and looked like Cher. From that moment on, things got a lot more exciting in our neighborhood!  Before long,  the house next-door became very lively, with a never-ending stream of visitors–both male and female.  The females were young, shapely, and wore revealing clothing.  We don’t know for sure what went on in that house, but we were pretty sure a lot of  it had to do with sex and drugs.  The girl who looked like Cher?  She is now a resident in a nursing home, a victim of her lifestyle choices.

The little house across the street was a hub of excitement, as well. It was the home of a middle-aged divorced woman who led an active social life, too.  Her little house can be seen in the background of the “convertible photo”.  Between the house next-door, the house across the street, and the “main strip”, there was always plenty of activity in our neighborhood!  My parents spent a lot of time peeking out of the windows!

my parents, relaxing in the backyard...daddy's garden is in the background

I married and moved away in 1972.  I left all of the neighborhood excitement behind.  My parents bought a house in a quieter neighborhood,  a couple of streets over, in 1973.  Somehow, their new house never felt like home to me. 

I used to ride by the old house and remember…I have lots of good memories of living in that house.  Some fun family Christmases in the living room, playing with my Barbies in the floor for hours,  getting my first kiss from Ed while standing on the front porch!  Spending fun times with friends in my bedroom–while watching the cars going by on “the strip”.  Gathering vegetables from daddy’s garden or sprawling out in a lawn chair in the backyard to get a suntan.  Good times, gone but not forgotten!

#ff63e0

Published in: on July 15, 2011 at 10:44 am  Comments (6)  
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Rainy Days and Mondays…

Do you remember the old song by the Carpenters called “Rainy Days and Mondays”(always get me down)?  There once was a time when that song used to be my song, but not any more.  Now that I don’t work, I actually like Mondays–and rain doesn’t make me sad anymore.

It rained all day on Friday, and I began to think about rain and certain memories from the past that I associate with rain.  I wrote down a few of my favorites.  I had to use pen and paper to jot them down–I’ll explain later in this post.

My earliest, and happiest memories of rain are from when I was a child staying at my grandma’s house one summer.  I had some pet minnows that I kept in a jar, and after every rain shower I’d take my minnows outside and let them swim around in various puddles in grandma’s yard.  For some reason, I got great pleasure from doing that!  When I finished, I’d catch my minnows and put them back in the jar…such a simple thing, but so much fun!

Later memories are of when I was dating my hubby-to-be.  There is nothing more romantic than sitting in a car at night(or day) with the one you love, listening to the rain “pitter-pattering” on the car roof.  The song “Rainy Night in Georgia” was popular back then, and I considered that our song…that song still gives me chills, as do those memories of sitting next to Ed listening to the rain on the car roof…

Flash forward many years later to the winter of 1998 when it seemed to rain the entire winter–sort of like this winter!  Our daughter and her first fiance’  had broken up– or rather he left her amid their wedding preparations,  without explanation of why–and the tears were falling around our house as freely as the rain was falling outside.  It was a very sad and low time for our entire family of five–but we survived!

These days when it rains, it has an entirely different meaning!  First of all, due to having one of those new tin roofs on our house, if it rains very hard–we can’t hear the television!  Worst of all for me, we have satellite internet, and if it rains heavily, we lose the connection!  Occasionally we lose the satellite connection for the television, too!  I especially hate being without internet–television I can live without! 

Can you tell that hubby and I are aging senior citizens?  Worrying about hearing the television, or having internet– when it’s raining on a tin roof….how times have changed since the days of rain on the car roof when we were dating!  

On Friday, I was without internet for most of the afternoon.  Now you know why I was writing my thoughts down with a pen and paper…just like the old days.  How about you, what does the rain make you think of?  Do you like it or not?

Speaking of Friday…the winner of the weekend giveaway is…heatheranne.  Congratulations!  Thanks again to everyone who shared their wonderful Easter memories.  Be sure to stop by this Friday for a new giveaway.

Published in: on March 15, 2010 at 10:28 am  Comments (2)  
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