Thursday, August 19, 2010

Saddling Up For School!

You can tell school shopping is at a max right now as the stores are filled with parents and their kids trying on clothes and shoes. It's always interesting to hear stressed parents buying for their children..."Well, I'm not going to buy it if you aren't going to wear it..." Or one of my favorites-"It's this or nothing, make up your mind!" Great way to give choices :) -but looking back I guess I kinda remember those moments. ~sigh~
Watching kids try on shoes the other day made me remember my shoes for the first day of school. Back in the late 50's I got Saddle shoes! You know, those white and black laced leather shoes. I got to wondering where that name came from so looked it up. Evidently the Saddle shoe became popular in the 1950's. They were a sporty shoe like the loafer, and came about before the sneakers were popular. They have a black section across the top middle, resembling a saddle; hence the name Saddle shoes! How about that?

It would be late summer when my shoes would arrive via mail order from either Sears or Alden's catalog. What an exciting event that was when the mailman dropped off a box too big to fit in the mail box! The shoes were so wonderful; bright white with the black under the white laces and the new smell of leather. Usually my shoes were a little big as my mom said I needed them to have room to grow so they would last the year. Consequently tissue was crumpled up and stuffed in the toe so my foot wouldn't slide up and down in the heal. Even so, I usually ended up with a blister on my heal after the first day of school and had to wear a Bandade for a few days after that. After a few months the shoes were looking a little worn so out would come the shoe polish to paint them white again to try to make them look spiffy!
It's interesting to read that Saddle shoes were a sporty shoe as I wore them with my dresses too as seen in the picture with five of my siblings. (I'm the youngest girl:)
Guess they were as versatile as you could make them just as shoes are today.
I will always associate Saddle shoes with school shoes as it is tucked back in my memory from special days now long gone.
Interesting isn't it?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ni-Ni Baby

Now that my daughter Kyrstin has a house I am able to start giving her the many "things" that have been stored here at home. This week I ran across a box containing all of her dolls. After being stored for some 20 years now, they looked a little rough so I decided to clean them up before giving them back to her.

I scrubbed up their faces nice and clean, washed their clothing, mended any rips and tears, combed their hair and tied new ribbons in their hair where the old ones had disappeared years ago. Thank goodness Kinsey helped me as it turned into an all day job!
The most significant change concerned Kyr's "Ni-Ni" baby. She got this her first Christmas when she was 9 months old, and from that point on it- along with her "ni-ni "blanket, was tucked under her arm at bedtime and carried around during the day when she needed it. Needless to say, this little soft stuffed, pink, terry cloth dolly saw it's share of the washing machine and the wear and tear of being loved to death! By the time Kyrstin started finding other things to occupy her time, Ni-Ni Baby was without her glued on blue eyes, painted nose, stitched mouth and yellow yarn hair. Her pink body was faded, pilled, irregular in shape with her head flopping loosely from the stuffing being packed down. She had been repaired so many times I was at a loss of what else I could do to save her, so she was quietly, gently and loving tucked away with the rest of her fellow sister dolls; Blue Baby, Marlena, Delta, Sibyl, Edwin, Amanda and Leonora.

Well, this week Ni-Ni Baby became a challenge, but we got her to looking almost like her "ole self! Kinsey painted on new eyes, mouth and nose, and I worked on her hair and body; washing, stitching and stuffing her.
When all was done, I sat down and wrote Kyrstin a letter on behalf of the baby doll that was her faithful friend all of those years ago.
Here is the letter Kyrstin received today when we presented her the dolly that has been waiting to be loved again:)

Well, her I am,
all washed, stitched and clean.
Your mom and sis helped me
become as I use to be!

You loved me to pieces
till hair and face was gone;
But never did I mind;
'Cuz your arms had held me long.
With new hair in place,
my bib is trimmed too;
a smile and a nose,
blue eyes to see you...
The years have gone by,
past your childhood life.
But I stayed the same
as you became a wife!

But now it is time
to join you again.
A family you have,
it will be like "back when"...

Your chubby arms held me,
we were playmates, best friends.
You, me and Ni-Ni,
snuggling till nights end.

Except now I am fragile-
Perhaps I should sit
safe by your pillow
so you won't forget..
How special our time was...
Those precious years gone.
Now again I am with you,
Where I truly belong...
Your best friend, "Ni-Ni Baby"

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Lifetime Gift

Last week a childhood friend of mine called telling me that she was going to sell some of her Mom's dishes as her children had already taken what they wanted so she would sell the rest. As we talked about some of the Fiesta Ware plates that remained she suddenly hesitated as if a great idea had come to her, then asked with sincere interest and a lift in her voice, what colors I had in my kitchen/dining area? She then went on to ask me if I would want a couple of the green and yellow plates/cup she had left!
I was so touched that she had even considered such a thing and told her I would LOVE to have them! It wasn't their monetary value that interested me, it was the sentiment behind it that moved me to the very core.

Lynn's Mom grew up next door to my mom in a very Bohemian farm community. She was a very sweet, kind and happy woman and I have wonderful memories of her, most of them revolving around being in the kitchen:)

Lynn was a year older than I, and even though we knew each other in grade school, it wasn't until high school when we were in choir singing in ensembles together that we got to know one another better and realized the connection of our moms.
Years later when Gary and I had our first son, his best friend and our best man at our wedding, called to say he was coming to see us and was bringing Lynn. It was then that we learned they were dating and from that point on we easily became immediate friends.

I believe God brings people into our lives for a reason--Lynn brings to me a friendship that is comfortable, familiar, fun and safe. We don't have to talk everyday or even once a month, but when we do, it is like talking to my sister. I think it is because there is something about a shared background and upbringing that makes our friendship special. We share a history that I think comes from our mothers being neighbors, the two of us going to school together and consequently marrying our hometown boyfriends!

I am humbled and touched when I look at these dishes as they remind me of where Lynn and I come from; people whose parents came to the states from Bohemia and worked hard at being an example of love, hard work, and the meaning of family.

A long time ago God brought together two little girls who lived down the road from each others farms; they went on to raise two little girls with the same type of upbringing that they had, and they are now lifetime friends. I don't need a reminder of the specialness of that, but seeing those dishes does stir up an emotion reminding me of how our friendship came to be.
What better gift is there than that?