Then and Now

It is graduation season and Father’s Day is just around the corner. It is also time to take a moment to celebrate old friends. I met up with a dear friend of 40 years to spend a  few hours chatting while the Mississippi River- still overflowing the banks- rolled on by. Today, our nephew David hosted a graduation brunch :).

Dad and me in 1969:

stina and dad Rome Temple of Vesta

Spending time with Gaile by the Mississippi at City House St Paul MN

gaile in color

…and the High School grad, David, with his Mom and Dad:

grad2

 

Scanning the past

With the help of an Epson scanner, I am starting to sort through photos from the 1940’s and slides and photos from the 1960’s through the 70’s. Regrettably, the slides were kept in less than optimal conditions but it is a worthy challenge :).

skippy grandma mark ginny mom 1948 canada

1948-  My brother Mark, sister Ginny, mother, Florence, and Grandma Ruby enjoy a vacation in Canada- as well as Skippy the dog.

john jacox 1948 canada

Grandpa John 1948

ginny and mark

Ginny and Mark- somewhere in the Adirondacks 1948

stina grandma ruby no filter

The next generation to find a love of the woods; Me with Grandma August 1961- 58 years ago.

 

Re-purposing Memories and Giving Thanks

My dad was a wonderful wood worker and all of us kids have several of his pieces. One of mine was a four poster bed that he built from cherry wood when I was about 12 years old. Over the years the bed moved from my childhood home in Upstate NY to RI, then MI and finally to Minnesota where it no longer fit very well in any of the bedrooms. One of our young nieces, Megan, took it over at that point- until a four poster wasn’t “cool” anymore. It came back to our house where the various parts of it took up residence in the basement. Recently Megan’s dad, a talented wood worker like my father, took the bed spindles and thick side and end pieces that made up the frame. (He creates beautiful bowls and other artistic pieces.) On Thanksgiving day  he presented my partner and I with the beautiful stoppers seen below made from parts of the spindles. It was very emotional; I  could picture my dad in his wood shop- the Sears Craftsman tools humming and the Metropolitan Opera on the radio at top volume.

Purging the House and Sharing a Memory

I took a few days off work this week. After reading two mysteries and cleaning the house I decided it was time to continue the daunting task of purging. This has meant pulling boxes of photos and memorabilia out of closets and crawl spaces and being as ruthless as possible. The tour books, postcards and duplicate photos- scraps of paper and receipts- none of these are the keepers of the memories for me- those still exist in my mind (at least for awhile longer).

I would like to share a photo from 1961. Yours truly is about 3 years old and seated between Otto and Ernestine, keepers of “The State House” a home that sat at the intersection of a dirt road and the headwaters of North Lake, Atwell, NY. Otto and Ernestine raised their sons there and managed the maintenance of the Black River and dam system fed by the lake.

My family and I spent decades building summer memories at North Lake. In this instance, it only took one photo to open a window on so many other images…

otto stina ernestine color

Chanel No. 5, Mother, and Mark’s birthday

chanel-no-5-eau-de-toilette-bottle

 

My mother wore Chanel No 5 all her life. I recall, as a kid, wondering why anyone would splash on toilet water! Gross! I could never figure out how something that smelled so lovely had such a dumb name.

Yesterday, while looking for something to wear to yet another job interview, I was inexplicably drawn to the Chanel counter. Near the bottom of the polished glass case were the bottles of No 5 Eau de Toilette. The young woman staffing the display took some out and spritzed a sample card. I immediately teared up! Mother might just as well have been standing beside me.

She and I were best buds when I was small; lunches out at Sibley’s or McCurdy’s department stores in downtown Rochester, NY (we always had chicken salad on white bread, crusts trimmed with a (shared) cheesecake chaser). At Christmas there was breakfast with Santa. Yes, I am a child of the fifties. 

And so, standing at the Chanel counter, I bought a little bottle of Chanel No 5, sprayed a tiny bit close to my heart this morning and thought of another whom I love, my brother Mark, who would be 67 today! Though not here in the flesh, he is with us is so many, many ways. Be sure to look for a rambly, photo-filled blog after Thnksgiving. We will be spending it with Mark’s widow and my nephew in Asheville, NC!