As a child, I idolized Mister Rogers!

I don’t think I’m alone here.   I must have listened to his records hundreds of times as kid.  He was one of those icons that really related to kids and some of the issues we dealt with being that young.

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Vintage record collection- Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass !! Going Places !!

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How funny… up until I took and uploaded these pictures I always thought it was Herb AlBert. 🙂   I was a very eclectic kid growing up.. aka my parents’ record collection became my own.   As you’ll continue to see I used to listen to a variety of different records.   It didn’t make any difference to me,  it was music and I had it there right in front of me.

Vintage Record Collection- Sesame Street Live!

Oh man.. I listened to this record so much I’m surprised the needle on my record player didn’t slice deep grooves into it.    I. LOVED. SESAME. STREET growing up!    My mom used to tell me that it was because of Sesame Street that I learned to read and write.    Old school SS was wonderful.   Mr Hooper,  Luis,  Maria, Bob, etc     I know as times change then they have had to change up their show in order to keep up with what’s interesting to kids today,  but in my opinion the original cast will always be the best!

I took several different pictures of this multi fold album to share.   Sadly with me being a dumb kid I colored on the pictures with crayons so it’s not in as good condition as I wish it would be.  It’s still not bad overall for being as old as it is.

If while you’re reading over the list of songs and one or two pops into your head that you recognize.. congratulations!   You either grew up in my era or you appreciate the old classic Sesame Street like I do 🙂   Enjoy!

ss1 ss2 ss3 ss4 ss6 ss7 ss8  ss9 ss10 ss11 ss12 ss13 ss14 ss15

Vintage family snail mail

My grandmother kept this congratulatory letter from her brother after the birth of my mom.   It’s surreal to know that this is how people once communicated because this is all they knew.   My uncle got word of my mother’s birth through a written letter.  Not an electronic message,  television, radio or even a newspaper.    After getting the news my uncle sat down, put quill to paper and wrote his sister a letter of congratulations.

letter page 1letter page 2

It reads:

“Dear Lillian and all,   December 16, 1931

Congratulations, your card was forwarded to me by Emma (?)
So it is a girl, and you gave her a name i always liked
How I would like to meet her and i would like to send her a present worth while but will have to wait until I am doing something. but she will have something coming so you can tell her that for now.
I am glad you are all right for i must admit I was worried.
The cards you sent out are the best I ever saw (can’t read the following 4 words)
I wrote Bill yesterday suppose he has my letter by now.
Sorry I can’t send you some money to help you out but may be able to send some later.
Write when you are able and tell me all the news.
Wm Loftus”

Sweet memories 🙂

Haven’t had a VPOTD for a while.. Ghost Town or Bust! Vintage Knott’s Berry Farm

old knott's

I am nomom bucking broncot quite sure if this particular photo op still exists within the park. The covered wagon photo is my sister sitting on the left next to who I think may be her friend Mimi.   Not totally sure who the adults are.   I do know that the bucking bronco one as shown above  is still around..  That girl ‘yeeehawww’ing in that picture is my mother.  It would be cool to get back there someday and get a picture sitting on that same horse prop.   I mean, it’s probably gone through so many refurbishments over the years but just posing for the same kind of picture would be cool having side by side.    Someday…. if time and money allows.   I’ll add that to my bucket list.

Speaking of money,  check out the reprint prices from back in the day.    Classic! 🙂

mom bucking bronco2

I started up an unintended debate…

DISCLAIMER:   THIS POST HAS TO DO WITH WHAT SOME PEOPLE WOULD CALL RELIGIOUS BELIEFS AND THEREFORE COULD BE A VERY TOUCHY SUBJECT.  THIS POST ISN’T INTENDED TO SPARK ANY TYPE OF DEBATE.  IT HAS ALREADY DONE SO ELSEWHERE AND THAT’S WHY I AM ULTIMATELY BLOGGING ABOUT IT.  IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED, PLEASE DON’T STRESS YOURSELF OUT AND READ FURTHER.  THIS ISN’T INTENDED TO OFFEND.

Yikes…. there’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a debate involving religion or politics.  It’s even worse when you cause that debate all because of an innocent post.

I inherited a ring from my grandmother after she passed away around 1996-1997.     I was living in Northern California sort off dropped off the map at that time and her lawyer still managed to track me down.  He told me that my grandma wanted to give me a ring and $500 and two weeks later a package arrived in the mail with a money order and the ring.    The ring, it turned out was from her daughters of the eastern star organization.  Her own personal ring.   I looked at it back then and shrugged it off,  not understanding the patterns or colors or even wanting to know the history behind it.   I just saw it as a ring,  something cool that my grandma left me but  that’s it.    Of course though I kept it safe and never let anything happen to it despite moving around multiple times.    Well, just recently my stepmother reconnected with me out of nowhere. I hadn’t spoken to her for years… like, 1996’ish!    My father passed away in 2000 from Alzheimer’s  and I found that out from one of my half brothers over the phone.   So there had been NO contact from her in years.   During that time I kind of drew my own conclusions on the multiple unanswered questions I had concerning my dad in order to get some form of closure.   He and I ended on a weird note,   he left my mom to be with her and I hated them both for it.   To a 13 year old kid I was furious that this woman had come into our happy household and stolen my dad away from my mom.   Needless to say I was as difficult as I could be to her out of retaliation.  So,  having her contact me after all these years really REALLY was a shock both in good and bad ways.    The good is that I can ask questions that I’ve always wanted to know and get real answers that is replacing the made up ones I’ve managed to convince myself of over the years,   and the bad is that it’s been drumming up some really sad memories.  I went to a court ordered psychologist during my parent’s divorce and I was deemed as ‘mentally unstable with severe emotional issues’.    I NEVER felt that bad, and it may be just the courts or lawyers trying to over exaggerate in order to sway the judge in their favor.  But, here I go off track again… !   Squirrel!

Back to the ring,    my father’s side of the family were all into Masons and the Order of the Eastern Star/Job’s daughters/Rebekahs.  It was something they were very passionate about judging by all of the photos and historical newspapers I’ve been able to find online.      So I now have this ring and I decided to look into it further to find out exactly what it meant.  I posted this photo on a facebook group that I belong to that contains members of the city where I grew up in.

grandma's masonic ringSadly the first response I received was from someone sharing a link titled “Why no Christian woman should ever join the order of the Eastern Star”.

!!!!!

That opened up an ugly debate that wasn’t intended.    Prior masons and rebekahs replied angrily bashing this lady for posting an inappropriate response to an innocent request for information.   Ugh!    The good thing out of it was I did get my questions answered.    The information I DID receive from the helpful members of the group are as follows (copied and pasted from the discussion  so that’s why they all look random):

“This is a “Rebekah” ring and the female Lodge of the “Independent Order of Odd Fellows”. My Dad was a District Deputy Grand Master in the mid 1930s. This was in District 36 in Northern California. His Drill team did the installation of officers in his District. The three links represent F – friendship, L – love T – truth. The dove is a symbol of peace. My parents gave me a ring when I joined the Rebekah’s on my 18th birthday. That was 83 years ago today. Hope this helps you.”

Just to add a positive note. The Odd Fellows and Rebekah’s did a lot of good deeds and work. One thing our Lodge did was to care for widows and orphans. There was a Children’s home in Gilroy for the kids that were orphaned or half orphaned. The home sent them to Public school, and if the child showed promise sent them on to college. The Funds came from the lodges. I really liked the Home and thought the kids lucky to have such a nice place that took such good care of them. Our lodge also was the caretakers of our local cemetery and assisted in funeral services.”

“My home town is Pleasanton and several of my 1949 classmates moved to the Bakersfield and Fresno areas. Grand Lodge in the 1930-1940 years held the big meetings in Fresno. I also am a Rainbow Girl and belong to Eastern Star, I joined Star with 3 other Rainbow girls in 1950. I learned a lot from Rainbow that I have used in my marriage and raising our 3 children. Don’t know where that fellow got his info, our Chapter was not like that.”

“The ring has no relationship to the order. There are colors that represent the points of the (5) star. I guess I was disputing the conspiracy end. My bad. I never joined the orders. My Dad, Mom and Sis were all very active. I’m suspecting she may have held 3 posts of the Star, hence the colors. More than likely custom.”

 “The five stones are based on five women in the bible: Adah,(Blue), Jephthah’s daughter, (from the Book of Judges)
Symbol: A sword and shield, symbolizing how she sacrificed her life to save her father’s honor.

Ruth,(Yellow),the widow Symbol: A sheaf of barley (grain), representative of Ruth, the poor widow in the Bible, who gathered left over barley stalks as her means of survival.

Esther, (White), the wife
Symbol: A crown and scepter. Queen Esther was a great and noble spirited biblical queen, known for her willingness to sacrifice her life for her people.

Martha, (Green), Lazarus’s sister, (from the Gospel of John)
Symbol: The broken column, symbolic of the uncertainties in life.

Electa,(Red), the mother, (not really a name-the “elect lady”, friend of St. John, from II John)
Symbol: The cup, symbolic of charity and hospitality. Her color, red, is symbolic of love. She accepted God’s will in spite of persecution.

Not the normal Eastern Star ring five color star though. This one has a crescent moon, dove (symbol of peace) on it and only red (love), blue (sacrifice to save father;s honor) and white (Sacrifice for her people) stones. There is said to be a pagan sect of Eastern Star which used 3 Godesses instead of the five biblical women but this one might be one from the daughters of Rebekah, but I can’t tell if it has everything on it that it would have if that was the case (Three Link Chain, dove, lily, moon and seven stars).

The Beehive, a representation of cooperative industry teaching the advantages of united efforts in all the noble ministries of the Order.
The Moon and Seven Stars represents the never failing order which pervades the universe of God and all of nature, and suggest to the members the value of system, regularity and precision in all worthy undertakings
The Dove, a universally recognized emblem of peace, has this significance in the Rebekah Degree. Through the mission of love and charity, of tolerance and forbearance, Rebekahs are to strive to bring happiness to others and to promote “Peace on earth and good will to men.”
The Lily, regarded for untold ages as the emblem of purity, is a fitting symbol of the purity of character, of thought, of word, and of action which should always be found and manifested in the heart and life of members of the Rebekah Lodge.[7]”

So those are my answers.    This little ring has a lot of history behind it.   It’s pretty cool that my grandma chose me to give it to.

VPOTD 28 February 2015

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This is in bad shape, looks like it had come in contact with moisture at some point and there is a bit of mildew on the cover.   It’s a pocket sized  leather card holder that is dated 1950 (which is also the year my mom graduated high school)   I know that Job’s daughters is sort of the female version of the Mason’s.    I had no idea my mom was a member until I found this card.    My father was a mason,  proudly.  I remember him going to his meetings all dressed up in his suit and tie.    The lodge in Torrance was located in the now historic downtown area (it’s probably still there, who knows) and his mother was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star which is also a mason’ish woman’s club.  When grandma died she left her ring to me,  I need to find it… it had an interesting little emblem on it that I meant to research.

It’s still cool to have found this.   My mom was a card carrying Job’s Daughter and I had no idea!

Mom’s bear

It’s amazing how something as small as this little hand crafted bear can hold so many memories.   When I found it packed away in the things I inherited from my family I was surprised it was still around.   After all,  it is about 30 years old….

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This bear was first seen at a mall craft show while I was out shopping with my sister.   I remember her seeing it,  walking up to it and saying “Oooh Stacey!   We have to get this, Isn’t this just MOM?”  I forget what particular event we were looking for a gift for her was (mother’s day?  birthday?) but we both decided that our mom would love this country looking mama bear as a gift.     It cost something like $60 dollars and we took it home.   I don’t remember if we even wrapped it  (we must have)  but I remember mom liked it.    After that she placed it proudly in her home.    First it was living room décor,  then for some reason mom moved it into the kitchen.   She displayed it on top of our refrigerator next to a few antiques she also kept up there.   It stood untouched up there by human hands,  but what did touch it unfortunately was the same thing that took her away from me way too soon.   Cigarettes.    She was a lifelong smoker and thought nothing of smoking one cigarette after the other.    One of her favorite spots to sit and smoke was in our kitchen.    When I grew up in that house, I didn’t notice how pungent the cigarette smoke was in there… it wasn’t until I moved out on my own and would return for visits when I couldn’t be in there for any length of time without needing to step outside for air.   The nicotine smoke got on everything…  the walls, furniture, all of mom’s knick nacks all over the house,  in my hair, clothing and of course…. the bear in the kitchen on top of the refrigerator.  She had smoked so much while sitting in that chair that there was a thick yellow spot on the wall right above where she sat.    Everything in the house that wasn’t regularly dusted became caked with that nicotine gunk.  I also received an antique toll house cookie jar that was up on the display shelves around the kitchen that took me having to soak it in hot water and soap for  several days in order to scrub the layers off of it.    As for the bear,  I vaguely remembering seeing it during one of my last visits to see mom before she went into hospice.  The years had not been kind to mom’s bear.  Her white lacy apron had turned dark and yellow from the smoke and it had a layer of ‘gunk’ all over her,  she was also layered with a pretty thick amount of cobwebs.   Up until that last time I always expected to see it in the same place in the kitchen,   then after that day when I saw mom for the last time I kind of forgot about it,   when mom died a lot of the things I related to her sort of faded from memory.  Maybe it was a way subconsciously I was protecting my heart from completely breaking.    Whatever the reason,  I briefly forgot about many of the things that were in her house.

After mom passed away I know the house was packed up by my sister and her two boys.    I wouldn’t have thought in a million years that the bear would have been salvaged,  I mean.. mom treasured it because it was a gift from her daughters but if someone else would look at it they would see a grungy old craft project.    That’s why I was so surprised to find it in one of the boxes.     It means a lot it was saved so I could see it one last time and reminisce… but I don’t think I can or even should keep it.    As much as the sentimental value of this is priceless,  I can’t see how I can properly clean it so it would look decent to display in the house. It’s in great condition for being 30 years old,  seriously!   and  It doesn’t ‘stink’, but it’s grungy. ..   I don’t have the heart though to just throw it away yet,  so I’ll need to work up to it slowly and probably with a lot of tears.  (yeah, I’m a sentimental softie)    I am proud to be able to share these pictures of mom’s bear with you on here.    Mom loved it so and I know she would have wanted people to know that.

Thank you for reading this and allowing me to share this with you.    When you look at that bear’s smiling face holding that basket of dried flowers just know that it was that smile that prompted two girls to purchase her for their mother 30 years ago for a present.. and after that it’s all history

VPOTD (12 January 2015) from Grandma’s closet

IMG_1583 IMG_1587 IMG_1589 IMG_1588  This was in surprisingly good condition found in a box of my grandmother’s things.  I have no idea of all the articles of clothing that this one was chosen to be kept.   Grandma owned a lot of nice clothing.   She had an eye for fashion,  frequenting high end department stores such as Macy’s, Bullocks and Saks.   So far I haven’t found a picture of someone wearing it but how cool would that be?   There is only a minimal amount of wear to the inner  insulated quilting and the red velvet isn’t as soft as I’m sure it used to be when it was brand new but it’s definitely wearable.    I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do with this, but it would be a shame to toss it out after having it kept so pristine after all these years.

Would make a very pretty Little Red Riding Hood costume… what do you think?