Tuesday, April 30, 2013


This is me soaking my hands in some
concoction that was supposed to help
heal the itching allergy blisters my hands
would break out in.
I've studied and sorted the photos from Mother's old album to the best degree I can. I have put them in order by what year I believe each photo is from. Unfortunately, the photos were not in strict order in the album; and some photos had duplicates found in separate places. As I examined them, I saw that photos clearly taken the same day or during the same family gathering were not necessarily together in the album. Few photos had been dated.

My year categories, therefore, are based largely on the size of the children, length of hair, location, and people present. I probably got some of them wrong, but I did the best I could!

I'm ready now to print enlargements of the 1943 photos for my own album. The tiny sizes of most of the early photos make them difficult for me to enjoy due to my vision difficulties. It is great to scan them and put them up on the computer screen--I see so much more. But I also like to have them in album form where I can put in comments, ID the people, etc., and then I can pick up the album and flip through it and enjoy it any time I please. And this family history can be passed down and will then be intelligible to my family.

So here are some views of 1943 in our family.
Grandma Mackey with some of her grandchildren: Gary Rogers, Terry McLaughlin,
Glen Rogers, Jr., Grace McLaughlin, Larry Rogers, Michelle McLaughlin (seated).
Back: Siblings-- Bess Mackey, Vera Mackey Rogers, Joe Mackey, Elsie Mackey
Front: Gary Rogers, Terry McLaughlin, Michelle McLaughlin (seated), Glen Rogers, Jr.,
Grace McLaughlin, Larry Rogers
Rose with Terry, Michelle, and Grace (love those long curls!)
Grace, Michelle, Terry (note the boots)
Edna Callan Prochaska (cousin to the Mackeys), Rose Mackey McLaughlin, Vera Mackey Rogers
That's me and the odd object I'm holding is a fox-skin stole. I don't know
where Mother got that thing and I don't think she ever wore it
(how did such a thing ever become fashionable-Ugh!), but as a child I found
it fascinating.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Art Symposium

The Art Symposium
Today we traveled to Casper to visit the State High School Art Symposium. Chad, Megan, and I rode down in one car, while Anne Marie and friend Gwen (and Gwen's dog Samantha, aka Sam) traveled in Gwen's truck. Megan's paternal grandparents came from Buffalo and met us at the Casper Events Center where the Symposium was held.

I was simply visually overwhelmed. So many exhibits! It was impossible to view them all. It is the sort of thing that needs to be visited several times, looking at just a portion each time. Of course, that was not possible for us. Nevertheless, I can say with certainty that there is a great deal of artistic talent to be found in Wyoming's young people.

Megan's acrylic painting of the Lower Falls of the
Yellowstone River.
There was art in many mediums--paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, multi-medium, and some I don't really know how to classify. I would hate to be a judge for such an event; there was just too much to do justice to reallly seeing each item.

Some pieces I was in awe of. Some pieces I wondered why the teacher had selected them to be submitted. Some pieces showed outstanding imaginative concepts; some were very large, some were very small. Some used ordinary materials in extraordinary ways. Some were rather spooky. Some had a message. And I did not really get a good look at the majority of the pieces. There was just too much to take in!

Wyoming's first lady had selected her favorites, which were displayed on a separate table. I tried to take some photos of her selections, most of which I very much liked, but since they were displayed lying flat on a table the photos did not turn out well.

Megan's Sunset Owl
When we left the Symposium we visited with Chad's folks (and Sam the dog) for a few minutes outside, then went our separate ways. After lunch, we said goodbye and "Drive Safe and Sanitary" to Gwen, as she was traveling on to Denver to visit a niece there. We went on to shop at the mall, then headed home.

A quick trip, but very enjoyable!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I Have Lost My. . .

I have lost my camera download cord. Or, maybe it is my mind I have lost. Or both.

Yesterday I took a few photos of Megan clearing the new snow out of the front driveway (a job that equals fun for a kid when it involves driving the four-wheeler with snowplow). Then I went to my computer to download the photos from my camera.

The cord was missing. It usually lives attached to the computer. It wasn't there. So I looked in the other two places in my desk where I have sometimes kept it. Not there either.

I have searched all the likely places several times. I have searched the marginally likely places such as under the desk. I even searched the wastebasket that sits under a corner of the desk. No luck.

Then I began searching unlikely places--the drawers in the living room tables, my scrapbooking equipment boxes, the drawer in my dresser where I have an old film camera and a couple of camera cases. I walked through the whole house, hoping to stir a memory of where I might have put it or absent-mindedly laid it down (why would I have been carrying it around?). No inspirations fell upon me.

Then I repeated all of the above.

I am coming to the conclusion that the only way it will ever be found is if I order a replacement cord. As soon as the new cord arrives, I am sure I'll find the missing one!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

On Reading History

“Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.” --Edmund Burke (1700s)

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
--George Santayana (1800s)

Monsters live among us. Yes, I am thinking about the bombings in Boston yesterday. It was a scene that would be very familiar to those living in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, and so many other places around our battered world.

I've always enjoyed history. It is the story of people. I have actually learned a lot of history through reading historical novels. I remember several years ago that I read a novel that featured some incidents involving France's "Sun King" and life at the great palace of Versailles. I don't remember much else about that novel, but it piqued my curiosity about Louis XIV and I did a lot of reading in the encyclopedia about him, his times, life at Versailles, and life of the common French people of the times.

While most of my reading is recreational or escapist type reading--the love of a good story--I also include some nonfiction, whether biographies, Bible, or more generalized history. Over the past year or two I have been reading, a bit at a time, books in the "for Dummies" series of histories. I've finished the Egyptians and the Greeks, and am working on the Romans. I still have the Irish and the Europeans to go. Although I won't remember all the details and people that fill these books, what I will remember is the general overview of their times.

A few things always stand out for me when I read history, whether from secular or Biblical writings.

1)  Human nature doesn't change. In every society in every time in every part of the globe there are basics that always show up.

2)  The "common" people of every society are the ones who keep the social order functioning. They are the ones who do the necessary work, raise the children, care for the elderly and the ill. Life could not go on without the everyday activities of the unsung ordinary folk.

3)  The death, destruction, and horrors of war are created by the privileged elite who seek ever more wealth, territory, and power. The more people they manage to get killed through their greed for those things, the more they are apt to be awarded the title "the Great." They are the ones the historians write about, but their power and wealth are gained on the efforts and the sacrifices of thousands of other people who are pulled into their orbits and their armies, or who are killed for the acquisition of their lands, wealth, or power.

Knowing something about history is truly important. It can also be discouraging.

My heroes are the ordinary folk who work so hard to keep life functioning and without whom we would lack all the things that make life possible and society workable.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Silly Little Rhyme

There is a bit of doggerel fixed in my head since my long-ago youth. Today it has been running through my mind. I have no idea of its origins, but it goes like this:
Spring has sprung, the grass is riz;
I wonder where the birdies is?
In truth, I don't have to wonder where the "birdies is." I know where the birdies, both the human and the avian varieties are. My house is attached to my human Birdies' home. And the avian birdies are ever present around the house. There is a flock of sparrows that dwell mostly in the big lilac bushes growing along the next door neighbor's fence, five feet from my home. They love to sit on my second-floor-level deck rail, on the backs of the deck chairs, and along the rolled up awning. They leave a LOT of evidence of their appreciation of these perching spots! (I know, I know, I have mentioned this before.) But I do enjoy watching the little birdies and I especially like hearing them.

 There's some chirping during the winter, but not a lot. When spring is in the air, however, they are bursting with song. They start announcing the coming sunrise when it looks like it's still night to the rest of us. They carol their love songs. It says that, even though there is still some snow on the ground, it really is spring. Rejoice! Hooray! The long winter is ending!

As the spring/summer seasons progress I like to just be outside, quiet myself, and listen to all the birds. We have quite a variety in the neighborhood by the time it's warm outdoors, and they make a surprising amount of racket. Did you know that doves make a different call when sitting than when flying? I didn't until recently. We humans make so much noise ourselves with our TVs, automobiles and various machines, music devices, and our own voices that it is easy to miss the conversation of the birds. But when I stop and listen I am amazed at what I hear!

The "birdies is" all around us.

(Of course, when I tried to get some bird photos this morning, none cooperated. I could hear them, and there was some flitting across the sky, but none were close enough, and you'd think they'd certainly never even thought of perching on my railing. And a little bird that lands high up in a cottonwood tree just disappears.)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Snow Plowing

Just one more photo to share from Walda--granddaughter Megan had no school, so she moved snow.

I think this was her first time to plow with the 4-wheeler all on her own.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Walda Through My Windows

Other family members have blogged about snowstorm Walda. So I won't. . .much.

When I looked outside early this morning, I decided to take some snowy spring photos, as seen from my windows.

That was the plan. And I did it.

However, I got some strange effects, because the camera wanted to focus on the window screen rather than what was beyond it. And the photos I took of my bathroom window came out all goldy. Kind of pretty, but my bathroom walls are white, the window frames are white, and the curtain is white!

I'm not ambitious enough to put on my boots and coat and go outside and roam around finding good snow pictures. So here is Walda through my windows.

From the Living Room
Our street--with screen effects.
Through the kitchen window.
The Golden Bathroom

Screens are great for summer--not so great to photograph through!
And, of course, the snowy deck. The chairs have been arranged by the wind.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Happy Anniversary!

The Wedding Party
Twenty-four years ago today our daughter Anne Marie married her high school sweetheart Chad. He was by then in the Air Force, and had just completed basic training followed by another training session in some computer area. He had a brief leave before checking in at his posting in Florida.

The Bride and Groom
So the wedding was held during that leave and the bride and groom departed from the reception headed for their new life. It was a year and a half before we saw them again. We were happy for them, but it was hard on her parents to have such an abrupt separation! More than a few tears were shed by us both over the next several days.

Grandma Rose, super seamstress, made Anne Marie's wedding gown and one of the bridesmaid's dresses. I made the dress for the youngest bridesmaid, and the other bridesmaid's and the flower girl's dresses were made by their respective mothers. I'm certainly glad that the men did not require sewing--Anne Marie and Chad had given us only about a month to get ready for a wedding!

We already loved Chad. He'd been in our home a great deal over the past four years, and we were happy to have him as our son-in-law. He is a good man, a good husband and father, and a good son to me. 

So--Happy Anniversary, Chad and Anne Marie!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Showers of Blessing

There is an old hymn we used to sing with these words in the chorus:
Mercy drops 'round us are falling,
But for the showers we plead.
That wasn't really about weather, but it is what the weather has been like in our corner of Wyoming--we are grateful for the mercy drops, but this drought-stricken land needs showers, long soaking showers!

Yesterday we got a brief shower; a little more than just mercy drops, but not enough to supply the need. I rejoice in the drops that fall, but wish the parts of the country that are getting too much could share with us!

Just before the rain began yesterday, this is what the sky looked like:

The view to the west.

The view to the south.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Cooling Off in the Good Ol' Summertime

Today the sun is shining and the temperature is predicted to reach the mid 60s (F.). That's not exactly summertime in this part of the world, and that warmth will yet come and go for quite some time before summer settles in. So, this may seem an odd topic for a barely-spring day in Wyoming.

However, I have learned that if something comes to mind that I might blog about one day, it is better not to wait. It may be in my mind today, but lost forever by the "appropriate" time!

In the non-airconditioned days of my growing up, our favorite way of cooling off on a hot summer day was running through the sprinklers. This is a fun activity that kids today can still be seen doing. All that is necessary is a hose with a sprinkler attached. Add some friends and you are ready for lots of shrieking, gasping, giggling, cooling-off fun.

When you take an overheated skin and spray cold water on it, the shock is instantaneous. It takes quite a few passes through the spray to accustom the body. Lots of dancing in and out, leaping, screaming, and daring each other to stay in longer takes place. Finally, there is the display of toughness--standing right over the sprinkler head for as long as possible! And, of course, someone will always pick up the hose and pursue the others with the sprinkler, trying to get close enough to deliver a good dousing. More shrieking and running! When thoroughly chilled, a towel and a spot in the sunshine is called for. When warm, do it all again.

Back Row: Darryl Lynde, one of the McHenry boys, Forest Putnam
Front Row: Michelle, Terry, Lois Dorr, Grace
My mother took these photographs of a group of us--sisters, visiting country friends, and neighborhood buddies--gathered in our swimsuits, ready for a sprinkler party, one day in about 1948 or '49 (just guessing on the date by the size of the kids).

Don't you just love how stylish our suits are? Actually, I really like the one Grace is wearing. Terry's and Lois's are very much in the style of the times, and mine was obviously meant for someone a good deal more mature than I!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Do You Remember?

There is an old song named "Dearie," which was recorded by several different people in the 1950s. When done as a duet (the version I remember), the chorus went like this:

(First Voice:) Dearie,
Life was cheery,
In the good old days gone by.
Do you remember?

(Second Voice:) Yes, I remember.

(First Voice:)  Then, Dearie,
You're much older than I!

My grandmother was born in 1886. During the early part of her life, transportation was powered by horses. She lived to travel across the country by jet plane and to see, via TV, men walking on the moon.

I was born in 1941, just a few months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. There were no jet planes, no air conditioning, no electronic tools and gadgets. Automobiles, while common, were a great deal more primitive that those of today. I learned to type in high school on an upright manual typewriter that required a good deal of finger strength when striking the keys, and mistakes required a coarse eraser that would leave a hole in the paper if too energetically applied. Television did not reach our town until I was a teenager, and then it was one, often snowy, black and white channel. Then came the computer age, first affecting my life with punch card billing. Then the electronic age blossomed, changing everything.

My granddaughter was born in 1997. She has never known anything but the electronic age. It is a strange thought that everything in the first half century of my life is definitely the Olden Days to her! Such extreme changes in the way the world works over the span of five generations, each member of each of these generation being part of my life.

So, here is a picture that includes something from those Olden Days that you just don't see anymore (I don't mean the little girls!). The quality of the photo is not good, but my eye was drawn to the object fastened to the front bumper of the car.

The girls are sisters Terry and Grace.
That object is a waterbag. If you remember traveling with one of those, you may not be "much older than I," but you are likely getting up there!

The waterbag was made of canvas and had a spout on one end. When it was filled with water there was a slow seepage that dampened the canvas. The wind generated by the moving car caused evaporation, with a cooling effect on the water in the bag. Of course, if someone needed a drink, the car had to stop to gain access to that cooled water!

Today when starting a trip we fill a cooler with bottled or canned drinks and ice, which is readily available at every convenience store, and have a supply of whatever drinks are favored by the passengers. Of course, in those Olden Days there weren't any convenience stores either!

Do I miss those Olden Days? Well, some things in the social order, yes. (Other things in the social order, not at all. But that is another topic.) But I love modern conveniences. Cell phones are wonderful and nowadays I wouldn't even feel safe travelling without one. (Making a long-distance call during my growing-up years was a lengthy process through many operators just to get the connection.) And computers! I'd really hate having to go back to those old typewriters. Central heating and cooling? Wonderful! Comfortable, air conditioned (or heated) automobiles? Marvelous. And I adore good plumbing. I am rather glad I experienced living before these wonders; and I'm really glad I've lived long enough to enjoy them!