Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Scattered Thoughts

Two years ago, when I started to blog, I tried out a few titles for the blog. The first few were already taken, and that is how I ended up with "A Wyoming Woman's Thoughts."

I've sometimes regretted that title. It makes me feel that I ought to have a lot of great thoughts to share. No such luck. It is just me, a woman of a "certain age" who loves to read, watches too much TV, works on projects from time to time, and loves flowers (strictly from appreciation of their beauty--no expertise in botany or technical names).

I called today's blog "Scattered Thoughts," because I have felt rather scattered of late. Here's what I've been doing. Just ordinary life for me.

I teach two small Bible classes, one on Sunday at church, one on Tuesday morning with a few other ladies. It is the same material for both groups, but they are not in sync. Sometimes it can get confusing--now what did I say to which group? So I prepare for each lesson twice.

I finally got back to work on the old photo album project and am making progress. Besides the fact that I work on it sporadically, it is time-consuming because I am scanning in the little old photos, then clean up the scans as well as I can with my limited skills, then decide what size to make them (big enough for me to see), what comments to print out for them, and then how to make up the scrapbook pages.

And, of course, I am always reading or listening to books. Usually I have several in the works. There will be the primary book that I will read straight through, and one or two or more that I have dipped into but am reading a bit at a time. I've been working on the Irish History for Dummies for the past few months, reading a page or two here and there. Over the past couple of years I've finished the Dummies histories of Egypt, Greece, and Rome. After Ireland, I have the European history volume waiting. Most of my reading is fiction, various genres, with non-fiction mixed in from time to time. Last week I had a hard time settling with any particular book and bounced between several.

I no longer drive, although I still have a valid license. My daughter worries about my vision; my biggest worry about driving is the fact that I occasionally have a sudden drop in blood pressure that makes me come close to fainting. So my wonderful daughter or my granddaughter (yes, she has her license now!) do the driving honors.

Today I scanned and worked on three photos from 1948 of the cute McLaughlin twins and their also cute cousin, Billy Tyrrell, so I will share them. These photos weren't dated, but, since the leaves aren't out on the shrubbery yet, it is early in the year. Billy would have turned two in December 1947 and the twins turned one in November 1947.

Billy has both a football and a package of cookies. He is sharing--the twins are each holding a cookie.

The kids are on the sidewalk in front of our house. The house in the background is the neighbors' house.
So, that is my update. I am so looking forward to when it gets warm enough to plant my deck flowers. It is usually not safe to plant here before the end of May. It has been a long, long winter--and there is a light covering of snow out there right now.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"Global Warming" 1947s Style

On Christmas Day of 1947 our mother took a number of photos--outdoors, of course, in those pre-flashbulb days. These photos did not turn out very well. I don't know if it was bad film, the film got some light on it when being removed from the camera, or some other problem. The camera was an old black box-style Kodak that had been given to Mother by a relative and all our growing up years were recorded with it.

Although the photos are less clear than she usually got, they are good enough to show that there was no snow that day and it was warm enough that we were outdoors without out coats. Even the twins, almost 14 months old, are having an outdoor tea party coatless.

The McLaughlin girls, Christmas 1947. We seem to all have new boots.

The Twins at their little table and chairs set. Nice day for a tea party! Too bad a light leak obscures so much of Brownie.
This view shows Brownie better, but, unfortunately, the camera jiggled.
The twins, supported by Daddy, standing on their little table. Such cuties!
Another print of the same photo got a little more of Daddy's face in it.
And here they are again. Looks like Brownie is telling Pinkie something.

(Remember 30 years ago when there were articles about how we were heading into a new ice age?)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

1947 Has Arrived

The photo of the day for today comes from the spring of 1947.
My sister Grace is supporting our young cousin Bobbie (Dorothy Roberta) Mackey. Walking on his own is Billy (William Elmore) Tyrrell. Checking out Bobbie's shoe is one of Grandma Mackey's bum lambs, while our dog Popeye keeps an eye on whatever Billy has in his mouth.
Every spring Grandma would end up with several bum lambs to bottle feed. Some were a twin that the mother rejected, accepting only one of the pair. Some were left motherless when the ewe died giving birth. When we went to the country during lamb season, we always thought it great fun to get to feed the bums. One of the ways our grandparents got into the sheep business was by our grandma taking unwanted old ewes that were pregnant and apt to be a problem and bum lambs that neighboring sheep farmers didn't want to be bothered with. The sheep, with the sale of wool in the spring and of the male lambs in the fall, helped keep the ranch afloat through hard times. It wasn't either cattle or sheep, but both that made the ranch viable.

I remember that even when they were adult ewes and part of the flock, Grandma could still identify her favorite former bum lambs.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Few More Pics from '46

Here are a few more family photos from 1946.
The McLaughlin Family. We look like we are dressed for church. Mother and each of us girls have handkerchiefs with some sort of logo. We are carefully displaying them. I do not know what the significance is. There are several photos taken on this same day, but no one except our family appears in any of them. So who took this picture?
The snow is gone but the leaves aren't out yet.
Our Rogers cousins came to town, which we always enjoyed. We are lined up in age order. Popeye the dog got his head in the photo. From left: Kerry Lynn Rogers, Michelle McLaughlin, Gary Rogers, Grace McLaughlin, Larry Rogers, Terry McLaughlin, Glenn Rogers, Jr.
Our friends from Teckla School visited. From left: Lois Dorr, Michelle, Terry, and Grace McLaughlin, and Forest Putnam.
Forest, Terry, Grace, Michelle, Lois. I'm pretty sure the baby is Billy Tyrrell.

Okay, I think that is enough of 1946. I'm ready now to work on 1947, which has lots of cute photos of our family's new babies.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

1946 -- A Year of Great Events

Today I am sharing photos from the two biggest events of 1946.

The year started of in a great way for the McLaughlin family. Our father was coming home! The war was over, his stint with the army in the Philippines was done. He was receiving his discharge.

Mother resigned her country school teaching job and we moved back to town.

Red McLaughlin with daughters Terry, Michelle, and Grace.
Take Two: Grace and Terry have switched sides. I don't know what I was doing!

There are no photos that show the progress of the other big news of that year. Our Mother was expecting a new baby! (I am sure she did not want any pregnant photos for posterity.) I remember her giving me the job of getting things out of the bottom cabinets for her when it got difficult for her to bend over. My five-year-old self felt so proud of being able to help! I don't remember what I understood about the coming addition to our family. I remember Mother and Daddy building a crib for the coming event (this was not a kit they just put together).  And I remember that I was sent to the country with my grandparents as November neared (Grace and Terry were in school; I wasn't yet.)

I remember when we went to get the mail at the Teckla Post Office, which was three miles from my grandparents' home. Mail was delivered twice a week. On that day there was a postcard with the news. Not only was there a new baby, there were two!

These new sisters, born November 6, 1946, were named Kathleen Elaine and Kathryn Elizabeth. I always thought they had the most beautiful names. However, they soon gained nicknames that were all they were known by in their growing up years. Kathleen was a rosy cheeked, light complexioned little girl with big blue eyes like our father; Kathryn had the dark hair and light brown skin like our mother. Her eyes were also blue, but with a touch of gray, and her dark lashes reminded Mother of a quote she had once read about someone having eyes that looked like they were put in with a sooty finger. Lucky girl.

So Kathleen became Pinkie, and Kathryn became Brownie. It seemed perfectly natural to us then; now I feel kind of sad that they did not get to grow up using those lovely names they were given by our parents! Nicknames have such a way of sticking.

Even though stuck with the nicknames, nothing could change the fact they were absolutely beautiful babies.

Since they were born in November and it would have been too chilly to photograph them outdoors, the first photos we have of them are of very poor quality. Mother placed them near a window to try to get enough light, but it really wasn't enough. I scanned the tiny photos and tried to bring the babies out a little better, without much success. But because they are the first photos of the twins, at age one month, I'll share them anyway.

Kathryn (Brownie)
Kathleen (Pinkie)
Since I am working on 1946 in my Scrapbooking-the-old-album-photos project, there will be more from that year to come.