Saturday, November 5, 2011

Tell Me a Story

Tell me a story. In this century, and moment, of mania, tell me a story.  Make it a story of great distances, and starlight. The name of the story will be time, but you must not speak its name. Tell me a story of deep delight. ~Robert Penn Warren

My grandmother was a great teller of stories. Not lies, rather the facts and impressions that shaped her world and the world of her parents and grandparents. It is a fascinating oral family history that I have loved hearing all my life.

For example, I know that my great-great grandmother died of typhoid fever. Serepta was her name. I know what she said as she lay dying, I know that she was the first cousin of the only Canadian Premier (Prime Minister) to hale from New Brunswick. I know, I know, I know so many intriguing tidbits.

My mother was a storyteller as well and so I think I come by storytelling myself quite naturally. Now whether anyone is interested in the stories...

I'm feeling so Paul Harvey-like this morning. Here is the rest of the story behind *the making of the pillow*,  written about day before last, and a bit about my grandparents' love story as first told to my sister in an email sent after she had received the pillow, which did, as some have suspected, make her cry.
                    Dear Sister,
A few years ago, when I was giving Nan her baths, *I found a stack of letters tied with a ribbon on her side table with these words printed on the top: "To Be Destroyed."

They were the letters that Jack had mailed to her through the years and, when questioned, she'd said that they weren't anyone's business but hers. I asked Mom to do something, if she could, to rescue those letters.

So I was delighted to find a few...a precious few...among the letters and cards here. Somewhere, I even have the "to be destroyed" note.

Anyway, I noticed that Jack often used the phrase you see lifted out there to close his letters: "Hope that you are well and happy, Honey."

About two months ago, I entered a contest at a blogging friend's  blog for a fabric design. Incredibly, I won, which meant that I had a bona fide fabric artist create this fabric using the images I sent her. I wanted a way to tell the "love" story if you will. The letters turned out to be chatty descriptions of Jack's days and not so much about being "love letters" after all. (You will remember that Nan spent summers between the lake and Moncton and not home in Maine. Since he was a railroad man, Jack could meet up with her at either location.)

My friend was so patient with me as I kept adding this and that or taking it away. When she had it all done, I was still feeling that it wasn't
quite right even to the point of sadness and then I realized that it wasn't quite right because the pillow did not have any reference to Mom who, as their only child, was a huge part of their love story. So that's when Mom's little girl self got tucked in as well.

You probably remember the story of their Jack owned the taxi service and picked Nan and a friend up for a dance the first evening and dropped them off. The friend was going to sit in the front, but he said that Miss Delahunt was small and would fit better. Then he asked her if she'd go out with him sometime and she said,"Why don't you call me and find out." Cheeky little gal that Nan of ours!

He made her an offer that she couldn't really refuse...that of being able to call for a taxi free of charge at any time. That's why I really wanted to get that business card on there because Nan was certainly pleased with that.

Then when they started going out, he was very impressed with her musicality and on their first date, he asked her to sing "My Pal" or "My Buddy" which was a song about a man and his son. (Very sad song...I know since she sang it for me sometime within the last decade while we were going through her sheet music one day.) He would repeat that request one September evening in 1951 just before he died and she sang it without breaking down. When someone asked her how she could manage that, she replied that it was the least that she could do for him.

I didn't include the older picture only because I couldn't find it in time for the fabric to be done. In the end, I think the younger photos look best. The young lady Nan would have been the right age for when Jack met her; Nan with the chipmunk was taken the summer Jack was ill. I included both passport photos just to get the link between Canada and the USA, which is so important in family legend and lore. That pretty much explains it, but if you have questions, I may come up with more answers.

The back of the pillow is made with the Irish linen that Sharon had me pick up last summer. It's kind of fragile, actually, so I doubled it. I thought that it would be a nod to Nan's Irish roots. I did the best I could with making it, but don't look too close because, since I sewed it, it is full of flaws. I did bind all raw edges in a hope to keep it around for a long time. And I made it so that it can be removed and washed by hand in Woolite.

Now I have enough fabric to make another for myself. Don't know when I'll get to it...
Since my grandfather John "Jack" died before I or my sister was born, we've always referred to him as Jack just as his friends and my grandmother always did. Interestingly, he always signed his letters to her "John."

And, of course, the story has many more tendrils as all stories do. Thank you for reading...

A happy and relaxing weekend to you!

Love Vee
*First discussed *here* and proving that eventually everything comes full circle on this blog.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Pleasant Day

Hope that you have a pleasant, tea and crumpet cranberry English muffin kind of day. And a new magazine can't hurt either!

For those who wanted more of yesterday's story, see you tomorrow...

Love Vee

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Eighty Years Ago

Eighty years ago, November 3, 1931, my grandparents were married in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. Of all the wonderful photos in my possession, I have not been able to find my grandmother's wedding photos. They show a bride dressed in the style of the day with a close-fitting cap and long veil and a wedding gown described as dual-level with the front at her knees and extending down gradually to full-length on the sides and back.

Several weeks ago, I won a giveaway at Karen's A Scrapbook of Inspiration. The offer was to create a piece of fabric via Spoonflower. If you've never visited Karen's blog, you really must brew a cup of tea and make a piece of toast with jam, and treat yourself to an event. I mean this most seriously. Nothing like it exists in Blogdom. If you enjoy magic, Narnia magic as Brenda would say, you'll enjoy Karen's Scrapbook. Needless to say, I was thrilled to win!

Working with Karen was delightful. She was so patient with me as I changed my mind and fiddle-flipped around. When we both had the piece just as we wanted, I asked her to add something more and she did. Without. saying. a. word. (She might've been saying a word on her end, but never to me. ☺) Thank you, Karen, for helping me to create something so meaningful to me and my family. It blessed me so very much.

Sometimes I get so ahead of myself...beep-beep-backing-up...this is the gift as I first found it sitting in the chair on the deck just outside my door.

Notice the foreshadowing on the package...

The exquisite card and gift

Sweet details

The fabric

based on these images sent

The final product~a gift for my sister's birthday

The pillow tells a story, which probably would only have meaning for family members. (I could be begged to tell more being the loquacious gal I am. < insert cheeky grin >) I have enough fabric to make more pillows and will get to my own pillow at some point. I also want to share the frame that I found recently at TJMaxx. It had the year "1931" on it and so I knew where I was going to save some of the ephemera I've always held grandfather's business card and an envelope in lovely script written to my grandmother. The fabric and the frame came together in the same week...a God-wink I believe.

Not all of us are blessed with "things" that help us to remember so I am grateful to be blessed with such treasures. Most of all, I am blessed and grateful that my grandparents married all those years ago because three years and three days later, my beautiful mother was born.

Thank you for hanging in there and reading to the end; I promise shorter posts for the remainder of the week.

Love Vee
Edited to Add on April 12, 2013

This wedding description is from a yellowed newspaper clipping re-found just this morning and typed up to document here. It is interesting and even amusing to read. It is also lengthy. I feel as if I could have been there.

Wedding a Pretty
Nuptial Event

     Popular Moncton Young Lady, Miss Irene Delahunt, became the bride of  John W. Parker of Brownville, Me.
     The residence of Mr. and Mrs Fred R. Delahunt, 52 Enterprise Street (unreadable) ...ding last evening when their only daughter, Miss Irene C. Delahunt, became the bride of Mr. John W. Parker, of Brownville, Me. The ceremony at eight o'clock was peformed in the presence of a large number of guests by Rev. Neil Herman, former pastor of the First Baptist Church here, who came especially from Halifax to officiate at the nuptial event.
     The ceremony took place in the drawing room beneath a beautifully decorated arch of evergreens and Japanese Jack o' Lantern flowers of orange shade while large baskets of orange and yellow mums flanked the arch on each side. The staircase was also executed in similar attractive decorations and a feature of the bridal procession was the aisle formed by eight girl friends of the bride with wide white satin ribbon, on which were fastened colorful bouquets of evergreen and Jack o'Lantern flowers. As the ceremony commenced, they circled in on the bridal party forming a crescent (unreadable) each side of the arch.
     The bride was charming in a beautiful gown of white satin, fashioned along Princess lines, and wore a bridal veil and a cap of Point d'Esprit lace, with the conventional orange blossoms. She carried a large shower bouquet of pink roses and lilies of the valley and was given in marriage by her father, entering the room to the strains of Lohengrin played by Miss Constance Cowan, while the latter young lady also sang very sweetly "Oh Promise Me," during the signing of the register. As the minister completed the ceremony the bride was showered with rose petals from a white satin bell which was suspended from the centre of the arch. Little Sheila Keating, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Keating, was the only attendant making a very winsome flower girl in her pretty dress of pink organdie.
     Following the tieing of the nuptial knot, the bridal party and guests repaired to the dining room where a delicious luncheon was served by the girl friends of the bride, Miss Marjorie Keith serving at the bride's table. Here again the decorations were attractively arranged, the color scheme being orange and yellow, with roses and 'mums predominating, while the buffet was banked with evergreens and baby mums. Centering the table was a huge three tier wedding cake, adorned on top with a miniature bride and groom standing beneath a floral arch. White satin ribbons were festooned from the electrolier to the four corners of the room and to the dining table. Rev. Mr. Herman made a brief but very pleasing address in which he extended congratulations to the newly wedded couple and wished them every happiness and prosperity on their voyage through life.
     After receiving the congratulations and best wishes of the guests the happy couple followed by a large number of relatives and friends motored to the C.N.R. depot where, amidst showers of confetti and best wishes, Mr. and Mrs. Parker left on the Maritime Express on their honeymoon trip Western Canada and the Pacific Coast. On their return, they will take up residence at Brownville, Maine, where the groom is a well known locomative engineer on the Canadian Pacific Railway. For traveling, the bride was attired in a smart dress of black and white, with hat to correspond and wore a white fur.
     The bride was for some years past a popular member of the district office of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. here, and the popularity she enjoyed was attested to in the large array of beautiful and handsome presents she received, including silver, cut glass, gold, cheques, china, chests of silver, oil paintings, linen, and many other fancy and useful articles. The bride was also the guest at several showers given in her honor prior to the nuptial event. The groom's gift to the bride was a substantial cheque. Both bride and groom also received many congratulatory telegrams from different places in Canada and the U.S.A. last evening.
     Among guests from out of town present at the wedding were Mr. and Mrs. William Beaumont of Boston; Mrs. Parker and daughter, Inez, of Salisbury; Mrs. Chas. Delahunt and Mr. Lloyd Delahunt, Charlottetown.
Just for the record, I've never found the silver, gold, chests of silver or oil paintings. Ha!

cross-referenced here

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Good Weather

When one has been working as long as John has on this wee haven, believe me, we get very excited to hear good weather news. And it looks as if we have two weeks of good weather stretching ahead. It's been a weird weather year and so often plans have been thwarted because of it. Now we're down to crunch time with winter's shadow nearing and we are both eager to tie up the loose ends.

I'm also very grateful that our outrageous electric bill — $150 a month (and that with a propane stove and a propane dryer) — is about to be a thing of the past. It will be wonderful to get the new main attached. The electrician thinks that we're losing a lot of power through a corroded, old wire running from the pole to the house and about to be removed in favor of the underground system. Yes! I'm quite excited. In fact, you may never have heard me this excited.

Here are the steps in order of what's next...the remainder of the west side, the dormer, and the front of the house.

So, tell me, what's floating your boat these days? Can it be any more exciting than new wiring?

Love Vee

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Things 1 and 4

Thing 1 and Thing 4 visited last night. The eldest grand selected "Thing 4" because his outfit came with four digits 1–4 and 4 was the closest to 5 (his age). I love how kids think.

Thing 1 thoroughly enjoyed being Thing 1 and told me that Thing 1 didn't feel like cleaning the house so Thing 1 was leaving. (Seems to have been stuck on speaking of himself in the third person.) He emptied all of his candy into mine in a reverse trick or treat. The face he's making at the miniature Kit-Kat almost says Do I have to eat the rest of that? Wish that I had a similar problem.

Notice the pumpkins? John used his drill to create polka dots and to spell out the grands' names. What a blessing he is to these boys whose own paternal grandfather died long before they were born. They adore him and he thinks that they are mighty fine, too.

In my own childhood and into my 30s, I was blessed with a "substitute" grandfather. He could not have done a finer job of grandparenting if he had been a blood relative. He was a gentleman, polite and quiet, and one with whom I felt perfectly at ease. I could listen to him play his violin for hours and be content. Though a man of few words, he gave wise counsel when asked. He loved his garden allowing my sister and me to join him there and teaching us about the earth and the plants. He loved making us little trinkets and toys and would happily play "Go Fish" or teach us how to for real. Even now, I sometimes often find myself missing him.

Do you have some special people in your life who, though not related, are family?

Love Vee

Monday, October 31, 2011

Something to Crow About

You know, if we hang around long enough, we're going to see things not seen in over a hundred-fifty years like early snowstorms in October after a late autumn. I've seen snow on green leaves in the spring before, but never like this in fall.

Hard to believe that we'll be welcoming a new month tomorrow. Just a reminder about the Giving Thanks Challenge starting tomorrow at South Breeze Farm. Clicking on the button in my sidebar will take you there. Leah is putting up Mr. Linky sometime this evening around 10 p.m. (I don't know if I can stay up that late.) Hope to see you there!

Saturday was bitter cold and every breeze whispered snow. It made me feel like stopping by the local gift shop, which I did. Oh it was wonderfully decked out for Thanksgiving and Christmas. A crockpot near the door was filled with delicious smelling hot apple cider and the aroma of cinnamon floated about the entire store. Hmmmm...

I found these things:

Edited to Add Photo showing Mr. Crow, now named Edgar Allan Crow at Auntie's suggestion, where he should be...

Yes, a crow to sit on top of one of the fenceposts instead of where he is now and some Deco Lights from Darice with silicone tips. They have a very soft and warm look, which you've already seen if you saw yesterday's post.

So that's my simple Monday post. Hope to catch you soon!

Love Vee

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Tumultuous Privacy of Storm

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farmhouse at the garden's end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed

In a tumultuous privacy of storm.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are safe and warm around our "radiant fireplace" so we'll not complain too loudly about the early snow. And we shall hold our own church service as morning services have been canceled. Wonder what John will preach on. I can suggest a verse:

As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, So is a faithful messenger to them that send him; For he refresheth the soul of his masters. Proverbs 25:13

John has nixed this scripture saying that it means a cold drink and not actual snow. He's right. I see it now and just when I was going to be able to think about this experience in a new and better way... ☺

Edited to Add: Morning found us without an internet connection, though we had power. The snow has stopped falling and all is good. With temps in the high 40s and low 50s predicted for the rest of the week, we are looking forward to getting back to normal. Hope that all is well with you!

Sunday comments are closed

Love Vee