Posted in In my humble opinion..., Keeping Kids Creative, My Vivid Memories

My Vivid Memories-Creating Artists – 4/17/23

Through my childcare years, I had a special mission. It was clear to me that children are natural, instinctive, artists. I wanted to keep that alive in my day care friends.
We never used coloring books and I just made many kinds of art supplies available. As an artist, myself, I gave them instruction on composition, style, and lighting in their paintings.
We even put on an Art Show in my front yard once. I wanted them to have the whole experience. Public schools (during my time there) didn’t take art seriously IMHO. It seemed to actually interfere with the innate creativity every child has. I wanted MY kids to bloom and embrace a confident, personal, approach to creating art that they’d never forget.
I’m just going to load this post with photos of the Art Show but also many creative moments we all had. Enjoy!

First a slideshow of our Art Show followed by a stacked gallery of some really cool masterpieces!

Posted in Memories of the Farm, My Vivid Memories

My Vivid Memories: Don’t Get Mad, Get Even.

There’s a layer of explanation I must add to this memory that I think will increase the sense in it.

I was the oldest grandchild born from the oldest child. That meant my mother’s siblings were hardly more than kids themselves when I was born. My interactions with my mother’s brother and sisters resembled that of a ‘baby’ sister more than a niece. My aunts married youthful men their own age too.

I love men! Yeah, I said it. I have no doubt that my uncles’ incessant teasing and practical jokes were most useful in making me the confident person that I am today. (Male role models are almost as essential to girls as they are to boys.) There were several moments when I teetered between the choice of crying and complaining or “taking stuff on the chin”. The route I chose which was not to get mad, but” get even” has made ALL the difference. As an 11-year-old, and on, it was quite a bold decision considering my adversaries were in their early twenties.

This one event, again, takes place at the farm. My mother’s ‘baby’ brother probably had been tormented by her at some point and his devilish pranks toward her children may have been part of a retribution. On the farm there were patches of burdocks. Burdock seedpods are covered in spiky barbs that easily catch on animal fur and clothing as Nature’s way of widely distributing the seeds. Those seed pods were famously directly responsible for the innovation we know as Velcro.

Burdocks with sticky barbs.

At the farm, we would grab a bunch of dried burdocks and make a handy ‘snowball’ of them for whacking each other in the back. They carried a startling weight and made ‘the receiver’ of the ‘shock’ have to strip off their overshirt and carefully pick them off. Pretty funny stuff!
My Mom’s brother realized that burdocks on clothes was annoying but burdocks in long hair was a nightmare and proceeded to hit me with them, every chance he got, in the back of the head. I wore thick long braids that became a tangled (somewhat painful) mess when that happened!
That same uncle had recently tried to fool my brother by pulling up to the electrified fencing (meant to keep the cows contained) close enough to touch the metal truck grill against it. My two and a half years younger brother would have gotten the startling (not deadly) shock when he exited if he had stepped out by grounding the electricity while still holding the metal door handle. If I hadn’t recognized the prank and grabbed him by the collar telling him to jump, not step out, that mean trick would have worked. Incidentally, those shocks from the fences packed quite a punch especially when you didn’t expect them.

Well, this gal had a score to settle. You can ‘mess with me’ but nobody was going to get away with ‘messing’ with my ‘baby’ brother. 😀

My uncle was in his early twenties when 77 Sunset Strip was a popular show. He wore his hair slicked back with Brylcreem probably because he wanted to look like those popular characters.

As luck would have it, Brylcreem came in a tube like toothpaste.

You’re probably already seeing my plan. And also, according to luck, my grandmother’s choice of toothpaste at the time was Colgate.

The color similarities of those two products were about to prove extremely handy.

This uncle had a habit of dragging out of bed before daylight and robotically eating his breakfast then rushing to the barn in a semi-coma. I never have seen since someone eat cereal with their eyes closed.

All I had had to do was exchange his tube of Brylcreem for the toothpaste that he was sure not to examine!

“AARGHH!” is all I heard before the bathroom door swung open. Still foaming at the mouth, he was ‘literally’ spitting mad. LOL
Even though I was laughing hysterically, I still believe he thinks it was all my grandmother’s fault for moving his ‘stuff’ around.

The moral bears repeating: Don’t ever get mad when you can get even.

You haven’t heard the last of my practical joke era…stay tuned.

Posted in Memories of the Farm, My Vivid Memories

My Vivid Memories: Suzette vs Susie

I spent a great deal of Summertime on my grandparents’ dairy farm as a child. Their house was at the top of a sloping hill with a gravelly road leading up to it from the blacktop well-traveled road below. On either side of that gravel road were pastures. One contained the barn (closer to the house) where the cows were milked and the other was the grazing area. So, late in the day, the cows would gather at the ‘grazing’ pasture gateway waiting to cross the road so they could access the ‘milking’ barn. Someone (often my grandmother) had to open the gates on either side of the road to allow the cows to cross. Usually, a person would stand on either side of the cows on the road while they filed. Part of it was to watch for cars but most of it was just to let the cows know that they shouldn’t decide to leave the line and take the liberty of ambling up the road.

My grandparents had a herd made up of primarily Holstein cows. They were big milk producers and a very docile breed. But Grandpa had a few Brown Swiss cows mingled in for their higher butter-fat content milk. Brown Swiss were a bit more ‘uppity’ and I always thought it was because they tended to be smarter. One in particular became my nemesis. Her name was Suzette. Each of the cows had names back then not numbers. I can still bring to mind many of the old ‘girls’ by name.
Brown Swiss cows stood noticeably taller than the Holsteins and when their horns were allowed to grow, (betcha you didn’t know that cows naturally grow horns, but farmers remove them) those horns would grow straight up not curled and rounded. Yeah… to a kid, those Brown Swiss were menacing creatures in every way.

Well, at some point, Suzette ‘got my number‘. She realized that I was frightened of her. Now and then, she’d look me in the eye and snort or shake her head from her stanchion.

One day, Grandma asked me to stand on the upside of the filing cows on the road just as a human reminder for the cows to stay in line. I was about ten. It was an honor to have graduated to an adult duty BUT that meant I would be standing mere feet away from Suzette with no barrier between us.
Grandma had no idea that Suzette and I already had a strained relationship, and I didn’t want to be a ‘whiny’ kid, so I armed myself with a handful of pebbles. Are you laughing? Yeah! I was 10 and I did think a handful of pebbles was a defense against a 1,400-pound charging cow.

I can still feel the beating summer sun and imagine my rapidly beating heart as Suzette reached the road crossing. As she walked among the other cows, she suddenly paused and lifted her head in my direction. That’s when I raised my arm and shouted at her as I threw the pebbles at her feet. (Heck… I wasn’t one to want to harm ANY animal.)

Suzette snorted and glared at me! Then… she continued to cross as if nothing epic had just occurred. I clearly remember how I felt. I stood straighter than ever because I had single-handedly slain my first dragon!

Our cow/kid relationship improved after that. My willingness to ‘take her on’ had changed her mind about terrorizing me from afar.

I’m still proud of 10-year-old Susie for meeting the challenge and hiding her fear. ❤

Posted in My Vivid Memories

My Vivid Memories: Star Trek

It’s becoming evident to me that I have a vivid memory of many events in my life. Are they accurrate? I don’t know.
They are based upon my feelings and mental pictures associated with certain moments.
I’ve tested those that I could and found that the people and places were real. I also know my feelings about them are strong and unchanging too. So however I interpreted an event, I can often figure out that it actually happened by investigating the time period with other clues like naming the people involved even small things like their pet’s name or describing the buildings.

With that said, I want to describe some of MY moments to document them in my blog. I’m able to trigger other family members to recall some events just by my detailed descriptions on occasion but sometimes they think I’m just making it up. I’ve come to trust my memory more than theirs because their inability to remember things isn’t any kind of conclusive evidence that they never happened.

I saw the following post about a Star Trek episode this morning. I loved the ‘out of this world’ ideas in Star Trek even as a child.
I remember sitting on a neighbor’s couch watching the episode and enjoying it. I was eleven and my parents were friends-as a couple-with the neighbors. Their name was Jensen. The adults were in the kitchen making small talk. The neighbor’s son, Steve, was being distractive and goofy, and I was watching this very episode at his house on his TV. I don’t recall if my siblings were there, but they probably were.
It’s not that the memory is something worth telling, it’s the vivid aspect of it. All of it surrounding, and brought back, by this episode of Star Trek which I was thoroughly involved with when it aired in 1967. I had tuned out my surroundings and focused fully on it. Pun intended, I was transported back to being eleven years old and I can “see” the characters on the TV.
Recalling the event has been a surprising delight. Right down to the butterflies in my stomach over the story which I found ‘fascinating’!
I assumed for years that everyone saw numerically sequenced displays in 3D maps in their heads and around them because I did. But over the course of my life, I couldn’t find others who knew what I was talking about. At 60 years old, I discovered that I have Spatial Sequence Synthesesia. I’ve made other posts on the topic.
Now, I’m trying to figure out if other people have detailed vivid memories like I described because my family gives me the same odd looks when I bring them up as they did when I once talked about ‘seeing’ numbers.
The link to the post that ‘triggered’ my memory is below. It’s not important unless you’re a Star Trek fan. I just wanted to document it for my granddaughters’ sake.
Let me know if you have such vivid memories.
I’ll be starting a new category to document some of my own as part of my blogging journal.
Happy Sunday!