Saturday, November 16, 2013

Life in the 1940's

It has been two beautiful weeks since this blog has had a new entry!  The first week in November was spent making glorious memories with my sister, who traveled here from Texas!  Together we cleaned out the whole back garden areas and washed the dirt from about a gazillion carrots pulled the day before she arrived.  We traveled to church, were treated to a delicious dinner by the Monday quilting/crafting group, visited a local antique and country store for a delightful seminar on table settings with a booklet given to us chock full of delectable recipes, spent a couple of hours winterizing beehives with one of my precious daughters (the awesome beekeeper), and took a nostalgic little side trip down to a lovely older neighborhood where my sister's husband grew up and spent some very happy years.  We also spent some enraptured hours watching the first season of Downton Abby on tape, both of us wrapped in a warm quilt with the cat between us.  Sister is now a devoted fan of the series.  She packed her suitcase with all three sets of DVD's from the first three seasons, enabling her to get fully updated on all the history before the new season begins.  Maybe she will get her husband hooked too!

The two bee 'ladies' with a honey comb!!! 

Another of the activities was looking through family photo albums and sharing our memories of Grandma and Grandpa Holton.  All of us are tremendous lovers of animals, as were Grandma and Grandpa.  We all have had a series of kittens and puppies, and my children and grandchildren have had Guinea pigs, lizards, snakes, exotic spiders, and all kinds of critters.  (We blame it on Grandma Holton passing down the pet loving gene.)

Here is a photo from the early 40's with their dog!  They always had at least one dog - often there were a pair of hunting dogs, as Grandpa was an avid hunter.  The dog I remember was Dusky, a big red/gold spaniel.  Grandma told me he was named Dusky because he reminded them of a golden sunset.  Very special in their hearts!

Here is Dusky in the front of one of the cabins built by Grandpa.  It was set close to a lake and deep in the woods in Upstate New York.  I remember one time Grandma walked me over to the nearest neighbor who also lived in one of Grandpa's cabins.  On the way home through the damp and green woods, I met my first chameleon sitting quietly on a fern.  He was a tender green and looked magical to me, tiny and fragile.  Grandma carefully removed him and demonstrated how he changed to a light orange when no longer on the green plant.  Amazing! 
 Grandma with my mother and father in those lovely woods. 
Again, here we are in front of one of his cabins.  Grandpa had carved an H in one of the tree stumps!  Inside that cozy cabin were mounted deer heads, fuzzy 'stuffed' squirrels holding ashtrays, deer hooves turned up to act as a hook for hanging our coats, and even a big bear mounted to be standing up and supporting a floor lamp.  I thought that ferocious bear was enormous, but in reality it was most  likely only about 4 feet tall.  I remember pheasants mounted and perched on a table top too!  All 'trophies' of Grandpa's hunting excursions.

Speaking of frightening animals, this is one of my scariest memories of all!  We lived on an island on the border of Canada in New York State at that time, and wolves would come across in the dead of winter to the island, walking on the ice floats when they could.  The local farmers formed a posse one year to rid the island of the wolves who were at that time extremely hungry and destroying livestock to ward off starvation.  Thinking it would help calm my fears to know the wolves were dead, my father took me to the shed where several wolf carcasses were hanging.  All I could think was that it was going to raise its head and take a huge bite out of me with its enormous fangs.  Note:  those teeth are evident in that photo.  Kind of ironic that my snow suit of that time was red and I looked like Little Red Riding Hood!!!!!
I find myself wondering right now if those wolves are still coming across from Canada, or if they are no longer plentiful enough to be roaming there.  That was so long ago, but the memories are still fresh.  Certainly the 1940's were a different time, and very removed from the way things are today in so many ways.
Let's be sure we still make happy memories for our families, just as my sister and I did with our latest visit and time spent together.  Just wish our other sister could join us, but she was traveling with her husband and could not change the plans.  We hope to entice her back here again next year for the special fall weather here in the Midwest so the three of us can be together.
Happy memories!

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