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Category Archives: Memories

It is a Blue Bird Day…

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Once again it is spring, warm breezes of May float across the green grass, it strokes the Hosta, Day Lilies, and Bleeding Hearts lightly; the daffodils’ leisurely bow their golden heads ready to sleep in the bosom of Mother Nature.  May is also the month that my mother and father married.

They would have been married forty-five years when he died.  My father was a man of few words, in those early days he turned over crimson soil with an old mule and one blade plow.  The land within time would turn into a sea of the white gold; cotton.  Later, he would work in a steel plant welding; the burns to his face and hands left deep brown scars.  The way he led his life was a testament to his principles.  

When the steel plant closed, he set out on yet another quest; he drove a sixteen wheeler making a California “turn around”, which was driving from Alabama to California and back weekly.  He always had a supply of “Bennie’s”, known to be an “upper or speed”.  He actually worked at this job until he retired; one month before he passed away.  It was his job and drug of choice; with the blood of his Chickasaw ancestors flowing through his veins and Uppers, he was no doubt a “Bad Boy” on that three-thousand-mile road.

My mother, a gracious but cold-hearted woman of the South was among the “career” women of the time.  She chose to be a beautician over being a mother.  When she looked at me with those ice blue eyes and tight lips it sent fear deep into my soul.  She left me to walk the furrowed red rows behind a plow and mule; my father did the best that he could to raise me.  

 My Aunt Vina, my father’s sister kept me during the summer months; she was the mother I did not have in those days.  She taught me to read and write; I was living among the upper class, artist, writers, poets, and politicians.   She and my father taught me how to love, be proud of who I am and believe.

As I walk through these  last chapters of my life I find my home overflowing with paintings on my walls and those to finish on the table, hours spent in reading, writing stories and poetry fill my days and nights.  This short walk down memory lane has been a happy and a sad one; some would say do not take that path through my memory.  However, it is these memories that make up who I am and I like whom I am today.

Thanks to all of you who drop by to see new post.  Have a great weekend, as I too will enjoy the beauty of spring all under a blue bird sky.  eajm

 

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Wisconsin Weather…

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So…today is Friday and it is cold outside!  Mother Nature loves to play games with the people who live in Wisconsin.  We have had it in the 70’s and must now endure the mid-40 mark.  The coat I placed far to the back of my closet is now at the front.

The first time I knew there was land beyond the “Mason Dixon Line” was in March 1956, I was about seventeen years old, just married to a boy that had “faked” his southern accent.  After a wedding so to speak, not a shotgun one but arranged by parents to keep this young boy in the south.  That story too long for one post.  The arrangement did not work, as he was an Alabama transplant living in Wisconsin with his mother and stepfather for over a decade, and had always planned to return after he vacationed in the South.

Fresh out of the military he yearned for what was called “STAN & IRENE’S”, yep…a bar.  We went to Chicago by train, switched there to a train going to Beaver Dam, I slept, exhausted from the last two-weeks of sheer horror and missing my daddy; I may as well be a kidnapped victim.  It was dark when we got on that last train.  I stared out the window into the darkness thinking, this person no longer has a southern accent and what do I know about him, nothing.  Yes, I think back see myself as a kidnap victim.

When I woke in amazement, outside was a world I had never seen.  It was truly the most beautiful landscape I had ever seen other than the white sands and warm gulf waters of Panama City, Florida.  I had on a blue short sleeve sweater and a light green “poodle” skirt with a blue scarf tied around my neck and yes…saddle shoes and white roll down socks

This post was supposed to be about today’s cold right?  Well, I have veered off track.  I stepped off the train in a place called Fox Lake; I was scared and surprised…the “GOOD BOOK” had given me the impression that Hell was hot!

I rode from the train platform into Beaver Dam freezing; even the inside of the car was cold.  When we reached the home of my then husband’s parents it was not much warmer than the outside, but at least the wind was not blowing through the two story – two flat house.  As time went by, I knew that I had been sentenced to Hell for sure; I lived with the Devil and his followers.

When I acquired the proper clothing I loved the clean fresh look of snow, to toss it in the air and something I had never done make and throw a snowball with my new twelve-year-old sister-in-law, I loved snow.

Well, it now sixty-one years later, all of the people I knew then are gone, I hope to a peaceful place.  I still have a southern accent; do not ask me why…it just stayed with me.  I can live anywhere I want too, I continue to choose Wisconsin and its four seasons.

Nevertheless, please it is the end of April and it in the forties…give this ole southern girl a break!

 

 

 

 

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The American Dream…

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The American Dream…

There was a time when life flowed slowly like a perfect meadow stream, fresh was the air, blue was the sky; and everyone had a chance to live the American dream.

These things will never return, we have put a hole in the sky, we are destroying earth out of self-seeking for the things that we really do not really need.  The sky is no longer a clear blue, now we see it as a dingy hue, the rivers and streams are filled with debris, between Heaven and Earth hovers a cloud of toxic waste, we are destroying this planet at an ever-increasing speed.  Our wetlands are taken away sold to build summer get-away, gone are the lands, forest and streams where wildlife was free to roam, today it is some greedy rich persons million dollar home.

Listen, are the birds still singing a joyous song, we are not happy because our backyards we find mountain lions, foxes and deer who are only passing through; it use to be their feeding grounds.  We never give it a thought when these feeding grounds were gone, where did we expect Mother Nature’s children to call home?

Mother Nature tries to correct our mess with hurricanes, tornados and such, but I believe she thinks that saving these feeding grounds for her children is up to us.  It appears we do not care and one day all there may be are crumbling buildings, bridges and monuments that will all turned to dust.  Where you ask is that American dream, its lost among the rubble of crooks and banking schemes.  The planet will die and waste away in fishless oceans and down dirty mountain streams.

There was a time when life flowed slowly like a perfect meadow stream, fresh was the air, blue was the sky; and everyone had a chance to live the American dream.

©2017.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

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Easter…for Me!

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At the age of three and yes, I can remember back that far!  Easter meant dressing in your best clothes and going to church.  There was always an Easter egg hunt at the church, which was lucky for me, as my mother believed it was a day to worship “The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost”, not hide Easter Eggs. 

Daddy would put me into one of the two dresses I owned, both quiet plain and ugly, he brushed out my tight as coils hair and mother finished it off in a crown of corncob ringlets.  My mother and sister wore store bought dresses I wore hand-me-downs.  Armed with my one-pound lard bucket I was placed in the front seat of an old Army jeep.  We could only use it on nice days as the cloth top had been removed after the War!

In those days I did not realize that, everyone in the little Rural Grove Baptist Church was dress in their Sunday finery, and that only a few of us were labeled “share croppers” wore everyday clothes.  This did not matter when the service was over, all of the colorful eggs were found, Easter dinner of ham, and the trimmings were waiting at home. 

Daddy who refused to go to church would be waiting on the front porch of our tiny clapboard house, picking his banjo with a few of his farm hounds howling.  Even Soap sticks, our old mule brayed along with the dogs.  When my mother drove up the road, a silence fell across the land.  Relatives came from near and far for that Sunday feast, which she hated.

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By the age of six my mother made certain that I knew that there was “no” Easter Bunny, she may have been tired of me all year long refusing to eat the rabbits that my daddy killed on a regular basis as part of our food source.  I understood by the age of six that the only eggs boiled would go into the potato salad; coloring eggs was a waste of money, to hide them was a waste of time.  She no longer allowed me to hunt for the eggs at church.  By now, I knew why my daddy would never attend church, my sister left home and that left just mother and me. 

By the age of twelve, we had moved from the farm into the city, I was old enough to dress myself and I walked to church alone, for some reason my mother always stayed home with my daddy.  In her later years she returned to the church. 

The Easter Sunday that I turned thirteen, many of us were put into busses and cars to be taken to the backwaters of the Tennessee River to be baptized.  My mother never asks why my clothes were still wet and my hair hung down my back weighing a ton.  Daddy looked at me saying, “Well little girl they got you too”, the subject never came up again as relatives were piling into the front door greeted by the aroma of that big ham waiting for them.

By the age of sixteen, I was teaching Sunday school to an excited group of six-year-olds, I did this for ten years, through the years.  By the age of twenty-six, I was still teaching Sunday school; by this time, I was taking with me my three little girls, their daddy stayed at home.  Now, everyone is gone, my family from my childhood, the husband, and I have lost two of my five children. 

If for no other reason, I have to believe that Jesus existed and rose from the dead to enter his father’s Kingdom in Heaven, for if it is not so that would mean I will never see my family again.  So, with my time getting closer I celebrate that day and to grasp the idea that there is a Heaven and a Easter Bunny; in my mind’s eye a little curly headed child of a sharecropper is skipping on the green grass at the Rural Grove Baptist Church in Alabama hunting for eggs.  Sorry… I have to go; I see another colored egg in the tall grass by the Oak tree!

 

 

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Harnessed a few old thoughts today…

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My mother never had but one child and it was not “me”!  My mother never had but one grandchild, it was not among my own five children.  My mother never had but four great-grandchildren, my two are not among that accounting.  My mother had many great-great-grandchildren I have none to be in that accounting!

While working on my current writing project “Flying with Broken Wings”, I stop to write down a thought that would be in relation to my own autobiography that now comprises of many scraps of paper, some full sheets, including the back of many coffee house and diner placemats.  My “someday” autobiography.

The thought was to write a book about estrangement among family members.  This relates directly to my beginning paragraph.  After Google delivered its list to me, I realized that there is a slight possibility that every family in this world had problems with getting along with each other.  There are dozens of estrangement books, so my starting one is not necessary.   My home library beside many books on fiction and non-fiction consists of dozens of self-help books from emotional to the deranged brain; I have nothing on the family that hates.

 I quickly went to Amazon and ordered one that I thought interesting.  When it arrives, I will read and store with the other books on “real life issues”.  I love to read, and I see my family and myself in these books.  I do not need to learn how to confront family; ninety-nine- percent of them are dead; the other one-percent is dead to me!  These percentages consist of my birth family, mother, father, siblings, and nieces, etcetera.   

In general, I have read articles about family estrangement, mothers, fathers, siblings and the cold war of ending communication.   It is not about who got the spotlight in the family, to me it is about how one selfish act of my own mother changed the dynamics of my entire family.  There are many books and articles about this subject, but I found there are few statistics on the subject of family estrangement. 

If I had to make a statement about why family members cease to speak to each other, I would say one reason is intolerance.  Family members are unwilling to be their real selves and share their real feelings.  Living in a family with estrangements is extremely painful and can be debilitating.  I usually say, these people wear “rose colored glasses”.

Is healing possible, maybe, but my own healing is impossible due to death or stubbornness of these people.   Therefore, I believe that healing starts within, willingness or unwillingness of communication lies with the parting family member.  I chose the path of healing myself, making peace with myself, knowing that I have tried more times than anyone to reach out to family members.  They return to the “circle” of family only to push those who tried to love them away.  I find them to be hypocrites and unworthy of my love.  I have peace of mind, I will be okay, and the scars will heal.  The secret is time.  I call it the “Seven Decade War”! 

Have a great weekend.

 

 

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I did not mind the rain…

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I did not mind the rain…

I am back after a week surrounded by black hills, gray clouds, misty mornings, soft and hard rain.  My last day the Sun decided to make its presence so I spent the day sitting outside.  I did not get to walk as I do when at home because of the rain, as I had left the rain gear behind.

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My first day is sitting at a table staring at my laptop.  I went to bed by eleven PM each day…early for me.  The second day I finished reading a “self-help” book I had brought in case it did rain; I finished it before bedtime.  On the third day, I scattered around on the table notes and sheets of ideas.  Day three through day 8, I wrote non-stop and I completed about 10 chapters of my book “Flying with Broken Wings”, or roughly 25,000 words.   In addition, a fare of various fruits, a soup of assorted beans and salads.

Upon return home Sunday at eleven AM, I fell into the bed and woke at six AM, today, Monday.  That my friend is sleeping.  After checking an hours’ worth of mail, I write this simple post to you the greatest followers in the WORLD.   IN ADDITION, I believe it is time for a nap! 

I’m Back!

 

 

 

 

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The Coffee Table…

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This is a very, very short story of a long marriage that “ends” after thirty-six years with spurts of happiness and much tribulation; the end came over twenty-five years ago. Now that the logistics is out of the way, this numeric information is relevant to the title…the coffee table. 

I chose to end the marriage that had been filled little happiness and many tumult periods from the beginning.  It is important to know that before ending such a marriage my children were adults.  I walked away on a sunny June morning with a suitcase, my dog and a rented car.  I did not want anything that was a part of my past.  The coffee table bought in the mid-sixties was going to be tossed in the mid-nineties; it had been in the basement of my sons’ home.  Cleaning time. 

I said yes, I would take it.  Somehow it meant something to me; the only thing that I would have from my marriage.  This ageless contemporary piece of furniture carried with it many memories.  Shopping for furniture in 1979 was during a better time, my then husband and I spent an entire day searching the stores until the one meant for us was found.  A few days later the table would be tossed across the room in a rage of madness, the inside frame broken.  I repaired the table and it was like new.

It would appear that the coffee table itself was somehow demonic.  Over the period of ten-years, the coffee table would split open the chins and one cut above an eye of two boys wrestling in the living room.  It placed cuts on grandchildren that tripped and fell on its corners.  It left bruises on shins of the entire family who chose to hurry around the object of discussion.

 

It had its good moments too.  It served as desk where hundreds of thousands pages of homework was done.  Throughout its “life” served as step stool, craft table, coloring table, and eating and snack table.  It has held plants, books and other things during the different seasons.  I smile as I think back at the many good times my children and I had sitting around this table when my husband was out of town.  We glorified the days without chaos.  When I received the coffee table, I painted the dark wood white, a pure color that would remove all turmoil significance.  Throughout these past years, it has been repainted the same white many times.

This brings me to the present and for the record, I have stated many times that the table is being held together by the paint.  Apparently, it was…my four-year-old grandson used it as a bounce board and then I sat on the table to talk to my granddaughter and poof; I ended its life and an era.

 

Well you would not believe the “moans” from my children, “ah can’t it be fixed”?

 

There was no pain in its exodus from my home, well maybe a little as it was heaved into the trash.  I suddenly understood that I had held onto it for the memories, memories that are embedded deep within me.  The good ones I will keep, the bad will soon be hauled away.  I thought about what could have been and never was; time wasted, and I looked for the last time at the only thing that was left of a long marriage… the coffee table.   

 

 

 

©2017.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

 

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