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Archive for May, 2009

Em and a Mausi in the kitchen at Chautauqua

Em and a Mausi in the kitchen at Chautauqua

So here are Em and her dear Maus enjoying a moment at Chautauqua this Memorial Day weekend, 2009. Pretty soon Sofia will be a big sister and we are all getting her ready for this change with baby dolls and swaddling and books about being a big sister. She is growing up so quickly now, and beginning to talk and is the apple of my eye, along with her dear cousin Nathan! She brings so much happiness into all our lives! What a little blessing. I don’t get to see her as often as Nathan, so when I do it is very special.

Every year two big days are opening the cottage and closing it. Getting the water supply back into working order, and then shutting it down in the fall have been fairly challenging these last few years, and we still only have hot water downstairs at the moment, but I hope we can get this fixed before it’s time to shut it down again!

Putting up the screens on the porch and moving out the furniture is another part of setting up the house for another summer. It isn’t the same as it was, once upon a time, long ago and far away when Paul and I spent all the three summer months out at the Lake with our children and dogs. It’s back and forth for special times – Memorial Day, the Glorious Fourth, my writing classes in July (as long as it doesn’t happen at the same time as the birth of Mausi’s new sister), the point picnic and any times my dear relatives and friends came come for a visit. So, it isn’t the same, as nothing is the same from moment to moment. But it is good! The view from the porch is one that calms and cheers me whenever I am there, paying attention. And I love to be there with family and friends.

Memorial brick for Paul

Memorial brick for Paul

Part of my weekend was visiting the little park across from the beach where there is a fan of bricks laid out with names of Point Chautauqua Association members who are no longer here with us on earth.  Last year the brick was laid for Paul but this was the first time I ever saw it. We used to sit on one of the old metal benches here and look at the lake and talk for a while during our dog walks. It was a favorite place for Pali and me. A good place to remember him, if I needed a special place for this. He loved Lake Chautauqua so much and loved welcoming people there and showing them how great it was. I hope we can continue to do so!

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Memories

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I was going to post this last week but life began to feel a bit too rushed before leaving Friday for the long weekend at Chautauqua which I will talk about in the next pages.  This is one of two hutch cupboards ( as my mother called them ) which stand in my family room. The plates change with the seasons or holidays or sometimes, just my whim. In the fall my grandmother’s Wild Turkey dishes are displayed with two pilgrims and my strange little collection of squirrels and acorns which began with a small stuffed squirrel which one of my Dad’s dental patients (a four year old one, I think) presented to him and which stood on a little shelf on the old-fashioned clock which was on his office deck. At Christmas time my mother’s Plummer Christmas plates take up the space – it’s the same pattern which Spode began manufacturing sometime in the 60s or 70s. My mother’s have fluted edges which I enjoy because they are different than the Spode ones – I know I’m ridiculous. Sometimes at Christmas time a lot of snowmen are on the hutch, but the last two years they have been on the two little chests of drawers beside the chair where I read in the living room. Some of the impulse to do all this decorating has left me since Paul’s death, but I want my grandchildren to see these things in my home while they are little. Nathan will, but Emily’s children will probably only be here every other Christmas. Still, there is some possibility they may settle here when Ingmar finishes his PhD. One can only hope and I do! The chairman of the CIS dept who is a family friend said they may have two tenure track positions open in about a year and a half………

These Hungarian plates are from a collection begun in Hungary in 1973. The plate on the lower left was bought for me by Paul in the Corvin Aruhaz  (where a lot of the most violent fighting happened during the revolution) that year along with two plates like the one one that same shelf, second from the right. One of those was given away as a gift. Other plates were collected at other times and places but I especially remember the buying of the yellow dish in the center of the top shelf. Pali bargained for it for me at a little country market on some of the property which was part of his family’s estate in former times. It was 1992, I think, when he bought it from an old peasant man who was bargaining very cleverly. However Paul told the man that he should come down in his price so that Paul would look good in the eyes of his watching wife, and, somewhat to our surprise, this was the argument that made the price come down and Paul bought it for me.  Sweet memories and part of my life forever!

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Gifts from Australia

My Down-To-Earth swap partner, B from New South Wales sent me these fabulous pot holders and tea towels! (This is her photograph, btw.) She also included a lovely linen tea towel with birds of New South Wales, Australia and a large bar of Cadbury Chocolate in her gift package……..Sweet temptation! She is so generous. I am a bit in awe of B who has five children and is home-schooling 4 of them, lives on a large farm in NSW and finds time to quilt up a storm and read as well! Even at her age (32 years ago! She is exactly half my age) I don’t think I could have managed all that!  We both read Rhoda Hetzel’s wonderful

http://down—to—earth.blogspot.com/ blog and met one another through the current swap. The internet has so much that is good and finding like-minded people all over the world is one of the very good effects. While the evening news can really drag one down, connecting with people who are living lives of goodness (NOT “quiet desperation”) is such a lifter of spirits and strengthens us all.

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I never got this posted on Mother’s Day, but here it is:

I am thinking about mothers, but just writing “thinking about” made me see that video joke about the German Coastguard getting the radio message that said, “I’m sinking, I’m sinking,” and their not terribly helpful but well meant reply, “Ah, and what exactly are you sinking about?”

 I am obviously easily distracted, and that’s probably a genetic inheritance from my birth mother Gretchen Schwenn. I think my adoptive mother, Berne Granat Ellison Ruppelt was not nearly as blown about in her mind. She had a lot more focus and follow through……..Yes, it’s Mother’s Day and both of my mothers have died. Gretchen died of a heart attack in 1981 and Mom died in 1999 of cancer……..

Regardless of these losses, I am blessed by what I received from both of them, even if it is  very different sorts of inheritance…….From Gretchen I received intelligence, artistic ability and curiosity about everything! From Berne,  also a sense for art and a sense of standards and love of my home. And love of my home (and of books) came from my maternal line: Caroline Ferguson Cole, my gggrandmother, Florence Cole Kistler, my grandmother, Marguerite Kistler Schwenn Smith, my grandmother, and perhaps  came also from Earl Daniel my unknown father, or from his mother and maternal ancestors. From Nana, my mother Berne’s mother, a sense of being loved and accepted. From the unknown people who provided foster care for me for the first 13 months of my life, I think I received only good. Compassion and a sense of connectedness to the Holy Spirit, to the God who said, “I am Who Am,” came to me from everywhere, perhaps. I am indeed blessed. I can only say thank you.

I am also grateful for my two daughters who are themselves mothers now……..I remember my first mother’s day as a mother and how Paul, without whom I would not have ever been a mother,  filled the upstairs room we were living in at his mother’s house with every flower in her garden! I had only been a mother for a week at the time and was only perhaps two days home from the hospital. I remember mother’s day breakfasts when my children were a little older and the breakfasts they made and brought upstairs for me…….One year it was tuna salad with particularly large chunks of tuna and celery and not much else! But such love. And I am sure there were flowers on the tray. I am indeed greatly blessed. em and sofia nevegy ut 4

This picture to the left is of Emily and Sofia Maus in Budapest in 2008, from Nevegy Utca, the new home of our friends Andras and Ildiko Ercsenyi. Mausi has a lot more blonde hair now! She is beginning to talk. On the phone she says, “Hi, Nana,” to me.

Above are a picture of Alice and Nathan at the Steam Train festival and Andy in the doorway to the kitchen of our home on Ranchwood Road……..Nathan at age 4 and a half is so grown up and tall and filled with amazing energy!

I am not a very good photographer and need to work on this! But these people are my blessings in life, along with their father who is always in my heart.

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part of the tea towel I made for Bec, April 2009

part of the tea towel I made for Bec, April 2009

 

That’s life. For two weeks and one morning I was babysitting for my darling grandson, Nathan James. There were lots of times off, mornings when he was at playschool or music class, or at Kid’s Castle while I walked in the water channel at the Natatorium in Cuyahoga Falls. The first Thursday Mike took a day of vacation and was the Daddy Helper at Nathan’s preschool (an act which had other children asking their Daddies to come to school with them, too) and the second Thursday was Alice’s birthday and Mike took another vacation day and they toured Stan Hywet together while Nathan was in school and he came home with Miss Amy from Tiny Tillers. Nathan has grown up so much, not only physically but in his understanding and expressiveness. He can be very serious explaining things to me! I love it. He really is a dear little boy, and I’m not the tiniest bit prejudiced! No, no! Not me.

I also sent off two tea towels and pot holders to Becca Beattie in Australia for our swap. I hope she will like them. She sent me some wonderful towels and potholders with vintage little kid fabric in lovely  blue and red on white color combinations. I haven’t photographed hers yet, but what I made should appear at the beginning of this post. I’m afraid my ability to center things properly needs lots of work!  My friend Nancy has returned after four months in Venice, Florida and tomorrow we are going to Kent State to see some artwork another friend has in a gallery there, and also go the Kent Museum and lunch, too. I am really looking forward to hearing all about her daughter Siri’s wedding plans for the end of this month. The wedding will take place at  Hale Farm, a lovely place to begin ones married life.

potholders for Becca

potholders for Becca

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