In the Garden

April 11, 2014 - Leave a Response

daisies april

I come to the garden alone  While the dew is still on the roses  And the voice I hear falling on my ear  The Son of God discloses. ~ C. Austin Miles

This week’s post takes a look back over the past year in my garden.

Last year’s spring abundance. It was a banner year for the perennials after the mild winter of 2012-2013:

june 18

It was SO abundant, it required a fall purge:

sept 10 2


september 10

Then came the polar vortex in January. Oh dear:

feb before

What was left after whacking it all back:

feb after


feb after 2

Then came the weed/mulch/divide/transplant phase:

april 4


april 4 2

And now comes the fun part, watching the flowers bloom again! Sure, I’ll be filling in with some new plants over the coming months and will update accordingly.

note:pewperson will return on April 25. Happy Easter from the Easter tortoise!

turtle april



April 3, 2014 - 2 Responses


Oh! Where have gone those happy cowboy days?~ Adolphe Huffmeyer 

Two years ago this very week, I wrote about my great grandfather Adolphe Huffmeyer’s 19th century cattle driving tales in a blog post:

As it turns out, one of the people that read it turned out to be a distant cousin, and actually contacted me!

Our great grandfathers were brothers. Their children (our grandmother Minna and his grandfather) were first cousins. Their children were second cousins (our dad and his dad). So we are third cousins.

Isn’t it interesting to discover new kin? Think about all the people, strangers, really, to whom you are related. Once the generations unfold, there are cousins galore!

The last story my great grandfather wrote was published in the July 1945 “Frontier Times”. He died on May 19, but had sent the article in 10 days before he died. They put his picture on the cover as a tribute to him.

frontier times

(a personal note: I love it that he was a published writer; it must run in the family!)

Adolphe Huffmeyer was born in Castroville, TX on November 25, 1855 and at the time of his death, he was 89 years, 5 months and 25 days old.

Here’s the final story from my great grandfather (his memories from 1878):

Adolphe had been given a tip from the Wufter brothers who lived three miles south of his Uncle Louis Oge’s ranch. The brothers would regularly go to Mexico to buy horses, and they suggested that he go to Mexico and buy cattle there at a discount to add to the herds they drove up north and sell for a profit. They told him about an old Mexican general named Escobedo, and they gave him a letter of recommendation.

Adolphe took a risk and signed a note for $1500 bearing 10% interest to finance his purchase. That was a LOT of money back then.

Here’s what happened next:

“After buying the best horse I could find for the trip, I started over into Mexico and landed at General Escobedo’s hacienda. When I handed him my credentials, he looked at them and said, ‘That’s all Dutch to me,’ and then he called over one of his grown daughters who had been educated at the Ursuline Academy in San Antonio. As soon as she translated the item for him, he said, ‘Everything is OK, and you can count on me as your friend.’ He invited me to make myself at home there, which I certainly did, and I was treated most royally as long as I remained there.”

mexican cattle

To shorten a long story, it took him 16 days to purchase 260 “beeves”. He had been warned by the Wufter brothers to not insult the General by offering to pay for all the courtesies he extended.

On the morning Adolphe was ready to head home, the General said to him, “Would you do me a great favor?” Adolphe replied, “I would certainly be the dirtiest ingrate living to refuse, after all the favors bestowed on me at your hands. Please state your wants.”

So the General said, “I have too much business on my shoulders (he was in his 70’s) and wish to unload it on some younger man. Won’t you consider coming back next year after your trail trip and marry one of my daughters, and take charge of my entire business? My daughters and I have taken a great liking to you and think you would fit the bill to a ‘tytie.'”

Adolphe said that he was so surprised at this request that he couldn’t utter a word at first, but then he asked, “Which of your daughters can I have?” He mentioned that there were vast differences in them, but the General said, “You can take your choice.”

Adolphe had to think about that for awhile, but ultimately decided that “life would be too short to spend in a wilderness in Mexico, even though I was rejecting an independent offer of becoming a millionaire…”

He wrote the General a letter of deep regrets upon his return from Ogalalla, Nebraska and again thanked him for his many kind courtesies. He said that was the last he ever heard of him.

After he sold the Mexican cattle, Adolphe paid off his note to the Wufter brothers and had $3500 left to go into the general mercantile business in Bandera with his brother, Emil. He wrote that his business started off fine and kept up well.

In 1880, he was happily married to Miss Mattie Rugh (my great grandmother) in Bandera, and I for one, am very glad that he didn’t marry one of General Escobedo’s daughters!

Ten Years Later

March 28, 2014 - Leave a Response


College was especially sweet because of the positive, hopeful atmosphere of a college campus. ~ Jerry Kramer

Where does the time go? Ten years ago, Shannon graduated from Memorial High School here in Houston. The four years she spent there went by in a flash, and her college years went by even faster. And so it goes. Now, here we are, ten years post high school!

In the spring of her junior year, Joel and I went to MHS to hear a speaker talk about the college application process. We left that meeting thinking that we were way behind the ball, and that we’d best get busy researching various colleges with an eye towards finding just the right one for our precious baby angel girl.

We soon realized that we had no clue where to begin or how to compare the apples to the oranges. Certainly Shannon’s input was important, but how much would a 17 year old know about all the various options available to her and how to research and compare, especially the financial aspects?

Given the scope of this search and the lack of time that her school counselors had to help her (there were hundreds of kids in her class), we opted to use the services of a private educational counselor who, among other things, specializes in placing students in colleges that fit their needs. Dr. Marshall Shumsky is his name, and he was beyond helpful to us.

Before our first meeting, Shannon had made her course selection for her senior year. Because she had fulfilled most of her required courses for graduation, she had planned to take various electives to make for an interesting and fun year.

I remember that first meeting well. Shannon, Joel and I all sat there in Dr. Shumsky’s office as he talked to Shannon about her grades, her test scores, what she was interested in studying in college and where she might want to go.

It seems funny to me now, but two of her particular criteria for a college were that it didn’t have a football program nor a fraternity/sorority system. And, by the way, she wanted to be up in the northeast, in order to be close to New York City, a place that she just loved (and still does!).

Dr. Shumsky looked at her transcript, test scores and her planned course of study and gently told her that if she wanted to get accepted to a college like she envisioned, she would need to take another year of language (she’d already had 3 years of Spanish) and another lab science (after Biology, Chemistry and Physics). I could see her lower lip begin to tremble, and I thought to myself, “Oh no, she’s going to cry!” All her visions of a fun senior year were melting away.

Dr. Shumsky could see the same thing and asked Joel and me to leave them to talk between themselves. We went out to the lobby, and I was a nervous wreck, wondering how Shannon was coping with this unhappy development, and how it would all unfold.

And then suddenly, there they were! Shannon was beaming and announced to us that she was going to take a year of German (helpful in a singing career), and a year of Aquatic Science. Right then and there, if Dr. Shumsky did nothing else for us, he earned his fee.


For if WE had even suggested that she needed to do that, she would have balked, and there would have been unpleasant repercussions. But since HE guided her to this place, it was all right with her.

They had also identified 25 schools that fit her criteria, and her assignment was to research them and cut the list down to 12. This she did (solely by looking at their websites), and we picked 8 to visit that summer (which ended up being a really fun trip to New England). 8 days, 8 colleges, 8 states!

bard 2

She immediately fell in love with Bard (in the beautiful Hudson River Valley, NY), but she also liked and applied to Bates (Maine), Skidmore (NY) and as her “safety school” Manhattanville (also NY. I didn’t like that one, but didn’t forbid her application. She not only got in, she got a huge scholarship offer, but declined, which I was happy about).

That fall, she and I flew up north so that she could interview at both Bard and Bates. This was also a fun trip, but it would have been more fun if Joel had been there, especially because I was the driver and uncertain about navigating in NYC and Boston. This was before the days of GPS, so I was winging it as best I could. We survived.


 Bard’s Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts

Bard was still her first choice after that trip. There she sat in some classes after her interview, and I remember when we left to head up to Maine, she said she didn’t want to leave Bard, but just stay there forever!

She nixed Skidmore, which didn’t surprise me, because if I’m not mistaken, they DO have Greeks there. As it turned out, Bard wanted her just as much as she wanted Bard, so it was a match made in heaven.

When it came time for her to enroll for Bard’s 3 week orientation immersion into campus life (now called the  Language and Thinking Program) in August 2004, we drove her and her “stuff” up north, which was a 3 day road trip. I know I was anxious that she find some friends and like her roommate, and I’m sure she must have had some anxieties, as well. But it all worked out- great roommate, fun friends (one of whom is now our son in law!) and a wonderfully eclectic and artsy education, which she thrived on.


Tewksbury Hall where Shannon lived her freshman year.Circa 1950’s, it was not the most idyllic place to live, but it sure built character!

The bonus was that we loved visiting Shannon those four years while she was at Bard. Gorgeous and interesting, historical and a haven for foodies, I highly recommend planning a trip to Rhinebeck next time you are up that way.

Thanks, Dr. Shumsky. You earned every penny of your consulting fee!

The Treasure Hunt

March 21, 2014 - Leave a Response


One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries. —A.A. Milne

My mother in law recently moved from her apartment into Assisted Living (and subsequently to Skilled Nursing), which meant packing up all her “stuff” and deciding what to do with it.

There were boxes and boxes of papers, keepsakes, photos and souvenirs. I probably could have pitched them without looking at the contents, but you never know what you might find!

And yes, while I threw out much of it, there WERE some very dear treasures that I knew Joel and his brother would enjoy. So anything I thought they might like to see, I saved.

For instance, here are some notes that Joel wrote to his mother in the early 1960’s. I love the formality of them and his neat penmanship!


Someone asked me what the asterisk stood for… ha!


Wonder what he did that was so bad?


Words that every mother loves to hear!


Ace was their dog. Poor Ace.

And the last one,


Funny, he never says anything like this to me!

Apparently my husband was a very stubborn little boy and butted heads with his mom more than once! I tucked all of these hilarious notes into her 90th birthday card, and she got a good laugh out of them. It made me glad to see her so happy.

Back when she was about the same age as her father was when he wrote the above notes, my daughter created some artwork for me one day when I was in a foul mood. Her teacher used to draw these little smiley faces on her good work, so Shannon carefully drew one for me and wrote the following note:


“Cher up, Mom!”

Anyone who can remember what the singer, Cher looked like in those days (late 1980’s) would laugh at the suggestion that I “Cher up!” Can you imagine me wearing some of those outlandish outfits or fixing my hair like she did back then?

Note how much neater her father’s penmanship was than hers at about the same age. Can’t say that it is today!

Shannon’s sweet note continues to make me smile every time I see it (because it’s stuck on the refrigerator), just as Joel’s notes to his mom made her smile, all these years later.

Sometimes it’s good to keep “stuff”…  but then scan them for posterity, and voila! No more piles of papers!


March 12, 2014 - Leave a Response


We dare not trust our wit for making our house pleasant to our friend, so we buy ice cream. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are empty nesters, and as such, we have some spare bedrooms that are sometimes filled with assorted, interesting people. For instance when Shannon and Kat were married, we had three lovely young ladies in the wedding party who bunked upstairs. That weekend was a virtual whirlwind of activities; I don’t think we ate many meals here at all.

But lately we’ve been asked to keep some guest musicians for the Houston based Mercury ensemble. And now we have agreed to keep two singers from the British group, VOCES8, who will be performing at our church this weekend.

Voces8 Group Promo

Our first two musical visitors (both clarinetists) were ex-pat Americans, but based in the Netherlands. They were young and fairly self sufficient. I wasn’t sure what to expect nor what they expected. Actually, they have now stayed with us twice. All they needed was a bed/bath and an internet connection. And coffee. I didn’t go overboard providing elaborate cuisine for them, and frankly, I’m glad.

The Brits arrive tomorrow. They are both guys, and I have no idea what they are like, what they expect or what I am going to provide for them. They will be with us for an entire week. In addition to their performance, they will do musical outreach here in Houston and spend time with young musical students, which I think is very cool.

Supposedly, the main meal I am to provide for them is breakfast. I eat a bowl of cereal every morning. Joel eats a boiled egg or toast and peanut butter. I have a sign over my desk that says, “Bed and Breakfast. Make Your Own.”

So it is with a bit of trepidation that I face the thought of making a real breakfast every day for a week. My foodie friends probably think I am a total loser and would have no problems baking pastries from scratch or whipping up pancakes/waffles/croissants/whatever. I’m thinking, “who in the heck does that every day?”

This, coming from someone whose mother whipped up a three course breakfast meal for us six children every day of the week when we were growing up. Eggs, bacon, toast, oatmeal, berries, sausage, pancakes, waffles, you name it. Milk and juice, too.

How did it happen that I am so inept at making a decent breakfast? I have no idea. Maybe just having the one child has dulled my sense of creative cuisine? Her favorite special breakfast was making Pillsbury cinnamon rolls and cooking up some turkey bacon. I think it still is her favorite!

On ordinary days? Here honey, have a Pop Tart!

So here’s my plan. I’m going to get in some kolaches for that first morning. I’ve already have some fruit. Got coffee. Need to get tea.

But before I go spend any more money on things that may or may not be eaten, I’m just going to ask them what they would like to have for breakfast. And then I’ll go to the store and do my best!

Or send them to BB’s for breakfast every morning… 🙂

August 18, 1970

March 7, 2014 - Leave a Response

our town

Emily: Live people don’t understand, do they?
Mrs. Gibbs: No, dear-not very much
~ from Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town”

As I pore over all the papers and photos in my mother in law’s files, I discover treasures daily that I put aside for Joel and his brother to look at. For example, here is handwritten letter to both of her sons, dated August 18, 1970. They were up at Lake Cherokee (in east TX), visiting her favorite cousin, Tootsie and her husband, Arthur. What fun folks they were! I loved them both.

This particular letter captured a moment in time, but it was full of ordinary details. Joel had just graduated from TH Rogers Junior High (back then it went through the 9th grade). He was getting ready to enter the 10th grade at Lamar HS, and among other things, his mom wrote about how Joel and his neighborhood friends would get to and from Lamar.

Lamar was maybe a mile east of their Afton Oaks home, straight up Westheimer, and if he had had a mean old mother like MY mother, she would have made him walk it.

(note: my mom made me walk to Lanier Jr. High with our neighborhood group of girls. It was seriously a mile there and back. We were so deprived! Just kidding, Mom. I was very fit after walking miles to and from school uphill in the snow both ways!)

But no, the moms of his friends were discussing how all the guys could ride the public bus together, and she said in this letter that she wanted Joel to have a bus card. I’m sure Joel was absolutely thrilled to hear this news! It was totally not cool, but at least he wasn’t going to be alone in his misery.


His mom went on to mention how quiet it was without them at home, and she described how all the pets felt deserted, even Freddy the sparrow. She said “He just gave a few feeble cheeps occasionally. He sat all hunched up and dispirited. Think I’ll turn the radio on for him today.”


(note: Freddy was rescued as a fledgling by Joel’s grandmother, and lived for 13 years in their home. The life span of a wild sparrow is 3 years. Freddy ate chicken and eggs and all sorts of cannibalistic things and sang all sorts of songs that most wild sparrows would never sing!)

The history of our families is remembered in the ordinary moments, such as this letter describes. It reminds me of the Thornton Wilder play, “Our Town” where Emily wants to return from the dead and experience a day back with her family. She wants everyone to savor the ordinary, but of course, no one can hear nor see her.

I cherish this letter from my mother in law, just as I have cherished my mother’s letters from my childhood.

But what will the next generation cherish? That’s a very good question! My mother keeps telling me to print out my blog posts, but I haven’t done so (yet).

(note: the cynic in me wonders that perhaps the NSA can help all of us re-capture our e-mails, FB posts, tweets, etc. when the time comes?)

My advice to my daughter and her friends is to keep journals and save your memories in print. Someday your ancestors will appreciate your doing so!

Who knows? They may enjoy reading about your surviving the polar vortex of this winter and all the derechos, earthquakes and other such momentous events of your Lexington years and beyond.

Just sayin’… 🙂

Car Games

February 28, 2014 - One Response

happy motoring

Happy Motoring!Humble Oil (Esso) slogan

I love road trips, and can drive for hours and hours. Back when I was a kid, that’s how we always traveled on family vacations, no matter if it took days for us to get to our destination, whether Florida, New York, California, Wyoming or Mexico. Much of the fun and memories came during the journey, both there and back.

Being one of six children, there were always others in the back seat (or even the WAY back seat), to share, squabble or play with. There were no digital games, no iPods, no movies to watch. Nope. We looked at the scenery and played games that required us to pay attention to what was outside the window.

Everybody knows the license plate game. You look for out of state plates on passing cars/trucks and keep score. It’s kind of like “black out bingo” where you strive to see plates from all 50 states. Hawaii and Alaska were the rarest, but seeing a Rhode Island plate also led to much excitement! (Geography lessons…)

And then there’s the alphabet game. We would look for words on billboards and signs that began with each letter of the alphabet. The hardest words to find are the ones beginning with the letter X. Once I spied the word “xeriscaping” on a billboard in San Antonio, but usually I have to settle for the trucks that have “US Xpress” on them. Yes, I still play that game to myself when I drive. (Spelling lessons…)

We would also play an animal game where we’d pit the right side of the road against the left to count how many animals we’d see; certain ones had higher values than others. White horses scored the most points. (Math lessons…)

Of course everyone in the “way back” would try to get the drivers of the 18-wheelers we passed to honk their horns. (Persuasion lessons…)

There was one habit we had, although I’m not sure how it began… when we’d drive over a bridge, we had to hold our breaths over the span. This did not work when driving over the Lake Pontchartrain causeway (the longest bridge over waterway- continuous in the world, almost 24 miles). But I recall dying to breathe when we’d drive over the Lake Charles bridge while driving to Houston from New Orleans! If Dad drove really fast, we could do it! (Physical Fitness lessons)

I feel a little bit sorry for my one and only Shannon, who probably did not enjoy the long car trips by herself in the back seat over the years. But there was that one time we drove to Atlanta in my mother’s car, along with her two cousins, aunt and grandmother. The trip to Atlanta was a lot of fun for her with her cousins in the back seat. But on the trip back to Houston, it was just Shannon, me and Baba.


Baba’s car was a gigantic Oldsmobile station wagon (that looked like the one pictured above), and the three of us all sat in the front seat all the way home. I tried to come up with some things that would entertain Shannon on the long drive home. Here’s what she wrote years later:

“I don’t know what possessed my mother to buy a kit for making balloon animals, but trying to create a giraffe out of a tube of plastic is extremely amusing when you’re bored out of your skull and there’s nothing else to do.

I was eight years old the summer that my mom, grandmother (Baba) and I drove my aunt and cousins from Houston to their home in Atlanta. On the return trip, my mom appeased me by buying a much sought-after ‘Littlest Pet Shop’ set. Then she pulled out the surprise- those blasted balloon animals.

Balloon dog

Since I didn’t want to sit alone in the back seat of Baba’s grey, 80’s vintage Oldsmobile station wagon, I sat in between Mom and Baba in the front. Mom was driving in rush hour Atlanta traffic, and was stressed to begin with. Baba and I were twisting those colorful hotdogs like the book told us to, but…

‘Scrunch, skwinch, sckronk, POW!!! AAAH!!!’ (uproarious laughter ensued). Actually mom ended up being pretty good at it and always said that if Dad ever ran off with a floozie, she’d go earn a living making balloon animals in the French Quarter.”

Ah yes, memories are made of this!

A Shirley Temple Sighting

February 21, 2014 - Leave a Response

shirley temple

Any star can be devoured by human adoration, sparkle by sparkle. ~Shirley Temple

As the calendar pages continue to turn, more and more icons of my childhood pass into eternity. Shirley Temple Black was one of the latest newsworthy “celebrities” to go. Although, her movie career was brief (in the 1930’s), she was such a star that her fame carried her through generations of Americans who revered her as an American sweetheart, even into the late 1900’s and beyond.

Her sunny and positive influence during the dark years of the Depression raised the spirits of her fellow citizens and cemented her popularity, even long after she had retired from the business.

As a young woman, she turned away from the movies and eventually dedicated herself as a public servant. She was a career diplomat with ambassadorships in Ghana and Czechoslovakia, and later she served as Chief of Protocol for the US.

As her website says, she was the world’s best ambassador of goodwill.

My personal interaction with her was an insignificant, but memorable moment, at least to me.

In the summer of 1976, I was 21 years old. My parents had offered a gift to each of us six kids on our 21st birthday. If we wanted to go to Europe, they would pay for the airfare and week in a nice hotel, but we had to save up the rest of the funds needed for such a trip and then plan the itinerary. And so I did, and so I went.

London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Paris and back to London. What a fabulous six weeks it was, albeit on a student budget. As an art history student, finally seeing all the art and architecture I had studied in person was well worth all the scrimping and saving.

In my student mode, I did a lot of walking and subway riding and eating on the cheap (and staying in some rather “shabby genteel” rooms). But then my dad coordinated a business trip to London to coincide with my final week there. Oh my goodness, what a difference that made to my lifestyle!

From lowly digs and food, I graduated up to the Exxon suite in Mayfair, to eating at fancy dinners at au courant restaurants and attending the Royal Ascot horse races, chauffeured in a 1976 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow (I had to go buy a hat to wear, and Dad had to rent a morning suit, complete with a top hat).

Looking back on how little I knew about fashion, privilege and class back then, my current self would have been mortified at the attire I wore to that fabulous event. I had brought all of one “nice” (knit) dress to carry me through those six weeks of Europe, and that is what I wore. But because I had had zero experience with that milieu, I wasn’t at all fazed by it. Thankfully.

Champagne and quail eggs and watching the Royal Ascot from a private suite is pretty heady when you are 21 years old. And it was extra special to share it with my dad, who was very happy to have me along.

Oh wait. I was talking about Shirley Temple Black. Trust me, all this background information is leading up to our encounter….

As I mentioned, Dad had planned his business trip to coordinate with that last week of my European adventure. Looking back, it is clear that he was thinking about me, because he booked his flight home on the same flight that I was on. And so we arrived at Heathrow together.

He was first class, I was not.

At the Eastern Airlines counter, the line to check in the “regular people” was a mile long. So Dad marched me up to the first class stand and asked them to check me in with him, as well. Which they did.

12th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Arrivals

And then, when we went through the first class customs, there was Shirley Temple Black, standing in line right in front of me. I’ve never been one to exclaim over famous people when I encounter them (OMG! Shirley Temple!), and so I acted cool, as if it were no big deal that she was right there.

But I will tell you that the customs agent, who had the ubiquitous stiff upper lip that the British are known for, stamped her passport and then looked at me and sang under his breath, “On the good ship, Lollypop!”

Made me smile. Shirley Temple Black, RIP. The whole world loved you.

The Beatles, 50 Years Ago

February 14, 2014 - Leave a Response


Ladies and Gentlemen… The Beatles! ~ Ed Sullivan

There’s been a lot of print lately about how this year marks the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ American debut. It brought back a memory of the first time I ever heard them.

My dad had a dear friend in high school who married a Scot whom she met while he was training at Ellington Field during WWII. She subsequently moved overseas to live in Glasgow, Scotland with him.

Each of their five sons came to visit us in the US at some point, and most of us went to visit them when we “crossed the pond”. It’s wonderful to visit a place and stay with a native, who serves as a personal tour guide.

In 1963, the eldest Mason son, Keith came to visit us in New Orleans. He brought a gift to us kids. It was a 45 rpm record by the Beatles! “She Loves You” was on side A and “I’ll Get You” on side B.

We girls were THRILLED, and played it over and over. We’d never heard of them, nor had we heard anything like it before then. Brother Ray would mumble “turn off that racket!”, but interestingly enough, he was quite the musical collector later in his life.

I don’t know what happened to that original record… Remember when we had to use that little gizmo in the center to play a 45 rpm record on our record players?

The closest I ever came to hearing the Beatles Live was on September 16, 1964 at City Park Stadium in New Orleans. It was a Wednesday (I had to look it up).We lived maybe a mile away. Maybe a mile and a half. We went outside, and all we could hear was the steady screams of 12,000 “people” (likely all teenage girls).

Here’s what “The Beatles Bible” says about that concert:

The stage at City Park Stadium was situated on the far side of the venue, well away from the audience. However, during the performance of “Can’t Buy Me Love” more than 100 fans broke through a police cordon and ran across the field towards the stage. It took 225 police officers more than 20 minutes before order was restored, with mounted police patrolling the area of the breach.

 Around 200 fans collapsed through excitement and exhaustion. One girl broke her arm, but refused hospital treatment until the show had ended.

 The concert was recorded, and was broadcast by the WNOE-AM radio station on the 10th anniversary of the concert. The songs were mostly inaudible due to the fans’ screams, but The Beatles’ between-song stage banter was captured. A

fter the fans’ attempted stage invasion, John Lennon remarked: “We’d like to continue with our next number, if you would stop playing football in the middle of the field.” Prior to the final song, “Long Tall Sally”, Paul McCartney told the crowd: “We’d like to thank everybody for coming, including the football players.”

 The Beatles’ performance lasted just half an hour. The other acts on the bill were, in order of appearance, The Bill Black Combo, The Exciters, Clarence ‘Frogman’ Henry, and Jackie DeShannon. Henry had joined the tour in Philadelphia two weeks earlier, replacing The Righteous Brothers who had complained that the crowds were more interested in screaming for The Beatles than listening to them sing.

I wonder how many girls skipped school the next day, or at least had lost their voices?

STUFF Overload

February 7, 2014 - Leave a Response


Originally, the cellar served primarily as a coal store. Today it holds the boiler, idle suitcases, out-of-season sporting equipment, and many sealed cardboard boxes that are almost never opened but are always carefully transferred from house to house with every move in the belief that one day someone might want some baby clothes that have been kept in a box for twenty-five years. ~ Bill Bryson

In 2005, I helped move my parents from their home of 37 years to a retirement community (big time downsizing!). What an undertaking that was! But it was a positive lifestyle change for both of them, and we are SO glad my mom made the decision to move there.

But oh, the STUFF! From a three story house with attic wings plus a full garage and garage apartment they moved into a two bedroom apartment. It was a family project, and we all pitched in and pitched OUT (all the STUFF). Thank goodness for siblings (and daughter and nieces/nephews!).

Prior to their move, I had helped move my mother in law from her home of 33 years to a condo in 1994, and then later to that same retirement community in 2009. It was likewise a positive experience, and she enjoyed making new friends and participating in the social events.

Let’s just say that each of these moves involved way too much STUFF that had to be sorted, packed and/or pitched. Much was pitched.

Then this past summer, we moved my MIL to an assisted living apartment within this same community, again reducing her space and accumulated STUFF.

Now this week, we are faced with moving her into the skilled nursing wing, once more needing to reduce STUFF.


There comes a tipping point in one’s life from accumulation to divestment. For me, it happened in my 40’s. Prior to that, whenever my mother or mother in law would say, “do you want this (whatever)?” I would say, “sure!”

And now I have seven sets of china, too much barware to count, crystal, silver, knick knacks, decorative items, plus all the family heirlooms that are meaningful to Joel and me. All that, plus our own STUFF.

These past years have been a revelation. I don’t want my daughter to have to deal with my STUFF. So while I am reducing and reducing my mother and MIL’s STUFF, I am determined to reduce my own STUFF before Shannon has to.

My New Year’s Resolution: Toss out something daily and regularly shred old financial documents (but shredding our STUFF has to wait until I finish shredding Oma’s STUFF!)

Dear daughter, I hope I don’t get hit by a bus tomorrow, because I will really feel bad about leaving you with all my STUFF. But I promise to do my best to get rid of as much as I can, and should I be privileged to live a long life, I promise not to accumulate more STUFF! love, mom