It’s Alice

dears, and I want to share some wisdom for obtaining and acquiring a bright, beautiful skin.  Firstly, a warning lovelies~ High living and late hours will destroy the most beautiful complexion!  The secret to acquiring  a bright, beautiful skin is, temperance, exercise, and cleanliness!  There you have it!

Wisdom gleaned from my trusty household guide,

~ The Household Guide, Home Remedies and Home Treatment, For All Diseases in Man or Beast, A Manual in Domestic Information for All Classes, Davis MD, E.B. and Jefferis PHD, M.D. , J.L. Nichols, Naperville, Ills, 1891

PS~ Between us~ my granddaughter, Grace, drinks black coffee, copious amounts of black tea, has been know to stay out late~ (once upon a time), uses retinoid creams, and on occasion, drops by the med spa, wearing a fitbit, on her wrist. 

Until next time, dears!

Yours in loveliness,

Alice

x

The Treasured Book of Words

This morning, I discovered a scrapbook containing snippets of poetry, phrases, and words.  My Grandmother, Alice’s little bespoke Book of Words. Wise words, words to ponder, words to inspire. Words that caught her eye.  I’m assuming that these words spoke to her.  From the poems depicting gardens of pansies, injured birds, rolling kittens, little boys, struggles and hardships, lowly rats, and the evidence of whimsy that I recall, I have been allowed a deeper, sliver glimpse into the reflective soul of the woman I called, Grandma.

Judging by the many clips, Parenting, was a topic that caused our Alice to pause and reflect.  I often wonder about the relationship that she had with her son, my father.  Judging from the poems scrapped carefully into the, Book of Words, Alice, as so many mothers before and after her, was filled with a spirit of hope and promise, at times disappointment, sadness, worry, and longing. Evidence of a dear and precious love was locked in her heart.

I’d like to share this poem from my grandmother’s Book of Words, with you and I wonder if Alice was feeling some regret over family words spoken that once set free, can not be taken back.  It reminds us to celebrate our children’s individuality and their successes, reminding us that success is personal and goals will and should differ. Unconditional love and meaningful praise feeds the soul and the heart.

Which Parent Are You?
I got two A’s, the small boy cried.
His voice was filled with glee.
His father very bluntly asked,
Why didn’t you get three?
Mom, I’ve got the dishes done,
The girl called from the door.
Her mother very calmly said,
Did you sweep the floor?
I’ve mowed the grass, the tall boy said,
And put the mower away.
His father asked him with a shrug,
Did you clean off the clay?
The children in the house next door
Seem happy and content.
The same things happen over there,
But this is how it went:
I got two A’s, the small boy cried.
His voice was filled with glee.
His father very proudly said, That’s great;
I’m glad you belong to me.
Mom, I’ve got the dishes done,
The girl called from the door.
Her mother smiled and softly said,
Each day I love you more.
I’ve mowed the grass, the tall boy said,
And put the mower away.
His father answered with much joy,
You’ve made my happy day.
Children deserve a little praise
For tasks they’re asked to do,
If they’re to lead a happy life,
So much depends on you.

~ Badger Legionne

(approximate date~1930)

The Daily Prompt~ Junk

MirrorDaily Prompt: Clean House

by michelle w. on September 29, 2013

Is there “junk” in your life? What kind? How do you get rid of it?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us JUNK.

A clean and tidy house calms me, assures that all is right with my world. Clean as in floors washed, dishes scrubbed, trash contained and clean as in visually calm and pleasing to the eye, everything in its place, ship-shape, serene.  There is an order to the spaces and pieces in my home, purposely placed to show their function, use, or aesthetic beauty.  Artful placement.  Nothing mumble jumble. It has always been this way for me, a comfort comes in knowing and visualizing where everything is and why it is.  Addicted to order and beauty, addicted to calm.  I fear chaos.

I am addicted to order and beauty yet I can not pass by that one-off chair sitting by the curb, discarded, worse for wear.  I can see possibilities and beauty.  A project.  Junk to you, treasure to me.  Lately, I am drawn to shades of blues and greys, reminiscent of oceans and skies, the shades changing with the hour and the light. Moody shades.  Addicted to shape.  I touch all that is round, smooth, and cool.  Rocks, chestnuts, shells, pottery bowls, and glass are heaven in my hands.  Lately, I am addicted to words, those prolific, simple quotes that complete a thought.  I selectively search them out, books, notecards, posters, pillows, words grace my space.  Junk to you, treasure to me.

Junk challenges and over the years I have attempted to deal with that aspect in my life.  Recycling when I can, discarding if I must, choosing with a selective  eye, finding a home for each item, or walking away.  When I see an item of beauty, it is the history that captivates me, the memories evoked, the stories.  I am addicted to the stories that the pieces whisper forth as they sit in the thrift shop, or beside the curb.  Sometimes, I falter and bring them along home, lovingly restoring and coaxing new life to the damaged shapes. Finding a place for the old.  Junk to you, treasure to me.

Junk can clutter a home; it can clutter a life.  Lately, I have decided to deal with the debris in my soul, sweeping it off and dusting over the scratches.  Polishing up the shabbier pieces, illuminating the beauty and shine, finding my voice. It requires one to be brave, take a risk.  It is difficult to let go and scatter the broken bits, the memories we frantically cling to.  Some of these memories will find a place in a story, some banished, others will be forgiven, planting the seeds of hope and promise. Junk to you, treasure to me.

Oh~ and I will purposely leave a cup out-of-place.  I will walk away.

Building Bridges

There comes a time when you realize that some matters can’t be figured out, that over thinking a situation is futile, answers aren’t forthcoming.  Sometimes you just have to listen to your heart.  Thus, it came to me.  I decided to change the story. The one that I had lived, the one that I had told myself for far too long.  I decided to build a bridge to Promise.  Not that I didn’t ever try.  Previously, I constructed a ramp.  Before that, another attempt, many attempts, in fact. Always, my efforts created a temporary, precarious structure that offered an opportunity to cross over to a hopeful promise, from the abyss to solid, level ground, to the promise of belonging, the promise of forgiveness.  Always, I would start the precarious journey, gingerly stepping away from the safety of the zone I had created.  Always, I would make it to the half waypoint where I would falter, afraid to push on.  The voices whispering, Go back. I would listen.  First came fear, stealthily overtaking my head, moving downward to tangle my heart, finally paralyzing my movements, until my body ached to return to the safety of the land called, Limbo, the place where action isn’t required, where one waits until another day, a maybe later place. A place where indecision becomes a comfortable existence. Where we take missed opportunities to the grave.  Where I wait for you to offer your hand.

Limbo Land is a dangerous place to exist. Within the walls, too much thinking occurs, not enough action.  Limbo time fools one into believing that there is always enough of it. Maybe later is the brand chosen to announce this place.  Someone is wrong, I am right, maybe later, are the mantras.  Individuals walk around smiling, holes in their souls, constantly seeking to fill themselves up with anything, anything that numbs the pain and allows one to accept, maybe later.  It is a land that allows reflection time.  Just be aware, it does not require one to take action. After all, actions speak louder than words.  You can exist in Limbo Land; you just can’t live there.  Fear is the ruler and like a despot, Fear will always silence that seedling voice inside of you, the one that whispers, What if? Maybe now?  Stay awhile, just be aware nothing is ever accomplished and nothing will ever improve when you are lounging in this joyless place.

Perhaps, the saddest souls inhabiting Limbo are the  drifters, ones that have turned their backs on one another, so-called, family.  Ones connected by similar DNA, shared blood lines, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters. Our sisters and brothers, our mothers and fathers.  What on earth is worth more than those sacred relationships? We cry the same tears.  Doors close, wars rage on.  In the silence of the night, as we prepare to sleep, do we find a quiet calm? Or do we mourn for an open door, acceptance, forgiveness, and restored peace in our world? We are all connected and when one link of the chain breaks, we are each weakened by the snap. Forgive, reach out, come back, are the sorrowful, yet, hopeful words that whisper from beyond Limbo.  Be still and listen, you will hear the whispers on the back of the winds that blow across the deep abyss that separates Limbo from Promise. Perhaps you will hear my voice.  I sit beneath the stars and pray.  Maybe later.

We have waited long enough. Sometimes you just have to listen to your heart.

Writing Contest Stories

I’ve been testing my wings.  Writer and Educator, Luanne, from the blog, Writer Site, recently hosted a writing contest.  The story entries will be posted on Luanne’s site, writersite.org  throughout the week.  My story, The Lady’s Coat, is posted today!  Please take some time to read the judged entries.  Writers can appreciate the process of writing and the brave spirit necessary to “publish” one’s “darlings!” A special “thank you” to Luanne and the esteemed judges,

Wilma Kahn has an MA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, as well as a Doctor of Arts in English from SUNY-Albany. She is the published author of poems, short stories, essays, and a detective novel, Big Black Hole. Wilma has led writing classes for adults in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, since 1987. In her spare time she tends a little wildflower garden with ironweed seven feet tall.

Kimberly Keating Wohlford is a writer in Charlotte, NC where she free-lances for the arts community.  In 2011, she left an established career in newspaper advertising, to pursue a dream to write her own stories.  Kimberly is currently working on a memoir that follows her journey to Glastonbury, England where magical things happen to redirect her path in life.  She will receive a certificate in creative writing from Stanford in March 2014.

for offering this exciting opportunity to the writing community.  With my amazon.com award, I have ordered a hard cover version of the Newbery Medal Winner, Where The Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin http://gracelin.com/.  I chose a hardcover, paper to touch book as a gift for my “dear” one and my hope is that she will treasure this gift through time.  I want my dear to enjoy print and words as much as I do.  Follow your dreams!

My entry, The  Lady’s Coat, is posted onto writersite.org

I hope you enjoy, The  Lady’s Coat.

Thrift Store Coat

Grace’s Thrift Store Persian Lamb Coat

writersite.org

Sincerely,

“Grace”

~ Lynne

x

Simple Acts of Kindness

Heart of Mud.

Heart of Mud. (Photo credit: anyjazz65)

There were several strong women in my mother’s life.  These women had to own strength, nursing children through illness, caring for large broods of children, struggling together during hard times.  They knew hardship and they knew the collective power of bonding together.  Their strong circle of support formed around another family in need.   This time it was my mother’s family.  These women made a pivotal and positive difference finding order from chaos.  It was their simple acts of kindness and commitment that pulled my mother through one of the darkest of memories.   My mother’s, mother passed on, when my mother was a mere nine years old.  These were difficult and sad times for all.  A distraught father, an infant in tow, created a perfect storm for chaos.  There was a need for order,  established routines, and a desperate ache for love and acts of kindness.  These women, laid aside their differences and lives to circle around a family in need.  They stepped in and offered up simple acts of kindness through gifts of time and love.

My great-grandmother was among the first to arrive.  Still grieving the loss of her daughter, great-grandmother filled the role of mothering her daughter’s child.  My mother fondly remembers her grandmother and their lovely visits together. This woman would read tea leaves and she read my mother’s with conviction and optimism, the sun will shine for you, dear.  Every evening when the sun set, great-grandmother would pick up her daughter’s silver-handled brush from the nightstand and brush my mother’s hair.  Great-grandmother would sing as she softly brushed away the sadness that clung in the little girl’s mind.  Tucking my mother under the covers, great-grandmother would recite a prayer.  My mother believes that this simple, repetitive act soothed and eased her pain.  My great grandmother’s loving touch, strong faith, and the simple action of methodically brushing hair comforted, instilling calm and hope into a little child’s broken heart. Their time together would be brief.

Another woman of strength was a childless, flamboyant Auntie who would pick my mother up from the city house and take her off for a weekend stay.  My mother, seated in a sidecar, would ride to the Auntie’s with Uncle Monty steering the wheel of his motor cycle.  Clamouring up the stairs, my mother would wait for Monty to enact the magical act of pulling a bed out of the wall.  With a flourish and a wave of  hand, Monty would drop the Murphy Bed. Auntie and Uncle Monty’s zest and zeal, their laughter and joy of life returned some of the enchantment, sparking the light that had dimmed in a nine-year old child’s world.

There were the cheerful Aunties that arrived with casseroles in hand.  Bustling through the kitchen, they could set and place a satisfying, home cooked meal on the table in next to no time.  There was warm food to eat, manners to model, grace and conversation shared, all served up, spiced with shakes of laughter.  The Aunties demonstrated that dining together was more than just the sharing of a meal at the table.  It was about the circle of family that surrounded, concerned for another.  This protective element returned a sense of family and love into a young child’s grayed life.

I share this story as a reminder to look about and discover how  a simple action can begin to heal, threading joy, order, and laughter back into someone else’s life.  When you share a small piece of your heart,  the simple actions set forth, rolling on throughout time, mending and patching and healing others.  Share a small piece of yourself with someone in need.  You won’t need to look too far to find that someone and you won’t need to spend much money to bring joy to another.

Topsy

Topsy

Alice ‘s treasured parti-colored cat, Topsy, would sun on the stone path that wove around the pansy garden.  Toffee markings with a touch of chocolate, black around the paws, Topsy was a fine specimen of cat.  A bit of a tortie, Topsy was the exception to the rule that parti-colored cats were usually female. A bit of a Tom, Topsy ruled the lane ways in search of a feline to prance around cat town.  Oh, the stories he could tell.  Perhaps he shall.

A giant specimen of cat, Topsy would guard the back door, much like a sentry.  One eye open just enough to take a peek, the other ignoring the world.  A flick of the tail, thud, thud, thud.  Counting the seconds of time, waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting bee or bird.  Perhaps, a mouse or rat?

A fine mouser, Topsy ‘s whiskers knew every nook and every cranny of the small house from the dank, darkness of the crawl space to the clutter of the knick knacks that adorned his mistress’ home.  Just the sound of her voice and old Topsy came a running.  There was always food~ a tidbit or two from the tabletop.  Perhaps a touch of salmon?

Topsy was King of the Place and he lorded rank over the creatures that frequented the pansy garden.  Even the dog in the neighbouring yard knew better than to mess around with Topsy.  After all, one should never underestimate Topsy’s scratch.

Such an unusual name~ Topsy!  Who names their pet, Topsy?  Why not, Prince or King Leo?  Those are fine names, fit for the likes of a calico mix.  A calico like myself.  A fine mouser.  A loyal pet for dear, simple, Alice.  After all, my ancestors herald from Spain.  Spanish royalty, symbol of good luck.  Perhaps a talisman for Alice?

Topsy contemplated these questions as he lay sunning himself on the stones that wove around the pansy garden.  There was much to watch as he noted the comings and goings from house to house.  The stories I could share, thought Topsy.  People are such fools; they assume that no one is watching, no one sees their deceptive ways.  Who is this child that watches me, shying away from my stare?”

When I met Topsy, he was older and wiser with many stories to tell, pleased to inform you that he shared quite a few.  You might be surprised at the information I have.  Perhaps, I shall share.  A tid bit or two.

I regret to inform you that Topsy’s final days on earth were disconcerting, filled with struggle, hardship.  Unable to stand, Topsy literally became his namesake.  Many a day, I would right him off the ground, until one day it was all too much for Topsy.

Topsy is in Heaven above and Alice has joined him.  They are happy to be reunited.  After all, they were loyal friends and comrades, traveling side by side since the beginnings of time.  Topsy continues to lie on the stone path that weaves around the pansy garden.  Topsy keeps one eye open, just enough to take a peek, however, don’t be fooled into thinking that he isn’t watching the comings and goings.  Oh, the stories he could tell.  Perhaps he shall.

There is a stray Manx that has appeared just outside my garden gate, sleeping, one eye open, just enough to take a peek, on the stone path that winds through the roses.   A bit of a tortie, this stealthy beauty appeared one winter’s morn and has returned nearly every evening since.   It has been several years.  Hidden under the hedge, the cat waits for my return, rolling over to greet, snuggling up to meet.  It waits like a sentry, guarding my home.  Is it a sign from Alice? A reminder, she is watching from the heavens above, a symbol of good luck?  I have no answer to your comments yet I sense a presence watching the comings and goings of the house, gathering up stories to tell.   Perhaps we shall.

Hello~ it’s Alice

Alice

Alice (Photo credit: Danny PiG)

Hello~ it’s Alice

Cheerio, Darlings!  It’s Alice peeking through the clouds of Heaven.  As summer winds down I felt it timely to share a wee bit of Alice Wisdom with you.  Soon the chills will be upon us and we must have a plan to fortify the home and its members!

 

No home should be without honey and pure fruit juices.  A spoonful of home honey every morning helps to fortify your defenses.  Use the fruit juices to prepare hot drinks for colds and chills.  Black currant is best, dears!  They must be pure juices. 

 

Finally, have a wee tot of whiskey in the house, love.  A teaspoonful in a toddy is a grand pick-me-up when you come in chilled to the bone!  Adults only, dears!

Now, Mother have a look in the medicine cabinet and make sure that you are prepared!

 

Until next time,

Ta~Ta!

Alice

x

Alice’s Charlotte Russe

Alice in Wonderland - If I had a World of my o...

Alice in Wonderland – If I had a World of my own… (Photo credit: Brandon Christopher Warren)

Hello, DarlingsIt’s, Alice, shining down to deliver a weekly “delight” to your in box.  The view through Heaven’s soft as gossamer clouds is a glorious one!  Today’s weekly delight offers wisdom (from myself, Alice) and a lovely, French dessert recipe, dedicated to the young and the young at heart. First, an Alice Rule~ The young wife learns that it is impossible to live on Love, so I have chosen an economical yet lavish recipe to sustain life (and perhaps, Love). Charlotte was one of my husband Charles’ favourites ~(dessert, that is).

Charlotte Russe*

Alice’s Charlotte Russe

Soak two tablespoons of gelatin in a little cold water for fifteen minutes; dissolve with a cup of boiling water; add four tablespoons of powdered sugar; when cool strain slowly into a pint of rich cream which has been chilled and whipped to a stiff froth, stirring all the while the gelatin is being poured in.  Pat between layers and on the top of sponge cake, or turn into individual moulds. Line with lady fingers or sponge cake cut to fit the moulds.  Leave in a cold place until serving time.

Ta- dah! Enjoy and until next time, Cheerio my dears!

Alice

x

Word Press Challenge- I Remember… The Sister

Word Press~ DP Challenge

My Earliest Memory~ The SisterThe Sisters

My earliest memory is of myself as a three-year-old child awaiting the arrival of another, the sister.  Throughout the lead up to the sister’s arrival, there were comings and goings, blurred images.  There were the preparations, piles of snow-white diapers, the rosebud flannelette bedding, soft as bunny ear sleepers, and the wooden crib.  There was, the kindly German speaking housekeeper hired to manage the home, when my mother went to the hospital, the one who served the bright pink borscht soup and encouraged me to “eat up, eat up.” There was my father flitting in and out to attend to work and visit with my mother, my uncle’s cheerful, teasing presence and Grandfather Boomba’s, quiet, watchful eyes from afar.  Colouring pictures for my mother, waiting patiently for her return, watching the cherry tree from the kitchen window, its limbs bare, stalwart, anticipating winter’s coming storms.  Finally, my father arriving home, flushed and excited to share the news, Marge had a baby girl!  You have a sister, Grace. Let’s have a cigar, James! A sister.  I cannot remember much emotion surrounding the news on my part, rather I believe that I hoped that the sister would play school with me, and allow me to cart her around in a baby doll buggy. A sister.  This sister, a fragile, teensy little bit wrapped in a white knit blanket, arrived home on a cold, late fall afternoon, a winter fairy.  A sister tucked so snug, her little pink face barely visible from beneath the blanket tightly swaddled around the wee body.  The sister with such dark eyes, almost black, centered in a teensy pink face, grub like, she was so fresh to the world, a fascinating fairy child for entertainment. Immediately, I would discover that the sister, fairy child could be quite stormy, heartily screeching out, and dependent of the safety found in my mother’s arms.  The sister was establishing and asserting her unfairy like ways into our lives with amazing speed and tenacity.  In my young mind, there wasn’t anything magical about this one.

I recall a memory, a moment.  Hearing some sounds from the hatchling, I tiptoed into my parent’s bedroom to view the little sprite wriggling in the crib, her little pink fists tightly clenched into balls, limbs jerking, poking up and out from under the blanket that loosely swaddled her limbs.  The sister sounded like a restless kitten, mewing and peeping as she struggled to unwind.  My mind wondering, what if I just picked her up and carried her to the kitchen, to my mother?  I carry Betsy, the plastic wetting doll, I can carry this one.  The sister was wiggly so I quickly grasped the writhing body by the legs plucking it from the crib.  Upside down, quickly becoming agitated, hysterically frantic by the time I walked the short distance to the kitchen, the sister’s face the colour of beets. Here’s your baby, stated in a rather disgusted tone of voice.  My mother leaping from her chair, grabbing the sister and righting her body; the eyes back up toward the ceiling.

This story would resurface in conversations over the years, my mother adding in the part, she held you by the legs upside down almost damn near dropping you on your head! Luckily she didn’t! 

The sister would be fine and forgiving with this fact as she quickly learned that had she been dropped on her head, it would pale in comparison to the bumps and crashes she would later experience. The sister is a brave one, far stronger than me. I am grateful for her presence and love. My earliest memory is of a three year old awaiting the arrival of another, the sister.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/writing-challenge-remember/

A Beautiful Children’s Book

One of my favourite, serious Children’s Books is from, The New York Review Children’s Collection~ The MOUSEWIFE by RUMER GODDEN, Pictures by William Pene du Bois, published in 1951.  Pene du Bois’ whimsical pen and ink illustrations compliment the beautiful text of friendship and bittersweet love between a Mousewife and a Dove.

This is the hauntingly beautiful tale of a little Mousewife who spends her days gathering crumbs and scampering about her little world attempting to please a rather cranky and unappreciative husband.

“What more do you want?” asked her husband.  She did not know what it is she wanted, but she wanted more.”

“I think about cheese,” said her husband.

“Why don’t you think about cheese?”

That is, until an unexpected guest, a Dove arrives.  The Dove held captive in a birdcage, wishes to be free to fly once more.  While in captivity the Dove captivates the Mousewife with tales of the world outside the window, how it felt free to fly, encouraging her to dream of more, questioning the familiar life she has become accustomed to.

Reluctantly, the brave and compassionate Mousewife finally makes the decision to set her new, dear friend, free from the prison of the birdcage. In doing so she will lose the Dove’s company. Sadly, the Mousewife realizes that they travel in different worlds, and she returns to the everyday, predictable life of a mousewife, with only memories to sustain.

“The mousewife is a very old lady mouse now.  Her whiskers are gray and she cannot scamper anymore, even her running is slow.  But her great- great –grandchildren, the children of Flannelette and Flannelette’s brothers and sisters, treat her with the utmost respect.”

This is the hauntingly beautiful tale of friendship and bittersweet love between a mousewife and a dove.

This is the hauntingly beautiful tale of friendship and bittersweet love between a mousewife and a dove.

“She is a little different from them, though she looks the same.  I think she knows something they do not.”

This is a beautiful tale of love and if you haven’t read the story, you must.

A note from R.G.~

“This story is taken from one written down in her journal by Dorothy Wordsworth for her brother William, the poet.  It was quite true, but her mouse I am sorry to say, did not let the dove out of its cage.  I thought mine should, and she did.”

 

 

Tea With Alice

Lily's Tea Cup

Lily’s Tea Cup (Photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik)

Tea with Alice was amusing, if not, slightly charming.  My Grandmother Alice enjoyed a spot of tea, Earl Grey being the tea of choice.  Alice used a cooking pot to boil the water before transferring some of the scalding liquid into a metal teapot to warm it up.  Then, my grandmother would take a minute timer and tip it over, the sand slipping through the tiny channel of glass.  After 3 tips of the timer, 3 minutes, according to Alice, she would dump the warming water into the sink and fill the teapot, adding Earl Grey to the mix.  From my vantage point at the cluttered chrome table, I could see Alice’s prep area, a tiny room that extended off of the kitchen area, as if built as an after thought, Where shall I cook, Charles?  There was a window through which Alice could observe her two sisters who lived in the house next door.  Looking to the right, Alice could see her garden of pansies.  Usually, Topsy, the cat was sunning on the brick borders or the adjoining sidewalk between the two houses.  Painted white cupboards attached on either side of the sink area.  The counter top was wooden.  There was a plunger on the floor.  Beneath the sink was open shelving crammed full of various odds and sundries, a container of Ajax, a tobacco tin, plastic bucket, oil, paper bags, bolts, washers, and a mousetrap.  The Scotch and Sherry were hidden behind the plastic bucket. The everyday cutlery sat in a large empty tin of Nabob’s Instant Coffee.  The yellow handles looked like they were fashioned from bone. Open shelving lined the wall opposite the sink, where Alice kept her box of saltines, sugar biscuits, canned ham, flour, and baking items.  Did I mention the cookie bags and cake boxes?  I should tell you that Alice stashed cash in the bottom of cookie and food packages.  Like a  resourceful little mouse wife, Alice managed to stash a lot of cash.

The stove was in the open area of the kitchen, where I would patiently sit, watching and waiting for our tea to brew.  Alice preferred her tea strong and would let the tea brew for five minutes, before pouring the dark, amber liquid into a teacup.  I preferred my tea, weak.  It’s practically water, Grace!  Carnation Evaporated Milk to flavour the tea, turning the liquid to a creamy, caramel shade.  Alice would pour a drop of canned milk into her cup and stir it slowly with a teaspoon, the creamy milk creating swirls in the dark liquid.  The biscuits were usually Peak Frean’s Sugar Biscuits, the thin wafer deliciously sweet with sprinklings of fine sugar.

We always sat across from one another, Alice with her back to the mudroom, mine to the stove.  Picture this, Alice’s drying rack hanging directly behind me to the left of the stove.  Always, there would be bits and pieces of personal garments hanging from this suspended contraption.  Slips, nylons, knit wool socks, when my Grandfather was alive; Alice never wore socks, only nylons. Sheer scarves would dangle, along with the occasional brassière.  I always thought that this was rather unusual and out-of-place to air your laundry in full view of the guest, so to speak.  If the space heater was blowing or the window open, it was not unusual to find a sheer half-slip or a pair of nylon stockings on your head or dangling off a shoulder-blade, all the while sipping tea.  It was rather cheeky and quite disconcerting to politely pick the undergarment off and return it to the drying rack.  Alice was rather proper in her deportment therefore I never understood this rather improper arrangement she had with her laundered undergarments, scarves, and guests.

A comfy Queen Ann style chair sat beside the stove, under the suspended drying rack. Alice would sit and read the daily paper; teacup perched on the stovetop, before retiring off to bed.  It was the very same chair that held her tired shell, the morning I looked in the window and saw her sitting in the chair, dead, with a half-slip covering her hair.

Alice’s sister, Molly fascinated me.  Molly was constantly soaking her feet in hot water.   Newspapers would be spread under the bucket to catch the splashes and drips.  Sometimes, when I would enter Alice’s kitchen, Molly would be soaking her feet as she rested her ample bottom on the Queen Ann. My grandmother, Alice, said that Molly worked in a local Fruit Cannery and had, rheumatism. Molly’s legs bowed as she ambled with an awkward, stiff gait.  Aunt Molly never spoke, ever.  We would look at each other and I would say politely, How are you Aunt Molly?  She would nod and grin.  Whereas Alice was pretty, Molly was crone like, slightly frightening, her feet plunked in a bucket of hot water, watching and grinning. I’m ashamed to admit, I imagined Molly flying about the night skies on a broomstick.  Molly read trash magazines; that’s what my father called them.  The National Enquirer was her choice.  This tidbit piqued my curiosity as I was only allowed to read real books, forbidden comics, no sensational trash.  Once I located Molly, sunning in her chair, I would stroll by, attempting to crane my neck enough to see the tabloid cover shot of the MAN WITH TWO HEADS or some other fantasy alien creäture.  Purposely, I would venture to the side of my Grandmother’s house, lurking about, hoping to find a forgotten copy of Molly’s trash tabloids. That opportunity ended abruptly, my childhood days spent visiting Alice, over, and by the time I was seven.

That’s the perplexing thing, why did our occasional visits to see Alice cease? My father appeared uncomfortable in his childhood home; he didn’t seem to handle the small, claustrophobic space that well.  Pacing about the perimeter of the small kitchen, sitting for a few minutes, standing and pacing, that’s how I remembered my father’s actions.  Sometimes, my Grandmother would bring out some of my father’s tin toys with wind up keys.  Minstrels, feet tapping  on a tin stage, wind up cars, a one-eyed sawdust teddy bear, and mechanno covered the living room carpet.  Our visiting time was usually up, shortly after we arrived.  On the car ride home, father would comment on his mother, She’s an odd old bird, junk and stuff everywhere, never throws anything out.  Dad does everything for her and the sisters.

 

It was about the time that our visits ended when Alice began to take it upon herself to preach the word about, Cod Liver Oil.  Alice decided that my sister and I could use a bit of fortification and took it upon her self to administer a tablespoon-sized dose of the ghastly oil.  We weren’t impressed.  The grown ups crowding, Molly, grinning that crazed grin, watching as the spoon got closer and closer.  My sister would cry until my father picked her up, puckering her mouth shut, refusing the vile liquid.  I would resist for as long as possible until finally weakening, succumbing as the hard edge of the spoon was pushed into my mouth.  It was about that time that I decided that it would be best for all if we never returned to Alice’s house.  We never did, not as children.

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The Art of Trying

“We may struggle, but we don’t quit”

ALMANDYNE

A storyteller who writes and scribbles, and calls it art.

MovieBabble

The Casual Way to Discuss Movies

MyStoriesWithMusic

READ THE STORY AND FIND THE SONG - The story and the song have the same title, but are not necessarily about the same theme, however they are linked in some way and as you read the story you will find the song. (There will also be posts that are poems/quotes and posts that are all about the music.)

The Sound Sniffer

Sniffing out the best new music

A R C H I P E L A G A L

islands and in between

SCENTS MEMORY

Wear what you love, not what they say you should like.

Goal Digger

Be Positive, Patient and Persistent...

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

SKYLARITY

Paradigm Shift, Mindfulness, and Personal Empowerment

Little Fears

Tales of humour, whimsy and courgettes

Corkboards and Coffee Houses

Reflections on Writing

Bonkers

Is there no way out of the mind? Of lazy litanies and trying to make sense on the way down the rabbit's hole...

Your sentence here.

Give me a sentence. I'll write you a story.

HeartSphere

Conversations with the Heartmind

At Koko's Place

Simply a lifestyle blog! Come along with me...

deepspiritleading

Reflections on spirituality in everyday life

Minister Is A Verb

Let your passion be directed by reason. Take Action!

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