Challenge #13, A Toy Story

Today’s challenge is to remember one of my favorite toys as a child……

Mrs. Beasley

One of my favorite toys as a child, was my Mrs. Beasley doll. She was Buffy’s beloved doll on the TV show, Family Affair (aired on CBS, 1966-71).  When Mrs. B was new, she was a large doll, her soft body was blue with white dots. She had little plastic glasses, a dotted collar, an apron, and yellow feet (which I think were supposed to be “shoes” that were sewn on to her). Oh, and she had a cord that I could pull to hear her talk. Of course, as many dolls from childhood past, the talking dolls never talked for long. The sound was loved right out of them! Mrs. Beasley was a constant companion, and my mom had to perform several “surgeries” on my friend to properly reattach and restore an arm or neck. Somehow (I don’t remember when), my doll ended up with blue magic marker on her face. I’m sure I was attempting to give her some make-up. I still have Mrs. Beasley, although her glasses, and original clothing are long gone. To a toy collector she wouldn’t be worth much, but to me she was, and always will be priceless.

All Stories Have A Beginning

Today’s writing prompt is:  your story

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My Story–Part 1

It is interesting, those things that we remember so vividly from our childhood. The things that we don’t think about very often, but are a part of us, woven into the very fabric of our lives. All stories have a beginning, they all start somewhere. My particular story has me going back to my Mid-Atlantic home state of Maryland. I grew up in a rural county, with rolling hills and farmland, away from the lights and noise of Baltimore and Washington D.C.. Most of my family lived close by and it was not unusual to have frequent family get togethers. Relationships were cemented during those early years. Time spent playing with cousins, going to church, riding my bike, and figuring out school life. Looking back, my school was quite the melting pot. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was nothing to have friends with last names like Slobodnik, Kavalish, Capporola, Modi, or Polignone. The school bus would let me off at the main road. I would walk the half mile back the gravel road that led to home. Funny thing, I remember those walks home as some of the best times. I would sing, pretend to have conversations and practice what I would say, talk to God,  pick wild flowers, stop and watch the clouds in the sky, and occasionally run into a ground hog that was surprised to see me on the road. Those quiet times allowed me the time to breathe and think and just enjoy. To this very day, I thrive when I’m allowed to carve out some quiet time in my otherwise busy schedule.  That is the way I am…the way God made me.

The days turned into years, and into the next stage of my life. The tight grasp on what was familiar, loosened. My path, after graduation, took me far from home…..and, I had no idea what lay ahead. It was probably better that way, the not knowing.

Tomorrow I will tell more of my story……






Memories of Childhood Christmas

Sometimes I go back and read through my previously written posts…and I believe my words are still as fresh today as when I first wrote them. This is a poem I wrote a few years back. Every time I read it I am transported back to my vivid childhood memories of Christmas’ past.  Maybe you will be, too?

Christmas Memories

Joy to the World,


sky so bright.


Church lit at night


childhood delight.


Christmas songs,


I’ve known so long.


Family together,


in all kinds of weather.


Jumping up and down,


as snow hits the ground.


Christmas trees,


of all shapes and sizes.


Beautiful packages,


filled full of surprises.


Mom’s special albums,


of Nat King Cole,


Bing, and Sinatra,


their songs don’t grow old.


TV specials,


my sis and I watched.


Charlie Brown, The Grinch


and don’t forget Rudolph!


All these are wonderful,


and dear to my heart.


Memories  mean so much


never to part.


But, above all else


what means the most…


is the proclamation of


the heavenly host.


“Unto you,


a Savior is born.”


With those words, everything changed


from that night on.  —– Written by Dawn Gibson


Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11 NIV



The Life On Mainstreet

English: The boardwalk of Ocean City, Maryland

The proverbial “main street”.

Home town U.S.A…..or really any country that one calls home.

The place that the heart always tugs for.

That town that you are from…..where memories were made and

life was lived.

Summer time always makes me think of home. I don’t really know why, it just does. I grew up in rural, Maryland. At least it was rural when I lived there. My childhood memories consist of living back a long gravel road, between corn fields and soybean. A place where the neighbor’s cows would get loose on occasion. Swimming in the neighbor’s ponds (along with fish, snapping turtles, and water snakes). Family members that all lived close enough to get together on a regular basis. Birthday parties were always an affair that required home made ice cream….with plenty of cousins to take turns cranking the ingredients into sweet goodness.

I remember Ocean City, and time at the beach. Times when the biggest concern was whether I was getting a good tan and where were we going out to eat that night? Boardwalk fries, and Maryland crabs by the bushel, spread out on newspaper. Long Saturday drives always ending up at Simmons ice cream parlor, with the ball field out back. It was like stepping back in time.

Going to my cousins ball games. Waiting for one of “the boys of summer” to hit a foul, so I could go chase after the ball and throw it back in. Hot days and cold soda. Giggles and goofiness. Making eyes, and making friends. Going to the movies and hanging out and doing a lot of nothing much. Summer was slow and sweet back then. Real worries were still down the road yet, and summer was for the here and now.

Staying outside most of the day, because one never knew what adventure might be in store. Catching lightning bugs at night and asking if mom had something to put them in?

Childhood memories are magic, really. That time of life when the world is big and exciting, but home and family make it safe and sound.

As I sit here typing, sipping my sweet tea, I can close my eyes and for a brief moment I can remember…..and I just have to smile.

Precious Memories…And Sugar Cookies

Floral sugar cookies.

Image via Wikipedia

The young girl got off the school bus in front of the big farm house. She walked up the driveway, hearing the crunch of gravel beneath her shoes. She turned at the sidewalk that led to the tiny side porch. The door opened…..

The elderly lady stood at the door, smiling. As the little girl got closer she could smell cookies. Sugar cookies. The older woman knew that the little girl loved her home made sugar cookies, warm out of the oven. She ushered the little girl inside to have a seat at her worn Formica kitchen table. The kitchen was warm and cozy. The woman quiet and kind. The girl happily munched on cookies while telling the woman of her school day. The older lady nodded and smiled. The girl asked about the horses, that she could see from the kitchen windows. The grandmotherly woman told stories about her Petunia and Judd and their antics. Sometimes the girl ran through the backyard and over to the fence near the big, red barn. She liked looking at Petunia and Judd up close.

After the sugary snack, there was much to explore…and the woman always let the little girl explore. There was a parakeet to say hello to, in the living room. There were three steps to “no where” in the living room, near the back porch door. The girl imagined it was a secret hideout, instead of what used to probably be a back stair case to the upstairs that had long been covered up. Then there was the organ in the parlor. It looked pretty sitting in there. Formal and quiet. The kind woman even let the young girl explore her bedroom and tiny bathroom, with all the colors from decades past. The bedroom was small, but warm with braided rugs on the floor.

The little girl enjoyed her visits. Time passed, the girl got older, and her visits were more sporadic. In 1982 the older woman became ill. She went to the hospital. The little girl was now a teen. She saw her friend in the hospital bed. Someone had tied a bright pink ribbon in the elderly woman’s snow white hair. A splash of color in an otherwise sterile room.

The little girl, was me. My friend was Mrs. Saylor. She was like a surrogate grandmother to me. To this very day when I make a trip back to the place of my youth, I cannot pass by her house without remembering her. She might be gone for many years now, but she lives in my memories….and in my heart.

Don’t ever think that you can’t make a difference in a child’s life. I know you can…just like Mrs. Saylor.  All it takes is a cup of kindness, a heaping spoonful of time, a dash of a listening ear, and some really good sugar cookies to munch on.


White Out!

Deep snow during the Blizzard of 2006 Nor'east...

Image via Wikipedia

My husband and I, and our children are visiting family in upstate New York. It has been cold here, but not really any snow (besides what is already on the ground). I’ve been watching the news this morning. Everyone is talking about the blizzard that hit many areas of the east coast. New York City doesn’t look that bad to me, yet it is being called a blizzard. Technically, a blizzard has to do with certain amounts of snow, but a true blizzard also has high winds over 35 m.p.h.

I remember being in 5th grade in Carroll County, Maryland when the blizzard of ’79 struck. Of course, as a child I enjoyed being off school for a week. My sister and I got bundled up like a couple of Arctic explorers and ventured outside to make tunnels in the deep snow.Mom always had hot tea ready for us when we came inside.

I also remember as a young newlywed, the “storm of the century” in March of 1993. The entire east coast got pelted with that monster storm. My husband and I went to bed on Friday night with just a few flurries falling. We made a bet with each other that it wasn’t really going to amount to anything. We woke up on Saturday morning to a snow induced hush over our own, personal winter wonderland!

All this talk of blizzards got me to thinking about snow fall. Look at this site of the Top 10 Worst Blizzards of all time. It makes me cold just reading about them!

What are your coldest, snowiest, most blizzard like memories?  How old were you? Where were you living at the time?

Through The Eyes Of A Child

Austrian stained glass

Memories…as warm and cozy as a blanket. Memories that I am able to wrap around me, even on the coldest of days. Memories that make me smile, even now, years past my childhood. Memories that are ignited for me, when the weather gets cold and Christmas is right around the corner.

Getting the live Christmas tree from the sale at the local fire department. “This one is too skinny. This one looks like a bush. This one has a bare spot.”  One year we did have a Christmas tree that resembled a pine bush. It was short and fat. Didn’t really matter though, because to a child it was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen, when decorated. Pretty glass ornaments that my mom had…blue bells, pink icicles. A ton of tinsel….which my mom had a special way of adding to the tree. She did not appreciate my sister and I throwing the tinsel on in “clumps”. Why not?

My sister and I got dressed in our Christmas Eve outfits. We went to Mammaw and Pappaw’s house for a HUGE family dinner. My cousins and I would sneak upstairs to the living room while all the adults were downstairs still eating and socializing. We would look to see the gifts that were addressed to us. We’d carefully shake them…try to see under the wrapping paper. The anticipation was too great!

Footsteps!!! An adult! “What are you kids doing?” Nothing, was our reply. My aunt knew we were lying…and we knew that she knew we were lying. But, it was Christmas Eve….and sneaking a peek at gifts was part of the fun. After the meal all of us went to church for the Christmas Eve service. Our church was made from stone with beautiful stained glass windows. The church was built in the 1800’s and I heard that the windows had been imported from England. The candles glowing in the windows made the stained glass come alive. I have some wonderful memories of that church on Christmas Eve. All I have to do is close my eyes to see it once again.

Back to my grandparents house for dessert and the opening of gifts! It’s funny the things I remember from childhood. When I was very little I got a small, brown toy puppy. His head moved back and forth and his tail wagged and then he would bark. I thought it was the neatest thing. As I got older, the type of gifts changed, but it was always the family get togethers that I loved so much.

Christmas morning was fun with all the usual excitement of unwrapping gifts, giving gifts, and the expressions on each face. I remember one year, I think I was 13 or 14, I got a miniature “boom box”.  To those of you that lived in the 80’s, you know that was a cool gift! Before we knew it, it was time to get dressed and start the holiday trek to family houses. One relative would have breakfast, one would have lunch, one would have dinner/dessert. This was a great way to visit, see everyone’s tree, get to look at all my cousins Christmas presents, and enjoy family. I have such good memories of my growing up years.

I feel extremely blessed to have such wonderful memories from my childhood. Family, friends, church services to celebrate the Savior’s birth, food, and gifts. All these things wrapped up, making a gift that my heart can open each Christmas…as I reminisce .