Category Archives: Family

Break Time!

During the next two-to-three weeks, my blog posts will be sporadic…or maybe just non-existent.

Motor Man and I are coming up on a busy time: preparing for and hosting my family reunion,

a couple of boat races,

and perhaps a little “adventure” or two.

With life being so hectic right now, I think it will be easier to just put the blog on hold for a little while.

So, stay cool, enjoy your summer, and I’ll be back soon with, hopefully, some interesting blog material!

~These Days Of Mine~

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The Little Yellow Bench

Some time ago (perhaps a couple of years or more?),  I saw, in front of a nearby antique shop, a little faded yellow wooden bench. I don’t recall the details of that day, but either the shop was closed right then, or I didn’t have time to stop. But I called within the next day or two to ask about the bench.

And was told that it had just been sold. Yes, I was disappointed.

A few days later,  on my way to Marshall’s house, I spotted, in the yard of one of his neighbors….. the little yellow bench. Sigh.

Every time I was in the area, I’d look over at that little bench.  Sometimes it was in the front yard, then in the side yard. Sometimes it would be turned over from the wind. But each time I’d pass by that house, I’d look  for the little yellow bench.

About a month or so ago, as I rode by, I thought the bench was missing. But then, I spotted it: “dumped” upside down in an overgrown area near the house. (Let me just say that the homeowners don’t keep the tidiest yard.)  I decided then that, should  I ever see one of them outside, I would stop and ask if they’d like to sell the little yellow bench.

Friday afternoon, Motor Man and I were in the area, and there were two people standing in the front yard, chatting.  We stopped, and learned that it was the homeowner and his neighbor. I asked if he would like to sell the little yellow bench.

He said that I probably didn’t want it; that it had some issues, it was a little wobbly, etc. So he dragged it out of the flowerbed, pulling up weeds and vines along with it.  I asked what he’d take for it, and he said he’d give us $10 to take it away.  I offered to give him $20 for it, but he refused, and helped us load it in our truck.

Poor little dirty yellow bench.

You don’t know how long I’ve had my eye on you.

So the next day, I gave it a gentle bath, decided to angle it differently on our deck, and added a little throw pillow. The next step is to protect it with a clear finish to prevent further damage from the elements.

She’s definitely looking better than when she was  upside down in an overgrown patch.  And I’m definitely happy to have finally brought home that little yellow bench.

(And now that I’ve written this entire post about the little yellow bench, I’m thinking it’s actually more of a love seat.…)

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

 

 

Canada Bound

(No, not us.)

Those of you who have followed my blog for any length of time know that my Motor Man builds performance engines for hydroplanes (race boats) as well as cars.

One of our engine customers is scheduled to leave today for a big hydroplane race in Valleyfield, Canada.  So things have been busy at our shop this week, getting everything ready.

Here are the specs about this particular boat:  it is a Grand Prix Hydroplane with a 468 cu. in. engine with 1200 horsepower. It burns 6 gallons of alcohol per MINUTE during a race. The engine turns 8000 rpm, and the blower (supercharger) turns 9600.  Straightaway speed is around 170-190 mph.

Motor Man thought it would be fun if I actually sat in the boat. There’s a ladder to climb up on this thing. It’s about 29 feet long and 14 feet wide and tilts on the trailer for transport on the highway.

Whew, I made it up there.

I cannot imagine being enclosed in this capsule and driving those speeds. (As a side note, all hydroplane drivers are required to periodically pass a “dunk test”.  The driver (wearing a helmet) is strapped in a capsule, it’s pushed over in a swimming pool, and they are to escape.  Speaking of the unimaginable…).  I found a You-tube showing a dunk test. https://youtu.be/5xfyCMv-Hs8. It’s a bit lengthy, so you may want to just fast forward to the interesting scary part.)

It was all fun and games until they closed (and latched) the lid on the capsule. I agreed to that happening with strict orders that they only leave it closed for ONE SECOND.

So good luck and safe travels this weekend to our customer, Jim, and his driver, Tony.

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

 

 

 

Who’s Your Daddy?

After Monday’s post about my Dad’s birthday, I was reminded of an incident that I thought would be fun to share.

I think I’ve mentioned here before that my family history on both sides has been researched extensively, and I’m fortunate to have copies of all that information. But, still, from time to time, I dabble a bit in genealogy in the hopes of learning something new about my ancestors.

Several years ago, I had joined an online genealogy forum searching for more info on my Dad’s side of the family.  My maiden name is fairly unusual, and a woman with the same last name reached out to me.  She lives in Chesapeake (about 30 minutes from me), so we met one day for lunch.

Now let me just say at this point that, there was a time in my childhood that I suspected that I was adopted. I mean, my dad was in his fifties when I was born, and my mom in her forties. My sisters were both teenagers. It just didn’t seem likely to my young mind that I should be born into that particular family.  I think I mentioned it to my mom, and she quickly put my fears to rest.  I’m sure she wondered where in the world I got that idea.  

During lunch that day with “Ms. M.”, we learned that her dad and mine were cousins. She shared with me some family gossip she remembered hearing from her dad.  It all had to do with the time just after my father died (remember that I was only eight months old at the time).  I don’t recall the details she shared that day, but it touched on the “fact” that I wasn’t REALLY my dad’s daughter…..I think some distant relatives suspected that I was actually the daughter of one of his cousins, and that my parents had adopted me.

Somehow I managed to hold my emotions in check until we finished our meal and said our good-byes.

Thankfully, my older sister, June, was still living at the time, and as soon as I was out of the restaurant,  I was on the phone to her, praying she would answer.  Nearly in tears, I explained to her what had just happened. June, never one to mince words, had a quick and colorful response. And I’ll just paraphrase her comment:  “Well, she’s full of baloney”.  Then we laughed about the whole episode.

I think that may have been the first time of many that June told me this: the night my parents brought me home from the hospital, she barely slept.  She said she was afraid that, if she went to sleep, when she woke up, I would have disappeared. She was sixteen at the time, and apparently overjoyed to have a baby sister.

I’m so glad she was just a phone call away that day of my lunch with “Ms. M.”, who, by the way, I’ve had no contact with since.

After my conversation with June, I turned up the volume on my car radio. And this was the song that was playing.

And of course, the phrase that caught my ear: “What’s your name, who’s your daddy?”

~These Days Of Mine~

One Hundred Twenty Years

My dad was born one hundred twenty years ago tomorrow.   This is the earliest picture I have of him, and I treasure it.  I inherited a chair like this from my mom, and although it could be one from the same set,  I like to think it’s the exact one.

So…..I COULD be over a hundred years old. But my dad was well into his fifties when I came along.

Dad was born in this sweet little house. It stood within a quarter mile of my childhood home.  When I was in my early twenties, it was vacant, and one day I just stopped and snapped this picture.  Not too many years later, it was destroyed by fire; perhaps caused by a lightning strike.

 

Dad died when I was eight months old, so I have no memories of him, just a few old family photos, such as this one of him and my mom as a young couple.

I especially like this picture. That old shed stood in the backyard of my childhood home, and my nieces, nephews and I played in there as children.

Mom told me she had this next photo “colorized” for me, so I would have a nice picture of my dad.

I’m sure, like all of us, he had his faults. But my mother never mentioned any.  She only told me good things about him.

And although I don’t remember him, I never forget July 9.

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

Wordless Wednesday: Sibyl

Feel free to offer a caption.

Thanks, Marshall, for the cute pics!

~These Days Of Mine~

If These Walls Could Talk

Saturday, I attended the Descendants’ Day event at Bacon’s Castle. During the “welcome”, it was mentioned that lunch would be served in the Caretakers Cottage.

I hadn’t purchased the ticket option that included lunch, but I immediately set about asking the site coordinator if I could have a look inside the cottage.  I had good reason to want to see inside, but more about that later in the post.

The original part of Bacon’s Caste, built in 1665, is the part to the left in this picture (where the roof appears to be ‘silver’).

In the 1700’s, an addition was built onto the right of the original structure. That addition was removed in the 1800’s, and the current one put in its place. In the center is the “hyphen”,  joining the two sections.

The 1700’s addition was moved a short distance from the house, and was used by my Mom’s family when she and her family lived there in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Their kitchen was in that building, as was my grandparent’s bedroom.

This photo is from the Historic American Building Survey project from the 1930’s and shows the rear of the cottage.  It appears that someone is standing on the porch, but I have no way of knowing who that might be.

Among our vintage family photos is this sweet one with the cottage in the background. These are my first cousins, Janet, Bobbie and Joanne, all of whom have passed on now.  My family moved from Bacon’s Castle many years before I was born.

In later years, the cottage was moved to its current location further away from the main house.

Many changes have been made both to the interior and exterior since my family lived there. But, since I’d never before been inside, it was important to me that I take the opportunity to do so.

I just imagined my ancestors using those steep, narrow steps.

And looking out at a view similar to this one.

I love to think of the stories about my family these walls could tell.

~These Days Of Mine~