Friday, October 31, 2008

Times of Real Sugar

This ornate real silver (I had to polish the tarnish off for the picture) "sugar shell" was always in the sugar bowl which was ALWAYS on the kitchen table along with the toothpick holder earlier noted. Real sugar was used on cereal, in coffee and tea, on those fresh garden tomatoes, wherever a person needed a little extra sweetness. I don't know the exact origin of the spoon -- I think it may have been a wedding gift. It is another one of those things that has always "just been there" and taken for granted. Our kitchen table had a certain amount of "middle stuff" that just stayed on the table at all times. There were always 3 meals a day at that table and sometimes, a little late afternoon lunch, besides. Sometimes, those lunches were packed in a basket or box and taken out to the fields so the farming would have minimal time interruption. Our evening meal on the farm (supper, it was called) was sometimes as late as 10 o'clock at night. We consumed the calories, but, we also worked them away !! In the spring planting season and fall harvest season, the farm work was going on nearly 24 hours a day-- machinery and people, a nearly constant hum. Planting and harvesting of crops had to be done in tune with weather conditions. If it didn't get done, it could make a huge dip in the income for the year. "Make hay while the sun shines", an adage well known to a farmer, meant more than "making hay" !!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

For the Jam

Capturing the beauty of vintage glassware has become a huge challenge ! After at least 150 shots of this little 5" pressed glass dish, as usual, I ended up with one of the first ones taken !! This was another dish brought out for those "special" dinners for "special" friends. It was usually filled with some of Mom's homemade strawberry jam to slosh onto those fresh homemade baked rolls or biscuits served with that Sunday "dinner" ! Yummy !! One particular Sunday dinner remembered - Cleo and Ralph were invited. Of course, the children were always part of the package, but, as teenagers, their children usually had other plans for their day. 18 year old son, Dwayne, came along one particular Sunday as he had a brand new car to show off - --a 1950 Studebaker convertible. Freshly graduated from high school, starting a new job at the Firestone tire factory in Des Moines, he was in the money and proud. After dinner, Dwayne put the top down on that convertible, we three kids piled in with him and off we went for a Sunday afternoon drive. Good food, good friends, hair blowing in the wind of that first ride in a convertible. A fun afternoon with a teenage boy ! What more could anyone ask for ? This day has always been a reminder of how short and precious life can be. It remained in my memory as it was the last time we were to see Dwayne. A few months later, he was killed in a factory related accident.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

For the Berries

This pretty little pressed glass "dish" measures about 9" long counting the handles. Another one of my Mom's special things brought out only for special dinners cooked for special guests !! Mom and Dad "traded" Sunday dinners with a couple of sets of friends through the years. Friends I remember most were Elmer and Luella Watson and Ralph and Cleo Hitsman along with their children. These were families that at some time in Mom and Dad's early years together, were neighboring farmers and they had become close friends. Luella and Elmer's children were younger than me, but, had the neatest toys. Cleo and Ralph's kids were teenagers so they were awesome to me. It was always a BIG deal to plan and cook for this Sunday noon meal -- cleaning the house, getting all the "good" tablecloths, dishes and silverware out and ready, preparing 2 or 3 choices of desserts the day before -- I mean, REALLY BIG DEAL ! It seemed the gals always tried to outdo what the other one had done the time before ! This dish usually held jellied cranberry slices. It was just the right size. I have used it for the same thing for just us, because we were special, too. It now has it's place of honor in my china cabinet. Oh yes, I forgot ! I think Cleo's windows were always more sparkling than ours !!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Garden Fresh Radishes

During the 70's, our Christmas gift from P.M. and Ruth, my wonderful in-laws, was always a generous check enclosed within a beautiful Christmas card. More often than not, included with this generosity was a family heirloom of some sort.. This little "radish bowl" and "salts" bowls ensemble, was one of those gifts. They came from your Great G'ma Lottie's collection of special things. I remember as a newlywed in 1958, having lunch at her home and these were part of the table setting. The large ( actually, quite small) bowl was filled with radishes, fresh from her garden. The tiny bowls filled with salt to dip your radish into, sat at each person's setting -- Now, that little bowl of radishes emptied quite quickly, but, G'ma had plenty more cleaned to refill it ! There was then and still is, nothing tastier than vegetables, fresh from a family garden ! Well, one exception -- G'ma Lottie baked those wonderful cinnamon rolls that I became aquainted with that day !!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Artful Memory

As I was cutting the little bunny rabbit image from a mail order catalog this morning to create this atc, I thought, "OMG, I was creating altered art when I was but a mere child !! " My sister and I would look at all the beautiful dresses (or at least, what we thought were beautiful at that time) in that fat Montgomery Wards catalog (that featured absolutely everything), cut them out and "design" clothing for our paper dolls. I always thought my sister's "designer dresses" were prettier than mine. She always had a natural artistic talent. Do little girls play with paper dolls anymore ? Do they even know what they are ? Thinking further about what other kinds of altered art I might have been creating, this memory popped up. Television was a new media in the 40's and 50's. There was a 30 minute children's show at 4:30 in the afternoon called "Magic Window", timed just right for after school and before evening "chore time". ANN was the "host"- a beautiful lady full of artsy ideas for kids to create. One of the projects was to cover a shoe box with wallpaper which became our "kit" to keep ALL of our tools and materials in. I wonder how many shoe boxes I could fill today ??? I will be pondering that question for at least the next day or two !!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Top Dog

As a farm wife in the 40's, my Mom's social life was limited. Of course, all the surrounding farm families knew each other and their kids played together on occasion, but, the women rarely had "morning coffee" together or went to someone elses home for an afternoon visit. Farm families had too much work to do !! BUT, this one holiday season in 1944, I remember vividly, Gladys Oviatt, a farm wife friend of Mom's, invited several neighbor wives and their children to her home for an afternoon "Christmas Tea". Everyone was to bring a 10 cent wrapped "grab bag" gift. These were placed into a pretty decorated basket. Some little games were played, tea and cookies were served, and everyone "grabbed" a gift from the basket. I grabbed my gift, excited to open it and see what it was. It was a potholder !! I must have had this hugely disappointed look on my face as the woman sitting next to me opened her gift and it was this cute little dog figurine - I don't remember that woman's name, but, I have always remembered her saying "Oh, you got just what I wanted. Would you like to trade?" And so, when I look at this little guy with his umbrella cane and top hat, he brings me a memory of kindness and sharing, never forgotten.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Crystal Photography

An essay on what Virginia does when photographing glass pieces should be today's subject. Someone would have had a hey-day video-taping the contortions I went through to get a photo that did this piece justice !! AND then, I ended up using one of the first ones taken. This 12" cut glass crystal bowl was used almost daily at Gr. G'ma Rose's home and then again at G'ma Ruth's. It came to me when G'ma Ruth moved into the Eastern Star Home. She kept it in her cupboard with her "every day" dinnerware and always put it in her dishwasher after use. I mentioned to her one time about how beautiful it was and why didn't she put it up in her china cabinet ? - that is when I found out that it was used as an everyday bowl when she was growing up, so to her, that was what it was - just another bowl !! I keep it in my cupboard with my "everyday" dinnerware, put it in my dishwasher after using, and amazingly, it has survived without a chip or crack in it. In my world today, it is most often used only for fresh fruit.

Friday, October 24, 2008

'Tis the Season

Yesterday, I was inspired to get the boxes, YES, I said boxes, of Christmas ephemera off the closet shelf and start creating some things for the holidays. They will be here quicker than we expect at this moment. I love creating the little trading cards - I could make at least a 'kazillion' of them with all the ephemera I have collected in the last couple or three years !! This was my one finished project of the day, "Let Heaven and Nature Sing", three dimensional, ATC ornament. I think I am going to have to keep this one for myself !!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wild Rose -- Why ?

Maybe you wondered why I chose the name for this blog, maybe you didn't !! The wild rose is the official flower for the state of Iowa. A beautiful, fragile flower with thorny stems that grows wild in the ditches along the midwestern country roads throughout the summer. When CB radios were popular, one of my "handles" was Wild Rose. Being born and raised in the state of Iowa, I thought it was fitting for me at the time. I often thought if I were to write my life story, I would call the book "Memoirs of a Wild Rose". The book will never come to pass, I fear, but memoirs will be recorded here. Fragile, but thorny, maybe a "little wild", growing up along the country roads -- that kind of sums me up !

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Made in Japan

In the 30's and 40's, beautiful little figurines and objects made in Japan and "occupied Japan" were collected by many people. These tiny 2" vases were in my Mom's collection of "pretties" for as long as I can remember. "Handpainted in Japan" is stamped on the bottom. She had this cute little wood hanging corner shelf where her "best" things were always displayed. How these little guys made it through all these years without a chip or a scratch is a wonder !! I believe Mom told me that her parents brought them back to her as a souvenir of a trip they had taken. One of those things I should have written down when she let me have them !! Mom and Dad never had a lot of real expensive collectibles, but, what they had all have memories tied up with them, it seems.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Summer Evening

Almost all old farmhouses had a front and back porch, some were enclosed, some were screened, some were open. After a hard days work and evening meal, the family would sit out on the front porch for a little relaxation and remembering of the day, talking about tomorrow, or just quiet time. The screened porches served as a place to set up a cot and sleep on a hot summer night. G'ma Lottie made this piece from a "porch post" of the old farm house that your Dad grew up in. She lived in this house as a newlywed, as did her son, G'pa P.M., and then his daughter, Aunt Joan. The farm is registered as an Iowa Century Farm, being in the Johnson family over 100 years. The old house was demolished when a new one was built sometime in the 70's. Originally, this piece had a big candle atop it. It became very faded over the years and I just recently removed it and have just the silk flowers on it. It sets in a corner at the top landing of my stairwell.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Still Rockin'

I purchased this little antique "sewing rocker" at an antique mall in Des Moines, Iowa about 30 years ago, give or take a few years ! In the Johnson family was this cutest little oak rocker with arms that all of the Johnson kids rocked themselves in. I loved that little rocker - it went to brother, Tim, and I believe his daughter, Lisa, now has it. When I saw this one, I HAD to have it ! There was a story that G'ma Ruth told me about your Dad sitting in their little rocker, rocking away, and singing that he wanted to grow up to be a bum !! "Bums" back in the 30's and 40's were actually men that "rode the rails" (hitching rides in freight cars) looking for work along the way to support their families. A railroad passed along the farmstead where your Dad grew up and "bums" were sited very often. MY dad was one of those men that rode the rails ! Being a "bum" was not a bad thing !

Sunday, October 19, 2008

He "Rocks"

G'pa P.M. loved working in his basement shop making all kinds of things, including wine and beer !! He created replicas of vintage wooden toys, making his own patterns at times ! Rocking horses were one of his favorites and he made a few different sizes and shapes of them after seeing one that I had made for Hilery after she was born. One of my beauty salon clients had a grandson that made that one. This toy horse has been in our home for over 20 years - he measures about 12" inches high at the ears, has a leather "saddle" and reins, twine tail and mane and rocks on hinges. A unique gift from a beloved father/father-in-law !

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Key

Your Dad made this wooden key holder in the fall of 1958 in his Dad's workshop. We had just bought our little 8' x 27' mobile home and were on our way from Oklahoma by way of Iowa, to Quonset Point, Rhode Island. This "key" has hung near a front door in most every home we lived in from that day on to hold house and car keys.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ace in the Hole

A set of four demitasse cups and luncheon plates were a gift to my mother-in-law, Ruth, from her brother Paul for her birthday, I believe sometime in the late 70's. They are Staffordshire bone china from England and have their rightful place in my china cabinet. Mother was an avid bridge player and belonged to a local bridge club. They met monthly at members homes to have an afternoon of card playing. Coffee, tea and a special little dessert or salad was always served by the hostess, so, this little set was put to good use. After moving to the Eastern Star Masonic home in Boone, she found other gals there to have a game with most every day. She always thought I would enjoy the game and should learn to play, but, to this day it is still on the "to do" list.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Fridgidaire

Fridgidaire was a brand name for electric refrigerators - I don't remember that we ever used the word "refrigerator" - it was always "the fridge". This ceramic jug with cork lined stopper, came with Mom and Dad's first "Fridgidaire" refrigerator purchased in the early 1940's. Mom used it to keep milk in, direct from the cows that were milked morning and night. Having cows, pigs, and chickens was a normal sight on almost all farms in those days. They were not only a source of income, they were a source of food for the family. Milking, gathering eggs, feedings - all twice daily chores in fair and foul weather !

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Unfortunately, this jardiniere was broken into many pieces, but, I could not bear to throw it away, it was such a beautiful piece. So, glued it back together the best I could and now have an artificial fern setting in it to hide its many flaws. I don't know its origination, although it was in G'ma Lottie's house when I became part of the family over 50 years ago. I think that it belonged to her mother. When it was given to us back in the late 70's, I was told that it was over 100 years old. It's value is purely emotional !

Monday, October 13, 2008

Berry Gem

A little 5" strawberry jam jar - so cute ! It has a special place atop my kitchen cabinets. This was a "gift" from my long time friend and neighbor, Willa M. She died this year on my birthday at the age of 97. This jam jar was given to her as a wedding gift on her first marriage at age 16 in 1927. I was helping her take some things down from a high cabinet shelf one day - this was one of the items and I commented "Oh, how cute" ! AND, right then and there, it became mine.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wash Day

At the turn of the century and early 1900's, who ever heard of automatic washers and dryers ? This copper boiler, belonging to my G'ma Schultz, was filled with water from the well or cistern, then set atop the iron topped cook stove to heat up, emptied into the wringer washing machine, and dirty laundry was washed. Whites and light colored, lightly soiled items washed first, darker things next and the dirtiest of the dirty ( those farmer overalls worn working with animals and out in the fields) done last. All this laundry was hung out to dry on "clotheslines" usually strung up between two trees. There was nothing better than laying down at night on clean sheets dried in that country fresh air. Although we had hot running water in the 50's when I was growing up, the rest of the routine was much the same. I bought this boiler in South Dakota at my Uncle Lehman's farm sale.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Little Pitcher

This little crock pottery pitcher's history falls to my Dad's side of the family. It belonged to his Grandmother Moege and then his mother, my G'ma Schultz. I can picture it being used for REAL cream on the breakfast table. Back in "the day" of unknown cholesterol culprits, everyone used cream in their coffee and on their oatmeal. The farmers always had cows to keep the families in milk products, which included making their own butter and cottage cheese. Plus, there was always cream left to sell to the city dairy to process and resell. This was a source of income to keep the household running, even in my generation. The "cream man" came by the farm twice a week and the "egg man" (Clarence was his name) came once a week to buy our produce. "Milk and egg money" paid for other groceries and many other needs and pleasures for the family. The pitcher measures about 4" high and holds it's place of honor above my kitchen cabinets.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

In The Air

I came across this photo when searching for the family snapshot with Uncle Ernest in his uniform. A memory was jogged !! My FIRST airplane ride ! This picture was taken in an alfalfa pasture on the farm where I grew up. This airplane buzzed our farm and then landed in that pasture one day in 1953. When the pilot descended, it was my Uncle Bob. (Mom's baby brother). The plane was a 2-seater and he had his best friend, Jason, with him. They had both taken flying lessons, bought this airplane together, and were taking a cross country trip, stopping to see everyone they knew along the way. Of course, the entire family was invited to have a ride. Us kids were so thrilled and excited to get to actually fly in an airplane. WOW ! Remembering back, I am not so sure Mom and Dad were so excited about it, though. Mom took the ride, but, my Dad didn't ! He said "A man's feet belong on the ground". Dad never traveled by air his entire life. Uncle Bobbie was somewhat of a rebel in his younger days - -he came to visit one time, riding his Indian motorcycle across country, along with that best friend, Jason, also. Had my first motorcycle ride with Uncle Bob, too ! In the photo, that's me on the left, sister Shirley on the right, and baby brother, Donald.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


This gorgeous little piece of glass sat on the family kitchen table, regally holding toothpicks, "forever". Another wedding gift to my Mom and Dad. Another piece that was "just always there", AND, now has a special spot in my china cabinet. It measures 2" high. Many a neighboring farmer, many relatives and many friends had meals at our table when I was growing up. If someone just happened to come by at meal time, an extra spot was always made for them. No one ever went away hungry from my Mom's table !!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Cruise ?

Albert Hanle, my maternal grandfather, immigrated to the U.S. at age 16 with his parents and siblings. He took an ocean liner voyage to revisit his homeland of Germany in 1934, returning to the U.S. in 1935. This is the wicker trunk that accompanied him on that trip. The I.D. tags were still attached when the trunk came to me some 20 years ago. It also contained some turn of the century clothing which still remain inside. I have not opened the trunk in recent years, so will have to do that one day to take a look at those clothes. I am not sure how my Mom ended up with this trunk, but, it was in our house for as long as I can remember back. Some of the clothing was used in a couple of our high school class plays. A glitzy flapper's purse was found inside. If this trunk could speak, what stories could it tell ??

Monday, October 6, 2008

It's "TIME"

This antique clock originally hung in my grandparent's church in South Dakota, back in the late 1800's, is what my mom told me when she let me"weasle" it out of her about 20 years ago. How did it become a family possession ? She thought there was an auction of church items when they were being replaced with new. I did not write all the details down that Mom related, consequently, any other information is lost. Your Dad loved time pieces of any kind, so she knew it would have a special place in our home. Your Dad always kept it wound and never allowed it to run down. When I wind it, I never fail to think of him and how fast the years have gone by, let alone the minutes !!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Doll Carriage

This wicker doll "buggy" belonged to my Aunt Delores, (my favorite aunt of all time), Mom's youngest sister. When talking to Uncle Lawrence after Aunt Delores' death, he asked me if I would like to have it. Of course, I couldn't say"NO" !! At that time, he told me what he knew about it. In the mid-30's, putting Sis (as we all called her), at age 5 or 6, she had seen it and coveted it for her baby doll. My mom and older sister, Bertha, pooled their money and bought it for their baby sister for Christmas. When the buggy came to me, it was in very poor condition, rusty, dried out, wheels falling off and the rubber on the wheels all dried out and broken up. Your Dad took it all apart, sanded, cleaned, filled the rubber on the wheels with some sort of goop, painted and totally refurbished it to look almost like new. Of course, all this takes away the antique value of the piece, but, I was not interested in that value. I wanted it to become what it is - a sweet memory of my Aunt Sis and a perfect home for a "few" of my teddy bears ! Which, of course, is a whole other story !!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Chosen One

The soft green depression glass cake plate ! The piece I would have chosen if I would have had first choice of the 3 pieces described yesterday. The plate that all birthday cakes appeared upon in all the years of growing up. The plate that was used for any cake for any special occassion ! AND, it now has a special place in MY china cabinet. A few years ago, when helping my brother after he had a heart attack, he told me I should have it. Who am I to argue ? Yes, I get all the good stuff !!!

Friday, October 3, 2008

In the Pink

It was difficult to capture the delicate pink of this beautiful depression glass, three footed bowl !! Mom and Dad were gifted 3 pieces of depression glass when they married October 2, 1933 - two pink bowls and a green cake plate. When Mom brought out these 3 pieces to hand down to her 3 children, I knew which piece I REALLY, really wanted. Well, my brother had always given me a bad time about Mom and Dad liking me best (the middle child), and I always got the GOOD stuff (like the butterfly wing tray). The truth is, I was never shy about asking "Can I have that? Mom?" AND, the other truth is, Mom and Dad "liked us all "best", just in different ways" !! This is a quote direct from my Dad in a conversation my brother and I were having with him one day on this particular subject. Anyway, that day, I said to Mom, "Let Shirley and Donny pick first". Was I feeling generous, or was I feeling bad because I really did get all the good stuff ?? Shirley picked the other pink bowl which is similar, but, has some beautiful etching on it. Donny picked the cake plate, and I received this bowl. Not the piece I would have chosen, given first choice, but, it holds a dear and special spot in my heart and in my china cabinet.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


This piece of furniture sets in my front entry area. It is an antique record cabinet that originally belonged to my G'ma and G'pa Schultz. They had a Victrola record player that sat atop and many records sat on the shelves inside. When we would go to visit them in South Dakota back in the 40's and 50's, we always got to listen to records. This was a big treat as no one else we knew had a "record player". As years passed, inhabitants of the old farm house changed, but they were still family members. On a visit as adults, my brother and I stopped to visit Uncle Lloyd and Aunt Hazel and there sat that record cabinet, bringing back memories of childhood visits. My admiration of this piece was remembered - when Uncle Lloyd passed and Aunt Hazel moved to a smaller home in town, she sent it to me, by way of my brother. Wonder what happened to the Victrola and the records ?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


This "butterfly wing" tray (15" x 8") was a gift to my mother from her Uncle Ernest Hanle, my G'pa's brother. sometime in the mid '50's. Somewhere in South America is its origin. I keep this on a dresser top in my bedroom out of direct light, as I read somewhere that light is damaging to the fragile wings. A little mystery and intrigue surrounded this uncle. There was speculation that he was CIA. Family would not hear from him for months, even years at a time, then out of the blue, he would be there to visit. A briefcase disappeared from his hospital room when he died. To imagine that we had a real "007" spy or double agent in our ancestry has always been an exciting thought, but, as near as I can tell from a photo album and papers my mother had (now in Uncle Donald's possession), he was a career military nurse. This family snapshot taken on one of his rare visits, probably the one when he bestowed the gift to my mom, shows him in what appears to be a naval officer uniform. Could this have been his cover ? Mysteries of the past, lost and forever secret !