Friday, December 25, 2009

A Sweet Bear

There is always room for one more bear at my house !! This cute little guy was handmade for me for Christmas by my sweet grand-daughter. His little face has so much personality -- he looks as if he wants to tell me some Christmas secrets !! She also made the necklace with the glass slide pendant featuring Santa Claus checking his list. I think my name was on the "good" list as I opened some lovely gifts on Christmas Eve. When I was growing up, Santa never failed to visit our house, even when I was a teenager. Mom and Dad never gave up the tradition. There is that special memory which comes to mind every year at this time.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Past

And a Merry Christmas Eve !! What is it about photos of children with Santa that are so endearing ? And, isn't it wonderful when the child is happy and not afraid of the man with the flowing white beard dressed in that red suit ? This picture of Hilery some 20 plus years ago is a reminder to me that Santa Claus is real !! Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus !!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Every year at Christmas time, the Nevada Ballet Theatre performs The Nutcracker. The past few years, my friend, Sharon and I have discussed attending. This year, instead of buying one another a Christmas gift, our gift to ourselves and each other was a ticket to see the ballet. This was my very first time ever, to see this kind of ballet performance -- hopefully, it will not be my last, as I thoroughly enjoyed it. The dancers were awesome -- the costumes were gorgeous. The gift of a memorable afternoon -- I don't believe those fit under a Christmas tree !!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Another Cake Plate

This green depression glass cake plate is at home in my china cabinet, along with all those other mementos of my life and past generations. It was difficult to catch the beauty of the "sunflowers" in the photograph. The plate was someone else's family heirloom that I purchased at an estate sale several years ago on a trip back to Iowa. I really love those estate auctions, but, have to control myself on bidding on everything I would like to have. I would have to purchase another china cabinet and where would I put that ??

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

An Anniversary

When I received my Avon order this week, a little something extra that I did not order, appeared. This commemorative plate celebrating my years as an Avon representative was quite a surprise. I knew I had been selling Avon for a long time, but, hadn't really kept track of the number of years. I have never really worked at it as a business -- it has just been a little side-line thing to do. Since my retirement from my full-time job, I have wanted to retire from this, also. The few gals that still order on a regular basis beg and whine and cry whenever I mention quitting. One of my New Year's resolutions is to stop allowing other people to influence my decisions !! Suppose I can keep that ??

Sunday, November 29, 2009

My Oil Painting Era

I came across this photo this morning - I'm not sure if it is the original from which I copied or if it is one of my paintings. The picture hung in the beauty salon I owned back in the 70's when I was into oil painting. Your G'ma Ruth loved the picture so it was only a matter of time before I copied it in oils for her. I painted another copy for my friend, Opal, also. I could never find a signature on the original, so I never knew who to credit. Your G'ma had her painting hanging in her bedroom and it was given to her hairstylist before G'ma moved to the assisted care facility. This woman was always so good to G'ma Ruth and always went "the extra mile" for her. I hope that it is as special for her as it was for G'ma.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving !!

I have been a "bad blogger" of late !! I know there are still many things within these walls of my home with "history" and lots of childhood and early years memories to recall. I will get to more of those things as days come and go. Today, being Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the many good recipes my Mom had. A family favorite has always been this Sunday Coffee Cake. The recipe originated from a newspaper sometime in the 1940's. Mom's friend, Luella, served this at one of those great Sunday dinners that were so memorable when I was growing up. My collection of recipes are not well organized. Some are hand-written on scraps of paper - a few in Mom's writing. This one, among others, so old and used so many times, it is faded and discolored. These are my favorites !!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Douglas' Girls

I've always liked this photo of us four "girls" !! It was taken in the summer of 1995 -- Your Dad's favorite four women in the world !! Making the trip to Iowa is no longer the same with all of the older generation being gone. When your G'ma Ruth and I sat next to each other at her oldest grand-daughter's wedding, she made a statement about she and G'pa Paul being "the old folks, now". I now know how she really felt when she made that statement !!

Saturday, November 14, 2009


As I was going through drawers and boxes of stored things,"trying" to find more stuff to put in the garage sale, (and rid myself of clutter), I came across these little plaster of paris cherubs. Actually, the condition they are in, they should have been thrown out years ago. Once again, I will probably place them back in the bottom of one of my lingerie drawers where they have been for at least 40 years !! I was around 5 or 6 years old when I saw them in the "dime store" and Mom bought them for me. My sister picked out something that day also, but, I can't recall what it was. These were hung over the head of our bed that day and always had a place on a wall in my room when I was growing up. Memories of days gone by -- how do I rid myself of tangible evidence that those days really happened ??

Monday, November 9, 2009

Having a Garage Sale

I took this photo last Friday morning before my friend, Sharon, and I opened the doors for our garage sale to begin. Clothes racks and boxes from under the tables were pulled out onto the driveway. Being a couple of retired ladies, we were able to spend several days preparing and setting up. We organized and priced every item and had several comments from attendees as to how pleasant it was to go to a sale that was more than just "piles" of things. It was a lot of work, but, at the end of three days, we felt we had made enough money to make it all worth while. AND, now, off to spend the money on Christmas shopping !!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Simple Box

This simple, plain beautiful box is a music box that plays "Impossible Dream". It was a Christmas gift to me many years ago, I think sometime in the 60's, from your G'ma and G'pa Johnson. It has ever since had a spot on my bedroom dresser. I hadn't opened it to play for a long time until a few days ago. I thought it was broken because it wouldn't play, even after I wound it a bit. Seems there is a bit of a secret to begin the music - you must push the little button on the front to the right and hold it for a second or two. I think this box may have been the first in my love of "boxes" !

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Where the Tall Corn Grows

At this time of year, back in Iowa, it is harvest time. It was my favorite time of year to go back to visit Mom and Dad and all the other relatives. The weather was always wonderful -- not too hot nor too cold !! AND, once in awhile, I was allowed to drive a tractor again. The machinery used these days is so much different than when I was growing up. We didn't have air conditioned cabs or power steering and power brakes back then. This photo of me was taken in late summer of the mid 70's on one of my visits. It seemed the corn was exceptionally tall that year. With me being a bit over 5 foot, it looks as if the corn is towering near 10 feet. Farmers felt they would have a good crop if the corn was "knee high by the 4th of July" !!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Candy, Anyone?

This pink depression glass candy dish was another one of those "things" that I talked my Mom out of several years ago ! It was something she acquired in the early years of her marriage. I have it filled with seashells and sitting on an end table (actually, the old wicker trunk) in my living area. Most of the seashells came from that trip to Hawaii that you and I took years ago. I realized the other day that I have been posting on this blog for over a year and there are still a few things around my home that have a story to tell. And then, of course, some of those old photos will conjure up some childhood memories. Seems there are not enough hours in the day as I need to accomplish all I want to do these days !!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Johnson's New Home in Town

In 1956, about the time I had started dating your Dad in high school, his dad was semi-retiring from farming. Your Dad's sister and family were moving into the big old farm house and Mother and Dad, (one day to be your grandparents) were building a new house in " town". Ogden was a budding metropolis of 1500 people and to this day, it still remains a small farming town with about the same number of people. The home they were building was ultra-modern for that day and age. Micro-wave ovens were a luxury then, but, Mother had one of the first ones to be seen in that area of the country. An inter-com system was installed throughout the house -- another luxury for that day and age !! Originally, the room over the garage was an open patio or "sun porch" and the exterior was painted gray with white trim. The house now has a new family living in it. I hope they will have as many fond memories of life within the walls of this "home" as I do.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

More Rhinestones

When I was looking through the costume jewelery in that antique oak tool chest, I also found this bracelet. When we were kids, we did not get a lot of gifts from grandparents or aunts and uncles. One Christmas when I was about ten years old, a package came from Ohio from my Grandma and Grandpa Hanle. My sister and I both received these rhinestone bracelets. Quite grown-up jewelery for such young girls, but, did we ever just "love them". It would not surprise me if your Aunt Shirley still has hers, too. She is more of a pack rat than I am !!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Blue Rhinestones

I was looking through my costume jewelery in that wonderful old oak tool chest a couple of days ago and came upon a couple of "vintage" pieces. This blue rhinestone "choker" was purchased to wear with my blue lace prom dress back in 1957. Originally, there was a pair of clip on earrings to go with it, but, they have been lost or misplaced, apparently. When I think about how old this necklace really is and the fact that it is still with me after all these years and many moves -- that in itself, is amazing. In 1957, this necklace was quite inexpensive -- vintage rhinestone jewelery at the antique malls these days, is quite pricey !!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Autumn at Bellagio Conservatory

These are only a smidgeon of the photos I took yesterday as Hilery and I viewed the autumn spectacular scenery at the Bellagio Conservatory. Because the plantings and themes are changed five times a year, it gives us an excuse to be "tourists" !! Photos would not begin to capture the beauty of the gorgeous mums in every color imaginable. There were 800 pound pumpkins, gourds in every shape and color, giant Venus fly traps, unusual tree fountains, and we loved the "talking" tree.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hallowe'en ATC's

Trying to get back in the "groove" after my trip to Kansas to visit you before your move to N. Carolina. I had a lot of fun creating these Halloween atc's along side you at your craft table. Now, I am all ready to get my box of Halloween holiday goodies out and create some more spooky "stuff" !!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Clarice and Susie

Taking over 50 photos of your babies one day, I was determined to catch the "perfect" pose. Of course, they were always at their best when I didn't have the camera pointed at them !! I am happy for the digital cameras as it would be costly for the amount of film I would have used on just this one occasion !! Anyway, these two "poses" were the ones I chose to be the best of the many !!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Visit to Kansas

I will be taking off in the morning for a 10 day visit with you, my favorite daughter, my favorite son-in-law and your two girls, Susie and Clarice. It will undoubtedly be my last time to visit you all in Wichita in your lovely home there. For you and your family to be moving to No. Carolina with new surroundings, new work relationships, and a new home are all major changes, not only for you, but also for those of us who love you !! Most assuredly, we will all adjust !! I have to stop and count how many times your Dad and I moved during our 40 years together !! We always managed to bloom wherever we were planted !! This is one of my favorite photos taken when I visited last summer.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Life is "Just a Bowl of Cherries"

I purchased these beautiful, tasty cherries at the grocery market a couple of days ago. The little crystal bowl they are in is one of a set of five that go along with a large crystal berry bowl. I purchased this set over 20 years ago at a farm auction in Iowa. It is vintage replica, but another few years, it will be antique !! I have often wondered why these berry bowl sets always have just five small serving dishes !! Eating these cherries brought up some fun memories of your Dad. Of course, he loved these fresh cherries and when we had them, he didn't like to share. He wanted them all to himself !! He was one of few people I have ever known that could tie a cherry stem into a knot with his tongue. That contest started in some bar somewhere years and years ago with maraschino cherries with stems that arrived in certain mixed drinks. He liked showing off this little trick of his whenever there were stemmed cherries around.

Friday, August 21, 2009


As I was going through photos, I found this one dated 1980. I'm not sure what year your G'ma and G'pa Schultz bought this 120 acre farm, but, this was the house as it was when they first moved into it. They later put yellow aluminum siding on and changed the front porch somewhat. The new owners of the farm have now removed that siding, added a large room on the west side, and are planning to build a huge summer porch all the way around from what I have been told. This house had that beautiful front entry with the large open staircase that I loved. And then there was that lovely leaded glass window !! Although I did not grow up in this home, it has some wonderful memories of Mom and Dad attached to it !!!

Monday, August 17, 2009


This faded photo taken in Ohio, is dated November, 1945. That is me on the right and my sister is on the pony that belonged to cousin Ivan, on the right. Ivan was a long awaited child and always seemed to have everything any child could want. The other cousin is David, whose father had just died. Erwin was my mother's brother and had just been to visit us in Iowa a month before, on his way to South Dakota to go pheasant hunting with family and friends. Of course, this was my first funeral and the image of my Mom lifting me to view my uncle's body in the casket, is as clear to me today as it was that day. If it were not for this photo, that would be the only thing about that trip to Ohio that I would ever have remembered. Odd, the remembrances of childhood experiences that stay with you all of your life !!

Saturday, August 15, 2009


A couple more items displayed atop my kitchen cabinets are these two containers filled with spools of thread. Most all the spools are wooden and most all the colors were purchased through the years of creating clothing for the three of us. I would venture to say most of the spools are at least 30 years old and some are close to 50, at least. I haven't sewn a garment "from scratch" in 15 years, at least. Every so often, I get onto the ladder and pull down one of the containers because I need a certain color for a bit of mending or a bit of color for an artful creation. Another bit of "wondering why I keep certain things, but, glad I did" thing !!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Playing Dress-up

The date on the back of this photo is 1948 -- that's me on the right, sister Shirley in the middle and cousin Davy on the right. I don't recall this particular moment, but, I know as kids, we were always taking on roles of someone we idolized or read or heard about, by "playing dress-up" !! I have no idea who any of us were impersonating on this particular day !! Luella, this one friend of Mom's, had a couple of trunks full of beautiful old clothes, hats, jewelery and shoes. We loved visiting her home because she would turn us loose to play with all those wonderful things in those trunks. Luella and Mom would be visiting in the kitchen and Dad and Elmer, her husband, in the living room or outdoors. They all oohed and aahed as we and their daughter, Claudene, paraded our outfits for them. Remember the day we were looking at the old prom and formal dresses your G'ma Schultz had in that closet upstairs ?? I must hunt for the photos of that "dress-up" day !!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

House of Seven Gables

This is a photo taken in the late 70's of the house in South Dakota where my Dad grew up. Stories I remember hearing was the house was built for my grand-parents, Emma Moege and Emil Schultz, before they were married in 1911. Emma came from a quite wealthy family and wanted a house with "seven gables". I should have taken a photo of the back of the house, too. As a kid, through the years, there were several trips from Iowa to see my Dad's family in South Dakota. All those uncles still at home, thought us three kids were the "cat's meow" and kept us quite well entertained !! Although Mom's parents and siblings had moved on to Ohio, she still had aunts, uncles and cousins we would visit while we were there, so there were a few younger second cousins to have some fun with. A trip to South Dakota was always a great "adventure" !!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Glamour Shots ??

I doubt that I could have gotten your Dad to make a special trip to a photographer's studio for professional portraits. Owning my own beauty salon did have its advantages !! A photographer came in and set up for a couple of days -- all the clients were looking their best with a fresh hair style and a little professional help with their make-up if they wanted it. It was time for your Dad to get a hair cut and perm -- here we were in the mid-70's with those curly hairstyles being the "in" thing -- We posed for our photos and I always loved the way they turned out. My only regret is that we did not have one done of the two of us together -- I think we were quite a handsome couple !!!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

"Pet" Sheep

I'm not sure if I remember this sheep because of this picture or if I really remember the sheep !! I do remember how her wool felt when I put my hand through it, so I guess I remember her !! Or, was it him ? The sheep didn't have a name that my sister or I could recall. We had a fence around the yard of the house and the sheep was good at keeping the grass mowed down a bit. When I was four, we moved to another farm and the sheep was sold. Questions I never asked and now have no one to ask are, why did we have just one sheep ? Did we get it when it was a baby ? Why did we never have any more ? Did she have a name ? I guess we don't always know what questions we might be interested in knowing the answers to.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Horses for Sale

This old photo of "horses behinds" has always fascinated me. The horses were being readied for a farm sale during the depression when my G'ma and G'pa Hanle were giving up farming in South Dakota and moving to Canton, Ohio. There were jobs there and hope !! Draft horses were used to pull plows, planters and other farm implements. My Dad had four of these type horses before he purchased his first tractor in the early 40's. We kids always wanted a riding pony, but, Dad would never give in to that idea. He had enough of dealing with these animals and had been kicked one too many times !! Consequently, he was short on love for any kind of horse !!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Rod Stewart

Last Saturday night, Rod Stewart was performing at the MGM Grand events arena.. I purchased my ticket the first day they went on sale a couple months ago. The set-up in the arena for this type of show seats around 10,000 people and I saw very few empty seats. Rod is 64 years old and I was in awe of the energy he had -- he had the crowd on their feet, singing and dancing right along with him. It was an amazing evening !! There are several "big name" entertainers that appear in concerts here once in awhile. When I was working, I couldn't make it to the concerts that I would like to have seen, but, now that I am retired, guess what ?? I am going to go to any and all that I have a desire to see !! Some, I may even go when they come back to town the next time !!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Living in Las Vegas

I take so much for granted living in this city that never sleeps !! Grocery stores, pharmacies, Walmart's, bowling alleys, gymnasiums, casinos -- you name it, 24 hours a day, any time of the day or night, any day of the week, you can shop, play, go for a work-out at the gym, do most anything your little heart desires. There is always a big name entertainer to go see or a lesser known entertainer where the price is much less, but, the show will be just as entertaining !! I have loved living in this city from the very first day, although it was one of the hottest days of the year 24 years ago this month. The scene in this photo looks much different today than it did 20 years ago. The "downtown Las Vegas strip" is now covered with a canopy featuring an overhead light show every night and the three block long area has the feeling of a "casino mall". I miss the fabulous casino signs with the glittering neon lights. Progress is wonderful, but, some days I long for some things to be as they used to be !!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sing Like No One is Listening

This is a photo taken from my '58 high school annual - that's me in the middle row, right. I sang in the girl's chorus, the mixed chorus, this sextette, plus solos. There would be concerts staged at the school, we went to local and state contests and it was just another all round fun activity. I often find it unbelievable that I did a lot of the things that I did. Today, I can barely "carry a tune in a bucket" !!! I am reminded of a time when I believe I was singing along with a song in the car one day and you said "Please don't sing, Mommy". Today, I only sing in the car when I am alone and listening to my favorite radio station. AND, the windows are closed !!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Actress in Me

This is a photo of me taken out of my 1957 High School annual. I had the lead part in the Junior Class Play "Time Out for Ginger". I don't remember much about the plot of the play, other than Ginger was quite a tomboy throughout the first two acts and in the 3rd act, she shows how much of a "girlie" girl she really was after all !! I had parts in several plays throughout my high school years, most of them being the female lead part. Being in the plays was always so much fun for me -- I always had my lines memorized to a "T" and never missed a cue. In today's world, many times, I forget what I read 5 minutes ago !!

Monday, July 27, 2009


Call it fate, call it destiny, call it what you like !! The fact that Hilery and I have both come to call Las Vegas "home" was not something either of us would have ever foreseen !!. We had a conversation the other day about choosing a place to settle down. Las Vegas would probably NOT have been the city we would have chosen. As "fate" would have it, your Dad's job moved us here. As "destiny" would have it, I introduced Hilery to the love of her life when she came for a visit at age 19. Now, I have lived here longer than anywhere else I have ever settled in my lifetime. Hilery, playing a vintage slot machine, is about 4 years old in this photo taken in her other grandparent's "playroom".

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Seeing the Sights

Here we are at Ephesus in Turkey in 1980. I have been looking through a lot of old photos the last few days and I am thinking how great it was for us that our husbands worked for a company that gave us the chance to see a bit of the world !! Even though living conditions weren't always as convenient as we would have liked, I know that I would never have traveled to all of the places we traveled, otherwise !! These historic ancient city ruins were one of many of the sights we saw together. You know your Dad was never much for sight-seeing trips, so I am ever thankful that you were more adventurous. I wonder what is in that huge tote bag I'm carrying !!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Four Generations

This is another photo taken at that Heckel family reunion in South Dakota back in 1959. There you are at one year old, then me, and I'm not even 20 yet !!! Was I ever that young ?? Seems like a long time ago, yet, only yesterday !! Mom would have been in her mid -40's, and I suppose my Grandma Hanle was probably mid-60's. Mom once told me that my Grandma came up with my name, Virginia. Mom never said so, but, I think they were looking for a boy since I was the second child and probably didn't have a girl's name picked out. And then, I was bestowed with my grandma's name for a middle name, Katherine !! I have always liked my name, but was that ever a lot of letters for a little kid to learn to print !!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Baby Ringo

When you posted this photo on your blog and I asked you to send me a copy, your comment in your email about the day after Ringo came to live with us, you hated having to have to go to school and leave him behind. AND then all you could do was think about him ! It reminded me of how much we have loved our dogs and how much love they have given us. They live in the moment and teach us so much if only we are willing to listen !! He really was a cute little puppy -- it is still hard for me to believe your Dad just brought him home one day without there ever being a discussion about getting a dog !! Or, did you talk to him about it ??

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My "Bird Book"

Being the computer illiterate that I am, I haven't figured out how to space these photos of my book and write about each one individually. Click on the photos for a larger view. Using your book for inspiration, Hilery and I had a goal of using things we had and not to purchase anything new. WELL, I did buy a few "bird trade cards" on eBay and we did buy a carpenter's measuring tool. The covers are from an old high school literature book that I found stored in a box in the garage. The sticks in the binding came from the farm down by the river in Iowa. On a trip back there a couple of years ago, I had picked up bits and pieces from the wooded area and had put them in a box, thinking I would use them for something, sometime !! We did print out a few pictures of things from . I added a few personal items to make it "my own", such as the image of my dad as a young boy, numbers with meaning - the 4322 was the number on the first house we bought -- 1958 was the year of our marriage and the year of your birth. The old spoon came from a box of things my friend Willa had given me. She always loved my creations and was ever on the lookout for items of artistic interest for me. Hilery found the rusty nail in her yard. Creating this book was a huge step away from the norm for me. Hilery and I had five exciting Friday afternoons of creativity !! I am pleased with the end results and when I look at the book, I think "Did I really do all that ?? "