Monthly Musings 2022: May Chit Chat…

What better way to start the month off with an anniversary… No. 51 for us this year… and still very much in loved. We do everything together, just like we have done from day one. He is my best friend… and I could have no better friend than my husband… he’s always looking out for me in everything we do! I am truly blessed that he came into my life… and coming over a thousand miles away for us to meet, as he was from Connecticut… and me, a Southern girl from Georgia. Someone was definetly looking down in the planning of him coming to Georgia to Warner Robings AFB… and he never thinking that it would be where he found the love of his life!

Meet my “Togo” sewn with all Nancy Drew fabric by Moda… if you aren’t familiar with the Nancy Drew books… Togo was Nancy’s terrier. I enjoyed sewing him so much… that I just might make another… Togo 1 & 2!

Just as I promised at New Year’s… to work on my UFO’s (unfinished objects) during the year, I’m making progress in looking back through my monthly musings. This month I diligently sewed on my “Nancy Drew” EPT (English Paper Piecing) Scottish doggie. I featured last April the five I sewed for my granddaughters, and if you’re interested in making one, check out the post HERE, as I’ve given directions and links for a “how to.” They are not hard to sew, as they[re all sewn by hand… it’s a great project to pick up and go. I often sew while sitting at the beach or riding in the car… when I can stop watching the road and giving hubby directions. I hate to admit it, but I’m a back seat driver… but he’s probably selective in listening to me… but then there are times when my eyes did good!

Mama dug up these up one summer for me… and they make me smile when blooming!

Spring continues popping up around my yard with the yellow Iris’s blooming… they are bulbs from my mother’s garden. One of the many flowers I often lugged home in my special yellow suitcase that I only used just for that reason. It seems they weren’t really x-raying luggage at that time… or didn’t care about flowers… as nothing was ever said. I can’t imagine what I would have done if caught… probably stomping my foot in telling them that I have to bring them home! I’ve had some issues at the Atlanta airport that ended up ok in the end… with me just taking a deep breath. Once, while traveling with both my teenage children, we arrived for an 8 o’clock morning flight… I presented our tickets to only have the agent shove them back to me. I pushed them back over to him, and after a couple push and shoves, he finally said P.M., not A.M… and those were tickets bought from a travel agent! I guess he took pity on me from the look on my face and directed me over to the Delta desk… telling me that they’d get me on another flight. Meanwhile I had one stompy teenager announcing that she wasn’t sitting at the airport all day… and I don’t think I can write my response to that, but I quickly walked over to Delta and told of my dilemma… and without blinking an eye, thea gent had me on an even earlier flight home to Connecticut. I then had a very happy teenager! I’m sure my son was laughing during the whole process while his sister was moaning. Traveling with my son was always a happy experience, as nothing upset him along the way… while he laughingly carried all our luggage!

Stephen even laughed on the steamy Atlanta day when we missed our van ride to my mother’s. While we had taken that van several times and knew about where it parked in the lot… somehow that day we missed seeing it. It was a long afternoon of sitting on the very “hard” concrete bench in waiting for the next one. I so enjoyed those vacations with my son traveling… just the two of us laughing the entire trip, and the hustle and bustle of the airport; we always seemed to have been running at some point through the airport in Atlanta!

In remembering that airport experience, it also brought to mind other mishaps… like the first time my daughter came with my son and I. At the Atlanta hub there is a subway system called Marta, and you really need to pay attention in getting on and off, as those doors slam quickly. We explained the process to my daughter… as to what happens, but she didn’t move fast enough with us and the door shut her out! The look on her face as we left on the train… as she was left standing there, not knowing where to go… but, actually that train only ran one way. We exited for out destination of baggage… and waited for her to arrive… which she did, admist her brother laughing as she exited! All’s well, that ends well!

Besides carrying flowers home in my suitcase, I also carried 5lb bags of White Lily self-rising flour… why you ask? Well, they don’t sell that in the North, and I needed it to make biscuits. Sure I can buy self-rising flour here, but it’s not the same. White Lily is a very soft processed wheat and makes the best biscuits… and it’s all my mama ever used! One year when my daughter and son-in-law came… I gave him the honor of pulling my carry-on through security… but he said laughing, if I get pulled over with all that flour, it’s yours! No problem, it went right through.

The only thing security usually pulled me aside for was when I brought on frozen BBQ and Brunswick Stew. They always opened the bag and waved their magic wand all around the containers… while I stood there mumbling to myself… “you are not taking my BBQ and Stew.” Luckly it always ended well! The one thing today that would never be allowed is the 3 gallons of BBQ sauce we brought home yearly from Holcomb’s… our favorite BBQ place in Greensboro, Georgia. I always secured the cap with lots of duct tape as I often had to lay them on their side in the overhead… imagine if that leaked! I don’t think I would have wanted to claim it was mine… and the vinegar smell would definitelty have overwhelmed everyone! Someone was looking out for me! Just ask my son about our travels, as he was the bagger carrier, and always schlepped lots of bags! We usually took a van to my mom’s house and often our driver on the return trip to the airport would always say… “You have everything but the kitchen sink in these bags.” Yep, we pretty much did… as mama walked around the house the night before and continuisly found more things that she thought insisted we take home. It was hard to say No!

While my son and I did the most flying to Georgia every summer, and for the most part we had no issues… often laughing as we ran through the airports… as our gate always seemed to be the furtherest out! Traveling with hubby, another whole issue… he hates flying, security, and the hustle and bustle… and always forgot something in his pocket that causes him to be screened. He once had to throw away a small round screwdriver, and I heard about it the entire trip! We only drive now, no security issues!

This knitted “Mitred” blanket on the left is a new UFO I’ve begun recenlty, as it’s a pick up and go project… which I enjoy… sometimes you just want something to knit, with no pattern to struggle reading. It’s also the type of afghan that uses up your extra balls of yarn… which knitters and crocheters always have! I discovered this type blanket on Kate on The Last Homely House… she was knitting this while sitting in her garden. If you’d like to make one, there is a free pattern over at The Knitting Squirrel. The “pretty in pink” scalloped knitted blanket is a soon-to-be shower gift… but knitting in sports yarn is taking time… and leaving me like I’m not adding inches! Lately it’s become my sitting at the beach project, while watch tv and all the time… as it must be finished by the end of June!

We sided the house last year, but never managed to redo the front gardens… I knew I had to do it this year, so this month we began stopping at our local nursery to stock up on soil, mulch and flowers whenever we passed by. With todays gas prices, you know have to plan your trips to save on gas! I’ve been going out the past few mornings to work on one side… and after 6 bags of mulch, several bags of soil and flowers, it’s finished! The other side will have to wait until the generator goes in, as it possibly, might have to sit in the front, so I’ll just mulch that side for now. At least next summer won’t be so hard… hopefully… in just adding flowers.

More exciting news this month came on the 19th… with the arrival of my son’s first baby chick that their hen, Maple, hatched from her countless days of sitting on the nest. They discovered her many eggs, as she’d been guarding her nest in the begining of the month… and sitting on over 18 eggs. Not all were even hers, she secretly, or so she thought, been gathering eggs; my son caught her sneaking them under her wing and taking them back to her nest. He resorted to marking the eggs once discovered, so he could daily remove any new ones, but the real surprise to him came on the 19th when he was locking the chickens up in the coop for the night… hearing a peep… peep… he peeked under her and out popped a little chicken… and a couple days later, another one appeared.

Baby Chicks arrived this month… Chickie “Angel” on left – CeCelia on right!

The girls were super excited in having their own “home grown” first baby chicks… and promptly began naming them. The first one (black and white) was named Angel, and the newest yellow chick is named CeCelia… and ironically those are their great-grandmother’s names!

May didn’t end before more chirping over the Memorial Day Weekend… Baby chick Violet arrived on May 27th…

This past year granddaughter McKinley has been taking horse riding lessons… and is now asking about shows, so we may soon see her competing. She’s come a long way in the past year, from first being led around the ring, to now going to the tac barn, gathering her own saddle and bridle and helping to saddle her horse up for riding. What’s next… can I have my own horse?

Our month of May ended with granddaughter Grace’s dance recital… where she also received her 5-year trophy. Way to go Grace! Never put me in a photo and expect me to smile… not sure why?

Miss Grace dancing Hip Hop…

Ella playing flute in school concert and far right in school play!

Granddaughters in Florida are out of school… finished mid May, but not before a couple of band concerts for Ella, who plays the flute; joined the band last year and has been promoted up another level as her skills have progressed. This was her first year (6th) in middle school and she blossomed out in joining the drama club and winning a role in their play, Descendants, The Musical; she had to sing and dance for the audition. Way to go Ella! All the girls in Florida are planning swimming lessons for the summer to keep them busy, as well as the granddaughters here; it’s good to know their safe and confortable around the water.

Ella made “Honor Roll” all four quarters this last school year and pictured in front of many of her awards she has won during past school year. Way to go Ella, Pop and Gigi are very proud of you!

Ana and Nina (soon to be 4th graders) were busy this past year… both entered the science fair and the STEM program where they built robots. STEM is a science tenchnology and engineering math program. Ana won first place in the school jump rope challenge… what fun they’ve had this past year!

Nina jumps for JOY on last day of school!

Nina and Ana in classroom… how times have changed in seeing the students now with a laptop on their desks. Note that each sister writes differently… another way in telling them apart. You girls did awesome in third grade and I’m looking forward to what the fourth grade brings out in you!

Ana with the classroom guinie pig, Daisy, of which she was in charge of his care in the classroom. Their school is geared toward animals and have many animals and fish tanks throughout the school.

Take time today in remembering all who made your picnic and parade possible. I always remember Uncle Leroy McKinley on this day… as at the young age of 19, he gave his life in Metz, France during WWII in fighting Germany… so we may live free. It’s not about the hot dogs and hamburgers today… teach the children about freedom… and why we live free!

Let me end in wishing everyone a safe Memorial Day…

Thanks for stopping in… May was a busy month in looking back… what will June bring!

Read Family Stories, click Here!

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© 2022, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Family Stories: Remembering Memorial Day

They say on Memorial Day to rememember “one event” and “one person”… and that one person always remembered, is my uncle… Edgar “Leroy” McKinley… my mother’s only brother… and only sibling.

Edgar “Leroy” McKinley

While so many think of Memorial Day as a day for parades, picnics and enjoying hot dogs and hamburgers… it’s more than that, and we should all remember and teach our kids that we have this day because of many who gave their life, like my uncle. They gave their young lives so we can live free in America and continue to wave our flag of red, white and blue. Enjoy your parade and food, but never forget why we are able to enjoy this day… because so many didn’t come home to live their lives. They only live their lives through us… in rememberance of them. Enjoy your day today… but never forget those that gave…

My mother always told stories of her brother Leroy through the years. He was her best friend, and often only playmate in growing up on the farm. She looked up to him through the years… and on that day he left for the Army, she remembered him waving to her, saying “so long” as he left for the train. His father took him to the train on that sad day, while she remained home with her mother… wondering why they didn’t all go, but likely because her mother just couldn’t bring herself to see him leave on the train.

After several weeks at boot camp at Ft. PcPherson in Atlanta in 1943, he returned home for a short visit before heading to Texas… as he was slated to head overseas… war in Germany was raging. What was going through his mind… probably the no. 1 was… will I ever return home to see my parents and sister and friends again?

From several records, and with the help of other genealogists I pinpointed Leroy’s actual unit to be Company B, 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 5th Infantry Division, serving in the Third Army. He was a replacement soldier who joined the 5th division after it was originally formed in Ft. Custer, Michigan; more than 300,000 troops trained there. This 2nd Infantry Regiment was in reserve after much brutal fighting when the Sauer River was first crossed. He most likely crossed it, but not under fire as the 1st Infantry did.

Leroy wrote home as often as time allowed… and those letters were coveted by my grandmother. She read his letters over and over, often keeping them in the pocket of her dress. She was very possessive of them, not allowing anyone to hold them. She would read them to my mother and grandfather, but grandmama never let them out of her site.

It was in July of 1944, when the 2nd Infantry Regiment, along with the 5th Infantry Division landed in Normandy, France. They then became part of General George Patton’s United States Third Army, capturing Rheims and seizing the city of Metz after a major battle at Fort Driant. I can only guess that Leroy was possibly there with his unit. From letters written home, he mentioned being in France, as well as Luxembourg, and this would be the correct time frame. It was in the battle of capturing Metz, when he was was fired on by a lone sniper hiding in the dense woods outside the village; a purple heart was given to his parents.

Ironically on a Monday night, February 19, 1945, the day of his death, my grandmother penned her last letter to her only son. This letter never reached him, but instead, returned to her and I know it broke her heart in receiving it back. In that letter, she wrote…”We received letters dated Jan. 3rd, 12th, 13th, and 14th,. I also had a V-mail from you on February 17th, dated January 24th.  I hate to hear that you haven’t received the fruitcake in the box I sent in November and the cigars I sent later in a tin box. When that fruitcake tin was finally returned back to her in the mail… she hadn’t yet heard of his death, but in her heart she knew… she knew her only son was gone.

PFC Leroy McKinley died Feb. 19, 1945…

Thank You Uncle Leroy… I’ll never forget you as my middle name of Lee was given to me in your honor, as I also gave to my daughter and in continuing the memory, she named her daughter McKinley Lee… ensuring your name is never forgotten!

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Family Stories: Dear Uncle Leroy

Always on Memorial Day I remember my Uncle Leroy… who didn’t come home from the war to live his life… a life at age 19, that he gave for his country… so we may live a free life. I so wish I could have met him.

Everyone Has a Story

Family Stories

Dear Uncle Leroy

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Dear Uncle Leroy:

On this Memorial Day (May 27, 2018) I’m writing to “Thank You” for your service during WWII, where at the young age of 19, you gave your life for this great country of the United States. A life that should not have been lost to parents Edgar and Ola McKinley… their one and “only” son and “only” brother to my mother Helen Rebecca McKinley.

What would life have held for you if you had returned home safely from the war? You often wrote home in your letters of how you looked forward to helping your father plow the fields once again when you came home. Funny how often the very thing you once disliked doing, became the very thing you dreamed of coming home and once doing again. I’m sure your letters gave grandmamma and granddaddy much…

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2022 A to Z April Challenge “Reflection”… Oh What Fun I’ve Had

I tried my darndest to blog hop more during the blog… and it was hard… but such fun in discovering many new blogs. Sorry if I missed you, but I didn’t keep up with all that I stopped on! Some blogs were ones I’ve known from previous years… but many are new ones I discovered this year that caught my interest. Some blogs I found had no “like” button to click… while some even required me to sign in… in order to even click a like or comment… those tend to send me in a tizzy… as my passwords are not on the tip of my tongue. I’m so tired of keeping up with passwords… if you have a better way, do let me know!

The one post on my page, “The Early Portable Potty: The Slop Jar” (2016), was a post I didn’t include in my April “time traveling”, but maybe I should have as it’s always viewed daily… and that puzzles me! What is the attraction that warrants all those daily views?

A Few Fun Facts…

  • My April 1st post of the A to Z received 100 visitors, 9 likes, and 18 comments on the first day.
  • The day receiving the most views was on April 4th, Letter C... 183 views.
  • The day receiving the least views of “36”, was on April 23rd, Letter T… The Mistakes Made in Not Asking… it was a new post I wrote.
  • Countries viewing on April 1st was.. United States (148views), Australia (9), India (8), United Kingdom (3), United Arab Emirates (1), France (1), Denmark (1), and Phillippines (1). I enjoy looking at the countries who visit… and always wonder how they found me?
  • There were 35 countries who visited, besides the United States.
  • April 7th touched me deeply when I saw 11 views from Ukraine. In all their turmoil at the moment, 11 people viewed my post of Letter G to read… and hopefully for a short time, it took their mind off of what was going on in their lives; I would so love to have contact with them, but sadly they never returned; I contiued thinking about them daily, wondering how they found me, and were they ok? Prayers they are safe and sound, and out of Ukraine at this time!
  • My furtherest away readers were in Australia… 10,667 miles from my Connecticut home.
  • This (2022) April, I had 2,153 view for the month. 2021 had 2,478, while 2020 was at 2,674… seems that views have dwindled down somewhat over the past few years.

New Blogs that caught my eye… in no particular order

My favorite “oldies” from past A to Z’s… and most I’ve stay in contact with during the year… and always on the A to Z…

Stories Served around the tableAnne’s : Such fun memories this year in the questions “asking the grands”. And do check out her books she’s written on young sisters growing up in the tenaments of New York. I’m a slow reader… mind wanders… but they are holding my interest and I’m quite picturing Margaret and Lily as they bake the daily bread in Mr. & Mrs. Goldberg’s bakery; I’ve finished book one… now onto book two.

Janet’s Smiles I’ve been keeping up with Janet a few years now since we’ve met… always look forward to her posts. This year she entertained me with “date night” ideas.

Cassmob… Family History across the seas: I always enjoy history, and learned much on her history from “down under” and travels across the globe… definetly a world traveler!

The Curry Apple Orchard: Remembering the past and celebrating the future… interesting posts.

Anne’s Family History: An online research journal of her family history.

Finding Eliza: Family stories remembered in using the 1950’s census. I was so excited that the 1950 has arrived for us to research… but I was bummed in having to wait in diving in, until the A to Z ends.

For anyone who didn’t join in this year… hope to see you next year. It is somewhat intimidating to begin, but once you join, you’ll be back the following year… and better prepared! I did find my first year quite hectic to keep up with, but it’s all about “preperation”. I find myself thinking all year as to a “theme”… as I firmly believe for me it works the best… and I’m already scribbling notes for theme ideas for 2023!

Cogratulations on all who finished… and a big “Thank You” to all who took the time to stop in on my A to Z Time Traveling through my blog. I’ll be back next year… it’s like a family reunion of sorts… something you just look forward to attending every year… and must attend!

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Previous Years A to Z April Challenges…

2016: A to Z Southern Foods and Memories… they said write what you know… and being a girl born in the South… well this was what I knew.
2017: A to Z Conversations with Mama… it was a somewhat easy one for me to write as I’d journaled our conversations for years… I researched favorite topics to write.
2018: A to Z All About Nancy Drew… this one has been my favorite topic so far, and I don’t know if I’ll ever come up with another one to equal it
2019: A to Z Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories… I felt it was time to finally write the favorites of my husbands family foods.
2020: A to Z Family Stories… writing the stories of my husband’s family.
2021: A to Z of Mama in Photos... blogging on my mother through photos and memories.

To read more 2022: A to Z April Challenge… click HERE.

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© 2022, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Monthly Musings: 2022… April Musings

As usual, April is a whirlwind month for me… even before arrivng… and mainly due to my yearly join of the April A to A writing challenge… of daily blogging!

As I hadn’t planned my theme early enough to prepare, I came across a mention of “time travel” and it hit me… I’d time travel through my years of blogging. It has been so much fun as who can remember over 700 plus writings. I added a few new tidbits of info here and there… and it seemed to have been a big hit with my readers! Read my 2022 A to Z Here!

Time traveling through my blog this month yielded me a great hit on letter H… Honeymoon Mystery. Blogger, Donna Smith, left a message that she might have discovered the Inn where they honeymooned in Vermont. After reading my post, she searched for Inn’s in Vermont… coming up with Mountain Top Inn & Resort; after layering a photo with the mountain range behind over my photograph… Bingo… it lined up perfectly. I emailed the Inn with a link to my blog… hoping they’d be interested enough to take a peek… and you can about it on Letter Z.

Crafting this month was slightly on hold except for completing the knitted bunnies for Easter baskets… only stuffing and knitting ears. I procrastinated in making the Easter baskets from candy boxes, but finally pulled it together before the big day! My daughter in-law made the ones above for the girls in Florida; as shipping has become so price, I sent money to buy the items there. She did a fantastic job…. turning into quite the crafter!

My Easter baskets for the girls here constructed/glued together with a chenille handle… filled with goodies and a knitted bunny. The chocolate bunnies have now since dissolved into fondue!

With the arrival of Billie Bee 🐝 back in my front yard… also arriving are the many blooming of flowers. This often, solo lone “big” bee buzzing you anytime you walk out in the front yard… which he seems to think is his! I can’t wait for the honeysuckle to show up… Love the smells that will flow in through my bedroom window. Mama told me they as kids would drink the trickle of juice inside! I had to Google to see if she remembered correctly! She Did!

The bottom purple flower is known as “Money Tree”… have you ever heard of it? After blooming, many round silvery coin shapes soon appear on branches… later the thin outer covering on the coin quarter size shapes will blow away in the wind, along with seeds… and your left with branches of coin shapes dangling to arrange in a vase.

My WIP’s have dwindled down drastically… but I still have those socks on my needles, that desperately need addressing. For some reason, I just can’t get the drive to finish them, but I will! My problem is, I keep finding new projects to begin. I also need to finish my Nancy Drew EPP Scottie dog… which I’m hoping to finish once the April A to Z is over. I have begun sewing the gussett… so I’m making progress! I’m sure my doggie will make it’s debut by the end of May!

I’ve added a new UFO this month… and I’m blaming Arne and Carlos on this one. In having lots of colored yarn, this was the perfect project in using it up… so I jumped in on the bandwagon! The circles aren’t completed, as there is still one more outside color before they’re crocheted together… so stay tuned! Every week they have been teaching the design on their YouTube blog… soon comes the outside color… which really transforms it into a unique look. Give them a look over Here at their “Spring Along”. #kal #springKal #crochetalong #knitalong #springknitting #arne&carlos.

Birthday girl, Grace, turned the big 8 this month… celebrating with dad and mom and big sister, McKinley… who’s birthday arrives next month!

Besides the regular April blogging… April had a few birthdays to keep me busy… with May and June birthdays to soon follow. April 6th was my mom’s “heavenly 92nd birthday”, with mine following ten days later. She tried her best to have me born on her birthday, but I wasn’t having any part of it… doctor told her to go home and come back when I was ready! Two granddaughters are April and May, son-in- law is April, then hubby and daughter-in-law follow in June. After June… it’s clear sailing until October for my daughter, and November for my son. Then Christmas planning begins… which I usually am all set by then… thinking and buying back in September and October so I can get my gifts shipped to granddaughters in Florida before we head down. I am often done with shopping way before Thanksgiving!

My daughter surprised me for my birthday with the girls and a few cousins… hubby didn’t let the cat out of the bag, although while sitting in car waiting for my daughter, I mentioned to hubby that I thought I’d seen cousin Paul… but I let it go as normally he would be at work. Yes she actually surprised me… which is hard to accomplish!

I’m still playing the online game of Wordle… you probably see your friends post their success daily… have you jumped on that bandwagon? I had been backtracking through their archives on all I’d missed… until the very bad guys over at The New York Times insisted it be taken down. Seems there are newly clone sites that keep popping up… so I’ll have to keep my eyes open. I’m still waiting for the day when my first word I play daily… is the correct word!!!

Easter is never the same without my ham and rice pies, but ham won out! I don’t seem to have the stamina I did years ago… or the back! It felt good when I finally placed in oven… and hubby offered for cleanup detail! Only left is to make a chocolate, chocolate trifle, and if I don’t run out of steam, I’ll make pizzelles! If you’re interested in my ham pie, check my recipe out over here! P.S., I did make the pizzelles, but forgot to take photos.

Hope you were able to celebrate Easter with family and friends… and the Easter Bunny was good to you. Love to hear what you baked! Do you have speciality foods that you feel you must bake! The warmer weather is calling… so I’m off to sit at the beach for a bit and enjoy some sun and relax watching the waves roll in!

To view more family photographs, click Here!

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© 2022, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Family Photographs… and their stories: Cowgirl Jeanne

After beginning my weekly series on Family Heirlooms, I thought… why not tell the stories on the family photographs. I’ve always loved the older family black and white vintage photographs, and whenever I’m leafing through my albums, I stop to ask “what’s your story?” Every photo has one – and it’s my mission to tell them – one by one!

“Cowgirl Jeanne”

This photograph of me as a “cowgirl” was around 1957 at Christmas… me wearing what Santa left me under the tree. In as much as I loved to ride this bike… it took awhile before those training wheels came off! It wasn’t until we moved to Perry… and other kids laughed at me before they came off.

So what does this photograph tell about my mother and me on my bike? I know that this photo was taken at Christmas, around 1957. At first I thought maybe the bike was also a Christmas gift, but after colorizing it, the bike doesn’t look nearly so clean as a new bike might look. Also, it looks to be a boys bike, so maybe the bike had been a hand me down… with the cowgirl attire being my Christmas gift. I’m sure if mama had bought me a new bike, it would have been a girls bike. My mother certainly looks cold here, wearing a sweater with arms folded and a scarf on her head; I’ve hardly ever seen mama in a sweater! After coloring the photo, I laughed… in that she’s wearing clothes matching my cowgirl outfit.

My husband took upon the task of trying to identify my bike, and feels it possibly might be a Huffy. I looked more closely at my cowgirl attire, and I can vaguelly make out the words Roy Rogers on my blue and grey boots… with the same colors matching the shirt, pants, gloves, holster and hat. I certainly seem to have had the complete outfit… only thing missing was the spurs; sure wish mama had saved that outfit! I don’t think I ever wore this same outfit when we moved to Perry… as this seems to be the only photos of me wearing it.

This type of Christmas gift certainly wouldn’t be under the tree in 2022… kids today don’t know how to play like this. I wonder just how popular Roy Rogers outfits were for girls, as there was a Dale Evans shirt and skirt… but they didn’t buy me a skirt… I received the shirt and pants… maybe I was more of a tomboy! Mama always talked about how I never seemed to be very excited at Christmas… but I certainly seem happy dressed here… and all ready to ride!

Another view of me on my bike with cousins, Debra (with doll), her brother George on his bike and another cousin, Cassy. (colorized below)

Cousin George and Debra’s grandmother lived just next door to us… she was also my great aunt… sister of my grandmother McKinley. I’m thinking George may have received his bike from Santa and brought for him to ride while visiting; our street was quite, and perfect for bike riding!

To view more family photographs, click Here!

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2022: Z… A to Z April Challenge: Time Traveling… Zee Last Thing I Expected to Discover on the A to Z!

YooHoo… I’m super excited to be back with everyone in the “7th” April A to Z Challenge… and my theme is “Time-Traveling” through my blog – “Everyone Has a Family Story to Tell“. If you have stumbled upon this post and wondering about the challenge… The Blogging A to Z April Challenge is one month of every-day blogging through the alphabet. 26 days, 26 letters, 26 posts! Daily blogging is Monday through Saturday… leaving Sunday to rest, read other blogs, and prepare for the following week! From the first day in 2016 when I happened upon this challenge… I”m still just as excited… and always eager to begin! Who doesn’t love a good time travel of events… so where would you travel to?

Grab a coffee… as you follow me down the rabbit hole… Hippity Hop!

Z… Zee Last Thing I Expected to Discover on the A to Z!

For this April (2022) A to Z, I had decided to “time travel” through my blog of eight years… while adding a few new comments here and there, But… a surprise happended on letter H! I traveled back to June 5th, 1947, to the “Honeymoon Mystery”. A mystery of which I wrote on my in-laws wedding and honeymoon photos found… which prompted me to piece together a story. From a later newspaper clipping, I discovered their honeymoon destination was actually Vermont… but I had first began my search in the White Mountains of New Hampshire searching for honeymoon Inns.

Now, lets rewind to April 9th, the day my letter “H” posted… and by late evening, blogger Donna Smith, messaged me that she thought she’d found the Inn! I was esstatic! Hip Hip Hooray!!! She noticed the name “Top” on the signpost out front and in searching for Top Inn in Vermont, she turned up the The Mountain Top Inn, in Chittenden, Vermont. She compared my post of the forest skyline behind my father in law relaxing on the chaise lounge to a few photos on the Inn’s website… “Bingo”… one in particular on their back new terrace caught her eye… clearly showing such a similar comparison. She then went one step further… downloaded the photo of my father in law on the chaise lounge with the clear view of the mountain skyline… and layered it over the photo from the Inn’s page… it matched up identical! She immediately contacted me and sent me that photo… It was so exciting to see the comparison in the layering… how could it not be the same location? I think the mystery has been solved by Donna!

The puzzle pieces fit… as the original was layered over a new photograph!

If my Nancy Drew hat hadn’t been so cock-eyed on my head, I would have went and searched again after discovering that there honeymoon destination was actually Vermont, and not of which I first thought, in New Hampshire…. but… read on! Donna Smith and I seem to have more in common besides blogging… Nancy Drew! She was a contributor to the book, Nancy Drew Anthology… of writings and art! It seems, even though my Nancy hat was slightly askew, it was our favorite sleuth, Nancy Drew, that drew us together!

I immediately emailed Mountain Top Inn with my strange request of… asking if they would they look at my blog story and photos, and match them to any early photos they might possibly have. I double/triple crossed my fingers in sending off my request! I’m sure whoever opened that email… scratched their head!

It was Laura Conti, Marketing Director, who received my email… emailing me back to say she was quite intrigued with my request and offered to help. Within a week, she sent pictures of several photos that hang in their lobby… and it seems to both of us that we have a match! YooHoo!

While waiting to hear back, I began searching out more information, such as… do mountain ranges ever change their shapes through the years. It seems that they do maintain their shape through the years… and my photos were matching up very identicle to the ones of today… 75 years later! I can’t believe that I’ve finally discovered of which Inn in Vermont, of where my in-laws honeymooned! All thanks to one of my fellow blog readers.

In this original photo, I hadn’t caught the word “Top” on the sign… and also had searched in the wrong state. Check photo below of which I was sent… and while you can’t clearly see the words in the photograph, the shapes on the sign match.

This photograph of the original building hangs in the lobby of The Mountain Top Inn… you can clearly see the sign post… a more closeup is below, although the image isn’t clear for the words, but the shapes match up identical to my original photograph my in-laws took.

The Mountain Top Inn became very well known in 1955 when President Eisenhower vacationed there during a fishing expedition. A luxury room in the main lodge was soon named after the President… soon known as “Ike’s View”. (Another clue was the front porch in this photo… depicting the same striped fabric awning, and partially seeing how the front side doors in the original photo match to this photograph.

I can now almost close the book on their honeymoon mystery, but there’s still a couple of unsolved questions… first, how did she find this place, as the Inn was new on the map… no one else in the family had gone… so no word of mouth, but somehow she, or I’m assuming… had found it! I doubt that question will ever be answered as there is no one left to ask, but I never though I’d find the Inn either!

The second unsolved puzzle on their honeymoon mystery, is… where was this photo of Celia taken… with the sign behind saying… “Crossing this lawn Prohibited by order of the Police.” Is she outside a jail… Canadian border? Were they out sightseeing? They weren’t close to the Canadian border, and I’ve never heard her mention that they had been to Canada… could they have detoured near Niagara Falls on the way home? Figuring this one out might be short of a miracle!

The Inn was only open a few years at the time my in-laws chose The Mountain Top Inn in 1947. It first began as a converted barn… and actually had been a turnip farm founded in the late 1870’s. In 1940 Mr. William Barstow purchased this farm for his wife, Francoise. Through the years, there were improvements and additions to the original barn… turning it into a full Inn & Tavern. Later in 1945, William & Margery Wolfe purchased the Inn and continued to make improvements. They would have been the proprietor’s when my in-laws honeymooned there in 1947.

Advertisement found in a magazine… and from the looks of the cars, I’d say late 40’s or early 1950’s… possibly how my in-laws discovered their honeymoon get-a-way from an advertisement as such!

More changes came to the Inn in 1964 to take advantage of winter sports and encouraging year-round guests… a cross country ski center was soon developed. Today, the resort boasts over 60 kilometers of trails and known as some of the best cross country skiing around.

Sadly, in 1977, a fire managed to destroy the majority of their original Inn’s lodging… and of where my in-laws would have stayed. The Inn was later rebuilt in a similar post and beam construction lending similance to what once stood in their lobby… giving warmth and charm to what their main lodge had once offerered their guests.

I hope this summer to take a road trip to The Mountain Top Inn in Chittenden, Vermont… seeing it in person… and maybe we’ll even spend the night to take in the treeline of the Green Mountain National Forest… the very same view my in-laws enjoyed.

As of April 30th, there has been 105 view on Letter H…

Thank You to all my readers who followed me along in this A to Z of “time travel”… connecting daily with me. And especially a big “Thank You” to fellow blogger, Donna Smith… for taking that extra step!

April is over… so everyone can take a very well-deserved rest… but don’t forget to blog hop and catch up on all you’ve missed… before writing your “reflection” post!

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Previous Years A to Z April Challenges…

2016: A to Z Southern Foods and Memories… they said write what you know… and being a girl born in the South… well this was what I knew.
2017: A to Z Conversations with Mama… it was a somewhat easy one for me to write as I’d journaled our conversations for years… I researched favorite topics to write.
2018: A to Z All About Nancy Drew… this one has been my favorite topic so far, and I don’t know if I’ll ever come up with another one to equal it
2019: A to Z Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories… I felt it was time to finally write the favorites of my husbands family foods.
2020: A to Z Family Stories… writing the stories of my husband’s family.
2021: A to Z of Mama in Photos... blogging on my mother through photos and memories

To read more 2022: A to Z… click HERE.

Like to read more Family Stories, click over HERE.

© 2022, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2022: A to Z April Challenge... Time Traveling, Daily Writings and funnies..., Family Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

2022: Y… A to Z April Challenge: Time Traveling… Your Mistakes Made… and Theirs!

YooHoo… I’m super excited to be back with everyone in the “7th” April A to Z Challenge… and my theme is “Time-Traveling” through my blog – “Everyone Has a Family Story to Tell“. If you have stumbled upon this post and wondering about the challenge… The Blogging A to Z April Challenge is one month of every-day blogging through the alphabet. 26 days, 26 letters, 26 posts! Daily blogging is Monday through Saturday… leaving Sunday to rest, read other blogs, and prepare for the following week! From the first day in 2016 when I happened upon this challenge… I”m still just as excited… and always eager to begin! Who doesn’t love a good time travel of events… so where would you travel to?

Grab a coffee… as you follow me down the rabbit hole… Hippity Hop!

Your Mistakes Made… and Theirs!

“first” joined Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks on its “first” year in 2014… and what a whirlwind year that was… writing, editing and researching daily for 365 days! As much as I wanted to continue the following year, I found that I didn’t have the time to continue another year with that type of research… although I did continue blogging and writing stories at my own pace, which allowed me to write on other topics as well as family stories when ideas came my way… but I’ve often missed it. Head over to 2014 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks to read about my ancestors in the first years challenge.

If you’re new to genealogy, make your “first” stop to Amy’s website for genealogy ideas or even join in on this 52 Week challenge… you learn by doing… not procrastinating! There is no right or wrong… anything you do is a start! Don’t let it become your “mistake” by not writing your stories!

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Life is full of mistakes, and you’ve been told all your life… “learn from your mistakes.” But do you? For the most part, I’d say yes I have. I’ve often told my children that you have to make mistakes to fully learn from them. So what have I learned through my mistakes?

Grab a coffee… as you follow me down the rabbit hole… Hippity Hop!

Your Mistakes Made…and theirs!

First Posted on September 9, 2019 

As a young child, you learn that when mama says wear your shoes… and you don’t, that you often are going to step on, or in something! You learn quickly that you don’t or shouldn’t ride your bike barefoot… if you value your toes, and those pedal bars certainly don’t feel good on bare feet.

Growing up in the South, I’ve always been a “barefoot” girl, for the most part. I think it’s just something about that part of the country where you go barefoot. My husband strongly disagrees on why anyone should go barefoot… as he believes it’s bad for your feet, giving you flat feet through the years. I think his biggest reason is… that there is too much to step on, like a piece of broken glass lurking, just waiting for you. He always says, that if it’s there I’ll walk right by it, but it always find his bare foot. He hardly ever goes without sneakers or slippers, and I can say with certainty that whenever he dares to walk somewhere in the house barefoot, either he stumps his toe, or finds that lurking piece of glass… just waiting for him! And then I hear the words, “see I told you, whenever I don’t wear my slippers, I step on something.” So that’s his “mistake.”

In looking back, I made many mistakes in school… not paying attention was my biggest! I fought strongly against learning… always saying how I couldn’t understand… but now I know that I made the mistake of actually just not wanting to understand; learned that mistake came way after school. I pushed my children to pay more attention in school and not allow them to squirm out of things as easily as I did… so maybe I did learn from my mistakes!

I can still hear my father telling me that I was making a “mistake” getting married so quickly… only knowing my husband for a short while… but I can definitely say that I made no mistake in marrying, as I’ve been happily married for 51 years… although he might not be so happy with me at times… as I can be slightly impatient, demanding  and can amass stacks of papers and books faster than a speeding bullet… but he never complains! I do try to learn from my mistakes on the impatience and demanding faults, but….

While my parents never showed any interest in family history when I was a child, after I married, my mother wrote down all the family names she knew and how they were connected to me; she made no mistakes! While I wasn’t interested at the time in researching… make no mistake about it… I filed those papers away in a drawer for safe keeping!

The one mistake my mother made was in not saving the love letters she and daddy wrote to each other while he was in the Navy, and even after they married. What I wouldn’t give to be able to read their thoughts to each other. I won’t make that same mistake… as I have the letters that hubby and I wrote to each other before we married and while he was stationed in Thailand after we married.

Mistakes come in all shapes throughout life!

In my many hobbies of knitting, genealogy, and numerous other crafts I’ve tackled over the years… there have been mistakes! Who doesn’t knit or crochet without making a mistake… but making them helps you to become a better knitter. No matter when I discover that I’ve made a mistake, I’m never satisfied until I’ve “frogged” (ripped out) it… and corrected that mistake! While some are content to let their “boo boo” go… it drives me crazy… and no matter how long I have to sit there diligently studying how to correct it… I will make that correction! It might not leave me in the greatest of moods as I sit there counting stitches and rows… as hubby will attest to! Nothing gets me more crazy when I’m counting… when he begins asking or telling me something… then I become loud in my counting to let him know… That I’m Counting!

There are so many examples of “mistakes” that I’ve found through the years in researching my family history… with census records being probably the first place… and there isn’t anyone who hasn’t found any. Probably the spelling of my ancestors surnames would be the biggest mistakes… but I can’t always blame the census enumerator, as they were only trying to spell the names as they heard them… and often people didn’t even know how to spell their own name… which certainly didn’t help!

Census Mistakes:

  • Name spellings
  • incorrect ages
  • parents born in wrong states
  • wrong info given; depending on who gave it to the census enumerator
  • families living in area, but never appearing on the census
  • census enumerators writing info incorrectly on census lines… logging family members in wrong families; check families next to whom you’re searching.

In my family, I’ve often had to play Nancy Drew in deciphering where my ancestors lived in a county, when they weren’t easily found. Often it was the spelling of the surname which stopped them from showing up easily enough. After learning from your early mistakes… you quickly learn how to search for them in a county by searching for their first names… or going page by page looking at all families… or searching for their neighbors, if known… as they just might be nearby.

One family really puzzled me as to where their children actually lived…as the parents had listed all their children, married or not, as living in their household. What tipped me off to that, was when I also had found their married children living in another state, and raising a family. That mistake took me awhile to finally figure out where they actually lived.

In my husband’s family, his grandfather’s Italian surname became changed over the years by his own mistake. I was surprised that it wasn’t changed at Ellis Island as so many were; the inspectors had a hard time spelling names, especially with the people themselves speaking no English… it certainly proved tough. Luckily though, his surname of Gambino survived its spelling there, but later it somehow transformed into Cambino. I’ve always felt that he wanted to lose the mafia stigma associated with his surname in America… and was happy to have a more American version of Gambino.

Another mistake I quickly learned to correct, was how I searched for married women on passenger ship lists as they sailed to America. Whether married or not, they traveled under their maiden names, as well as their children.

We all learn from our mistakes… at least we’re supposed to. A mistake is an error, a goof up… meaning you have researched something incorrectly, but mistakes have a lot of uses… as they actually are a teaching rule… as long as you pay attention and learn what went wrong!

Mistakes are good… they help… just be sure you learn from them! What’s your mistakes you’ve learned from?

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Previous Years A to Z April Challenges…

2016: A to Z Southern Foods and Memories… they said write what you know… and being a girl born in the South… well this was what I knew.
2017: A to Z Conversations with Mama… it was a somewhat easy one for me to write as I’d journaled our conversations for years… I researched favorite topics to write.
2018: A to Z All About Nancy Drew… this one has been my favorite topic so far, and I don’t know if I’ll ever come up with another one to equal it
2019: A to Z Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories… I felt it was time to finally write the favorites of my husbands family foods.
2020: A to Z Family Stories… writing the stories of my husband’s family.
2021: A to Z of Mama in Photos... blogging on my mother through photos and memories.

To read more 2022: A to Z April Time Traveling… click HERE.

To read more Family Stories… click HERE.

© 2022, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2022: A to Z April Challenge... Time Traveling, Daily Writings and funnies..., Family Stories | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

2022: X… A to Z April Challenge: Time Traveling… Xmas Christmas Tree Decorations

YooHoo… I’m super excited to be back with everyone in the “7th” April A to Z Challenge… and my theme is “Time-Traveling” through my blog – “Everyone Has a Family Story to Tell“. If you have stumbled upon this post and wondering about the challenge… The Blogging A to Z April Challenge is one month of every-day blogging through the alphabet. 26 days, 26 letters, 26 posts! Daily blogging is Monday through Saturday… leaving Sunday to rest, read other blogs, and prepare for the following week! From the first day in 2016 when I happened upon this challenge… it still has me just as excited… and always eager to begin! Who doesn’t love a good time travel of events… so where would you travel to?

Grab a coffee… as you follow me down the rabbit hole… Hippity Hop!

Originally Posted: December 15, 2015

Xmas Tree Decorations and more…

I participated in the 2015 Edition of the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories by Thomas MacEntee and the Geneabloggers. I’d like to personally thank Dawn Williams-Kogutkiewicz of Dawning Genealogy for sharing the idea on Genealogy Bloggers. If you haven’t blogged your Christma memories… it’d make a great April A to Z theme.

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Do you have unique decorations that you use each Christmas? How did you acquire them, or were they passed down to you from family members? Describe your favorite decorations!

All the felt ornaments on my tree were handmade by me. They were my first ornaments I made after turning a page in Woman’s Day magazine… and discovering them. I sewed so many, that I began selling them at craft fairs. It’s now become a ritual with me in making a new ornament every year… I vary between felted or knitted, but the granddaughters are gifted with new ornaments each Christmas.

I have concentrated this week on going through all our Christmas decorations… saved from over forty three years of marriage. As I sat there looking through box after box, I thought, “what was I thinking?” Hubby was happy to have a few less storage tubs, but me… it’s hard to part with things. I know at some point, you need to let go of decorations that are no longer used… but as of now, I haven’t reached that point yet… even though I don’t seem to decorate so much.

In years past, I was obsessed with collecting Hallmark ornaments… mostly the ones you buy every year to continue a set, like trains, houses and son and daughter specific ornaments. News… if you think your children will want all the ones you bought for them through the years, well think again. Wonder what Hallmark stock is worth,  that’s what I should have bought instead of ornaments!

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Hallmark Houses

In years past, I loved displaying all my “littles” every year. Yes, they were mostly Hallmark too, but little.  My daughter asked for them last year and I’m happy to see her display and begin a tradition for her children every Christmas. Her youngest, Grace, has taken possession in setting them up now for display every Christmas.

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“The Littles”

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The Christmas Dinnerware !

I bought a set of Christmas dinnerware one year… little did I think about having to storing them all year… to only use one day of the year! Every December I would dust them off to use on Christmasday, but now I have passed that tradition to my daughter; she often uses them the entire month of  December. My daughter in law always admired them… so I went on the hunt to acquire pieces to complete a second set to pass to her and my son.

Steve and I enjoyed looking for new Christmas decorations every year in our early years… often going to the local Chancey Brothers in the hunt. That’s how I ended up with so many totes of Christmas decorations; I did manage to downsize somewhat this year with them. In years past I gave most of the outside plastic decorations to my son… now it’s his job to store them!

One of my treasured pieces I’ve had since the early 70’s is this ceramic tree my father gave me. I must have mentioned, at some point, that I wanted a ceramic Christmas tree. One day, it just appeared in the mail. I was so touched at his thoughtfulness, and It means the world to me… and I’m not parting with it yet.

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Whenever I put this tree up at Christmas, I feel Daddy is with me in spirit!

What’s your favorite Christmas memories, decorations, or funny remembrances… do you decorate outside… what’s your oldest decorations?

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Previous Years A to Z April Challenges…

2016: A to Z Southern Foods and Memories… they said write what you know… and being a girl born in the South… well this was what I knew.
2017: A to Z Conversations with Mama… it was a somewhat easy one for me to write as I’d journaled our conversations for years… I researched favorite topics to write.
2018: A to Z All About Nancy Drew… this one has been my favorite topic so far, and I don’t know if I’ll ever come up with another one to equal it
2019: A to Z Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories… I felt it was time to finally write the favorites of my husbands family foods.
2020: A to Z Family Stories… writing the stories of my husband’s family.
2021: A to Z of Mama in Photos... blogging on my mother through photos and memories.

To read more 2022: A to Z April Challenge… click HERE.

Like to read more ~ Click on 2015: Advent Calendar of Christmas

© 2022, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2015: Advent Calendar of Christmas, 2022: A to Z April Challenge... Time Traveling, Daily Writings and funnies..., Family Stories | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

2022: W… A to Z April Challenge: Time Traveling… Witchie Mrs. Butterworth

YooHoo… I’m super excited to be back with everyone in the “7th” April A to Z Challenge… and my theme is “Time-Traveling” through my blog – “Everyone Has a Family Story to Tell“. If you have stumbled upon this post and wondering about the challenge… The Blogging A to Z April Challenge is one month of every-day blogging through the alphabet. 26 days, 26 letters, 26 posts! Daily blogging is Monday through Saturday… leaving Sunday to rest, read other blogs, and prepare for the following week! From the first day in 2016 when I happened upon this challenge… I”m still just as excited… and always eager to begin! Who doesn’t love a good time travel of events… so where would you travel to?

Grab a coffee… as you follow me down the rabbit hole… Hippity Hop!

Witchie Mrs. Butterworth

First Posted on October 31, 2018 

Mrs. Butterworth turns into a Witch Canva pic

As a young mother, I always sent away for things by saving box tops and labels… either for the kids or me; this calendar called out to me from the craft genes I inherited. I’ve had this calendar since 1983… the height of my craft years when the kids were small. Off to bed they went at 7… and the evening was mine, as hubby worked till midnight!

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Only a face a mother could love!

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I brought her out every Halloween… and always giving the kids a scary look that meant… they better not touch; only to be looked at, never played with. She’s been packed away for many years, but will be making an appearance this year… then back into her safe box… till another year. She only makes a yearly appearance like that famous “elf”, who pops up just after Thanksgiving.

Mrs. Buttersworth designed so many crafts using their bottle as the base… they were perfect for doll crafts… you only had to make the clothes, as the body of the doll was there.

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While cleaning out mother’s house I happened to find two bottles in her kitchen cabinets. I smiled… knowing she saved them for me! Today, you can only find them at flea markets or antique stores… if you’re lucky! I’ve seen them priced around twelve dollars… for a glass bottle that you only bought for the syrup… but now desirable!

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I’d forgotten I had even saved this 1983 calendar until during the summer when I opened up my craft pattern box and found it filed away. Of course I had to go down memory lane… and sit and look through every month of crafts.

Have you ever crafted a Mrs. Buttersworth bottle? Love to hear all about it!

To read more 2022: A to Z April Challenge… click HERE.

Like to read on more of my crafts, Click Craft Junkie

© 2022, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2022: A to Z April Challenge... Time Traveling, Craft Junkie, Daily Writings and funnies..., Family Stories | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments