2017 A to Z: Letter T… All About Me

2017 A to Z: Letter T…

I thought I’d change the on-going 52 stories this year to an A to Z of 26 stories of  “All About Me”.  I plan to post bi-monthly, but I’m not holding myself to a certain time frame other than completing by year end. Originally I was going to do the “All About Me” for the 30 Day -April A to Z, but thought I might get just a wee bit long-winded, so I’m giving myself a longer time frame. Hopefully, by the time I reach letter Z, I will have written all I can remember about “me.” If you so feel inclined, why not join me in your own “A to Z” of All about Me!



Letter T is for… Teaberry Shuffle, Typing, Trains, Time Travel, Travel, Television, Taxes, and Tornado

Teaberry Shuffle:


Anyone remember the Teaberry Shuffle from the Teaberry gum commercial of the 1960’s? Are you humming it now? My girlfriend Janet and I could never just walk down the sidewalk… we always did the Teaberry Shuffle at every corner! I secretly tried it the other day, and I felt like my mother… not so coordinated anymore! Now I know how my mother felt when she tried to follow along with us but had lost her coordination! I can still do it in my mind… that’s all that matters… right?

It’s been a long time since I’ve chewed a stick of Teaberry gum, think that would help me shuffle along more coordinated? You don’t have to answer that!



I loved typing class in high school… maybe so because it was another gadget! Long before high school, I already had been typing… not sure if I hunted and pecked or had already learned on my own. My typewriter had been a Christmas present one year, and actually, the only present under the tree that I didn’t already know what was inside. I was very bad at peeking inside my wrapped gifts ahead of time, but mama fooled me on that one! I didn’t even know it was my present, as it had Daddy’s name on it… more on that in Letter X blog post!

Even today, I continue to type… but only on my computer keyboard. I would never get my blog posts finished if I still hunted and pecked, especially on this typewriter! Often at work, the manager has asked me to type up reports for him… it took him just way too long. Why is it that people are amazed when they watch someone click away on a keyboard… is it mesmerizing? I’ve had people stand behind me and comment… “how do you type so fast?”


I have always enjoyed watching and hearing a train go by…. something about hearing the train’s swooshing sound and who doesn’t love the sound from the engineer’s whistle …. as he announces he’s coming through. It’s amazing how far those sounds carry, as often when we are sitting on the beach, I can softly hear the train whistle as they pass through West Haven.

Mama tells me I was fascinated by trains as a small child and always begged to ride. Maybe because the train tracks sat just across from the single side of the main street in Union Point, and I frequently saw them pass by. There was only one side to downtown Union Point; anytime you were uptown, you were treated to hearing and seeing the trains.

During the 50’s when I lived in Union Point, there was still a train station and people rode the train, but the station has now been razed and only freight trains pass by.

Train Depot in Union Point, Georgia

Finally, after begging to ride the train every time I saw it, Granddaddy McKinley took me and Grandmama to Greensboro (8 miles away), and put us on the train to ride back to Union Point; he then drove back to Union Point to pick us up. Probably by the time, we settled in our seats… we had arrived in Union Point, but to a small child of five… it made my day!


Just to the left was where the Union Point train depot once was before it was torn down. The tracks are now only used as commercial tracks.

The longest train ride I ever took was when I belonged to the Rainbow Girls; an affiliate of the men’s’ Mason organization. Now, why did I join the Rainbow Girls? For the train ride of course! The girls took a yearly trip to Atlanta to shop at Rich’s Department store, and you rode on the Nancy Hanks train out of Macon… and it was a shopping trip not to be missed!

The train rides to Atlanta were awesome… walking through the cars, eating in the dining car, sometimes… it was kind of pricey! The best part was the ride home… showing off what you bought! I always bought a new John Romaine purse and there was nothing better than changing to a new purse… deciding where everything would go. And what else did my new purse need…. a girl needed new makeup! I have no memory of ever buying clothes there, but I do remember all the purses and makeup I bought… you can see where my priorities were!

train tracks mystery figure

I still swear that this figure was not there when I took this photo… I was quite surprised when I saw it on the computer at home!

Even today, I enjoy looking down train tracks when I pass over and I’m always looking for interesting train tracks to photograph. While in Jewett City at a flea market, I stepped onto the tracks to take a photo of the long length of tracks… and was I surprised when I looked at it on my computer screen. I didn’t see anything through the viewfinder upon taking it, but way down… there was a figure walking. It was eerie… and spooky at the same time!

Time Travel:


I might not have thought about time travel as a kid… but who knows maybe I did…. as I was a daydreamer! I sure do think about it now, and always find myself wishing I could time warp back to talk to my ancestors… but more so, to time travel back to talk to my father. I have so many questions on his life, that have gone unanswered. If only, I had been interested in family history back then, I could have gotten all my questions answered! The biggest question I have is about his Navy career and time on the U. S. Blue Ridge at Bikini Atoll! If only…

I don’t remember Daddy talking about his Navy days… why didn’t he? I hear so many stories on how a father never talks about military days… and that causes us to piece together possible stories by researching journals and histories, written by others, who were in the same areas. I write down many stories my husband tells me on his Air Force days… maybe one day our children will find them of interest, and won’t have to wish for that time-travel trip.


My biggest 1st travel trip was when I married and we drove up the East Coast from Georgia to Connecticut. To a young 19-year old who had never been further than North Carolina, and had never been North… it was a big travel trip!

Until recently, I traveled back and forth to Georgia by flying, but since my husband retired, we now drive to Georgia. Driving down on I-95 was out of the question, but after discovering a truck route almost parallel to 95 on the other side… well, driving down isn’t so bad.

When you drive I-95, you see nothing, but driving I 80, 81, and 85 into Georgia, we see farms, fields of cows, battlefields and so many interesting sights. On our last trip home to Ct., I discovered that we could travel Rt. 11 in Virginia, and even crossing into Pennsylvania… letting us really see the country… off the interstate! It follows along I-81 so closely that you often still see it for the most part, but you’re traveling at a different speed and actually seeing what’s in those towns we’ve passed by so often.

Passing through Staunton, Virginia recently, we discovered the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Museum and discovered several new antique stores along the way. We even passed a creek called “Naked Creek“… hubby had to do a turnaround for that photo!

It’s often the quaint out-of-the-way places that we find the most interesting. And sometimes it’s just nice to be off the highway with the drone of cars and trucks constantly churning in your ear.

Even when not leaving the small state of Connecticut, hubby and I often travel up one side of our state and down the other… all in just one day! We have discovered so many interesting places and always discovering something new when we travel the backroads… which is where we find the most unusual discoveries!


I grew up with television in my house… never do I remember not having one! My father was a TV repairman, so there was never a reason to not have a TV. In fact, we had the first color Television, in our house, in Union Point. Don’t ask me what I remember watching though… as I don’t remember watching any early TV.

What I do remember most about television is that we had no remote control… I was the remote control, more specifically I was daddy’s remote control! Often it was impossible to even watch TV if Daddy was in the room, as he’d often stand by it for what seemed like hours… him fiddling with the fine tuner trying to make it clearer. Heck, by the time he finished, the program was over. Maybe he was OCD about that television tuner!

televisions FIX

The many faces of Television… Daddy would have loved the changes!

Television has come a long way since daddy was fiddling with that tuner. Now everyone has a remote control, heck they have more remotes than they can even keep up with. We have 4 or 5 in the box… one for the TV, one for the satellite, one for the DVD player, one to operate the Fire Stick, and one we can’t find…that turns on the Apple TV. More remotes than we need… why can’t you program just “one” to operate them all? No, the manufacturers want to drive you crazy with them all!

And look at how just the shape of the TV’s have changed… I grew up with the television screens inside of consoles or small portables; many were even large pieces of furniture. Those TV’s were huge… and heavy, taking up so much room. Eventually, the consoles were pushed aside for the next style of TV sets… portable TV’s not inside of consoles and they kept getting bigger and bigger. Now they are flat screens and it’s nothing for someone to have a 60 inch or even larger in their living room.

tv off air signal

Only if you’re old enough, will you remember this on the TV screen… and when it appeared… after midnight… it meant time to turn the TV off for the night!

Daddy would love all these gadgets… never having to fiddle with that tuner again, and never having to get up to change the channel… and no antennae on the roof! Now we have all of these great television gadgets, and to go along with them are the expensive cable bills.  Antenna’s on the roof…. meant TV was free! We should have just kept it simple… kept the antennae… and no cable bill!


Taxes was a word I never even thought about as a child… what child thinks about taxes… sales tax would have been the only thing I ever paid, and I’m sure I never even gave that a second thought!

Today is another thing… you work, and they seem to tax you to death. Federal tax, city tax, state tax and any other tax they can find to add on. Just look at your monthly bills and check out all the taxes they’ve thrown in… especially on your phone bills. That’s what they call “taxing you to death” – and – “squeezing every penny out of you!

I recently retired in June (2017) and it was scary to see all the taxes they took out of my last paycheck of the buy-out… it was enough to scare the pants off me…. they could have left me just a little more of that pie!


But the worst part is, every April…. April 15th to be exact… is “tax day“! Why does it have to come one day before my birthday? Even though I usually receive a refund check, I still procrastinate in doing my income taxes! I never did the 1040 form on paper…. always had someone else do that for me… it intimidated me immensely! Several years ago, I finally stepped up to filing it online with tax software. While I don’t really have a problem doing it now, I sure did on my first attempt. For hours I sat in front of my computer…. banging my head… and walked away with a pounding headache… but I did it!

In growing up, Daddy always did our taxes… just him and the 1040 form in longhand. Numbers were his thing, he never had a problem putting the pencil to paper. I guess I didn’t inherit my math skills from him, but he’d be proud of me at how I’ve advanced to finally saying… yes, I can do my taxes!


I have remembrances of tornadoes when I was small and if there were any bad ones, I guess Mama never talked about them as surely I would remember. About the only time I remember paying attention to tornadoes was when hubby and I were heading out of Georgia to come home to CT. That was the last time we smoked, as I had bought a pack of cigarettes to keep us busy on the drive… trying to keep ahead of the tornado sightings. We also had just discovered Pringles in Georgia and between munching on them and smoking…well it kept me sane on that drive. Cigarettes were thrown in the dumpster when we arrived back home.

While my mother was living back on the farm in Siloam, she had a tornado come down the road and lay a tree on top of the front enclosed porch. She told me it had sounded like a freight train coming and scared her to death… and she crawled up under the mattress. After it was all over, she called her first cousin Kenneth McKinley and told him she was dead. He laughed and said, “well you’re talking to me.” He came over with his chainsaw and cut a path down to the farm so she could get out.

While living in New Haven in 1989, Steve was cooking steaks out on the grill amidst a terrific rain and windstorm… and at one time the wind pretty much even slammed the door out of his hand. After enjoying our steak dinner, we later learned that a tornado had touched down in Hamden (next town over) and did considerable damage. There had been bad weather all around us, but we had just thought it was only a bad storm. It was pretty scary afterward to learn that all that happened around us, and we never even knew!


Want to read more, then click… 2017: A to Z… All About Me!

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

My blog is at: https://everyonehasafamilystorytotell.wordpress.com/
This entry was posted in 2017: A to Z - All About Me, Daily Writings and funnies... and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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