2017 A to Z: Letter W… All About Me

2017 A to Z: Letter W…

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 W is for… Writing, Wind, Wax, Weddings, What I’ve collected, Where will my treasures go, Where do I want to travel?


While I don’t remember any writings I did other than in my diaries, or research papers for school when I was young, I do remember how much I loved to write on paper… and loved using those refillable ink cartridge pens. So what did I write? I guess I enjoyed writing my school homework and reports, but I wish I’d written more stories… what I wouldn’t give to be able to read stories I’d written as a child… and I’m sure I’d strongly critique them! I edit and re-edit my written work now… and sometimes others!

Mama remembers a story I wrote in school about a window fan in our house. .. odd choice! The story talked about the large metal window fan that sat in the living room window. One day the fan was thrown in the dump when daddy replaced it with an air conditioner… somehow that must have made an impact on me! But in my story, someone rescued the fan from the dump… painted it green and placed it in their house window… but the fan was sad, no longer part of our family, no longer able to smell the perked coffee every morning. Mama remembers keeping that story folded in her jewelry box for the longest… but somehow it disappeared. What I wouldn’t give to be able to unfold that paper and read that story today! What made me write that story about the fan… did my mother talk about missing the fan… did she mention how the fan circulated the coffee smell throughout the house? I guess I’ll never know! But Mama said my teacher loved my story and gave me an A!

In as much as I love to write and sometimes I feel I live to write… my mother hates to write. She’ll quickly tell you that she even hates to write her name and wonders where I inherited the love of writing from.

I often find it hard to stay focused on all my many other hobbies… I want to knit, I want to sew my felt ornaments, I want to read Nancy Drew, I want to go to flea markets… but I love to write and that often wins out over all the rest! I can only hope one day, my grandchildren will discover all my writings… and fall in love with writing!

If I didn’t write so personal and branched out to writing on topics that would be of interest to others, I could offer more of my writing to magazines. Well, at least I can say I am a published author with “Heirloom Recipes”… which was published in Georgia Backroads. It did feel good in seeing my name as a by-line in a published magazine.


Strong winds always worry me, especially during hurricanes. Watching trees sway back and forth has me looking out the window… often… and worrying about hearing a crack which might mean a thump coming down on the house!

Sometimes laying in bed and hearing the winds howl, when you’re trying to go to sleep… is quite scary. Then at some point, you have to put your life in someone else’s hands and just go to sleep.


My first remembrance of anything wax was of those small wax bottles filled with a sugary drink. I loved buying those little bottles…. think they came in a small paper six-pack container, often now called “penny candy”. All the kids loved them, maybe it was the six-pack that was the most intriguing! If there was even a teaspoon of a liquid inside, you were lucky, but they were fun to bite off the top and guzzle down. I think some people chewed on the wax, like gum, but I never did. I bought some to put in my granddaughters Halloween bags this year… and they thought they were the best thing!

After hubby began writing me letters from Thailand, I became acquainted with the melted wax sealings on envelopes. He considered them as a seal with a kiss. In knowing that most of the mail in the government can be read… I don’t ever remember them arriving with the seal broken. Did they steam open the seal and roll up the letter to pull out, without breaking the seal… or maybe they didn’t want to read our mushy love letters! FYI… I have kept all our “lovey” letters to each other! I guess my generation is probably the last generation to write letters… now it’s all instant email. While instant is great, I do miss receiving a letter in the mail! The generations today are truly missing out on writing and receiving letters in the mail!


All our “Lovey-Dovey” letters!


Before I married, I only remember going to one wedding… and at the moment I don’t even remember who’s it was, but I think it was a friend. I had never been to any family weddings and have no memory of anyone in our family marrying… we had a small family.

Maybe as I never had any familiarity with attending weddings when young, it pushed me to not really care about my own wedding… which I never had. When I married, my husband was en-route to Thailand immediately after we married, so planning a wedding just wasn’t on my mind. I don’t know what was on my mind, except thinking we could run off to Aiken, S.C. to marry in one day!

At the time of being asked, or maybe told we were getting married, Steve was stationed at Loring AFB in Limestone, Maine. He planned for us to get married before he left for Thailand. After asking his base commander for permission to marry me… Yes, in the Air Force, he had to actually ask for permission to marry. They are your mother and father, and you belong to them, and ask permission for everything you do… or suffer the consequences!

Steve drove down to Georgia on I-95 in early May (1971)… meeting my father for the first time… can you imagine what a stressful meeting for both of them that was. My father had blood in his eyes at that meeting… giving Steve “the” speech… after I was sent out of the room; the speech where you tell the guy, how he better take care of his little girl and not hurt her… or else! I’m sure he probably wanted to say more, but he was cordial as a Southern gentleman!

So back to my bright idea of marrying in South Carolina…

I had heard of how you could elope to Aikens, South Carolina and marry… no blood tests or waiting period… or at least I thought so! Off we left on the morning of May 3rd for Aikens, and after finally finding the courthouse… it was closed. No cellphone in the 70’s, and no GPS… just basic 101 sleuthing! Where was Nancy Drew!

I’m sure it was said to me… “I thought you knew how to do this?” Well, I guess I was going on what I’d heard in hearsay, and you know how hearsay works. The next day, we were at the courthouse bright and early… after all, we now knew where it was! We thought this would be the day…. well it wasn’t! We were told that while there were no blood tests, there was a 24 hour waiting period! I’m sure Steve gave me a look! Oh Well…

Steve Jeanne_0002

The married couple after arriving in CT…. and wearing our wedding attire for a wedding celebration!

Day 3 in Aikens was a winner… Finally! We arrived after they opened at 9 and was first in the Justice of the Peace office. I remember very little about that day, other than as we walked up the stairs, an elderly woman stopped to ask us if we were getting married? I’m sure I giggled, saying yes! Actually, I remember giggling through the entire ceremony of “I Do’s” and couldn’t wait to run down those stairs as a married woman!

We didn’t really have time or money to even buy my wedding ring, so I married using my grandmother’s wedding band… I was excited to be wearing her simple plain wedding ring. Later, one Valentines day I saw a ring of hearts with diamonds and rubies that I fell in love with… and Steve bought it for me. It was perfect as I didn’t want a traditional ring and band!


We were finally married!!

We arrived back in Perry later that afternoon… finally as a married couple; Daddy took us out to celebrate at The New Perry Hotel that evening… I think that was the first time I’d ever eaten there! Sad to report that, that historic landmark in my hometown finally closed its doors a couple of years ago.

Forty-six years later, I’m happy to report we are still very happily married, and my short white dress and his fancy purple ruffled shirt are still hanging in the upstairs closet. Where did the time go? I’m retired now so there will be much traveling … no clocks to punch or diapers to change, but a lot of good memories to hold onto!

What I’ve Collected:

While I didn’t really write much as a child, I do remember collecting things. Some I’ve kept, while some are long gone! Probably the first things I collected because they were always given to me, were the arrowheads Granddaddy McKinley dug up as he plowed the fields. I remember having quite a few of them, but they’re all long gone now, except for one single one I somehow kept… sure wish I knew how they all disappeared! But as they were always so plentiful, I guess I never held much value to them.

I collected Nancy Drew books for a time… loved to read Nancy’s sleuthing mysteries. Nothing like bringing home a new Nancy Drew book and being so anxious to begin reading. While I never had the complete set, I’m sure I had quite a few as mama never turned down a plea for a new book when we went to the store. But the big mystery for me is what really happened to them when I outgrew reading them. If only they had been boxed up for me to rediscover one day… what a treat that would have been! I imagine Mama encouraged me to read them as she also read and loved them as a young girl.

My Nancy Drew Books

My Nancy Drew collection

Most likely, my books were boxed up when we moved from Smoak Ave. to Hillcrest Ave., and as I wasn’t reading them anymore…. someone saw the reason to not cart them. I just hope they gave them to someone who loved them, and poor Nancy didn’t end up in the landfill! My Nancy Drew’s were bought brand new vs how we buy them today. They actually are still sold new, but they’re the new “flashlight” series, not the yellow matte books I read. If only “one” had been saved with my name written inside… I would be a happy camper! I have plans to attend one of the large library sales next April (2018) in Perry… well you know why… just to see if I can find one of my old Nancy Drew books. I know it’s a crazy thought, but I’ve done crazier things than that before! LOL

I tried to get my daughter interested in reading Nancy Drew and even bought her several at the flea markets, but they never grabbed her attention. Maybe she wasn’t really a reader! Eventually, her books were boxed up and put…. somewhere.

For years and years, I wondered what happened to her books… I knew I didn’t throw them out, but I hadn’t come across them in years. Recently as we began decluttering this house, hubby came up from the cellar one afternoon with a box marked… Melissa’s Nancy Drew Books! Boy, was I excited and didn’t waste time in ripping open that box! Inside were quite a few Nancy’s and even some Hardy Boys. My next thought was… were there any inside that I could add to my collection! I did manage to add a few to my bookcase, but the one that really touched me was No.1, The Secret of the Old Clock… I saw that she had written her name inside. That one is a treasure to me! If only I could remember writing my name on mine! I can only imagine I did, as I have other books that I wrote my name in.

Recently, somehow…. my love of Nancy Drew re-surfaced again, and I began once again to build a collection. It took me weeks before even finding “one” Nancy book, but after breaking the ice… they are now surfacing here and there. The best places to find are the Library Book Sales that almost every library has every year, and some of those sales often offer up to 75,000 books for sale. Who knew these type of book sales were out there!  I only discovered them by accident one Sunday, after following a “book sale” sign I found one on the way to the flea market. I walked out with a very “heavy” box!

My bookcase is now bulging with more Nancy Drew’s than I ever had before and I’ve even made a set for my granddaughter Ella… I’m working on her as my first Nancy Drew partner; hoping she will love Nancy like I do. Learning so much about Nancy Drew has me now planning my next A to Z in April of 2018 on Nancy. This will be my third year of participating and often I ponder aimlessly about what I’ll write, but once this idea came to me… it was a perfect choice! I’m so excited about writing on Nancy Drew that I’ve already started planning and writing my posts… after all April will be here before I know it; writing a post every day is difficult enough when it’s easy writing, and this A to Z will need lots of research. My first year of A to Z: 2016 was Southern Memories and Foods, and this year (2017) was The Best of Conversations with Mom; now I’m all set for 2018 for All About Nancy Drew.

Somehow a friend of my parents got me hooked on stamp collecting as a young girl… now, why would a teenage girl want to collect stamps? I have no clue, but I guess I found those tiny small pieces of art interesting; finding one, leads to another, and another, and another. My obsessive nature ended with me discovering my grandparent’s trunk of every letter… they every received… and guess what? They all had stamps on them. I was happy as all get out when I discovered them and begged to have all the stamps. I guess Mama felt it was time to let go of all that paper and she let me take all the stamps and then she discarded the most important papers in the trunk… all the letters and correspondence my grandparents had received! While she only kept a few intact, that I have today… if I had that trunk today, I’d definitely be doing a happy, happy dance. Just imagine all the family history that could have been discovered in those letters! It was those letters that were the real find… not the stamps… but I was too young to know that at the time… if only I could turn back time and have a little talk with myself!


My Stamp Collection… yes it’s still packed away!

Where will my treasures go:

A scary thought! Somehow I’ve managed to accumulate many treasures along these 46 years of marriage, plus even more from my childhood. Most people don’t have even one treasure from their childhood, but I have several. I kept my treasured Barbies, safely tucked inside their Barbie case along with Midge, Ken, and friend Tressie. Maybe one of my granddaughters will take a liking to Barbie and treasure them one day.

Rollerskates and Barbies… Oh My!

Along with Barbie, I have my roller skates I got when I was sixteen. I can’t even try to imagine how many hours I spent at the roller skating rink! The only Christmas gift I didn’t know what was inside, was my typewriter, and I’ve kept it all these years. Another form of writing for me, but what was I writing?


Did I type stories on my Remington?

I know I can’t expect my children to feel the same way I do about my treasures, but I hope they don’t part too quickly with them… and regret it afterward. Sometimes you need to stop and think before letting go of things! Maybe one of the girls will inherit my love of writing and even display their GiGi’s typewriter in their home!

Where do I want to travel?

Well, the one thing I’ve always wanted to travel to is Disney! When my children were young, the only Disney was in California… it was definitely out of the question. Then they built the one in Florida, and… but I never got there either! Now I feel like maybe I’m too old to go, even though I secretly still want to go! Hubby isn’t too keen on the idea, or really interested, so unless one of the families invite me on their trip… guess it’s off my list. Should I start my own Go Fund Me for Disney?

kicks 66FIX

I’d love to drive Rt. 66 with hubby and see all the vintage landmarks I’ve read about over the years; who knows if all of them are even there. You read about things on the Internet, and look interesting, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they are still there.

Route 66 was originally known as the Will Rogers Highway, the Main Street of America and also the Mother Road. It was one of the original highways of our highway system and established on November 11, 1926. Today it has become one of the most famous roads in the United States and runs from Illinois through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona before ending at Santa Monica, California; covering a total of 2,448 miles.

greetings 66

Maybe I’ll get there one day… soon!

After my son went to Italy years ago, it was on my list… I’d love to see the Almalfi coast. But only if I can blink myself there and back! I’m just not interested in foreign travel, and hubby most definitely isn’t interested in “any” plane travel involving security! It’s Drive or Not Go for him now!


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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