2021: A to Z: Reflections

It’s been only a few days since the blogging challenge is over… and I’m already missing it. I don’t know about you, but I tend to always feel that way… and then I go into hiatus on posting for awhile.

2021… A to Z Reflections

April was quite hectic for me as we were traveling for over half the month… so at night in the hotel room, I’d be finalizing my posts for the next day. Now I’m already thinking of what to blog on next… and even as far as next year’s challenge. This year, I was very late on settling on my topic, but once I had it… I was off and running.

In as much as I tried popping in and out on the blogs participating… I quickly seemed to have gotten side tracked… and I hope to get back over to that list and check on the ones I missed. Several bloggers I’ve connected with in previous years challenges are always fun to reconnect with, but always fun to discovered new ones. It’s so hard to read many blogs in trying to finish and write your own, but I tried popping in on some along and will go back and read more at the end of April.

I’m giving a shout out to a few blogs that I strongly connected with… and I’ll be checking in on them during the year… and hoping to see them again next April. There were many I popped in on, but there’s always a few that you end up closely connecting to.

Janet Smiles was back for another A to Z… and on this adventure she has taken me touring all over San Francisco… it’s been a fun adventure and I’ve enjoyed seeing San Fran through her eyes.

Mollys Canopy What a fun topic of taking a deep dive into her early teens in Endwell, N.Y, during the early 1960s. It made me remember when I wrote about my teen years around about the same time frame. It’s always fun to write and remember those years… and always good to write them down for posterity.

Weekends in Maine definitely kept my interest in “Crafts for the Home” in her 2021 A to Z this April. I discovered many new crafts I will be trying out soon… and If you are a crafty person like I am, do check her out. I’ve already ordered myself Origami paper to make her peace doves! She ended her posts in creating a Zine to showcase her A to Z of crafts… how ingenious and clever that was… and I’m already thinking I need to learn how to.

CassMobFamilyHistory: She showcased her Family Food Fare and Favourites in Australia as she digs through her memories and recipes… in rediscovering her family’s foods of long ago. It’s interesting to see how she has compared the food habit changes over the decades. Interesting theme and food choices, and I learned about many foods I had never heard of.

Anne’s Irish Family History: Anne is back for her eighth A to Z challenge and continuing to write on her family history. In 2019 she wrote about places in the United Kingdom associated with her family history… continued in 2020 with history connections in London and for 2021, she wrote on sites associated with her Irish family history. As I have connections in the UK, it’s always interesting to read about the areas.

A big “Thank You” to everyone who stopped by my blog where I wrote about my mother… through the many photos I have of her through the years. It was fun and emotional… and I can’t wait to put it in book form to share with my children. If you’ve never printed your blog books… don’t miss out on saving your stories in book form.

To read my 2021 A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

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© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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2021: Z – Mama in Photos… Zee Last Photos of Mama

2021: Z – Mama in Photos…

Z… Zee Best for last

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but after losing my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!

Z… Z Last Photos of Mama

I’m not sure whether I took this photo of mama or not, but I love it… she looked so happy here and it’s the face I’ll always remember of her. Mama never took a bad photo, no matter what type of funny face she made! There’s not a day that goes by that something doesn’t bring her to mind!

Mama just couldn’t resist telling Santa what a good girl she’s been! Must have been cold… she’s dressed in a long sleeved turtleneck… too bad I can’t see the shoes… flip flops I bet!

I found another photo of us having lunch at The Blue Willow restaurant with me in the photo, next to mama. Guess someone grabbed my camera and had me sit down. When it’s usually your camera… you don’t often show up in the photos as much.

Another great photo of mama from the late 70’s or early 80’s… the TV set almost tells the age of the photo. Did she didn’t sit there to show off the new TV… who knows, but I love photographs that show the things we owned in years past… the things in the backgrounds of photos is often what my eye picks out first. So many things in the backgrounds of her photos that I never found when we cleaned out… she enjoyed change and often discarded the older items as she brought new into the house… many things went out in the gardens. I’m not sure what she’s holding in her hand, but it seems to be a remote… could she really be showing off a new TV with a remote? Well, I’ll never know now.

Mama holding a photograph of her and Allan… of whom she shared the last twenty-five years with, even though they actually never married. She always said that after her divorce… she would never marry again… so if and when she ever wanted to leave, she would be able to just pack her bags and leave… no court papers needed. (Note she wore the same white dress in the photograph as in the above photo… maybe that was the same day they went to take pictures together)

This was one of the last photos taken of mama before it started to go downhill and life for her alone wasn’t safe anymore… no matter how strongly she disagreed on that! The last few years of mama’s life, she stopped cutting her hair… and refused to allow anyone to take her to have it cut… always saying, “they’ll never cut it to suit me.” Mama had always cut her own hair, all her life… she had been a beautician and was very fussy about how she wanted her hair cut. She often sat in bed at night… snip, snip, snip… and never leave any hair in the bed!

I never liked seeing her with long hair, as she had always told me, “never let me grow my hair long like an old woman, never let me look like Granny Gurt“… whoever that was? But she refused all help on the hair cutting aspect, but when she pinned it up she looked fine, but hanging long… well, that was another un-pictured look. She looked tired in this photo… and she often said that she had reached the point of being too tired to live, as she could no longer live life… she really wanted to go home… go home to the farm where she always said she was the happiest she had ever been.

Mama often talked about how she never wanted to get old… it really seemed to scare her and I can understand that as I celebrate a birthday every year… I’d much rather un-celebrate a birthday and go back the other way.

My memories….

Writing my last post of Z was a little bittersweet for me… as it’s the end of my posting of looking back through mama’s life and remembering all the fun times we shared. Even though the last couple of years was very hard for me in seeing the change in her… I’m erasing those bad memories… and only remembering the good… as those times weren’t truly my mother. She told me that one day I would understand the changes, but it would be too late… and she was right.

If I could turn back the hands of times… I would have made more changes and better choices, but I can’t. I did the best I knew how at the time, whether right or wrong. Mama wasn’t the easiest of people to make suggestions too, and as she aged with dementia, it became even harder to make any suggestion to her. We butted heads on most of our last times together, but deep in my heart I knew she loved me and I tried my best to keep remembering that. The one thing I’m thankful for… she never forgot my face, or sound of my voice. Anytime I called her in the nursing home or hospital, she knew immediately who I was… no matter what kind of day she was having.

Those conversations in the nursing home were often strained as there was only one thing on her mind, and only one thing she wanted to discuss… she wanted to go home! She loved her home, where she’d last lived for over forty years… loved her clothes… loved her treasures… loved her gardens… loved her memories created there, but most of all, she loved her cat Boo! She worried more about who was caring for Boo, then she cared for herself!

Even though she was terribly unhappy there, sometimes I’d hear of things that happened that made me laugh… knowing there was still some fight and determination left in her at age 90… like the time I had a call from the physical therapist. I was called to tell me that they now knew that yes she could walk and bend better than they first had thought. When mama first was admitted during Covid, she was quarantined in a ward for two weeks… and that frustrated her so much…, as she didn’t like anyone to tell her where she could and couldn’t go. It wasn’t long before mama escaped that ward and suddenly appeared in the physical therapy room… and when asked how she got there. “Oh, I just bent down and unzipped that stupid plastic curtain you have at the end of the hall.” Where there’s a will… there was a way for her… and mama figured it out pretty quick. No matter how they tried to quarantine her, she’d always manage to escape out of that ward when they turned their backs!

Mama even “really” escaped on another day! I can just picture her sitting outside her room in a chair watching the outside doors open and close… and on one day, when that door didn’t actually close and lock… Mama made her great escape, but only managed to walk around in their backyard area before someone realized she was outside. She told them she was looking for the bus stop as she was going home. I’ve read that many say that they are looking for the bus in those type situations… even those that have never ridden a bus in their life.

Thanks for giving me all these wonderful photos Mama… and thanks for the memories!

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

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For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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2021: Y – April A to Z: Mama in Photos… Yippee, More Photos and Memories of Mama

2021: Y – April A to Z: Mama in Photos…

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but after losing my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!

Y… Yippee, More Photos and Memories of Mama

I have always had a camera… first the film camera… which made you develop them… hoping they were in focus and that you managed to get your shot. Remember lugging around a camera bag, juggling lens, film canisters, and panicking when you thought you’d lost your roll of film? Now we have digital photos that you seldom print, and store on a second server, or the cloud. I always laugh, when someone says, “Oh all my photos are in the cloud“… I’d rather have mine on paper! It saddens me to think that the future generations are going to lose many of their photos… and for the very reason of how long can we manage to keep up with all these digital photos. They don’t cost you anything to snap… so we snap way too many, and then feel overwhelmed! Personally, I think using the film camera was the best!

Yippee… what a doozy of a photo mama took here… what was she thinking? We had stopped to visit her BFF, Willie Mae, and I probably had wanted a photo of them together. Willie Mae was more like my aunt and whenever I went home, I always stopped to visit. (This was mama’s “flat hair” phase… just wash, fluff up, and go!)

Mama usually celebrated her birthday at Donna’s house (other daughter)… and Donna never forgot to make her a cake. Actually Donna isn’t a daughter, but we’ve always called her mama’s other daughter… and she’s always been there for mama when I couldn’t be. I’ve been very thankful for Donna’s help, especially over the past few years. (A rare photo of long sleeves on mama… she hated wearing long sleeves, but she loved turtle necks and owned many turtleneck short-sleeve tops.)

Mama celebrating one of the many holidays with Donna and her family. What a beautiful table Donna set… sure wish I had been there! If it was Thanksgiving, she always cooked mama’s favorite dressing and pink stuff. If you are reading this as a Southerner… you will know what dressing is… it’s our southern version to stuffing! Want to read my post on Southern Dressing… head over HERE.

Mama with her one and only grandson, Steve. We had stopped to visit one of mama’s cousins on this visit… look no flip flops! He never failed in making mama laugh and smile… and could never do any wrong in her eyes!

I have no actual photo of mama telling me how she learned to ride a bike at the farm, or a photo, but I do have the memory. Mama had no bicycle, but always wanted to learn how to ride. Boys had bikes… but, it didn’t seem acceptable for girls to ride bikes.

Paint a picture…. One afternoon, her brother’s friend came over on his bike… he and Leroy were going hunting. The bike was left in the yard… big mistake! After they left, Mama decided she would push the bike up the dirt road and coast down. By the time she landed back in the yard, she had ripped her dress, and scratched up her arms and legs… and certainly didn’t want to be discovered in that fashion. She placed the bike back where her brother’s friend left it, and scurried in the house to clean up and change. I can paint the picture in my mind… but sure wish there was a photo of her flying down the road trying to ride that bike!

I took this photo from the Ring camera I had on Mama’s front door… taken after mama had passed away. It gave me such an eerie feeling in seeing this black cat stroll by, as it looked so much like mama’s “Boo”… which had also passed. I felt like he’d come back looking for her! I’m sure those two are back together again… and maybe this time she will let him play in the gardens with her.

I walked through mama’s bedroom one evening… there she was sound asleep, snuggled with Boo … who was guarding her… and always content to allow her to hold onto him. Thank You Boo!

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

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For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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2021: X – April A to Z: Mama in Photos… Xtra Bits and Pieces

2021: X – Mama in Photos…

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but as I lost my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have of her… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!

X… Xtra Bits and Pieces

I finally dug out another box of photos today… finding many that would certainly have fit on the other posts… but then what would I have for X, Y and Z if I had posted them!

I can just hear her voice as she gave me this look… “here you go with that camera again taking my picture when I’m not dressed and working in the garden… can’t you wait?”

Mama on her last bus trip to Memphis, Tennessee to ride one of the paddle gambling boats. She’d fuss about not going… and then fuss when she did go… she hated leaving home! Pictured with her two best friends… twins Carolyn and Marilyn. I’m told that the three of them could just look at each other and fall over laughing… as they’d all know what the other was thinking… guess Mama completed the triplet aspect.

The Memphis trip was a bust for her… saying how it was the worst, especially the part of walking down to the boat, as they had to walk down a steep hill… all seniors holding onto each other… and exiting the boat was even worse as they then had to help pull each other up the hill. Then afterward they rode on a sightseeing bus ride around town… where she fussed about the girl describing the sights and how they rode by so fast, that she couldn’t even see. I can just imagine her mouth on that ride fussing about how they rode by so fast… and that she couldn’t even see. She said she was never so happy to finally return home from that trip… and it was the last one she ever took with the senior center!

It was the other daughter, Donna, who took this photo… and mama gave her the same look of “stop taking my picture.” I’m sure Donna just laughed as she took it… mama had gone out in her nightgown to gather some tomatoes for Donna and her daughter Joni. Mama never cared if she was dressed or half dressed… saying, “if they want to look… then look”! I sure wish I had some of those green tomatoes… I would cook fried green tomatoes! Mama always planted a small garden for herself with tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and green beans… and always took extras to the senior center for her friends… and if you weren’t on her friend list… No tomatoes for you!

Mama saved projects for the grandson with the strong back… she hijacked him to use the hole diggers so she could add another mailbox in the backyard… to hold the gloves she never used. She had several old mailboxes around her gardens to hold tools and unused gloves!

Another couple of quirky friends she met somewhere in Memphis on the bus trip… glad she left them there. I know she would love to have sat them in her gardens to chat with while working. What conversation pieces they would have been!!!

On a walk around Athens, home of the Georgia BullDawg’s… these bulldogs were everywhere, and mama wanted to hop on them all, yelling “Yee Haw.

No matter where we stopped… mama made friends! She really wanted this little birdie to come home with her… not sure how Boo (cat) would have felt about that!

We stopped in Heavy’s BBQ in Sparta and she couldn’t resist to show me how she used to climb up in her father’s wagon. I kept telling her she was going to split her pants trying… but she insisted!

A couple of older pictures I found showing mama’s gardens… from back in the day. It was nice to see how it once bloomed. She had more stamina in her 70’s and 80’s that puzzled everyone! I bet she’s fussing with God now over his gardens… and not thinking twice to tell him what he’s doing wrong!

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

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For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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2021: W – Mama in Photos… Where Oh Where Were These Photos Taken

2021: W – Mama in Photos…

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but as I lost my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have of her… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!

W… Where Oh Where Were These Photos taken

This photo was taken in my front yard on one of mama’s “rare” trips. She’s standing under her father’s farm bell that I brought here many, many years ago. It was given to her father, by his father… and it was said that his father had given it to him. Mama’s great grandfather’s family was from the Mecklenburg Co., N.C. area… so possibly this very “bell” traveled to Ga. On the day my husband too it off it’s post, where it had stood since the early 1940’s… my granddaddy Bryan had come to “supervise” my “yankee” husband in taking it down. Hubby asked him, do you know who put it up… granddaddy replied, “yep, I was here when the man came to put it up there… he swung it over his shoulder, and up he climbed to install.” Needless to say, hubby didn’t climb down the ladder with it swung over his shoulder.

The original pole my husband took the farm bell off… it sat on this pole in grandaddy’s yard since 1940…

This photo was taken in Union Point, Georgia… just one house down from ours. There was a man who lived just across the street and he took his camera everywhere, and enjoyed taking photos… without him, we wouldn’t have nearly the many photos we do. We were his daily subjects!

Another photo of mama with granddaughter, Melissa, on a trip (1982) to visit us in CT… we took her to the beach in West Haven. She used to always say, “when I get old, I want to come and live by the beach… where I can walk with my bare feet in the sand everyday.”

Mama with her father back on the farm in Siloam… moving back after her divorce to care for him… he truly was always the love of her life! She always said, if he hadn’t been so business savvy in the way he managed the farm, that she would have had nothing. Granddaddy was very smart in running his farm… he made it work for him, and while many lost the farms they bought from the government, he worked hard to pay his off quickly. Not sure why he’s outside with his rifle… but I bet he had wanted to shoot a few quail that always seemed to land out in the fields.

Mama with granddaughter, Melissa, and great granddaughter, McKinley… this picture was taken in Social Circle, Georgia outside the gift shop of The Blue Willow restaurant. And as always, mama is decked out in her jewelry of necklace, earrings, rings and bracelets… along with her flip flops! This was mama’s first meeting with great granddaughter… who was given mama’s maiden name.

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

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For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in Daily Writings and funnies... | 10 Comments

2021: V – April A to Z: Mama in Photos… Vacationing with Mama

2021: V – Mama in Photos…

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but as I lost my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have of her… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!

V… Vacationing with Mama

Daytona Beach, Florida vacation with mama, daddy and cousin Paulette… and more photos that mama cut out all the “goodies” in he background. Love seeing all the cars parked on the beach… was our car parked there? Maybe this was the vacation where we actually stayed in one of those houses on the beach… and where I remember going downstairs to find homemade cinnamon rolls.

What I do remember about our vacations was that they were never anywhere else but Florida… was that because we lived next to the great “sunshine” state, or because daddy liked to go deep sea fishing? I believe most of my memories come from the many stories mama has told me through the years.

Mama with me and cousin Paulette on the Daytona beach. This was the era when most women wore that rubber beach caps to keep your hair dry… seems so silly now to think of wearing them. They were horrendous hard to stretch on while pulling your hair. Notice, mama tied a wrap around her hair… as I never saw her wear one of those plastic stretch caps. Loved riding the waves there… mama always kept her eagle eye on me and those waves… I do remember being scared, told me how those waves would pull me under… probably why I wore a tube all the time.

The Florida welcoming center has sure changed from this… along with the cars. Wish there was more to show… like where is our car… as daddy seemed to always have a station wagon when I was small. Loved the old station wagons… my favorite spot was always the way, in the very back, seat. I remember ones in which the back seat faced the rear car and even one had two half back seats where, if more than one rode back there, we could face each other. You could pile lots of kids in the old station wagons… there were no seat belts… and we all survived!

This is possibly the cottage we stayed in on the Daytona beach… I look about six, so it would have been about 1958… and here’s Daddy’s classic station wagon. Did he really like owning one for trips, fishing, the family vacations? When I was older, he never bought them again, but he always bought Pontiac cars. When I was looking for my “1st” car, I wanted a Pontiac Firebird… but he quickly squished that car… instead finding me a ’65 yellow Ford Mustang… which granddaddy McKinley bought for me.

Mama, me and Clark Gable… oh my! I looked about six years old here, so this must have been the vacation when I spilled hot chicken noodle soup all over me on the way down. The waitress brought butter for mama to slab on… which is a “no-no” today… as butter holds the heat in longer. I had no scars, so it must not have been a bad burn… just made me cry. Those terrycloth rompers mama wore, were quite popular at that time.

I”m assuming this was our trip (left) to Miami Beach when daddy found Marilyn Monroe! Photo on the right would be another Daytona beach photo… tell me daddy isn’t holding a beer out in the water?

Daddy didn’t even have to go out to the deep sea to catch this big fish…

Panama City, Florida vacation… Our “Fun ‘N’ Sand Motel was directly on the beach… awesome staying on the beach. Panama beach had the clearest water… no matter how far out you went… you could still see your feet. I liked walking the beach to pick up the multi-colored Periwinkle shells that could be found in several colors. My girlfriend Janet came on this vacation… we were about 16, and quickly discovered lots of cute boys at the pool that summer… and surprised when daddy let us hang with them. I do remember daddy talking to them… can only imagine that conversation!

Did my mother ever “not” have a figure? She wore those halter-style jumpsuits she sewed very well! No one every wore the same clothes she did… and she liked it that way.

This was the year for these babydoll type summer outfits… Janet and I both sewed ours… and of course Mama sewed her jumpsuit. What’s with that funky blue hair thingy covering her rollers?

Another vacation spot… but sadly no photos… was a specific motel in Tallahassee… which daddy frequented every summer. He went deep sea fishing daily, while mama and I hung by the pool. There was a long pier we walked on, but the beach wasn’t good for sunbathing or swimming, as I remember it being very rocky below. They had a tiny restaurant at the motel and mama would let me walk there by myself and buy my favorite, bacon sandwich, for breakfast. That was a real treat, to be able to go there by myself and sit on the stool at the counter… guess I charged breakfast to our room! The grassy area surrounding the pool was where I saw the biggest grasshoppers I’d ever seen… they were huge… not anything like the tiny ones we had in Georgia. Daddy usually took us out for dinner nightly… and always ordered me a Shirley Temple and red snapper for dinner. Funny how little things like that stick in your head!

Another vacation spot was Alligator Point, Florida… although at that time I never knew that the reference to alligators was actually the towns name. Our neighbors owned a cottage by the beach there… and yes daddy went deep sea fishing every day… while mama and I walked the beach.

The beach there wasn’t great for sunbathing or swimming, but it had the best beach shells we’d ever seen, and the whitest sand. Mama learned fast that some of those pretty shells even came with living creatures.. they tickled her palm. If you’ve never seen “real” silver dollar shells on the beach… well, they all washed up on the beach at Alligator Point… never ever found them on another beach except maybe a few broken ones… those there were pristine perfect. Years later I learned that this community was so-named because the aerial view of the inlet beach actually looked like an alligator. I remember the entire trip how mama wouldn’t let me out of eyesight… as she was afraid that an alligator would come walking around every corner… and gobble me up… although I was secretly hoping to find one!

Mama and I collected a huge bucket of shells from that beach, and even a crab… she came home and cleaned them all… wiring the shells and crab on a frame, which she hung in my room. I kept that frame for years, even after I married… finally dismantled it, but kept the silver dollar shell. (Alligator Point is an unincorporated community on St. James Island in Franklin County, Florida, United States. It is located along U.S. 98, south of Bald Point State Park, along the Gulf of Mexico.)

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

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For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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2021: U – April A to Z: Mama in Photos… Unseen Photos and their Stories

2021: U – Mama in Photos…

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but as I lost my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have of her… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!

U… Unseen Photos and their Stories

In arriving at Mama’s on vacation several years ago, I spotted this orange tiger Halloween outfit hanging on the porch… I rolled my eyes! Next thing I knew, Melissa had went back out on the porch… reappearing with it in her hands asking, “Angel, can I have this?” While mama was thrilled that we immediately had discovered something we wanted… I was shocked that Melissa wanted it… it was a perfect fit… and came home in her bag!

We never knew what we would find when arriving at mama’s… or rather what she’d gathered for us. Usually, no sooner than having a chance to get ourselves in the house… she would suddenly appear in the living room showing us things, and asking, “do you like this?” One year she had over a dozen brand new baby dresses, complete with tags, that someone had donated to the center from a store closing. My daughter in law was expecting mama’s first grandchild… and mama was expecting me to carry them all home in my suitcase… one way or another… and I took them all home!

Through the years, my suitcases carried many things, from the largest cast iron pan I’d ever seen to many bags of White Lily Flour… nothing makes a better biscuit… to suitcases full of plants! What I often brought home was carry bags… full of everything!

While I don’t have the actual photograph of mama wearing this… I do have the hat! I made this many years for mama… and for like forever, it hung on the dining room closet door… until one Halloween. On a visit, I found this 25-cents tag hanging on it, and… “Oh I went as Minnie Pearl to the Halloween party at the senior center… and even won a prize!” How easy was that costume… and clever to have even thought of. What I wouldn’t give for that photo!

Mama told me that she was crying in this photo… maybe she didn’t want to be on the horse. I only know of one horse they had… by the name of Pat. In this photo, my grandfather looks like he’s laughing… so maybe he was laughing at her.

Mama with grandson, Steve, (2006) at their wedding rehearsal dinner. She had a great time at the aloha themed dinner… they were heading to Hawaii for their honeymoon.

Grandson Steve and Rose at rehearsal dinner… a few clues as to their honeymoon destination! I planned the Aloha theme, complete with hats, leis and everything Hawaiian!

Mama kept this magnetic photo on her fridge since 2010… even though she wasn’t able to attend her granddaughters wedding, she loved looking at the wedding photographs. By this time, she didn’t like to travel anymore by herself… she just wasn’t comfortable with flying like she once was. At one time, she’d pack a bag in a quick minute… and ready to go! I designed this picture… and a poster sized print was displayed at the bridal shower for the movie themed shower I had planned. I even added Boo (mama’s cat) in this print… portraying Melissa and Frank in The Bride of Frankenstein movie theme. I chose this theme as they previously had dressed in those costumes for a Halloween party. The bridal shower was quite unique… as several faux actors of Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Darth Vader, The Tin Man and the man himself “Frankenstein” (the groom) stopped in to say hello to the bride.

Look who stopped by at my daughters bridal shower! (Indiana Jones, my son)

Mama’s only granddaughter, Melissa, on her wedding with new grandson Frank. In as much as mama really wanted to be there on that day… she just wasn’t comfortable any longer in leaving her house… she also wasn’t wanting to leave Boo.

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

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For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2021: A to Z - Mama in Photos, Daily Writings and funnies... | 7 Comments

2021: T – April A to Z: Mama in Photos… The Family Photos

2021: T – April A to Z: Mama in Photos…

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but as I lost my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have of her… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother fought off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with stories… and it’s because of mama, that I write!

T… The Family Photos

Mama’s parents… Ola (Askew) and Edgar McKinley. Love how granddaddy dressed up for this photo… even with a vest. He didn’t dress often… as he loved his overalls too much. I’m assuming it was taken at the farm… but I never saw this car… it must have been the one before he bought “new” a 1954 Ford… it seems Granddaddy only bought Fords.

Mama with her parents and brother Leroy (abt. 1931)

This photo must have been taken the same day as the the last photograph on this post… while that one is more of a better closeup… I love this one showing granddaddy’s Ford Model T in the background… such a classic!

Mama’s only sibling was Leroy… she was about 14 when he left for the Army. This photo of Leroy in uniform in Guam was sent to me a few years ago from a cousin… it was never in mama’s album. I wrote a few posts on Leroy serving in the Army and the letters he wrote home. He referred to himself as a plowboy… longing for home… and to be back behind his daddy’s plow… just one more time. Sadly that did not happen for him!

Mama always talked about her mother having a flapper-like dress and a cloche hat… which reminds me here of the one Nancy Drew wore on the cover of The Secret of the Old Clock. While mama wasn’t born yet… as this photo would have been taken around 1924. The hat and dress became one of mama’s remembered play outfits when she was a young girl… after discovering it in the hallway closet. I sure wish it had been around for me to have seen! It makes me smile to see my grandmother Ola smiling here as she holds baby Leroy… who seemed to be a happy baby. (Edgar Lawson McKinley was my grandfather’s father and Miss Bay was his step-mother. The other boys and girls in photo are his siblings, and brother in law.)

3 Generation Photo

This has always been a favorite family photo of mine… and we are all smiling! My mom with her parents, Ola & Edgar and me (Jeanne)… taken about 1952-53. Whomever the photographer was did an excellent job in capturing our happy smiling faces!

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Our Family Photograph

I had my original photo colorized to see the color in the embroidery that mama sewed on my dress. I’ve always wished that this specific dress had been saved… but people didn’t think that way in those days. Clothes were to be used, and it was passed down to her bestie’s daughter Pat to wear… and there’s also a photo of Pat wearing it; mama often embroidered on my clothes. In looking back through the family photos… I’ve noticed how mama often wore pearls… and daddy wore bow ties in many of his photos.

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Granddaddy (Edgar T. McKinley) in his WWI uniform.

Mama talked often and told stories about her father… she had a love for him that she never forgot. He was a hard worker and provider for their family on their farm… and when he came in from the field after a day of plowing, under the hot Georgia sun… mama brought out a pan of water and sat on the back stoop with him to wash his feet… now that is Love! I know mama is finally happy and at peace now… back with her father!

When I began sorting these photos years ago, I found the best way was to display, was to attach the small cut-ups to a 4×6 photo size paper… so much information was “cut out” in the backgrounds, but I’m thankful of what was saved… and I have.

1930… Big brother Leroy with little sister Helen. As I look at this photo, I’m noticing… someone dragged out a chair to prop mama in… and at first I thought, “why didn’t you take this photo in the house“… but of course, there were no lights… as they were lucky enough to even have a camera, or even have access to one… and no one except photographers had bulbs for indoor shoots. Most photos in these early years, you’ll find most children barefoot and standing on dirt yards; they didn’t have grass in the early years, that is why they often swept their yards to clear out the stones and sticks. (Most likely it was Aunt Emma McKinley who took this photograph, as mama always told me that if it wasn’t for her, we would have no photographs)

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

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For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2021: A to Z - Mama in Photos, Daily Writings and funnies... | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

2021: S – April A to Z: Mama in Photos… School Photos and Memories

2021: S – April A to Z: Mama in Photos…

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but as I lost my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have of her… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!

S… School Photos and Memories

Such an awesome photo to have of probably mama’s first day at school… wonder how she happened to sit on the side step, as her bestie, Willie Mae is more in the middle there with blonde hair and a white collar on her print dress. The blonde haired boy in the front center was Kendrick Lewis… they lived next door to his family, and his father was the local doctor… who delivered mama. Mama and Kendrick were more like brother and sister in growing up… and fighting like that also… he often took up for her in school… as a brother would.

Siloam Elementary school where the above photograph was shot… the photo was taken on the left side steps of the school.

Their lunch room was a seperate building… the photograph found in her teacher’s scrapbook; it wasn’t until last year that many of these school photos surfaced.

Mama’s Memories: “In school, if anybody’s lunch was stolen, it always seemed to be mine. We never had loaf bread in our house, as Daddy always said that it was like eating a wasp nest – too many holes in it. Everybody always wanted my lunch of biscuit and ham, or sorghum syrup. I carried my lunch in probably a tin pail, as I didn’t have a real lunch box like the city girls – I was a country girl. I remember Mama making me chocolate milk for school – putting it in a mason jar. We mostly drank milk at home, as my mother hated ice tea and only made it on Sunday or when company came. She said the taste of it reminded her of medicine… but she made the best sweet tea.”

“I remember a girl I went to school in Siloam with always brought pomegranates to school and shared with me… she had a tree in her yard. I always brought my lunch to school in a brown paper bag or pail – and I had to save it to reuse. Inside my bag was usually one of mama’s biscuits with a piece of ham, fruit, a slice of pie or mama’s home made cake. But I would rather have had one of the other girls lunches… as they brought a sandwich with store bought sliced white bread. When I think back now, that was probably why my lunch sack was often stolen. At that time I never understood why it was always my lunch bag stolen, but as much as I wished to have a sandwich, they wanted my biscuit, slice of ham, and the piece of homemade pie or cake. My mother did make the best pies and cakes I’ve ever eaten.”

One of the many buses that Mama rode to school… after the driver waited and waited on her; mama’s hair had to be perfect or she wasn’t going anywhere!

Mama’s Memories: “I was sent to the principal’s office one morning from an incident on the bus coming to school. The bus driver wouldn’t make the boys roll up the windows, and the air blowing in was ruining the girls hair on the bus… so I began singing this song, “John Jacob Jingle Hiemer Smith, his name is my name too. Whenever we go out, the people always shout, ‘There Goes John Jacob Jingle Hiemer Smith! As you sang the verses, each verse was sung louder than the last. I sang it all the way to school… which drove the bus driver crazy that morning… and he sent me directly to Principle C.C. Wills office! I went in and told him I was sent there, and after he asked my name, I told him I was Leroy McKinley’s sister… he just looked at me, gave me ten cents and told me to go get myself a coke, and sit down for awhile before going back to class.

“On the back dirt road coming from White Plains, Mama said. “I remember riding in the school bus on this road and when it rained it was so muddy that our school bus often got stuck in the red mud. Sometimes when the bus driver got to syrup mill crossing, he’d stop the bus and let us off to get a drink of sorghum syrup.  My father hauled his cane there to make syrup – he’d carry jugs to bring it home in. Often the owner would give us a small sip in a tin can and sometimes he’d even sit us up on top of the horse or mule that walked ‘round and ‘round as the cane crushed into syrup. My father grew two types of cane – one was called ribbon cane – it was a very thick cane stalk.”

“When I went to school in Siloam there was a small store not far from the school called Mr. Mooneyham’s. The owners lived next door to the store… it was a very tiny building, which sat just on the other side of the cotton field… on the side of the school. We’d take turns crawling through the cotton field on our hands and knees to go and buy penny candy for everyone. It was a really small one-room store where he sold penny candy and a few odds and ends. While one person went, the others sat at the edge of the school yard to wait. The one day that it was my turn, I found our principal, Mr. Burke, waiting for me when I came back. He didn’t do anything to me, he just told us girls to not do that anymore. If it had been the boys caught they would probably have gotten paddled. One time Kendrick Lewis put a book in his pants before he got paddled and then he got in even more trouble. He was the doctors son and we were good friends.”

On one of our “in the road” days we drove by Mama’s old school in Siloam… I stopped to recreate the day in 1937 when mama first sat on those steps.

In 1946, mama was one of the girls running for Queen of the Halloween Carnival… she is far right, on the back row. Mama talked about how many who’d voted for her, but at the last minute, someone’s father bought many tickets to ensure their daughter won. I don’t remember who she said was the winner.

I was never sure, but felt as since mama kept this newspaper clipping… that she was in it. Wish I’d asked her years ago on it, but always forgot. I do feel though, that she is the girl standing on the stairs behind the front two… and is wearing a dark coat with large buttons. Photo was taken on the steps of the Greensboro High School, Greensboro, Georgia… abt. 1947-48. Mama graduated in 1948, but was suppose to have in 1947… but due to her lack of school work, probably because of dating my father, she had to repeat her senior year. I have the 1947 yearbook, but no photo of her appeared in it… still looking for a 1948 yearbook.

Mama graduated in 1948… not long after she had married on May 29th… and when her name was called, she almost missed walking on stage, as her principal called mama by her married name… and she wasn’t expecting that; she’s on the second row, third from the right side. Mama was supposed to have graduated in 1947, but she slacked off in her studies that year as she was dating my father, often skipped school, and wasn’t turning in her homework or doing well on tests.

More photos and memories can be read HERE on mama’s school days.

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

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For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2021: A to Z - Mama in Photos, Daily Writings and funnies... | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2021: R – April A to Z: Mama in Photos… Remembering more Photos

2021: R – April A to Z: Mama I Photos

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but as I lost my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have of her… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!

R… Remembering more Photos

Mama’s 5 great granddaughters… she was so proud to always show their photos… and wished she was closer to have seen them more often. It breaks my heart in thinking how she also never saw my children grow up and then again with the granddaughters. It’s hard when your children move, but they all have to do what is best for them.

Mama with Donna… her “other” daughter. I’m thankful for all Donna did for mama through the years… besides being a friend… she was always there for her through the years when I couldn’t be.

Showing off one of our favorite sites to my son’s in-laws on a trip to Georgia. This was once a commissary general store for the Nolan plantation home… back in the day. We often took photos on this porch every time I came home… and everytime mama would say… “haven’t you gone there enough times and taken photos.

Mama appears to be waiting by the road here… possibly for the school bus in high school. This photo was sent to me by a cousin… it had never appeared in my album until recently. Looks to have been a colder southern day as she’s wearing a coat.

Only photo I’ve ever seen of Granddaddy McKinley riding a horse… he usually was behind the plow and horse. For some reason, the bag hanging down on the left looks like a purse… was it taken the same day as the one I have of mama crying on the horse… maybe that’s mama’s purse hanging here? Is there snow on the ground??

Look… they even got grandmama McKinley up on the horse, complete with a cowgirl hat and smiles from them both! I’ve never seen grandmama in any photo like this other than standing by granddaddy for a posed shot. Love seeing his old Ford Model T in the background. Wonder what else is missing… as mama cut up the photos years ago… and probably cut out even more background info! If that’s Pat, the horse, hope granddaddy holds onto him or he’ll take off high trotting back to the barn. He was known to take you always for a fast ride back to the barn… he never forgot the way home!

Until I took a closer look at this photo… I hadn’t known that Mama was in the mirror.. looking toward her jewelry!

In cleaning, I opened a basket and pulled out this unfinished top… I sat there wondering how long had it been there… as she hadn’t sewed in years that I knew of. Mama’s favorite color of clothes was always “white.”

The youngest photo I have of mama with me… and I hadn’t seen this in a long time to until I went searching… and nice to see again. Mama went through much depression when I was born, as her first child died at age 6 months… Monica was born with spina bifida. It took mama a long time to accept that there was nothing wrong with me… my Aunt Chris, who lived next door, often took care of me during the day.

Three photos that now only take up one space…. Oh what am I missing in all the cut outs?

I think Stephen was blushing here when his Angel gave him a goodbye kiss!

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

signature-blog-card

For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2021: A to Z - Mama in Photos, Daily Writings and funnies... | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments