“Easter in Florida”

This is what I am thinking today! Cannot save “thoughts”  for another time – because – the “thoughts” – that you “think” now – they  will escape the brain cells  and maybe – forever – never again to show up. So, I’m guessing that “thoughts”  – “think” – that   “they”  are good for you “now” –  “right NOW” – not later – so use me – or forget me – forever!

When you have children – there is something magical that happens – to you the “PARENTS” – only at this  time when your children are very young. Think back and see if I am not right on this subject??The children are your very special “GIFTS” from the Almighty – and He wants for you to enjoy them to the fullest. And, here is where the magic comes in – you, the PARENTS – become youngsters again, too! If you do not become “young -at- heart” – you and your children will never ever really enjoy all that you were predestined to receive and share  – with  your children –  with all the joy and happiness that was meant – just for your family!

So, for “EASTER in FLORIDA”  –  in the 1960’s – one year- my son, Lee was maybe two years old and my step-son Donny was maybe seven years old – and so,  I thought that I would do something different??? Since – I had never had a small animal of my own as a small child -just thought that I would surprise the boys with some  little baby “EASTER-CHICKS”  –  – giving  to them each two chicks – and see how they would  like them  – and left the “door open”  – the “DOOR of Imagination” – as to how and what we will do  – when I brought these chicks home???

“Did you ever bring small chicks home and think that you are going to keep them a secret??” There is no “secret” when “chicks” are in the house! These baby chicks are making noise at all times and at all hours of the day and night – I do not believe they sleep?  There was no place outside for me to put them.  We did not have a garage and there are no basements in Florida – something about sitting on water??? We did have a “Florida Room” – but everybody was in and out of it for all kinds of things we did – just no place to go with the chicks except a bathroom??? This bathroom was a good idea – that is until night time.

Sometime during the night – someone got up to use this bathroom  – whoever it was I’ll never know for sure – but the lights were not turned on by this person – one of the chicks got out of the box  – and that was “curtains out” for this poor  baby chick! Well, the next morning – we had to hold “Funeral Services” for “BABY-Chick No 1” – and now there were only three to go?? And, now the boys knew about the chicks and the  baby chicks went everywhere – the boys went.

You have to be a “young- at -heart parent” when you bring “BABY-Chicks” into the house for the children – that is for an extra special  “Easter” surprise – because – an adult  does need to be around to be sure the “poor  baby-chicks” are not  overly man-handled  – in such a way as to cause their early demise?? I did get the camera out and took a couple of pictures – and I sure am glad that I did –because – a picture is worth a thousand words – and the memories – are beyond  what  the world might  ever have to offer? I believe that when you have small children – you have become a  young and full of energy  person  – just to keep up and be able to do all the new  exciting and exploring –  that  your  young children need  guidance for as they grow – to be able to cope and  carry on with what they are  to do daily – with your  children  – and for the next “future” generations! “Happy Easter” to all you brave  and “young-at-heart parents”  and to all those new  and little “BABY-Chicks!”

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“Cast Iron Lamb Cake” recipe wanted?

This is the week to make a few extra special treats for all of  the FAMILY – to enjoy on Easter!  I do have the “Cast Iron” pans for the “Easter Lamb Cake” – but,  I do not have the “recipe” handy?? The recipe for the “Lamb Cake” that I am looking for – would be the  original recipe that  came with the pans – that – my Aunt Irene Brady Riley used to make her “LAMB CAKE” for us – at least 50 years ago.

The “Easter Lamb” cake pans that I have also belonged to my Aunt Irene Brady Riley – and I never thought  – before now – that it would be a very good idea to keep a copy of the recipe  – with the set of pans – because  – when you have the pans –  in your hands – “where  in the world – is the recipe??” Without the recipe – what can you do??

As a mind-reader – I know  – what you are  thinking and saying – check  it  out  on “GOOGLE” – they have a million recipes! Well, that is what I did.  I went through so many recipes that  – I now cannot make up my mind – as to what –  I want to do?? Some of these recipes just seem to be missing something? It is hard to just try an unproven recipe and then  – just sit back and hope for the best – as the best does not happen on the first try – at least not always. Just as soon as I wrote that line – it came to me – that I did make a new recipe once for the very first time – and it was so good  – that I thought that I would try it a second time. – On the second try – it was terrible – what happened – “I do not know and have never tried that recipe for a third try.”

So, this is what I am going to do. I will start to look through the recipes that are upstairs and in the kitchen area, first – then  – if I still have time before “EASTER” – I will go to the Library down stairs and sit at the library table and start with the first bookcase – that is the one that has nothing but cook books and recipes. Then –  I have boxes with recipes – from the beginning of  all time  – my Mother’s – my Father’s  who was a CHEF, and I could just ask him, (I wish) –  because he knew all about cooking and baking and then I will check out all of  Aunt Irene’s recipes . Of course there are boxes of recipes from everywhere and anywhere  – as recipes are the one thing that I like to save, collect  and check out for ideas – it is so fascinating  – “how you can do so much  – with so little and  with the basic same items – when you can use your own imagination??”

So, it looks like I have a lot of work ahead – that will  keep me so busy – but what I am also thinking,  is that  – I  MIGHT – JUST FIND SOMETHING EVEN BETTER  – THAT I WILL TRY – AND  then – WHENEVER I DO FIND  THE “lamb cake” RECIPE – I JUST MIGHT MAKE IT  –  even – IF IT ENDS UP  –  IN THE MIDDLE OF Summer – so be it. To me, CAKE is CAKE – and when I make a “CAKE” – I am always interested in other ways that – just maybe a little more of this or that and add some of this and change that – “WOW”  – “I’m so lucky to have to eat the mistakes – and at the same time – enjoying every minute of it!” “It is so good to have tasty “mistakes” that taste so good!  – Even though you have half  of a good  idea – maybe others – would not think so – but you never can tell – as I’ll bet  – that others eat their “MISTAKES” – too???”         “HOW about YOU???”*****

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Palm Sunday – Holy Week

When we were in the Orphanage – there were a lot of “NEW” things for us to learn – and when  – you are very young – what you are taught – will stick with you – for all  the rest your LIFE! Something that I was aware of when I had left the Orphanage and started High School – it seem that I knew more of the High School course and High School was easy sailing for me – and I’m guessing that was the same for a lot of  us older  Orphans???

When HOLY WEEK started – that would be today – SUNDAY – each of us children would receive a piece of the PALM – that  would be a reminder to us of what the people had in the LIFE and times of Jesus to WELCOME JESUS  – as the new KING of the Jews! The MASS was longer than usual – as I guess we children in the Orphanage were always anxious to be somewhere other than in Church. You would almost think that we had somewhere  “SPECIAL” to be – like in the Army – “Hurry up and then wait!”

I don’t know if on the boy’s side of the Orphanage – the NUNS taught the boys how to make something out of the piece of Palm – that they had received in Church – but on the girl’s side of the Orphanage  – the NUNS taught us – that is  to those  of us  – who wanted to learn how to do something nice  and decorative  and maybe even different – with the piece of Palm  Fronds – and of course I was there to learn. Of course most people just take their piece of the Palm and just balance it across the top of their Crucifix – or split it to put  over more than one Crucifix – as some homes have several places throughout their homes.

Before being placed  in the Orphanage – my Mother would just place the Palm over the top of the Crucifix  – the one that was hanging on the wall – in  her bedroom. That is a good place for the Palm – but if you knew how to role the Palm in small circles by using a straight pin to split each of the pieces – and curling and putting a pin into  it to hold till it is dry – you will  then – have something  decorative  and nice hanging over the Crucifix. Of course when you are going to work with the Palm – you will need to keep it in a wet towel – to keep it soft and flexible to work with.

Some of the NUNS would also show us how to braid the Palm – and by splitting each piece of the Palm- you would have several parts that you could curl some and  or braid some of the other  parts of the one piece and also  make different lengths. When some of the girls had the Palm finished that they were working with  – it looked just like a  fine piece f “ART”  – worthy for display – forever!

It is wonderful to learn different things – and the best time to really learn is – when you are young – as these lessons will last and live with you forever. Since we all are the creations of our Almighty Yahweh – I feel that HE gave to all of us –  all kinds of creative ideas to make good things to enjoy while we are here. Especially  –  very good things that remind us of HIM   and that HE is the only “GIVER of the  Good Gifts” – and to never forget where we get all of the great ideas and  talents to put to  HIS  good  use – for HIS greater Glory.

This is a good week to reflect on where we have been – what we have done – and what are we planning to do with the “HELP” of the ALMIGHTY – to persevere – till we are called HOME!

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“Lenten Activities in the Orphanage…”

There seems to be a real decline in what children do today for and during “LENT” compared to what we did in the 1940s while living in the Orphanage. While I was a very young child at that time – I can tell you that I was not happy   at all with all the rules and regulations and the very harsh discipline that was carried out  – but to me – this was only going to be for a very short time – as my parents told me – so I did learn very early – that it was best to keep your mouth shut – and just suffer!

When we, my brothers and I enter the Orphanage in October – the first important activity to come up was Advent followed by Christmas. This time of the year was all together different than anything that I knew – from the Catholic school that I attended before – so I soon figured  that – -I was in a totally different world with different NUNS – who were mostly from Germany and they were as strict as you can get???  So, what I can say – “this was one heck of a tough boarding school – and I am there only to learn – and soon I will be out and on my own – and hopefully will be a stronger person to cope with whatever is dished out at any time!”

After the beginning of the  “NEW” year – then there are all kinds of new things for me to learn. One of the first things – for me is to learn my Catechism, in order to make my “First Communion” – and that will take place on “Easter!” Also, while preparing for the “First Communion” – the Lent Season has to be addressed – and so this is something all new for me???

Since I had  left that Orphanage – many, many years ago,  the way we had to observe the Lenten Season – is all together different than anyone does today?? What I am trying to figure out  – does anyone think about the Almighty –  at any time of the year – and or makes any sacrifices to atone for sin – and or to make living better – as there is more than just this few years we live – there is an eternity ahead!

During LENT – in the Orphanage – we children had to be more on the quiet side – less noise. Even the bells that were rung for all of us to know what time it was – for Mass  – for School – for meals and to get up in the morning at five-thirty – so that we would be in Church at 06:00 am – that loud “COW BELL” was changed to a wooden clapper – it made less noise! During LENT we also had 40 hours devotion – each hour some of the children were in Church for an hour. We also had the “WAY of the CROSS” more often as a reminder of what this part of the year was all about – in order to celebrate “EASTER” – we had to understand that Jesus came to die on the CROSS in order to raise on the third day to save all of us from the original sin – that we inherited from Adam and EVE.

Naturally, these 40 hour devotion  hours took place even on Sundays – those  “SUNDAYS” that were also a  Visiting Day – and when your class was suppose to be in Church  – for your one hour – – even if your Parents were there – you had to go –  together with your group and  assemble with your school class and be in your pew place  in Church – no excuses. This was one  thing  – that I really did not like   – being forced  to do – as I missed out on seeing and being with my parents  – and the Visiting time was so short  – and as a little kid – this was really too much for me to have to do without.

I sometimes wonder if children today even give a thought – how would they feel – if they were ever separated from their parents – for any time at all? The question should probably be – “Parents, do you know what you are doing when you split up the FAMILY??”

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“Grandma’s Treasured Heirlooms…”

When you take the time to think about “GRANDMA” – you almost immediately think about all of her “Treasured Heirlooms” – that she has collected over all these  many and long years. So often you will see something new – something that she may have had hidden and wrapped for safety and protection –since it is difficult to display “fragile items” for everyone to view – when little children may be playing in and around and not know to be very careful???

Well, this “Grandma” does have some true “antiques” – something well over 100 years – and since it does not seem that  most people “TODAY” are interested in “OLD” stuff – and also most young people are not collectors of the finer types of collectibles – as their parents were –there is very little value – since there is no interest? And , so – I  -too-  now – have the same thoughts – since the general thought is – “”everything is too electronic – everything is going too fast – and we cannot take  all this collectible junk with us – the world is now in a “ME ONLY AND FIRST” mode – since the “FAMILY” is no longer as it once was???

This “Grandma” does have a different kind of “Treasured Heirloom” collection and one that even when I leave this earth – I’m taking my “Treasured Collection” with me! I am betting – that you are wondering what can you take with you – when you leave this world?? “If you give up thinking – I’ll tell you!”

The answer is; “My FAMILY!” – So now you ask “How can you take your FAMILY?” “Here’s the answer” – ever since I was a little girl – I started saving stuff  – when I was in grade school, there were notebooks with all kinds of important information that I wrote and every so often – when I am looking through those keepsakes – I remember all the good times associated with the real life memories that come back as if they were just yesterday, again. Not only my own important papers and photos and even some items of all my FAMILY members – living and dead – all bring a special remembrance, to me.

As the oldest – I always thought – what if this item is wanted again by the FAMILY member that left it behind – it is now safe – and if they ever want it – I’ll have it for them. Of course I have some special things that did belong to my Mother, Father, Grand Father and Mother and even my Aunt Irene Brady Riley – and if they are looking down on this earth – they all can know that I am taking good care of their special “Treasures” and hope to pass all of these items on to the next generation – weather they like it or not??? So much – for the older folks in the “FAMILY’ – and what I call all of my “Treasured Heirlooms!”

Now, for the  “Treasured People” – in my life today – “my Sons and their Families” – “Where do I begin?” I just really cannot say that I did anything special to deserve such a wonderful and precious gift – “my Husband – my Sons – my Grand-children!”  These are the very best of “treasures”  a person could have or ever receive – and I owe all the “THANKS”  to the one and only   “Almighty  Yahweh”  – the true and only “Giver” of all good  gifts!

“Memories made here – –  will go with me to the next realm of my journey!”

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“More Easter Times”

Talking about “Easter Times” – reminds me that Easter was not only about Easter Baskets and Chocolate Bunnies and colored eggs – but that there is a reason for us to celebrate by going to Church. When I was born, my family lived  across the street from the Perpetual Help Church and when my Mother was expecting my brother Denny – it was time for us – a growing family –  to find a larger place,  so we moved to the new location before Denny Jr. was born.

So, after several moves, we once more moved back to the North Saint Louis area – and we were again in the Perpetual Help Parish and of course at this time – I was old enough to go to school at P.H. – that’s what we called the school. When you go to a Catholic School – there are NUNS and you start to learn all about “Jesus” and also your part in participating as a good Catholic child should.

In those days – 1940s – you did a lot of walking – something that children and their parents do not do too much of today??? Of course – there was WWII going on and we in America were all doing our duty – that  – being to give up on all of the “Luxuries” that we could have had – to the “WAR” effort. We wanted to be “WINNERS!” So, I was walking to and from School each and every day – and the walk was several blocks long.

It was very important – also  for me to be in Church every Sunday – as the Nun that we had – would ask on Monday   – when you were in School – “Did you go to Church and was your family with you?” Also – in those days – there were lots of extra functions that took place on the School Playgrounds – and if you did not get to Church for the Sunday Bulletin – “HOW would you ever know what was going on?”  You did need the weekly bulletin for…  The Bing-go’s – Friday night Fish Fries – Picnics – and all the important Church activities – Weddings – Births – Christenings – and Deaths.

Well, I guess that I must have felt like a big girl – as for this  “EASTER SUNDAY”  – I received a mustard color of yellow tweed suit – something extra special for the whole day to wear – but I had to wear it first to services on “EASTER” – and if you are old enough – you know that whenever you got new shoes, clothes and or anything special – you wore it first to Church. They didn’t tell me why – but now that I am older – I guess it would be nice to let the “True Giver” of all  good gifts to  see you  – and  so you could  give HIM  – a special thanks!

So, it is “Easter Sunday” and my family is as I am – getting ready for Church and  then – off we go- I do not remember how many blocks that we would walk  – but it was a very beautiful day! The Sun was out shining and we were enjoying the walk and as kids, skipping around as my parents  walk and talked and finally there we were in Church – and since it was Easter Sunday – it could have taken a little longer than an hour?

“WOW!” What a difference an hour makes – when we started for home – all of a sudden a heavy “Spring Shower” hit – and we had no umbrellas! We were getting wet – and all of us in our Sunday Best – just getting soaked – faster  and nice and  wet – so my DAD said, “Head for the Drug Store- up on the next corner – we will take cover there!” The “Shower” didn’t last too long – but for my new little suit – it was shrinking? There was a silk or satin liner inside for the suit to hold its shape – but this suit was not suppose to get  all wet – for cleaning  – it should go the “Cleaners” – so that they could clean it – to keep its  nice shape!

That was one “Easter”  that I’ll never forget – as all that I ever had for years later was the little yellow purse – the suit –  I never saw again and never ever wore a second time!

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