Grandma’s 3 Thanksgiving Postcards: Red Leaf, Cheery Harvest, Shakespeare Quote

Before families went over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house, a postcard may have appeared in their mailbox to mark this grand American holiday of gratitude in the early 1900s.

Grandma Fanny Longenecker saved three of hers.

postcard1909thanksturkey

In this card dated 1909 a brilliant oak leaf, an acorn cup and a fan-tailed turkey displayed “Hearty Thanksgiving wishes” though the celebration could not have ended well for this turkey.

(Incidentally, no filters or other photographic enhancements were used on these antique cards. Their brilliance remains after 100+ years.)

 postcard1910cheerythanks

Again, in the card above postmarked 1910, edible and bucolic images warm the scene which included another cozy house by the roadside.

postcard1911thanksshakespeare

Someone had already begun using a nutcracker on the walnuts in this still life from 1911 with an expression of hope for a happy mealtime. The quote from Shakespeare’s Macbeth (Act iii, scene 4) is ironic: Macbeth and his wife, attempting to cover up their dastardly deed of killing King Duncan, host a dinner where the condemning ghost of Banquo is about to appear. Clearly, the postcard designer took this quote out of context.

Though no ghosts may appear during your Thanksgiving celebration, you may be saddened by the specter of empty seats around the table.

Again this year, there are empty chairs at our table too. Here’s one:

Now a fixture on our table: Place card from wedding of Mother's niece, Janet Metzler
Now a fixture on our table: Place card from the wedding of Mother’s niece, Janet Metzler Diem

Postcript

“Grah-ti-tood” is the title of my very first blog post published February 25, 2013. Although it was not Thanksgiving season then, I knew gratitude could be a theme that may thread itself through my postings. Only two former students and a church friend responded to this first attempt at blogging. You can read it here.

Curtis_GratitudeBk

Thank you for joining me in many posts since then. Our conversations here keep me going.

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” – G.K. Chesterton

Thanksgiving blessings with many happy memories!

Are You Sensible? The Power of Touch, the Magic of Music

Did you know that touching zaps your immune system with positive energy? Similarly, your brain goes into party mode when you hear and/or play music – so say the researchers.

In this cropped photo, my sister Jan’s hand touches her Aunt Ruthie’s, who in turn is feeling the fake fur of a toy, who she may imagine to be her dog Fritzie.

touchjanruthiepet

 

Touch is Powerful . . .

Dr. Dolores Krieger, professor of nursing at New York University, conducted numerous studies on the power of human touch. She discovered “that both the ‘toucher’ and the ‘touchee’ experience great physiological benefit from human contact. It works like this:

Red blood cells carry hemoglobin, a substance that transports oxygen to body tissue. And Dr. Krieger found that when one person lays hands on another, the hemoglobin levels in the blood stream of both people increase. And as they rise, body tissue receives increased oxygen, which invigorates you physically and can aid in the healing process. What you’re seeing is the literal power of love in action. Loving is good for you” There’s nothing as rewarding, satisfying, or encouraging as loving others through your words and actions.

Quoted in James Merritt, How to Impact and Influence Others

 

Touch is Powerful and so is Music!

 In a TED/Ed lesson, Anita Collins reports that listening to music engages multiple areas of one’s brain, but playing an instrument is “more like a full-body brain workout.”

She says if listening to music produces a party in the brain, picking up an instrument and playing it amounts to fireworks, a real jubilee!

What is it about producing music that totally lights up the brain? Collins mentions the physical activity of using fine motor skills (plucking a harp, blowing a trumpet) combined with the linguistic and mathematical skills in other brain areas, strengthens the connection between right and left hemispheres.

She even makes a connection between musicians and good search engines, an analogy she further explains in this 4+ minute YouTube presentation:

 

Music is Touching

Babies, newly minted from nature, love lullabies and nursery tunes. Likewise, music soothes the elderly and those of any age at the point of death. Haven’t you heard that hearing is the last sense to go?

My sister Jean, brother Mark, Mother’s pastor and wife sang my mother into glory with old gospel songs. I’m sorry I couldn’t make it in time to surround my mother’s bed with harmony.

Groups like Songs for the Journey, non-denominational and volunteer, provide a benevolent service to loved ones and patients alike as they make the transition from this life to whatever lies beyond. Quoting from their website, “Our live music ministries provide comfort and guidance to those who are near death, as well as to those who love them.”

 


 

Light up my brain with your comments please!

Thank you for checking in with thoughts on the power of touch or the value of music. What about your pets? How has touching furry friends benefitted you?

 

Something Silly

musicianwashedup1965

 

 

Fannie Martin Longenecker: A Grandma Who Knew How to Make Love Edible

September is the month of late harvest. Those who preserve garden fruits and vegetables have proudly counted Ball jars and bags of frozen goodies before storing them to enjoy this winter.

My Canadian blogger friend, Linda Hoye, finds joy in the process and has made an art form of photographing her rich store of nutrition. On her website August 22 she tallied all the edibles she’s canned. Click on the link to see what’s inside those 288 jars along with a list of freezer delights and a dehydrator that hummed with banana chips, cherries, and raspberries.

Linda is carrying on a tradition very much like my mother, grandmother, and generations before her. Here my jubilant Grandma Longenecker exclaims, “All the lids on our Ball jars have sealed with a ‘Pop'” as my mother looks on.

grandmakitchenmomcanning-copy-2

The September 2016 issue of The Mennonite magazine has featured an article with several of my Grandma Longenecker’s recipes, including the savory chicken pot pie recipe I helped her make as a girl. Here is the link to this story. (On the link, click on the left arrow where the story begins.)


Do share your memories of the canning process – pride, joy, the arduous work – even mishaps are welcome here around the kitchen table.

Mother saying goodbye to her canning jars before sending some of them to the Re-Use-it Shop
Mother saying goodbye to her canning jars before sending some of them to the Mt. Joy Gift & Thrift (PA)

Do you still preserve garden food for the winter? We’re all ears!

“I think of my canning as fast food, paid for in time up front.”

~ Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

 

Produce from author Elaine Mansfield's crop (Facebook, 9.11.16)
Produce from author Elaine Mansfield’s tomato crop (Facebook, September 11, 2016)

 

Coming next: An Artist Writes Memoir: Joan Z. Rough’s Scattering Ashes

Baby Beads and Wooden Blocks: Happy Mother’s Day

I played with pastel-colored beads and wooden blocks with ridges, babyhood toys. Mother kept these oblong & round beads and animal-themed alphabet blocks for her grandchildren and great-grands. These sturdy toys entertained children of mothers they nurtured in their ministry for New Life for Girls too.

All of Mother's children and many of her grandchildren sat on this highchair and played with these wooden beads and blocks. We never played with plastic toys.
All of Mother’s children and many of her grandchildren sat on this high chair and played with these wooden beads and blocks. We never played with plastic toys.
These blocks are entertaining my sister Jean's grandchildren
These blocks have entertained my sister Jean’s grandchildren

To me, such simple toys bespeak innocence and the charm of a simpler life..

On this Mother’s Day 2016, these artifacts seem an apt metaphor for my mother’s contribution to our heritage.

Beads of Wisdom: Mom’s Mottos

  1. “Outen the light,” meaning turn off the light switch to conserve energy.
  2. “Ach, don’t talk so dumb,” spoken as a way to discourage silly talk.
  3. “You get what you pay for.”
  4. “Be sure your sin will find you out.”
  5. (Someone) “turned up Jack,” meaning disappointed or didn’t pan out
  6. “Be sure to add enough butter: Butter makes it better!”
  7. “Tie your head shut,” admonishing us to wear a bandanna during cold or windy weather, illustrated here with a flash of memory:

I paid attention, of course, and rushed out wearing my blue wool coat and pink and white polka-dotted bandanna on my head, eager to help Grandma set the table. In cool weather, I always had my “head tied shut,” an expression Mother used to keep us from getting a cold, she thought. But looking back, I think having my head tied shut is a metaphor for keeping out the world and all the corruption that can come in through an unlocked door, even a passageway like my ears.

 

Blocks of Faith

  1. Tied a nickel into the corner of a square, white hanky to teach me to give to God.
  2. Read to me from a Bible Story Book, one story for every day of the year.

BibleStoryInside copy  BedtimeBibleStories copy

The date on the flyleaf, MCMXLII, can be translated as 1942. In the years following, my sisters Janice and Jean and my brother Mark must have heard these stories too.

3. Prayed with us at bedtime: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep . . . .”

4. Led us in prayers of gratitude before all our meals. Usually, the prayers were silent.

5. Uplifted arms, palms turned upward, her gesture of acceptance, “Whatever the Good Lord wants.”

 

My mother wasn’t perfect. Whose is? She had moments of impatience, she sometimes complained, yet she did the best she could. I choose to celebrate those attributes of a woman who all her life sought to please God.

An invitation to you: Add words of wisdom or silliness from any source, including your mother.

 

Coming next: Vintage Photo in Need of a Caption, Part II

What Lights Your Fire?

My mother wore many hats both literally and figuratively. Most of her head coverings were prayer veilings worn every day. As a young woman, her coverings were large, decreasing in size as she got older and church rules had progressively relaxed.

Mom+Marian_2 mos_5x9_300

 

Mother wore a sunbonnet in the tomato patch in Bainbridge, PA. As far as I could tell, Mennonite women in the 1940s and 1950s, paid no attention to Coppertone ads. (Remember billboards with that sneaky cocker spaniel pulling on a little girl’s swimsuit bottom, exposing her pale cheeks?) No one that I knew then wore sun tan lotion regularly, except maybe to the shore at Atlantic City or Ocean City. Country women, including my mother, wore bonnets in the garden and fields to protect their skin.

MomBonnetTOMATOES

The details are fuzzy here because this photo is another movie “still” captured from Aunt Ruthie’s 16 mm camera (circa 1955).

I look at this image of Mother’s sunbonnet worn in the tomato patch with two lenses, viewing the blurry film now and remembering the scene vividly then as an eyewitness:

I’m looking at a film clip of Mother in rows of the tomato patch just now, humped-over body bending toward a flush tomato bush facing the camera, her blue and white speckled sunbonnet sewn with three tiers of matching ruffles, a row along the bill, a row at the crease, another row near the crown of the hat—come to think of it now, headgear much fancier than her everyday prayer cap.

 

Figuratively too, she wore many hats:

Sister

Wife

Mother

Friend

Gardener

Tomato Picker

Cook/preserver

PTA/Treasurer

Dresser of chickens

Sewing circle seamstress

Volunteer – MCC Gift and Thrift

Volunteer – Choice Books in Salunga, PA

Mother particularly enjoyed her last volunteer job, stamping the Choice Books logo onto inspirational books for display on kiosks in stores around the country. During her “morning away,” she got to see her niece Dotty Metzler Martin often, met her friend Bertha, and ate lunch with other friends. She always sounded thrilled to describe this excursion when we talked on the phone Saturday mornings.

MomChoiceBooks

Even in her early nineties, she got excited about this bright spot in her life. I thought about her experience and examined my own passions when I read this verse from Psalm 39:3

My heart grew hot within me . . . and as I meditated, the fire burned. (NIV)

If someone asked Mother, “What lights your fire?” She would probably answer, “Serving others,” a motto she lived by.

The 16 x 22 inch poster created for her 90th birthday party and later, displayed on an easel at her memorial service, shows flash points of service, including her stint at Choice Books.

PosterMom2008

 

How would you answer these burning questions?

  • What lights your fire?
  • What burns “hot” within you?

“When God gives you an 11-by-17 mindset, you’ll never be happy living in a 3-by-5 mental framework.” Daily Devotional: The Word for You Today, April 10, 2016

 

Hearing from you lights my fire. Thank you for commenting here!

 

Coming next: All Creatures Great & Small: The Power of Pets

 

Any Hats in Your History?

Little Mennonite girls could be fancy before they became plain. They could wear hats. Their mothers may have worn flat, black bonnets on top of their prayer veilings (coverings) at Easter, but they couldn’t wear hats with ribbons and flowers. At least not in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in the 1950s.

My sisters and I are standing here in front of peony bushes wearing some cast-off hats Grandma Longenecker’s friend, Mame Goss, brought from a millinery shop in Middletown, Pennsylvania.

Marian, Jean, and Janice in front of the peony bushes
Marian, Jean, and Janice in front of the peony bushes

I recall this scene through the lens of memory:

I’m looking now at a snapshot my mother took of my sisters and me in these hats, the three of us holding hands in front of a peony bed. The magenta peonies are in bloom, so it must have been May. The double whites mingled among them have ruby flecks in their ruffled centers. My sister Janice, three years younger, is standing at one end, with blonde hair fluffed into curls, hands obediently at her side. Jeanie, a tiny tot of two or three, appears to be looking down at the grass, her burst of tulle brushing light brown hair. I’m staring straight at the camera, two thick braids trailing down my back. Our dresses are all bedecked with ruffles and bows, embroidery or smocking, dresses surely made by our plain Mennonite mother.

I wore my first adult hat ever, a pale blue clôche with a blue chiffon dress one spring when Cliff and I were dating.

At Crista’s 5th birthday party I was wearing a knitted skull-tight cap, typical of the 1970s.

Hat1977redStocking

In the 1990s I bought a white hat trimmed in black ribbon and feathers, probably for Easter. I don’t wear hats anymore. I have already taken this one to Angel Aid, a charity for mothers and children.

Hat1999KillarneySteps

My sister Jan and I wore British-style hats to Downton Abbey events sponsored by our PBS station in Jacksonville, Florida. Each of our hats adorned with feathers, a flower and seed pearls cost $ 5.00 at Roots’ Country Market near Manheim, PA. We didn’t tell anyone at the gala how much our gorgeous hats cost.

JanMarianDownton

Sisters with friend Carolyn Stoner
Sisters with friend Carolyn Stoner with her fascinator hat in black and green

Hats have mostly gone out of fashion in recent decades, except among the trendy young. NAACP leader Roslyn Brock makes a style statement with her wardrobe of about 200 fashionable hats, expressing her love for her Grandmother Leona Pittman who “believed a woman was not properly dressed for church without one.” Brock emphasizes that

I’m following in the legacy of female civil rights leaders who completed their Sunday go-to-meeting clothes with fashionable hats.

 

Hats are the centerpiece of Roslyn’s wardrobe. She admits that she’ll buy the hat first and then find a matching suit or shoes. For Roslyn, who enjoys couture creations from Philip Treacy, Queen Elizabeth’s designer, wearing hats “keeps our history and culture alive.”

How a hat makes you feel is what a hat is all about.  ~ Philip Treacy

HatAARPrarticle

 

In June it will be two years since my mother died unexpectedly. I still miss her terribly. Grief occasionally comes over me in waves. Now less often, with less severe impact. Still . . .

On my dresser I have kept three mementoes of Mother, one on top of the other: the two-quart Ball jar with bubbles in the glass, emblematic of her love of cooking and canning. And her last Mennonite black bonnet and white prayer covering veiling made of bobbinet fabric, a see-through, hexagonal mesh. Symbols of her constant faith and hope in God, each piece of headgear is less than half the size of those she wore in her youth.

CoverBonnetMOM

Any hats in your history?

What did it look like? Where did you wear it? Do you still wear a hat? Comments are warmly welcomed. Don’t be shy.

Coming next: What Lights Your Fire?

Souper Meals with Sabah and Mom

“I have always relied on the kindness of strangers,” admits Blanche DuBois, an aging belle in Tennessee Williams’ classic play A Streetcar Named Desire. Blanche has had the props knocked from under her and has nowhere to turn except to her sister Stella, also living in reduced circumstances.

Sabah’s Story

In a far, far different context and definitely not because they have the slightest desire to do so, refugees from all over the world have been forced to rely on the kindness of strangers as they flee terrifying conditions in their homelands.

Such has been the case of Sabah Jabri, who with her husband and children left bomb-scarred Baghdad, Iraq in 2007 with just identification documents and the clothes on their backs and fled to Syria, ironically back then a peaceful respite from warfare.

Photo courtesy of Lancaster Online
Photo of Sabah and her soup courtesy of Lancaster Online

Sabah, an accountant, and her husband Alaa, a civil engineer, fled Baghdad when fighting between Sunni and Shiite militias made daily life unbearable. They ended up in Syria for a year, cared for by a family whose home – and whose soup – they shared, a dish they called “yakhni.”

Syrian2ChickenSoup

After a year in Syria, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees assigned the family to emigrate again to Ephrata in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch County.

Currently, Sabah is manager of the Café at Ten Thousand Villages in Ephrata, where you can be sure this soup is on the menu. The article in Lancaster Online did not include the recipe (Of course not!) but the ingredients were listed: chunks of chicken breast, potatoes, carrots, onions and chickpeas in a hearty broth. Incidentally, Ten Thousand Villages in Ephrata offers fair trade items worldwide for sale.

More than sixty years ago, a visionary named Edna Ruth Byler worked through the Mennonite Central Committee to begin an enterprise which has mushroomed into Ten Thousand Villages.

. . . [She] believed that she could provide sustainable economic opportunities for artisans in developing countries by creating a viable marketplace for their products in North America. She began a grassroots campaign among her family and friends in the United States by selling handcrafted products out of the trunk of her car. Byler made a concerted effort to educate her community about the lives of artisans around the world.

Ten thousand Villages is the result, an undertaking that has grown well beyond the tiny house of its inception and offers for sale baskets, jewelry scarves, bags, kitchen & dining articles, toys and other items from artisans, particularly women, around the world.

Mom’s Soup

Mother also knew the nutritional heartiness of soup and often had vegetable soup waiting for us when we drove or flew up from Florida at Christmastime. Within five minutes of our arrival, one of us would fly into the kitchen and open the Frigidaire to see whether there was a ceramic pull-out drawer full of soup in the bottom left.

MomVegSoupRecipe2_layers_4x3_300


Chicken corn soup was also her specialty, with hard-boiled eggs and rivels, doughy droplets made from flour  . . .

Mom's Chicken Corn Soup without Rivels
Mom’s Chicken Corn Soup without Rivels

 

Author, editor, and cookbook writer Melodie Davis has recently featured savory Spanish lentil soup on her website where the recipe for the dish below appears.

SpanishLentilSoupMelodie

 

Quotes about Soup

Soup is a lot like a family. Each ingredient enhances the others; each batch has its own characteristics; and it needs time to simmer to reach full flavor.         ~ Marge Kennedy

 

Only the pure of heart can make good soup.                ~ Beethoven

 

And finally, Bennet Cerf defines good manners as “The noise you don’t make when you’re eating soup.”

 

 

How has soup enhanced your life? Do you think Beethoven is right in the quote attributed to him? Do you have a choice recipe to share?

 

Coming next: A Snow Bunny and a German Lullaby

 

Moments of Discovery # 8: What’s Inside Mom’s Buffet?

Mother’s house on Anchor Road has been sold. We sold it last fall, just a year ago. After more than seventy years, the Longeneckers do not own this house.

Blizzard of 1966 in front of the house on Anchor Road, Pennsylvania
Blizzard of 1966 in front of the house on Anchor Road, Pennsylvania

But that doesn’t mean there are no memories or longings for home. The Welsh have a word for such a feeling, hiraeth

(n.) a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past

* * *

So, memories and photographs remain.

Mother’s dining room buffet sat at the center of our house, yes at the heart of the first floor. On top of this piece of furniture you could even hear the heart beating where the clock ticked and chimed every fifteen minutes.

Mother’s hands must have removed the white crocheted doilies and dusted the buffet top with lemon Pledge and an oily rag many times. I don’t remember her doing it, but I do remember that I did every Friday.

BuffetMomInside the buffet were treasures: the good china and table linens, her silverware arranged in a blond, wooden box in the middle to bottom drawers. With the crystal in her china closet, Mother had all the accoutrements to entertain friends or relatives with an elegant Sunday dinner every month or two.

WeddingSilver

At the top right of the buffet was a drawer that we opened/shut several times every single day. The partitioned drawer made of mahogany wood and lined on the bottom with maroon velveteen was always arranged the same.

* The keys to the buffet & china closet sat inside a shot glass, scored at the lip, an odd object in a plain, Mennonite household.

* Scotch tape, matches and stamps

* Scissors

Mom had no scissors in a knife block. In fact, she had no knife block. The scissors in the dining room buffet was her all-purpose go-to, cutting fabric, gift wrap,or curling crinkly ribbon.

The scissors was rather fancy with engraved ornamentation with a provenance from England hinted at by the letters E-N-G and a faint letter L remaining. It is probably made of steel, but since it is so tarnished, perhaps silver.

Photo by Jean Longenecker Fairfield, curator of Mother's scissors
Photo by Jean Longenecker Fairfield, now curator of Mother’s scissors

Mother drew the scissors’ blade along the length of crinkly ribbon, gathering several strands to make bows of blue, yellow, pink, or lavender for birthdays or a baby gift.

RibbonCURLED

During this season of the year, the fluffy bows made of bunched up strands would all be brilliant red or forest green.

On the top left drawer of the buffet, Mom kept stationery, little notes to say thank you, send well wishes or remind the receiver of her strong faith.

MomChristmasCardinside

From her store of plenty, I pass on this Christmas wish to you, pictured here front and back

Peace on earth and good will toward men, women, and children everywhere.


Is there a special object or piece of furniture in your family you want to hold onto? One you plan to pass on to the next generation?

Coming next: A Souper Winter Meal

 

Help! Vintage Photo Needs Caption

Every week, The New Yorker magazine features a Cartoon Caption Contest, inviting readers to submit a caption for consideration. After three finalists are chosen, readers vote for the winning caption.

Recently, in my cache of Kodak carousels I found a slide from the 1960s in dire need of a caption. Clearly, the season is autumn, and the family including Grandma Longenecker, my mother, brother Mark, and my dad are on a Sunday afternoon outing, judging by their dress. No one’s expression conveys a feeling of alarm over the possibility of Grandma’s imminent slide down the steep hill.

“What was going on here?” I ask. Everyone in the photograph registers a different band-width on the emotional scale, but most seem clueless about Grandma’s precarious position.

Help me solve the puzzle with a winning caption here.

LongeneckersMarkGmaDitch

Think free for all, not free fall!

* * *

If you would rather not submit a caption, you might speculate about what is going on here, who the photographer may have been, or offer a story about a memorable family outing you recall.

Pictures don’t lie, or do they?


Coming next: Signs & a Wonder in St. Mary’s, Georgia

Moments of Discovery # 7: The Story Behind the Hidden $ Bill

Dollar Discovery! On September 10, 2015 I opened an envelope dated April 30,1962 that Mother sent me in college. I had read her letter then, but did not open the Bossler Mennonite Church bulletin where she had tucked a dollar bill (series date 1957) until now. I wonder now whether she was testing to see if I had taken the time to open the bulletin she enclosed.

When I opened the bulletin commemorating Church College Day, a few weeks ago, out tumbled a “Silver Certificate” dollar bill backed by REAL money, not the “Federal Reserve” bills we carry around in our wallets nowadays.

Dollar

What was going on in the world in April 1962?

  • US district Judge J. Skelly Wright ordered the desegregation of elementary schools in New Orleans, LA.
  • John Kenneth Galbraith, then U.S. Ambassador to India, wrote a letter to President Kennedy proposing a negotiated peace between North Vietnam and South Vietnam.
  • At the Ealing Jazz Club in London, Brian Jones was introduced to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The three would become the heart of The Rolling Stones.
  • Walter Cronkite replaced Douglas Edwards as the anchorman for the CBS Evening News.
  • The Century 21 Exposition World’s Fair opened in Seattle, Washington on April 21, 1962

What was happening in the Longenecker house then?

MotherLetterMe1962

Here are unadulterated excerpts from Mother’s letter:

“Hello to all the gals at Peachey House. . . . “Did you get your book – – – I mean your ‘Books,’ The Post Master want to know when you got the book we send. Don’t for-get to tell us he want to see know how long it took to get to E. M. C.”

“. . . I called LaVon’s mother on Fri. the way it sounds Maybe you are taking her place. she is going to work for Dr. Walmer 5 weeks then she is going to be counsler at a few camps. She is sure you will like it. She said you even get off the fourth of July with Pay. she knows they pay over a $ a hour but she didn’t know right yet how much.” (Lavon Nolt (Kolb) is a school friend: We attended first grade → college together. Here Mother is discussing summer work for me.)

“. . . I started to tell you Janice [sister] and I were at the Mother & daughter banquet on Fri. eve. they really had a nice program. & plenty of food such as fruit cup, a very large slice of Ham loaf, baked potato, corn & peas, cold slaw, pickles & olives, celery & carotts, ice cream & cake Mints & nuts. Well, we were just stuffed.”

“. . . When you get your check get it cashed then you will have when you need.”

There are two references to money in this letter, three if you count the dollar bill I didn’t discover until now. I don’t remember what the check was intended for or the amount, but it was probably not enough for books or tuition. And seldom did Mother write a letter that didn’t mention a menu or food preparation.

I know now that she equated food with love. And she knew that money, even a little bit, would sweeten my passage through my college days too.

God bless the memory of my mother, who knew the value of a dollar . . .

2002RuthPotatoes_small. . . and the appeal of a home-cooked meal!

Did this post prod memories of happy surprises about money or food? Join the conversation here.