Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye '08

Top Drawing "Sky Juice"
9" x 12"
Ink & Pencil
Bottom Drawing "Ice Cream"
9" x 12"
Ink & Pencil
I've done several of the EDM (Everyday Matters) challenges, but I haven't posted anything on there, yet, or on my own blog, either, for that matter. (I got busy with Christmas things, then got sick with a sinus seige. All better now, but I couldn't do a thing for sneezing, runny eyes, and all that good stuff. Christmas cards are still in the box. I guess those will be ready for next year! Benadryl and sleep took care of that problem for a while!)
The above are two of the 204 challenges that they have had, so far. Each week, there is a new topic. It's very interesting to see how each person creates their subject. It seems that journaling along with art is a popular thing, so I threw in writing about some of the things I have done.
With the end of the year, a lot of people are also writing about their goals and resolutions for next year, and reflecting on their accomplishments and experiences during the past year. I think I have given up on those goals and resolutions. I just have to wait and see what happens and hope for the best. If I've made it through the day without a major tragedy, that's great! I don't want to put myself in the position of getting stressed out, worrying, being upset, etc. because I am not able to do something that I tried or would like to do. Murphy's Law always seems to be in effect. If I plan to have toast in the morning, it is sure to burn, or I won't hear the alarm clock and may sleep until lunch time! If it can go wrong, it probably will. But then, it seems that my plans have to go astray so that I will actually get to the point of where I am supposed to be. I can do without anymore kicks in the seat of the pants to make me move on, I think. I just hope to get through things, with a little fun and pleasantness, and no more bad occurances, do what I can, and enjoy all that is possible-stay a little occupied and busy, and relax.
I hope that, if you set goals and resolutions, they are things that you will be able to be successful doing, and that will help you be happy, prosperous, healthy, wealthy, and wise.
I know. I know. We are supposed to set goals. But, after so many years, and they never work, enough is enough.
I really dread saying goodbye to the old year. I thought it was always sad, but hoped that there would be a lot of good surprises in store. I'm really reluctant, this year. Not only does it mean an older age, and the prospect of going downhill even more, but, for our country and the world, it looks like we are going to see even worse times. I think I would like to do like one of Ashton's games, and, if things don't work out, you can go back in time. I don't know how our country, and other areas in the world, could be losing so much of what has been so good for so long.
Well, we're supposed to be partying and playing tonight. I'm not even watching the big parties on tv. That's not so much fun, if you aren't a part of the party. Would be nice to be out, all dressed up, dancing with someone really special, champagne, and all of that. We are having barbeque for supper (Sounds like Texas, doesn't it!-no fancy party dishes here.) , then watch some movies.
I need to draw something. My sketchbook is almost full-just a few more pages. Think maybe I can fill them up tonight? I'd like to start a new sketchbook tomorrow for the new year, but, I didn't think of buying a new sketchbook. I doubt that any art supply places will be open tomorrow. I do know that, next time, I am going to get a sketchbook that fits my scanner. I always seem to cut something off if I draw too close to the edge of the page.
Click on the drawings above to see them larger, and you will be able to read them better.
The top drawing was supposed to be a glass of juice. I immediatley thought of Daddy always saying he wanted a glass of "sky juice"! So that was the inspiration for this drawing. Of course, Aggies will know, especially those who were in the Corps, that Sky Juice is water. I can't remember all of them, now, but I think that many of those sayings are in some of the "Good Bull" books, and in that wonderful movie about the Aggies, "We've Never Been Licked". The glass is some of the crystal I got as wedding gifts so long ago. I still like to use my pretty china, crystal, and silver, when I get a chance. I still had this crystal out from Christmas dinner, so I just fixed myself a glass of water with ice tinkling in it, and used it for a model. Actually, the only way that water tastes okay to me is in a fancy glass, with clear ice in it. I got spoiled with the sweet artesian water that Calvert had, before they put chemicals in it. Sprite or 7-Up are my drinks of choice now, since Coca Cola did away with the good old Cokes.
I guess that I could have put some 7-Up in my glass and had a picture of champagne for New Year's Eve. Maybe you can imagine some bubbles in my drawing!
The bottom drawing was supposed to be of ice cream. I like to have a little ice cream, especially after I eat at night. The glass cup is actually one that has a snowman and other winter things on it, a cup that came from McDonalds, I think, when my grandson was small. I couldn't see the shapes, just shadows and highlights, with the vanilla ice cream in the clear glass. They might show up better if the contents had color. I thought I would add a little blue and yellow as I was sketching in pencil. But, I decided to use ink on it with a Pitt pen, as I did on the top drawing, and I liked the effect .
I seem to spend too long on some of these sketches that should be done rather quickly. There are more. I am going to post those on Flickr.
By the way, all the pictures in my blog are also on Picassa, I've learned. I tried doing a slideshow through them and it didn't work that way, either. I'm still getting a message that the code is wrong. It starts out okay, but changes when I try to publish my blog.
Those of you who would like to see the slideshow that I have promised since October, can go to and see some of the pictures. I hope that works for you.
Get ready for the next Plein Aire Painting Workshop in Calvert with Virginia Vaughan Saturday Feb. 21 and into Feb. 22. Let me know if you plan to come, and bring a friend. Contact me if you need a supply list or more information. Also look on my sidebar for a link to Virginia's website and blog.
Of course, the 21st World Wide Sketch Crawl is right around the corner, Saturday Jan. 10. We'll be sketching in Bryan and Calvert, and all over the world. Come join us to draw, sketch, paint, doodle, journal, or whatever. You can even find a group where you are, or start your own.
January 17th, there is a Free, Design Camp for Creative People at the Astin Mansion in Bryan from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. This is for anyone who is into creativity-art, writing, design, etc. They do want you to RSVP. For more, see their website .
Hope that you are having a great New Year's Eve and that New Year's Day will be a good one, filled with tradition and good memory making moments. And that 2009 will be wonderful for everyone!
Barbeque is ready, here. Can you believe that it is warm enough on the deck to go out and cook some barbeque? Even with a fresh norther that came in last night. The dog doesn't like the cool wind though. He runs to the door on the north side of the house, and runs back inside. Lately, he doesn't seem to want to go out if the wind is blowing. I think that maybe he needs a little coat since he has short hair and is sort of small. I know that some of you in the colder areas are wishing for some warm, barbeque and outdoor cooking weather. And, down here, we all wish we could see enough snow to play in.
Thank you so much for reading my blog and for all the comments and encouragement during the past year. I've become a terrible letter-writer, though. No more 20 + page letters to friends. Most of my writing is going into my blog and drawings, these days. As I said, I didn't even get my Christmas cards out this year, but I did get Thelma's cards in the mail.
So, friends, I hope you had a Merry Christmas, and will have a Happy New Year!
Did you ever look for a baby New Year to come flying down from the sky on New Year's Eve when you were young? Or did you look for an old man with a long white beard, dressed in a robe, with a banner with the year on it, propping himself up with a long stick, and headed up into the sky to greet the baby year? I remember doing that, sitting in my bed and looking out my bedroom window toward the park and Edie's house. I would think that maybe I missed them when I dozed off, or, possibly, they passed over downtown or over the part of the house where I couldn't see. I always thought that I should be different, feel different the next day, and the same thing was true for birthdays. I tried, but it didn't seem to happen. There were football games, parades, dinner in front of the tv, and people trying to make me eat some of those disgusting black eyed peas, on New Years Day, but I didn't feel any different, or any more grown up.
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve in Calvert

Christmas in Calvert
Top: Gift Wrapping in Conitz Dry Goods Store
Middle: Conitz Dry Goods Store After It Was Rebuilt The Last Time
Bottom: Keeling Grocery At Christmas After Remodeling

I was going to design a nice Christmas card to go on my blog today. But, when I started drawing in my sketchbook, the top drawing is what resulted! (Look on Virginia Vaughan's blog today, for a nice Christmas design. Her design was used on t-shirts for her school's choral group .)

Instead of a card, I remembered Christmas at the store. In both stores, the two that I remember, one before the last fire, and the rebuilt store, we were busy at Christmas and the arrangement was basically the same. The whole family and several clerks worked. The store stayed open until all the possible customers had left Main street. So Santa Claus came to see us after the store closed and the various families could make it to our house for cookies, sandwiches, chips, and soft drinks, and egg nog. They came bearing many packages. From the store, we always got gifts wrapped in the store boxes that had once held ladies hankies, panties, slips, or, sometimes a larger box that held several pairs of snuggies, if you were getting something like a blanket. Everyone received a small thread box with money-$1 to $5.
We grew up around the store. In my drawing, I have shown two little girls behind the counter, standing by Toot. Grandma is bent over, putting ribbon on a package while another person brings items to wrap to the counter. A customer's child watches from the other side of the counter. Grandpa is sorting through a stack of blue jeans, looking for the right size, while two customers wait. Under the counter, you can see layaway packages and a box full of ribbons used to decorate the packages. We saved all the bows from our Christmas and birthday gifts and added those to the box of bows at the store. There was a roll of string, a roll of brown butcher paper, a roll of white butcher paper, assorted paper sacks, scissors, a yard stick, tape measure, scotch tape, etc. under the counter opposite the cash register, for everyday wrapping of packages.
The daybook and journal are on the counter in the foreground along with some items that were typical purchases. Handerchiefs, Atom Bomb perfume, Royal Crown hair dressing, and towels.
On top of the cash register is the little Cupie type doll that advertised Lee overalls, with a little engineers cap. (The cash register is still being used in Mud Creek Pottery!) There was another little Cupie doll that had on western jeans.
We had some standard wrappings with some strips of ribbon, taped on the back. Sometimes a flat bow was added. Irvin had a little twist of ribbon that he usually did, that reminded me of a man's tie. And then there were the pre-made bows. And another bow that was made something like a figure 8. Grandma showed me how to curl certain types of ribbon by sliding the scissors along the underside. We had to do them kind of fast, if there were a lot of customers coming in to pick up packages or shopping at the last minute when they felt they could let go of their money.
I preferred gift wrapping and decorating to waiting on customers or using the cash register. I was always afraid I would make a mistake with money, so I sweated bullets every time I had to use the cash register. And I was shy, so it was hard to wait on people. Even after all those years and growing up helping around the store. But, if I had a pleasant customer that I knew, and they were patient, and I was successful in helping them find what they wanted, and visited with them, then that was okay. Barbara remembers starting out as a tiny little girl, watching for shoplifters. We all were watching for that, along with our other duties.
As business in town declined, hours at the store were shorter. But, they still tried to stay open later to accomodate potential shoppers. And they hired less help. Some of us could stay at home and get ready for Santa Claus to come on Christmas Eve.

I still remember one cold Christmas, probably the early 60s, before Grandma died. She was deaf, and had hardening of the arteries. She loved her sweet treats, which her daughter thought was bad for her, so she didn't get any. That Christmas Eve, Grandma seated herself at our house near the kitchen door and the gas heater. We opened presents, and Toot, being a bit mischievious, brought over some Mogen David wine. She and Honey had been socializing with a couple of their relatives who introduced them to Mogan David wine for special occasions. Pappy had a fit that wine was in the house! So, Toot asked different people if they wanted some. Thelma said that Grandma couldn't have any. But Irvin and I said "Yes", and had some in one of Toot's mother's wine glasses. We went by Grandma to drink our little glass of wine, to avoid a lecture. (Everyone else had the choice of some plain grape juice with their cookies.)
We took some to Grandma. She said she really liked that grape juice and wanted more. She drank 6 glasses of it! Grandma became very lucid and awake. She had been wanting to go home to make sure her babies were tucked in bed (they were all there, of course, and grown!), but, after the wine, she was up talking and visiting and enjoying herself! (Part of her problem, it turned out, was that she was not getting enough sugar or salt!)
Thelma never did know that we sneaked that wine to Grandma! She was busy talking around the corner and didn't see us. I'm glad that Grandma got to have that small pleasure. I finally told Thelma about it last week, and she laughed.
The middle photo shows the store shortly after it opened after the last fire. This was in the late 1950s. You can see the arrangement of the store, with the cash register in the center. Shown are Irvin, Ellen Carolyn, and Emil Conitz Jr. E.C. was helping out that day. Irvin and Emil were the owners. T. J. Smith is also there. He was originally partners with Emil, then, about Depression times, he opened a grocery store in the back. After the last fire, the dry goods store was rebuilt, but Smith decided not to rebuild the grocery store. He still kept his safe in the store, and stayed around there a lot of the time. He had an outdoor rocking chair in the office area where he rested and did some business. He and Emil married sisters so they were brothers-in-law, but, also, they were life long friends.
In the bottom photo, you can see Keeling Grocery, shortly after being remodeled, and decorated for Christmas. There is an unidentified man on the left. I don't have a name for him, but he replaced Benny Gouger as a clerk when Benny went off to the Army. Also in the back are Mrs. Cloud, Mr. Gouger, and Mr. Cloud, the superintendent of Calvert ISD. Mrs. Keeling ("Toot") is in the foreground, center, and to her right is Mrs. Gouger. On the right is Mrs. Terry. The Clouds and Mrs. Terry were shopping in the store when the photographer came. Mr. Keeling, ("Honey") is leaning on the produce bin in the background.
The photo at the end of this post shows the interior of Keeling Grocery, decorated for Christmas, but looking from the back to the front of the store. You can see some of the items on the shelves, that they sold back then.
I'm sure that some of you share similar memories.
The years have become so different. This year, we decided not to do gifts, except for the grandsons. We plan to get together tonight, those of us who are left, and have presents for the boys, and have sandwiches and cookies. Tomorrow we will go over to the nursing home for cookies with Thelma, and then, possibly, Barbara and I will take our drawing materials and draw for the residents who are there. They seemed to enjoy watching us when we were sketching.
The boys are going to see that new dog movie, with the oldest grandson going back to work for a few hours. He had stitches out this morning after his ankle surgery.
So much for big family Christmas dinners and doing things that make nice memories. I guess that we didn't really think that we were doing that much when we were growing up, either. At the time, I thought that it was pretty boring and wished my friends were around to liven things up. And, I thought that our Christmas was pretty lacking of the merriment and decorations that we saw in some homes and in the movies. We seemed to spend most of our time at the store, with maybe a couple of programs and a cantata at church, a program at school or band concert to participate in, maybe something at the City Hall. But, looking back, I guess it was more like a picture than we thought it was at the time.
I had a time getting Christmas cards done this year. I couldn't drive to get to the store to buy them. Finally got my daughter to take me to pick out cards. I did work on mailing lists and labels, while I was waiting. I am doing Thelma's for her, too, so that makes a lot of cards. And, since I don't know a lot of the people she has corresponded with, I'm not sure what to say, or which ones might have moved or, possibly, may not be alive. I went to the internet to check addresses and look for some obits! And, wouldn't you know, the computer had problems. Couldn't get on the internet for but just a few minutes at a time, for days.
So, I decided to write a general letter on the computer and insert that in with her cards, then just add a note to people who I knew needed a letter. Printed out a few pictures to send to a couple of people. But, the computer had other ideas. First, I couldn't get it to print but one copy at a time, and had to reset with each letter. Then, I couldn't get into the documents. Then the photo thing quit working. Got all those computer things working again, sort of, and started printing. Ran out of ink!
I told my daughter to just go to town and pick up the cartriges and stamps. But, no. She insisted that I had to go, when I should have been putting cards into envelopes! We got stamps at Walgreens, then went to Walmart for a two pack of cartriges. Big mistake. It took 3 hours of fighting lines and trying to get someone to open the case, to get that one little item! (No one was in the jewelry section. If I were buying gifts, I would have chosen jewelry this year, just due to the lack of long lines of impatient people!)
Then the glue wasn't sticking on the envelopes, so I used a glue stick to seal my envelopes. It's been one thing after the other! I finally finished up the last of Thelma's cards at 3 a.m. and they went in the mail this morning. I haven't even started mine, except to gather everything and make mailing labels!
I usually don't get into the Christmas mood until Christmas Eve. I kind of like the hustle and bustle, and think it is nice to write Christmas messages on Christmas Eve-by a fireplace with hot chocolate. Of course, it is usually too warm here for a fire in the fireplace! Just imagining how things should be, I guess.
So, if you are supposed to receive a card from me, I guess it will turn out to be a New Years card! I've got my cards, my labels, and stamps, so I'm going to still try for a Christmas or Christmas Eve postmark. And, those of you who read my blog, can consider my blog as my Christmas greeting to you!

Merry Christmas
to you and yours!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Christmas Carol

The Ghost of Christmas Past
Top: Ink
Bottom: Ink, Watercolor Pencils, Prismacolors
9" x 12"
They are showing "A Christmas Carol" a lot on television this Christmas season. I never cared for the story, until I managed to be in the play when there was still a dinner theatre in the Calvert Hotel. Now, I listen for the familiar lines, and watch for the treatment by the actors, special effects, and music in the various versions.
I was writing for several newspapers, and working part time at one in Cameron at the time. I was perfectly content to go to each performance at the dinner theatre, take pictures, and write about it. I marveled at the actors' ability to remember all those words, and to get up in front of other people to act. Unfortunately, there were a lot of times when there was hardly anyone there.
I thought it was such a great idea, and really enjoyed the play-acting, in a place where we play-acted most of the years as I was growing up, since my cousins' , Diana and Joan, who were the age of my sister and me, grandmother, Mrs. Dirr, owned the hotel, back then.
The basement made a great place to play school, where the older kids made the younger ones learn their ABCs, etc. An old trolly or peanut wagon (turned chicken house) in the back yard was sometimes a bomber or a train. The little apartment out back made a great place for a hideout for cowboys or a house for a family. "The Drummers Room" also made a nice house or just a private place to talk about our hopes and dreams. Upstairs, at the end of the hall, we were sure a witch lived in a tall wooden box that remained propped up against the wall for most of the War years. The box looked just like a coffin. It turned out to be a bathtub that was left in its case until Mrs. Dirr could get someone to install it! Even the laundry hamper in a little nook near some narrow stairs provided an opportunity to dress up and take pictures. A little red wagon became a covered wagon and, once it was made, the children went off exploring around the grounds. We had a mystery club that met, first, under a bush in the park, then retired to the hotel for some scarey moments in the dark recesses of the hotel.
We could color on butcher paper from the store, and put our murals up on the lobby walls. The granddaughters got to pick a room and ride the bus to Marlin to pick out wallpaper. I never will forget that my cousin did her room in Chinese Modern. After which, for my summer homemaking project, I had to do my own bedroom in Chinese Modern! I had one bright red wall, with the other three in chartreuse! I also made a bedspread and curtains out of chartreuse broadcloth and painted all my dainty furniture black.
So, you can see that the hotel, and most of the town, allowed a free reign for imagination and creativity, which, I thought, truly fitted the dinner theatre concept.
"Why don't you be in one of our plays?" I was asked by several people. "We need you to be in our Christmas production."
"Not me!" I thought. I didn't think I could remember lines, I would probably do something terribly dumb on stage, and I was shy. But, finally, I agreed, and hoped that something would happen to keep me from ever going on stage.
Sure, I had been in things onstage during my school years-programs, the band, choral club, choir at church, singing with my mother, performing with classmates and friends. But reciting things at school terrified me. I didn't feel that I remembered very well.
In my first education class in college, the teacher decided we would do a play about a teenager and go around to PTAs and perform. She insisted that everyone who didn't work would be in the play. Since I was the youngest person in school, she made me the teenager-the star. No one wanted to do it, especially me! So no one showed up to practice, and no one learned their lines. Toward the end of the semester, she told us we were going to do the play in Madisonville, even if we had to read it. (I actually did try to learn my part, but just couldn't remember more than the first few lines, which I still remember.) I was scared stiff, going on that unfamiliar stage, with unfamiliar people. The auditorium was packed with strangers. And I didn't really know the others in my class, either. Mrs. Andrews explained to the audience that we had all been so busy with our college work, that we had not had time to learn our lines, yet. So we would read it. And we did. My hands were sweating bullets as I pretended to answer the phone when the play opened. (We didn't have a telephone at home, so I was uncomfortable even trying to dial the prop. I think that we still had the telephone office with "Central" at that time. No dial phones, yet.)
We all read the play, moved around on the stage, and were so relieved to be finished with that class! I don't know that we learned a thing about teaching or education, but I remember having to be in that play. I couldn't tell you what it was about, though. Not even at the time.
As I drove back and forth to work, I practiced lines for "A Christmas Carol". I thought I had the first part down, but never was sure of the rest of it. If I could read it, that would be okay!
The time grew close and I consoled myself thinking that people would probably not come, as they often didn't for other really good productions with actors from Dallas. However, I didn't consider that, the most popular plays seemed to be the ones with local actors.
At one rehearsal, we got together in the dining room and made recordings with all of us making ghost noises, and, sound effects for the play.
I didn't have any money, so I couldn't invest in a costume. However, I did have some fabric that I had bought to use for draping behind still lifes, and I had some lace head coverings to wear to the Catholic Church. I had powder blue satin material and a powder blue lace head cover, and decided to drape myself with those, and "float" across the stage.
The night of the production, Larry, the director, who played Scrooge, dressed in some old baggy long handles, and made his hair gray, put on powder and drew lines on his face with my eyebrow pencil. I had a hard time, trying to keep from laughing at being onstage with a guy in longhandles. Larry was funny, anyway, with his bending his knees, wringing his hands, and almost dancing around the stage. I had to turn a lot to keep up with him.
Phil, who played Marley, had a nice Victorian suit that he wore. And the young man who played the ghost of Christmas future had an impressive black hooded robe to wear.
We started with a little skit with some local children, who had almost all the lines, gathered around a Christmas tree onstage. I played their Sunday School teacher. I wore a satin and velvet patchwork long skirt with a satin long sleeved blouse. I didn't have to do much, but just stand there and act like a school teacher, which I had been for a long time.
At rehearsal, I overheard the director say something to Phil, and I heard my name. I still wonder what they said! I was afraid it would be bad. "I can't hear her." "She looks terrible." "She can't act." "She will ruin our show!" My imagination always runs wild.
I was stunned when the dinner theatre was packed for the play, and everyone seemed to be having a great time. (I was a little disappointed that my own family didn't come. But, then, I tried to realize that they were not going to spend money on such things.)
What was I to do with all those people out there! Panic! Well, I finally hit on a couple of things that helped. Ignore the people and just look at what was going on around me. And, find one person that you know and want to say something to-and just talk to them. What lines would I forget? I was almost frozen, nauseated, etc., but, in deciding to just ignore the audience, I felt some better.
Larry didn't help in one way. He was a drama teacher/actor, and he was acting, and changing the lines! And I was just trying to remember what I was supposed to say! When he threw in other things, I thought I would be stumped. But, I managed, and got through my scene. I headed for the columns that divided the lobby from the old sitting room, which had become the theatre. They now had a velvet curtain, and some steps built to step down from the stage. I went through the curtains, down the steps, and someone caught my arm.
Why wasn't Larry exiting with me? Was I supposed to still be on stage?
Larry came to me, with a wad of blue satin in his hands. "Here. Part of your veil caught on a nail in the stage." He handed me one of my veils, then ran back to do the next scene. And I turned red. I was so embarrassed!
Apparently, as I walked around the stage, trying to keep up with Larry, one of my veils had caught on a nail, and just unwound. I left a trail of blue satin across the stage. I didn't even know it. I was really glad that I had decided to wear a caftan under all my veils. Wouldn't it have been terrible if I had lost all my costume and didn't even know it! Larry and I both might have been in our underwear onstage!
The play seemed to be a big hit, but the audiences still didn't pick up for most shows, and, eventually, Larry went back to teaching, I went back to teaching, the hotel was sold and Phil moved on.
The hotel went through several owners, was a hotel, B&B, empty for a while, and now is home to a large family. I hope that they have as much fun as we did, and great memories of the hotel, as we have after so many years.
Every time I see "A Christmas Carol" on tv, I remember the time that the play was done at the Calvert Hotel. And all the memories that go with it.
I hope that all your shopping and prepartations for Christmas are going well. Some stores here seem to be busy, despite the "downturn" in the economy. Some have put on extra help and others will close for the holidays, as usual. This university town used to almost empty out, and there were no cars on the streets, as soon as the students and teachers left for their homes or vacations. Now there are lots of cars, still, and some places are packed.
We made the mistake of going to WalMart last night to buy an ink cartrige for my printer. I should have paid a little more and bought it somewhere else. We spent 3 hours there, for one little ink cartrige. Two people were working the electronics counter, where there was a line. You have to get one of them to open the case where the ink, etc. is kept. When more people showed up, one person left, leaving one slow, young girl to wait on people. The line got really long. Several people left, saying they were going to Target. Finally, another girl showed up, and, when I told her I needed an ink cartrige and she left to get it, some people behind me didn't like it. I wasn't about to give up my spot after all that wait, though! They could just make their little remarks!
As we left, I noticed there were no customers at the jewelry counter or in the ladies clothing area. Looks like electronics are very popular this year. It will be interesting to go back, late, on New Years Eve, and see if the shelves are all almost empty as they usually are.
I was glad to see that the store where my grandson works had a steady stream of customers, and they brought in more workers from other stores. We hear of so many businesses closing, these days. And so many places laying off people, cutting hours, wages, and all those things that do not help American families.
A special Merry Christmas to our troops everywhere, their families, and to all those who serve, including the Border Agents Ramos and Compean, who are unjustly imprisoned. Write them, send them cards and letters, and write to your representatives, the White House, and everyone you can think of to try to free them. I wish them all justice, freedom, good health, much joy and prosperity. I just read the list of President Bush's pardons and, as Glenn Beck says, it would make blood shoot out of your eyes. Drug dealers, illegals, and other unsavory characters, and even one who was written about quite a bit, saying he was a hero in WWII. But the man is dead! That doesn't make sense to me, at all. It makes me wonder what kind of hold Mexico has over us, that our government just continues to let all this garbage from Mexico, and a couple of other places, go on in our country. And we are just supposed to look the other way and let it go on while it is destroying our country. This is one thing that President Bush could have done that would have left a much better feeling among the citizens. He doesn't have to depend on that poor excuse for a Congress that we have to get this done. I would think that Laura, the teacher, with all of her influence and sense of what is needed, could do something. Getting off my soap box now. But I know there are those who see it the same way that I do.
To sign up for Virginia Vaughan's Plein Aire Painting Workshop in Calvert Saturday Feb. 21, let me know. You might want to stay over Friday and Saturday nights, especially if you aren't local; so you might want to reserve your room in one of Calvert's lovely old homes, The Bird House or Pin Oak B&B. (Those two responded that they have rooms available.) Or bring along your camper or RV, and we can arrange for parking. We're going to have another great day!
I'll send out a list with accomodations, a supply list, and more information, when you let me know.
January 10th is just around the corner. That is the date for the big 21st World Wide Sketch Crawl. Go to their website for more information.
Or let me know if you want to join us, locally. I'm hoping that people in the other communities will participate, and, here, we can Draw The Brazos Valley that day.
If you are in one of the cold areas, keep warm! But, remember, there are a lot of us who would like to experience a White Christmas. My grandson told me last night that he would like to move to a place where it snows for Christmas! I've been thinking that for about 70 years, myself.
Thank you for reading and sharing with others. If you see something of interest to you, let me know. Some of the art work on this blog is for sale. Photos are not for sale.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Happy Birthday, Ashton!

Today, we have another birthday. Happy birthday wishes go out to Ashton. With wishes for many more "to grow on"!
The photo above was taken by Ashton of one of his Lego creations, "The Titanic". Ashton loves his Legos! He has been building and studying things in Legos since he was very small.
In the picture above, he was studying not just the way the Titanic was built, how many smoke stacks, propellers, etc., but, above all, how it broke apart and landed. He even built it with the debris field on the floor. He would build his model, check it on the counter in the kitchen, then take it to my big garden tub, to see if it worked right.
More recently, he got a model of the Titanic and built it. That is now on the mantle over the fireplace.
Ashton has studied and built oil wells, street intersections, complete with utilitiy wires and lights, and even tornadoes out of Legos.
Unfortunately, Pluto, loves to chew up any Legos that happen to fall anywhere that he can reach them. So, Ashton is a little short on Legos.
Ashton has always observed something and becomes interested in that one thing. He draws it, he builds it in Legos, he researches all he can find on it. He sees things that most people don't even notice, then really studies that subject for a long time. Seems very scientific to me.
When he was small, I said that we should just skip kindegarten and go straight over to the Petroleum Engineering Department at A&M! He was interested in oil wells then.
When he was very small, he was sitting in his baby seat in the car, as we rode, and would explain things like perspective and color theory. I hadn't said a thing, but my high school students didn't know as much as he did.
He drew pictures of a horizon line, with the earth curved, when most little children would draw the sky stopping way up in the air, and no horizon. He told me that the earth was curved and explained the need for a horizon line in pictures. It always amazed me, and I tried my best to discuss, not lecture, when he brought things up.
He's a young man, now. I really enjoy watching tv programs with him, discussing things, going out drawing, walking, watching while he rides his bike, etc. He makes things a real joy, most of the time. He even smiles when I wake him up! But, he is shy, and a bit grouchy and grumpy when he gets tired.
I hope he always stays interested, curious, and creative, and happy, for many years to come!
Another person who shares this birthday is Esther.
A big Happy Birthday wish goes out to her, too! Hope you are "kicking your heels up" and having a big day!
Esther and I were always the youngest in our class in school. So we have known each other for many years, and grew up together, as we all did in our small school, and our class, particularly. We both started first grade at age 5 and went off to college at age 16. And we are still friends.
Hope you have many more happy birthdays, Esther! And I hope that you find the right publisher this year, for a great birthday present!
You can click on her name in my sidebar and see some of her writing.
I received a lovely Christmas surprise from Idaho artist, Diana Moses Botkin. I won her lovely book, "Gems From The Edge Of The Earth", in a drawing on her website, . Diana included a copy of her print showing mother and child. I was so thrilled to receive these. Check out her website to see more of her work and information about her book.
Thank you so much, Diana! I'm really enjoying your book, and your work!
I went to a Christmas party at St. Joseph's Manor yesterday. It was about over when I got there, as I had the time wrong.
And, we had to pick up Ashton after his Christmas party at school, first. (For some reason, he complained about a tummy ache, later! I laughed and said, "I wonder why!" They had hamburgers for lunch, pizza, etc. at the party, chicken nuggets after school! I thought he might just be overloaded, but we have all been having tummy problems this week, so it could be a little virus or something.)
We still got to hear a lady playing Christmas Carols on the piano, and the activity director read "The Night Before Christmas". The residents had punch, and I think they had already had refreshments of cookies, etc. I couldn't see that well to tell what was on the serving table.
Since it was Thelma's birthday, I took her a treat, a slice of chocolate pie with meringue on top, and a Coke.
Had a nice conversation with Virginia, and a young lady volunteer from Bryan High, about dance lessons, ballet, modern dance, etc. I remembered how my principal and I laughed until we cried in her office, one time, remembering our experiences in Modern Dance class at Sam Houston. She was over 10 years after me, but she did have the same teacher who had been head of the PE department when I was there. But, that is a different story.
If you have some free time, go by a nursing home and just visit with someone, or read to them. If you like to draw, just sit with your sketchbook and let them watch you draw, or paint. If you sing, or play something, you could do that, too. Share some photos or even your genealogy discoveries. It will be sooooo appreciated! They may not even answer, but it will make someone's day.
While I was out yesterday, I bought Christmas cards, finally. I had to laugh at the ones that sing when you open them! I'll have to make some hot chocolate or have some egg nog later and start my Christmas cards! I know. I should have made them. I always say that, and never get it done! One year, I did include a small watercolor in each card. I haven't really come up with what I think is a smashing idea for an original card, though. I want it to be truly special and different. Maybe if I start now, I'll have something ready in a year or so!
I found a really cute idea online when I searched for free e-cards. I went through the whole process of creating, and, at the end, it said you could send it for $9.95, or subscribe for $39.95! Nothing free about that, so I deleted it!
I really like to go Christmas shopping on New Year's Eve, late in the day, when people are rushing about and there is a good spirit for shopping all around, and think of writing my cards by a fire in the fireplace, with hot chocolate and cookies, by the Christmas tree.
We also finally put up a small Christmas tree in the den last night. The one we always use is in the storehouse and our "strong person" is not able to go back there to carry it in, since he had surgery. I have some smaller things to decorate with that we can put up tonight, maybe, while we have some birthday cake for Ashton.
Christmas cards will be on their way, soon!
Are you thinking about the 21st World Wide Sketch Crawl Saturday January 10? That will be soon after kids return from their holidays, I realized. I'm not sure when the university goes back. Public school resumes here on the 5th.
There's time to plan to participate, so I hope that everyone will.
This time, they offer a cute t-shirt on the website with the logo and the pencil. It isn't required, as the event is Free! But it would be cute to wear while you are out sketching.
Virginia Vaughan has a cute Artist t-shirt on her site, too. . That would be cute to wear when you are out and about, especially doing arty things!
Anyway, plan to join us, or another group near you, or start your own sketch crawl in your own area.
You can click on the Sketch Crawl logo in my sidebar to go to their website any time.
If you need more information or help, let me know. Or, if you want to join us.
It's on the Arts Council of Brazos Valley, Brazos Valley Art League, "The Eagle", KAMU, and KBTX calendars, among other places.
Are you making plans to attend the Plein Aire Painting Workshop in Calvert with Virginia Vaughan Saturday February 21 and into Sunday Feb. 22? This would be a good time to ask Santa for things you may want to take to the workshop!
You might want to make plans to stay in Calvert overnight, especially considering how early the sun comes up, and if you are not local. I am thinking that it might be a good idea to stay over Friday and Saturday nights. I wouldn't want to have to be driving in the wee hours to get there, or have to drive home after a long day of painting, then get up so early the next morning and drive some more to get there in time for painting at sunrise again.
A couple of B&Bs in Calvert have told me that they have rooms available that weekend, if you want to reserve your room early. They are lovely places and I know you would enjoy staying at either place.
The Bird House and Pin Oak B&B have both said that they have rooms available.
There is also camper/rv parking available by special arrangement. Just let us know what your needs are.
There are other B&Bs in Calvert, but I don't know about room availability. The Calvert Hotel is online, but is no longer a hotel. It's a private family home, now. (Would have been a great hotel to have art workshops!)
For information and a supply list, contact me, Cecelia, at .

Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy Days / Sad Days

Top Photo
Happy Birthday, Thelma!
Bottom Painting
They're so Pretty in Calvert
16" x 20"
It's a sad time, and a happy time.
First, the happy time is because of birthdays. Happy Birthday to Thelma today. Her picture is above from back in the 1940s. I remember those jodphurs! Irvin's birthday would have been this week, too. Lots of birthdays and holidays close together in this family.
It's a sad time because several people have died.
Last weekend, we lost Kathy Staff, who played Nora Batty on "Last of the Summer Wine", one of my favorite programs. I loved watching Nora and the ladies having coffee, and even Nora's hats and wrinkled stockings. The program has some lovely scenery in England, soothing, cheerful music, and some fun characters. The characters remind me of Calvert. .
Next, I learned of the death of one of our classmates, Walter. I have such great memories of the times when we were all growing up in Calvert. It is always so hard to lose our classmates, since we spent so much time together in our small class . I looked at my classmates, more like brothers and sisters, especially since I didn't have brothers.
I think that you could compare some of our lives to that in the movies, "The Little Rascals" and "Our Gang". I heard a historian say that he grew up like in those movies. I thought, "I did too!"
My deepest sympathies to Walter's family. I'm sure that this is a very sad time for them.
I also learned of the death of another CHS graduate, Keen. He was a little older than I am, but I remember him in a sailor suit, and a picture of him in his sailor suit that his mother had. My mother and his mother visited a lot. His mother was so proud of him. I remember his dad, too. I found the obituary in the Waco Tribune Herald online this morning.
I thought I might draw an angel for Walter, but it wasn't happening. Instead, I started a sketch of the time that Walter and Taylor were sitting on the front row in Mrs. Brannon's English class. I can't remember who else was sitting on that row. I am thinking that Alfred was on the end by the windows. I remember that both boys had watches that seemed really large on their wrists. Mrs. Brannon got really mad about our class giggling about something, or talking, or making noise, that day. I can't remember exactly what it was. I do recall that we did all kinds of things to not have to read what we thought were embarrassing passages, and, if anyone did consent to read those things, they were "giggled at", and either blushed or rushed through it so fast you could barely understand what they said. Some of those embarrassing literary works included "Macbeth" and "Romeo and Juliet". They were pretty risque in places. We were so naieve.
The class, especially the boys, since they were bolder and there were more of them, were having trouble being nice, quiet, serious students that day. Mrs. Brannon had enough and had warned us a few times. She may have even already sent someone to the office.
The silliness happened again. Mrs. Brannon walked over to the blackboard, gripped her yardstick in her hand, and pursed her lips. She swung that yardstick over the heads in the first three rows! Everyone ducked, and that just made the boys giggle that much more. Eventually, they stopped when they realized that Mrs. Brannon was really angry. Those of us further back, ducked, too! We didn't know what might happen! That yardstick could fly over and hit us too, we imagined. And we didn't know how long Mrs. Brannon's reach was.
Despite the yardstick overhead, those boys still just looked at each other and grinned. The teacher's obvious anger, didn't subdue them a lot.
Mrs. Brannon had used the yardstick to shake at us before, but she had never swung it over our silly heads before. I'm sure that some of us were not acting up to begin with. We always behaved ourselves, in fear, if nothing else. We sure didn't want a trip to the office, but some of the boys didn't seem too upset when they were sent. They probably quit giggling when the board hit their pants! It didnt' happen often, of course.
My little sketch has started out with Taylor and Walter, and their big watches, with Mrs. Brannon looming over them with a yardstick extended. I'm not happy with the drawing, though. I was having a lot of trouble connecting lines, etc. I think it is because I was working too small in a sketchbook. And I have Mrs. Brannon really huge compared to the boys and the desks! Doesn't look like her at all!
Now, you have to know that Mrs. Brannon was a sweet lady, not inclined to violence at all. And an excellent teacher. And we knew that we had to behave in all our classes, including English. I don't think that she ever paddled, but she would send any unruly student to the office. And they would take care of things, there. Supposedly, the offender got more of the same, or worse, at home.
Instead of an angel, I am sharing an acrylic painting I did of some robed figures. They are standing in the street beside what was Conitz Dry Goods Store on Main Street, at night, after most people had gone home for the day. They are looking up, excited by the beautiful lights in the sky. UFOs? Angels?
Keep in mind the 21st World Wide Sketch Crawl Saturday January 10. Want to come draw, paint, journal, or even doodle with us? Let me know, or get with a group where you are. Or, you can even start your own group. See the website for more information. Or you can just click on the logo in my sidebar, and that will take you to the site. Look under 21st sketch crawl, then under Forums to find a group near you. Or just groups that are in interesting places.
This time, you can order a t-shirt with the logo and a cute pencil on the sleeve. It isn't required, since the Sketch Crawl is free, but it is just something different to wear. Those are available through the website.
Speaking of t-shirts, look on Virginia Vaughan's blog and see some of the neat t-shirts that she has designed. You can order those through her, too.
Also, look at the information about the workshop she is doing in Calvert February 21. She has more on her website at . You can contact me at for a supply list and information.
Please share with others who might be interested.
This workshop will be on Saturday, and she will still be there, to paint with the group on Sunday morning. She won't be teaching on Sunday, but we will be painting for fun. So, if you aren't local, you might want to make plans to stay for at least one night.
While you are thinking of sending out Christmas wishes, you might keep in mind our wrongly imprisoned border agents, Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos. And their families.
If you are so inclined, you might call the White House (202)456-1111,and the Office of the Pardons Attorney (202)616-6070 and your senators, (For us, it is Hutchison and Cornyn) and do what you can to get those men released. Those in power should not be having such a fancy Christmas as long as these men are being held the way they are. If they can pardon a turkey, drug dealers and other criminals, then why not these men who never belonged in prison to begin with. We hope that these men and their families will be able to have a great Christmas together.
You can send cards and letters to Ramos and Compean, too. There is also an organization called Grassfire that is trying to free them.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Snow! We had Snow!

Snow Photos
December 10, 2009
A Rare Thing-Snow
Top: Ashton in front of the Physicians Center as the afternoon snow was just starting.
Second Down:Snow falling at the Physicians Center. It wasn't cold enough to stay on the streets, so it looked like rain. But you could see the white in the distance and on the grass.
Third Down: Doesn't this look Christmasey! Flower bed in front of the Physicians Center. I was behind the windows here, sketching while waiting on Christopher to come out after his surgery.
Bottom: We drove home from the hospital with big snowflakes falling and everything turning more white. This continued until almost midnight and we still had some snow the next morning.
This is very unusual here. Bob French said, on the weather on tv, that our area got 1 to 3 inches. By 10 p.m., he said that we already had 2 1/2 inches. We had a little snow in the morning and that was supposed to end by noon. And it seemed to, but, before 3 p.m. it started coming down with the big flakes. A low pressure area formed over us, bringing moisture from the Gulf, after the cold front had gone through, and it just kept spinning over us. It finally headed out for Louisiana. Even Houston had snow.
People were so excited! And it felt a little more like Christmas. At the Brazos Center, KBTX was having their annual food drive, and they really looked like they had the Christmas spirit, and some winter fun, as they made little snowmen, threw snowballs, and tried to keep warm. By them being on tv out in the snow, we got to see more of what was going on.
With Christopher having ankle surgery, and having to drive home, and figure out how he was going to get up snow covered steps, with crutches that he had never used before, we didn't have much time to enjoy the snowfall. It was already getting dark when we got home. But we did catch snowflakes on our tongues and collect a little snow to put in the freezer.
Now that it is past, I just remembered that we should have made some snow ice cream! It happens so seldom that I forgot the things that we should have done. Hopefully, we will have snow again, before too long. After all these years, we're still hoping for a white Christmas, and enough snow to really enjoy.
Another big event here happened yesterday. I couldn't go, but it was exciting, anyway. (I was busy changing ice packs, taking temperature, making sure that Christopher had plenty to drink and eat, and all those things that go with recovery after surgery.) But, above all, the event wasn't open to the public. Seniors who were graduating from A&M got two tickets each for family to attend the event in Reed Arena. They opened Rudder Auditorium for faculty, staff, and students to watch on a big screen. I don't qualify and didn't have anyone graduating, so I had to be content to watch on tv at home. Worked out just as well, I guess. It was also on live streaming through the tv station, but I was already watching tv.
It was a historic event. And, as it turned out, it was the best speech that I have heard in a long, long time. I know that these seniors will remember their commencement speaker always, and also a lot of what he said.
President George Bush chose A&M to give his last commencement address as a sitting president. And what a grand event it was, with the Ross Volunteers, the governor's guard who are an elite group in the Corps of Cadets here, lined up on each side as the president and his entourage entered. Barbara Bush, just out of the hospital after her surgery a few days ago, introduced her husband, George H.W. Bush. Bush 41 looked like he was using a longer cane and still a bit wobbly since his hip replacement. He said that the President asked him to keep it short, so he did, as he introduced his son.
Reed Arena was filled with over 11,000 graduating seniors and their guests. Everyone seemed appreciative and enjoyed seeing the President. The traditional "Whoop" was heard a lot!
That was one of the best speeches that I have heard in a long time, as I said. He showed a lot of understanding of A&M and its traditions, and Texas. His sense of humor made the speech enjoyable as he sprinkled in words of wisdom and advice to the graduates. "Listen to your mother." " If you have a job and know what you are going to do, congratulations. If you don't know what is coming next, I know how you feel." He also mentioned that there are some lasts. This was his last commencement speech. Laura had decorated the White House for Christmas for the last time. And Barney had bitten his last reporter-they hope.
He talked of some of the Aggie traditons that he would have liked to have participated in when he was younger, like dunking the senior ring. He would have liked to have taken Laura to Midnight Yell. And he would have liked to have Reville in some of his classes. (If Reville barks during a class, the class is dismissed!) He would have liked to have had her at some press conferences. He concluded his speech with a tribute to his parents, especially his father, saying that he was proud to have carried his father's name, George Bush for 62 years. He was clearly emotional as he talked, while earlier he spoke with a twinkle in his eye.
The new president of A&M talked briefly and mentioned that they still have the plot of land next door to the George Bush Library. (People would really have liked to have the two presidential libraries for father and son together, but, instead, they picked Laura Bush's alma mater, SMU in Dallas. That will form a triangle with the LBJ Library in Austin, George Bush Library in College Station, and the George Bush Library in Dallas.)
The program ended with the Singing Cadets rendition of "The Spirit of Aggieland", and the Bush family leaving through the honor guard of Ross Volunteers.
A short ride over to where several helicopters, including Marine One, waited in a field, and they were off to Waco, where Air Force One would take them back to D.C.
People were really excitied to see Marine One. I guess that our runway may not be long enough for Air Force One. I'm not sure because Tony Blair's big plane was here when he visited a while back.
You can find the President's address on the KBTX tv website here:
Or at C-Span here:
There is also quite a bit on The Eagle (newspaper) website
I haven't posted for a few days. I've had trouble getting on the internet at times, and, when it was working, I didn't have time to post. I have some things I wanted to share with you.
Among those things was that last Wednesday was "Support Ramos and Comean Day". Of course, that was when we were busy with the upcoming surgery, snow, and all. I hope that President Bush will pardon those two before he leaves office. If they can pardon criminals and turkeys, why not do the right thing and get these two out of where they should not be to begin with. It doesn't make sense to me. But then, a lot of things don't make sense, these days.
I don't have a lot of Christmas spirit this year. With no shopping to do, parties or programs to attend, etc., the nearest thing to feeling like Christmas was the snow. We haven't even decorated for Christmas. Usually, my daughter puts everything up on Thanksgiving afternoon, or right after. But, this year, everything is still boxed up. I always think that I am going to make my Christmas cards, or get those done early. But my calendar is still on November! I only thought that Christmas will soon be here-today!
When we still had the store, I always wanted to make some big papier mache figures to go in the show windows. Irvin, especially, liked Santa Claus, so I wanted to start with a jolly Santa figure. Then add some angels, etc. Never got that done, though. Then I decided that I would like a nice nativity scene, so maybe I should make my own. (I have this thing where I think that I should not buy things like rugs or decorations. I should be able to make my own! Of course, I know how, but doing it is something else.)
I guess I have been thinking of pictures that I need to do, events coming up next year like the Sketch Crawl January 10th, and the Plein Aire Painting Workshop February 21-22.
And other things like laundry, making sure that Ashton gets his AR Reading done, and learns the Preamble to the Constitution, that Christopher has what he needs, and trying to figure out how to work the new remotes for the tvs, and finding something worth watching on tv. (They have had some Christmas time old movies on tv, and that's helping a little.)
I hope that you and your's have a lot of Christmas spirit and are enjoying the season.
Thanks for reading and sharing. Please pass this on to others who might be interested.
If you are interested in forming a group, or doing Sketch Crawl, where you are, I'll be glad to answer any questions. Or you are welcome to join us, if you are in the area.
Also, it's time to start thinking about the Plein Aire Workshop in February. Let me, or Virginia or Sonny know, if you are interested in that. Virginia has more on her blog and website at or . Or you can click on her name in my sidebar under Artists and Authors.
I finally got to see the episode of "Texas Country Reporter" that featured Virginia Vaughan in the wee hours of this morning as I was flipping through channels on tv. It was great to watch her paint and talk about the farm, and to see those places that she has painted and written about. If you missed it, hopefully they will rerun it again and you, too, can enjoy the program.
I think I recorded it. I tried, anyway, but I'm not really sure about these new remote controls. I saved it to watch while PBS is fund raising instead of showing the programs I like to watch.
Be sure to check out Virginia's website with her work and her upcoming events.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

More Victorian Tea, Gala, Street Fair Pics

Yesterday, I promised more photos from the Victorian Tea, Gala, and Street Fair in Calvert. I still haven't got my slideshow working, so I'm posting separate images. I finally was able to put these in the order that I wanted by writing down the pictures that I wanted to select, then adding them in reverse order. There is probably a better way.

I realized that it was Pearl Harbor Day and I just had to recognize this day in our history, first. So, now, I'm doing a second post with more photos.

1. Claudia Idelisse Garcia- posing for Eve Myles. Claudia appeared to be a perfect model, sitting in a ladylike pose for so long. Her beautiful outfit made this a striking possibility for a portrait to paint. Claudia is the daughter of Lee Garcia, editor of "Tea In Texas" magazine, . Note: The wall that was being propped up behind Claudia, has been torn down. Hopefully, the new owners are going to be able to rebuild and keep the original character of the building.

2. Savanna's Mom Takes A Break- at one of the sidewalk tables of Zamykal Kolache Shop. I was interested in the way her apron draped, and the way that she touched her hair in a little breeze. I've already posted a sketch of that, just after the event.

3. Three Beautiful Ladies- joined us for the afternoon and evening. They just happen to be our cousins, Mel, Emma, and Olivia. This was the first time that we met the girls, and one of the few times that we have visited with Mel. So much time to cover and so few hours in the day. We hope to get together again soon!

4. Franz Home-This home belongs to someone else, now, but, back when Mel's grandmother was growing up, this was her home. At that time, it was the home of Roger, Virgie, and Joyce Franz. It's always been an interesting house, with it's gingerbread style trim and upstairs windows. This is one that I never have been in, although it was once a great-uncle's home. Maybe I did go in there when I was really small and just don't remember it.

5. Parish House- This Queen Anne style home has been very popular in Calvert. The fireplace with the window, porches, gingerbread, etc. are intriguing. It is now a b&b, but, was a private home. Restoration was completed by the latest owner. Also on the grounds is a fascinating carriage house that has been restored and offers a place to stay, along with the rooms in the main house. This house had beautiful woodwork inside, as I remember it when the Carters were working on it.

6. The Neighborhood- This picture shows the street leading to Calvert High School. When we were in school, the basement floor was elementary school, the second floor was middle school, and the third floor was high school. We had fairly small classes, so it worked out well. I always wondered where people went when they finished all the floors! It's a great old building, sturdy and actually looks like a school.

When they had the Victorian Tea, Gala, and Street Fair, Barbara and I took our sketching materials for our own mini Sketch Crawl and sat on a bench outside Zamykal Kolaches, and drew until we were joined by Mel and her daughters. Then we played tourist and drove around town, to show Mel a bit of where her grandmother lived, and other relatives, and also points of interest. We spent some time going over sketches and photos, talked of family history, before going our separate ways. We all stopped in Hearne at Johnny Reb's Dixie Cafe, for supper and a few pictures.

I hope that you got to go to the Christmas Tour of Homes. You can look on the Calvert, Texas website, or click on the bandstand picture in my sidebar, to see when the next event will be.

7. Larry's Place and the Bank- Main Street, Calvert-This is where we found a shady spot to sit and sketch. The building with the porches has been remodeled and looks very different from the way it once was. At one time, the upstairs was Dr. Wade's office. There was a tin overhang instead of the porch.
Calvert is a lovely place to sketch, paint, write, etc. Come join us, sometime! Look at the upcoming events for more information about the next Sketch Crawl, and the next Plain Aire Painting Workshop with Virginia Vaughan.

Pearl Harbor Day

Pearl Harbor Day
8.5" x 11"

I find it a bit odd that, today, on tv, instead of old movies about Pearl Harbor and related battles of WWII, TCM is showing things like "Treasure Island". They even announced that this is "pirate day". Maybe they will have something later to honor those who served our country, to remind us of historical events, and educate the younger generation.

Do you remember where you were and what you were doing on Pearl Harbor Day?

This is what I remember in the picture above. It was Sunday and the family, along with almost everyone in town, went to Sunday School and Church, in the various churches in Calvert.
Church was dismissed early, with many solumn grownups taking the questioning children home. Ladies went through the motions of serving Sunday dinner to unsually quiet families. Babies were put to bed for naps early, and older children were encouraged to go out and play, instead of taking a nap. Grownups gathered around radios to try to find some news. They listened quietly, in disbelief, some with fear, some with anger. Many men gathered with friends and walked to town, ready to join the Army or one of the services-ready and eager to get into the fight against the enemy who had just bombed our ships and Pearl Harbor. Those numbers would grow as the days passed.
The whole country was gripped with fear of invasion, of possible loss to a horrible enemy, with concern for loved ones and neighbors off at the War, with a resolve to do anything necessary to protect our country and our way of life. Everyone from small children to the elderly did their part for the war effort.
That was a long Sunday, quiet, filled with concern and tension.
It was a time for children, like me, to wonder what was wrong with the grownups, and wish for other children to play with. And to be aware that the air itself was different, as were the people around us. We would grow up to learn some of what was going on, and are still learning some of the things that were secrets back in those days.
In the drawing above, I have shown one of the oak trees in the yard near the street and my sandbox near the tree where I often played. Someone gave me some of my father's old toys that were like new, to use in the sandpile. There was one toy that moved buckets of sand up and then dumped it into a toy truck. And, of course, there were tin pails and shovels to use in my sandbox. (No fire ants then, so it was possible to play pretty safely outdoors.)
We were living in my great-grandfather's Victorian house, in an apartment upstairs. (Actually, the apartment was one large bedroom that served as bedroom and living room, another bedroom with a door to the balcony that was the kitchen/dinette, and the bathroom was down the hall. We did have use of the parlor/music room, etc. downstairs.)
"Grandpa" died, when I was one, and, during the War years, the first floor was rented out to the Burns family. I've shown a bit of the side of the house with some of the family downstairs, listening to the radio in what was my mother's music room, or the parlor. I could always see the grownups through the big windows and knew that if anything happened and I needed my mother, she was near.
The house was on the corner of Railroad and Browning streets with a crossing to town at the intersection. I've shown some young men, walking together to town, ready to go sign up for the Army. I was thinking of my uncle, who did go, although I don't think that he went right away. My dad was eager to go but they wouldn't take him because of a heart murmer. He still drilled with the men in town, for local defense, in case they were ever needed to protect us, and went for the physical anytime he could.
I wonder if my memory is correct, though. I can always remember the year my sister was born because that was the year of Pearl Harbor. I think that she was about 4 months old at the time of the attack and I would be 4 in January.
After she was born, we moved to the little house near the school, the house that Daddy proudly built for his new family. I think that my mother thought that the stairs were too much, and she wanted a home of her own-away from in-laws. The little apartment upstairs didn't have a real kitchen or bathroom, close, and she knew that I was terrified of Uncle "Goose", who still lived in the house where his father lived. Four people in one bedroom would be pretty crowded.
I remember the first night in our new house, but I don't know the date. We probably were still in the old house when Pearl Harbor happened, so that memory is probably true.
I can't help but think that, with the bad news we hear, constantly, about the economy, it is a reminder of previous times. The Great Depression happened world wide and the only thing that pulled us out of those terrible economic times was all out war. The same thing has been true at other times. When the economy was bad, the only thing that pulled us out of it was a war.
Goodness knows, most people do not want war of any kind. But, if you think back, this is how it has been. Every time the politicans and news people open their mouths about pouring more money into big companies or creating public works jobs, I just cringe and think that they need to go back and read history or remember. Some things helped a bit, temporarily, but the only thing that really changed the economy was when the whole country went to war. Factories opened and changed over to producing war materials, and other businesses either converted or grew. And, when all the "boys" came home, some of them were helped with education, homes, and assistance, and others were put out of work.
It's hard to believe that so many of the companies that once did so well here, are gone, many of them gone or out of business because we helped our former enemies to thrive.
On one genealogy list, someone asked about the name Doris as a name for a male. I remembered Doris Miller (I think I have his last name right) from Waco, an African American who was a cook on one of the ships in Pearl Harbor. You can see a bit about him in the movie, "Pearl Harbor". He left his kitchen during the attack, took over a gun to shoot down Japanese planes. He had not been trained on the gun, but did what he could to fight off the enemy. He went on to fight in other battles, but, as I recall, he was killed. A building in Waco was named for him some years back. I can't remember if it is a community center or what, right now. But I am always reminded of him being at Pearl Harbor.

Later, I remember reading in our "Weekly Reader", the little newspaper that we got at school, about the ships and the attack at Pearl Harbor. It's still a horrible thing to think about all those people being trapped in the sunken ships (not to mention those who were killed or injured) and others trying to get them out.

We have lived through some scarey times, and these are still scarey times.
"Wars and rumors of war." It has always been that way, and I don't think that we will ever see anything different.
When the men came home from WWII and only wanted to put their experiences behind them, move on with a peaceful life, I feared that we were letting our guard down. That we were leaving ourselves too vulnerable. And so, the Children's Army came about. (That's another story.) And, sure enough, Korea came along, and one war after another. As long as there are people, there will be conflict of some kind.
We hope for peace, but, realistically, we must remember times like Pearl Harbor and the wars, bad economic times like the Depression, and be prepared.

I don't know if anyone from Calvert was at Pearl Harbor. There is a book, something like an annual, called "The Men and Women in World War II from Robertson County" that lists local service men and women, has a photo and a short biography. I do remember that some did not come home and, those who did, were different.

On the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., there are names of veterans listed. Relatives can add their service member's names to the memorial through a website. I noticed only one person that I know of, listed, and that is George Foster from Calvert. If you have someone in your family, who isn't listed, you might want to complete the online form and send it in. While we still remember.
Let us not forget the freedoms and traditions that we have, and what it has taken to keep them.

1941 Photos-This is me in the front yard of Grandma Conitz's house. In the background, you can see great-grandpa Conitz's two story home where we lived. You can see that I would just wander through the field between the houses to visit, even at a young age. The upstairs window that you can see in the picture was where our "apartment" was and where Mama could look out and see what I was doing. My sandbox was just below this window.

The diving board at the Calvert Country Club. This was taken before Irvin went into the Army, you can tell by his civilian clothes. I'm not sure why he took me out to the Club that day. We all liked to ride and, possibly, they were trying to keep me busy. I think it was after swimming season and there was no water in the pool or I wouldn't have been walking out on the diving board. I loved that old pool and the benches and lattice work all around it.

I'm not sure who this is. I can't make out the faces. I don't recognize the man. Maybe if I enlarge it that will help. So far, that has just made it blurry. Maybe someone will recognize him. It was dated 1941 and was taken on that wonderful swinging bridge that went over the lake at the Calvert Country Club. The caretaker's home is in the background. That lake was filled with lily pads and there was a rowboat on the west shore. Wonderful place to play! And great scenery from the clubhouse and pool.

This could have been a birthday picture. I'm not sure. I rode home with "Toot" and "Honey" from church that day. I was so dressed up, and bashful, with my little drawstring purse and my skirt with jumper straps and sweater. "Look at the camera, Cecelia!" Couldn't bring myself to do that, so I twisted my purse strings. This was in the Keeling's back yard. This house had been moved from behind the two story house on Railroad Street in 1940, so the yard, trees, flowerbeds and all were not yet completed. It was built by Mrs. Keeling's father as a wedding present to the couple when they married in 1913. This house was a Sears Roebuck prefab house and was completely furnished, except for a kitchen. Mr. Conitz wanted the couple to come next door for all their meals, so he didn't provide a kitchen. In later years, the kitchen became a warm place to visit and share meals and treats.

I hope that you enjoyed your visit to 1941.

I apologize for the big space at the end again. This happened when I added the photos. I don't know how to get it off! Backspacing didn't work and I don't know what else to do. Just scroll down to see the end, and the next entry. Another problem seems to be that you can't click on and enlarge the photos that I added at the bottom. The drawing at the top will enlarge. I guess if you want to see the photo better, you can save it, and click on it there. The only way I know to fix this is to just delete everything and start a new post, and put all the pictures on before I write. I'm not that organized, I guess.