Summer Dawdlings

© Jeanne E Webster. All Rights Reserved.

“Summertime…and the livin’ is easy. Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high.”

I’ve always liked that song, mainly for taking me back to memorable  summer vacations spent at my grandparent’s home in Massachusetts. Those lazy, hazy days of summer were the happiest times of my childhood.

Small town life in the mid-1940s was kid safe; one could play outside unsupervised from sunup to sundown with no problems. We’d stuff a peanut butter sandwich in our pocket after breakfast, and off we’d scamper on our all-day carefree adventures.

Our youthful bantam legs struggled as they carried us up that steep knoll to the top of Walnut Hill, then braked as down, down, down we coasted to the placid waters of Lake Mattawa.

Dawdling around the lake edges for a while, we’d skim stones across the water, search for baby fish, and wade into the warm clear waters to extract pretty rocks or other treasures not too far out into the lake.

After resting from our arduous one mile trek, we’d wander through the adjacent pine trees and head for Uncle Brad’s house. to play with our cousins.  We had an unwritten privilege of fishing rights to his pond, and after we had dug up worms and crawlers, we’d grab some of his many fishing poles and scamper down to the stagnant, bubble-gurgling pond. We were delighted to snaggle luminous bluegills and sunfish, and catfish and brilliant yellow pike were always in bountiful supply.

Tiring from catching such “huge” fish, we’d retreat to Aunt Winnie’s back porch and eat our sandwiches and partake of her home-made lemonade especially set out for our disposal.

It was our habit to linger a while after our repast and visit the hen houses, barnyard and outbuildings of their chicken farm. What merriment was had while playing in the granary, jumping on top of the loose corn and smelling the aromas of earth’s harvest offerings!

Next we’d ramble on south a couple of miles towards Aunt Judy’s house and spend the rest of the day interacting with her eleven kids. We’d play hide-and-seek, cowboys and Indians, cops and robbers, and with adult supervision, we could play croquet. We had no store-bought toys; we merely used our imaginations, which in all reality, was pure delight… pretty much.

Once one of my cousins dared me to pick some poison ivy and rub it on my arms and legs. So I double-dared him to do it too. Well…the next day he had poison ivy all over his body, and I had nary a blister. To this day I’m not allergic to the ivy!

Aunt Judy filled our tummies with her family’s supper fixings before we headed back to Gramp and Gram’s home. If the sun was still halfway up the western sky, we’d stop off at the churchyard and wander out back to the cemetery to pick the delicious wild strawberries there. They were so tiny but, oh, so succulent!

Summertime…heaven-sent days for earth-bound children, quickly spent and forever gone. Oh, to be a kid again!?

How Green was My Valley

cropped-mtmonadnoc1.jpg

 © 2014 Jeanne E Webster. All rights reserved and observed

 

Oh, Lord

Nestled among the Mohawk trails:

My soul absorbed mountain airs

Tickling ancient senses

As I peer heavenward

Releasing my spirituality.

.

Lord,

My youth basked in its adventures:

Sour grass, 4-leaf clovers

Long-reeded grass jungles

Dandelion necklaces and such

Wide-leafed whistles.

.

Lord,

Memories hang:

In cloudy closets of my mind

Popping into view to

Bolster my aging body

Oh, Lord, how green was my valley!

Who Are You?

 

© Jeanne E Webster

~

“My name is Jeanne Webster,

Web…eb…ster, Web…eb…ster,

My name is Jeanne Webster…

Who are you?”

I remember singing this song in first grade.   As a way of getting to know each other, we’d go around the classroom and when it got to you, you’d sing this, using your name in place of the last student’s name.  It’s a good way to introduce yourself.

My name is Jeanne Webster.  I was born in western Massachusetts, grew up under the “Army brat” emblem, moved almost every three years, ending up graduating from high school in Germany. My early adulthood was spent as a soldier’s spouse and mother of four children; have seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. I’ve worked as a nurse’s aide, certified medical tech, veterinarian assistant, Home Health Care assistant, and freelance writer.

I have been writing since I learned to scribble my name and going non-stop ever since. Non-fiction is my first love but lately I have ventured into the fiction domain. As you can see from my offerings here, I love prose also. Curiosity draws me into new territories and techniques, as I believe challenges are excellent stimulants for the spirit.

I am a Christian and take my faith in Jesus Christ most seriously. He is the focus of all my endeavors and the reason I am who I am. I have been a member of numerous denominations, from Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist, and back to Catholic. Presently I do not hold membership in any church. I feel there are too many man-made doctrines infused into religion and therefore I present myself to Christ alone. Christianity is not a religion but a way of life.

A never-bored character, I relish poking around in the corners of my days, seeking out the easily overlooked weeds of life for a rose or two.  I love books, books and more books.  I even read manuals that come with new things I buy!  Crafts are my constant companions, along with the need to set down in hard copy my imaginings.   My thoughts are a whole different world; it’s a Jeanne in Wonderland most days.  My one complaint in life, if it’s really a complaint, is that there isn’t enough time in the day to explore the caverns of the mind and the outside world that God has blessed us with.

I love people, care for people, make new friends, pamper the old friends, and do a heap of praying for people.  You’re my sister, my brother, my mom, my dad, my son, my daughter, and on and on.  In other words, you matter to me.

Sooo…who are you?  I’d like to know you too!

[A reblog to get acquainted with my new blogging friends.]

The Outhouse

©Jeanne E Webster

`

How many readers remember the outhouse?  For that matter, how many ever used one? 

Memories…my, oh my.  Way back in the mid-1940s, my family lived in rural western Massachusetts, where the hills meet the sky.  We had an outhouse that set back from our house 100 feet or so.  It was a shabby structure. I mean, who is going to paint an outhouse?  And what for?  You wanted it to blend into the scenery, not be the focal point of the whole back yard.  We didn’t weed much back there either, so that helped it set into the surroundings easily enough.

It was a two-seater; one door but two seats.  They were hard and cracked and one had to watch for splinters.  As a small child I would dangle on the seat and pray I didn’t fall in.  I did look into the hole a few times and it seemed like it went clear down to China. The “holey” look was not lingering…especially in midsummer.  I think our house had a crescent moon on the door but am not sure.  It was probably to allow steam and aromas to escape into the atmosphere! The steam would roll out of the slit like steam off a freshly baked apple pie, aromas not similar. 

I don’t remember how deep the pits really were; quite deep.  I could see all kinds of living things down there.  It was a regular bug zoo!  Creepy crawly things, things that could snuggle up to you and you wouldn’t even know they were there till tomorrow when you’d see their bite marks.  Then you’d have to spend the rest of the day wondering what bit you.  Eventually you decided it was a parson spider or a carpenter ant.  Maybe it was a long toothed fairy centipede.  You usually never knew; it was always a guess.  But you were satisfied with your choice.  Life never got boring.

The house was reached from our home by a sod worn path that went directly to it.  First you went from the kitchen through the storage room, then out the side door towards the woods.  It was quite an adventure, and many times it wasn’t pleasant.  It spelled relief but with a price tag.  You never knew what was waiting for you in there.  We kids usually asked if anyone else had to go before venturing out on a solo run. 

I remember sitting in the outhouse one fall evening.  It was dark and I was always spooked anyway out there by myself.  I was trying to hurry up when I heard a rustle behind the house.  It would “scratch scritch and scratch,” then a pause and “scratch scritch and scratch,” again.  The rustling kept getting closer and soon seemed like it was ready to join me inside! Aborting my procedure rather hastily, I pulled up my drawers and peered outside into the darkness.  I flashed my trusty light into the direction of the sounds, holding it in front of me as I snuck around the front of the facility.  A pair of rabbit’s eyes froze momentarily before disappearing into the dark.  Whew!  My heart thumped and shook all the way back to the house. 

Black bears were prominent in western Massachusetts, which was a cause of concern, especially to children. I always had a feeling the bears would smell my leavings in our outhouse and come down from the hills for a looksee.   I really respected those bears and dreamed, rather, had nightmares, about them many a time.  I could even “see” them looking into my bedroom window on the second floor!  They were from the tribe of tall bears.  They lived on top of the mountains and were more elusive. They never bothered us much, just the shorter ones. 

Back to the outhouse–the worst thing about an outhouse is the critters, the tiny ones that sneak up on you.  After departing from doing your duty, all you want to do is itch, as you can still feel them crawling on you.  I learned not to be afraid of bugs.  To this day I’ll take on a giant spider in the house while my husband stands in the hallway yelling, “Get the bug spray!”  I’ll even nail them with a good hard shoe or slipper if I have to. 

I imagine outhouses aren’t missed by anyone today.  I mean, how could you Jacuzzi in your tub or shower barefooted in one?  And after dark, who knows what lurks in those shadows.  I was there.  I know.

Going Home

`

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

©Jeanne E Webster

`

I went home last night:

`

To Massachusetts

To my mountains

To the Berkshires

To Lake Mattawa

To Bears Den

To Walnut hill

To the Mohawk trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

To the apple orchards

To Mount Monadnock

To the rolling rivers

To the rocky pastures

To the pink lady slippers

To the Indian paint brushes

To the Pond

To the little old church by the wild woods

To the old Cobb house

To Daniel Shay highway

To the sugar maple trees

To Holtshire Road cemetery….

If only in my dreams.

My Name is…

 

©Jeanne E. Webster

 

~

“My name is Jeanne Webster,

Web…eb…ster, Web…eb…ster,

My name is Jeanne Webster…

Who are you?”

~

I remember singing this song in first grade.   As a way of getting to know each other, we’d go around the classroom and when it got to you, you’d sing this, using your name in place of the last student.  It’s a good way to introduce yourself. 

My name is Jeanne Webster.  I was born in western Massachusetts, grew up under the “Army brat” emblem, moved almost every three years, ending up graduating from high school in Germany. My early adulthood was spent as a soldier’s spouse and mother of four children; have seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. I’ve worked as a nurse’s aide, certified medical tech, veterinarian assistant, Home Health Care assistant, and freelance writer.

I have been writing since I learned to scribble my name and going non-stop ever since. Non-fiction is my first love but lately I have ventured into the fiction domain. As you can see from my offerings here, I love prose also. Curiosity draws me into new territories and techniques, as I believe challenges are excellent stimulants for the spirit.

My third “I” is that I am a Christian and take my faith in Jesus Christ most seriously. He is the focus of all my endeavors and the reason I am who I am. I have been a member of numerous denominations, from Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist, and back to Catholic. Presently I do not hold membership in any church. I feel there are too many man-made doctrines infused into religion and therefore I present myself to Christ alone. Christianity is not a religion but a way of life.

Sooo…who are you?

About Me

Jeanne @ 70

© 2010 Jeanne E Webster.  All rights reserved

Born in mountainous central Massachusetts of blue-blood ancestry, I grew up under the low-end middle class umbrella, where you didn’t starve to death but ate gobs of peanut butter sandwiches and wore lots of hand-me-down clothes.  I joined the Army early on as an Army brat , moved almost every three years and ended up graduating from high school from an American high school in Germany.  My early adulthood was spent as a soldier’s spouse and mother of four healthy, beautiful children.  The marriage dissolved after eight years of service amid severe conflicts that emanated from my spouse’s Vietnam deployment.

I’ve worked as a nurse’s aide, certified medical tech, veterinarian assistant, Home Health Care assistant, and freelance writer.  I’ve had my share of ups-and-downs, marital flops, severe domestic abuse, and growing up finally at the age of 59.  Melons mellow out after a while, and I must say I have also.  I’m 70 now, happily married and growing older kickin’ and screamin’ all the way!

I learned  to write my name in kindergarten with that old song, “My name is Jeanne Webster…” and  have been writing non-stop ever since.  Non-fiction is my first love but lately I have ventured into the fiction domain.  As you can see from my offerings here, I love prose also.  Curiosity draws me into new territories and techniques, as I believe challenges are excellent stimulants for the spirit.

My third “I” is that I am a Christian and take my faith in Jesus Christ most seriously.  He is the focus of all my endeavors and the reason I am who I am.  My trust in Him is absolute, having learned early on that people will fail you.  He won’t, never has,  and never will.   I have studied many a doctrine, been a member of numerous denominations  (from Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist, and back to Catholic.)  Presently I do not hold membership in any church.  I feel there are too many man-made doctrines infused into the church’s religion and therefore I present myself to Christ alone.  Christianity is not a religion but a way of life.  Praise the Lord!  Shalom

~ Jeanne E. Webster