Remembering Mom – Part 2

If you missed the beginning of this list you can find it here.

I’m realizing that this list could go on for days, so we’ll see what happens. I hope you enjoy learning about what a wonderful mother and person my mom was.

 J Perkins 90th Birthday

11. Saturday was usually Mom’s shopping day. She didn’t learn to drive until she was in her 50’s, so when we were young she depended on Dad to take her to the A & P grocery store on the weekends. Can you imagine only being able to go to the store once a week with 8 hungry mouths to feed? She did a great job of stocking up to make things last for the week, but I remember drinking powdered milk at times either because she couldn’t afford to buy more or she couldn’t get to the grocery store. I’m guessing her weekly trips were also a time of solitude that she looked forward to, but sometimes she’d allow one of us to go with her. Those were precious times when she let us help her choose food for the week and maybe even get a treat.

12. Mom would sometimes bring home delicious fresh rye bread, deli meats and cheeses on shopping day. They never lasted much more than a day because they were favorites for the whole family. That’s where I discovered my love for a good deli meal. We had Munster, Colby, Cheddar, Longhorn, Swiss and American cheese with fresh sliced Ham, Turkey, Roast beef, Braunschweiger and more. In the summer sometimes we’d add giant slices of Beefsteak Tomatoes and fresh lettuce from my grandmother’s garden. Mmmm!

13. As the family grew, Mom and Dad gave up their bedroom so that all of us kids could have one. They converted the living room to a sleeping area at night and added a sliding door for privacy. They kept their clothes in my oldest sister’s room. I imagine that was quite a sacrifice since they had no place to get away until we were all asleep in bed.

14. She often planned a once a year summer day trip as the sole adult with all of us kids to the northern Ohio amusement park, Cedar Point. We’d get up early in the morning and walk a block or so to the highway to catch the bus heading for Sandusky, then ride a ferry boat from Sandusky across the bay to the park. We spent the whole magical day riding thrill rides, seeing musical variety shows, and traversing the skies on the overhead sky ride. She always packed a substantial lunch for us, then later in the day she’d buy those famous Momma Berardi’s homemade French Fries and salt water taffy to hold us over. We’d stay as long as possible to squeeze out every drop of fun until either my dad came after work to pick us up or we caught the last bus for home.Vintage Cedar Point

15. Mom let us choose what kind of cake we wanted for our birthday and I often requested freshly baked Angel Food cake with strawberries and whipped cream. I can taste it now!

Angel Food cake with strawberries
photo by Lacy DeVeney

16. In August of each year she took each of us separately on a school clothes shopping trip – I recall riding that morning bus in the other direction this time – to the Midway Mall in Elyria – just Mom and I, eating lunch at the restaurant in the mall and buying new shoes and clothes for the upcoming school year. This was probably my favorite day of the year.  Not because I was shopping, but because I got to have my mom all to myself for an entire day!Midway Mall in Elyria Ohio circa 1970's

17. A limited budget and endless creativity brought forth unique homemade Halloween costumes for us each year. I wouldn’t be caught dead in one of those unimaginative store-bought ones.

18. Halloween parties at the Vermilion-on-the-Lake (VOL) Clubhouse were organized by her. She dressed as a witch and made witches’ brew using dry ice. I remember dunking for apples, fishing for prizes with a clothes pin on a string, costume contests and so much more.Vermilion-on-the-Lake Clubhouse

19. There was a Christmas play one year, written by my sister, Sharon and produced by Mom at the VOL Clubhouse with the neighborhood kids. The stage background was painted by Wayne Crozier, complete with his signature mouse hiding in the scene.

20. Each year she creatively decorated our 5 foot silver aluminum Christmas tree with matching colored glass balls. Since there would inevitably be breakage in the process of unpacking and packing the delicate glass, the following year she’d buy a set of a different color, then the 3rd year she’d use a combination of the previous years. The tree was often perched on top of a table up and out of the way of little hands and active pets. You can see a sliver of the tree in the background below. I remember spending what seemed like hours sitting in the living room gazing at the ever changing tree with the colored light wheel casting shadows on the walls and ceiling. It was mesmerizing!Jaye at Christmas

Looking over these memories I can see so many things that I learned from my mother. How to use my creativity in decorating, sewing, having fun. How to shop wisely, how to plan ahead for special activities, the importance of saving where needed, but splurging once in a while…so many lessons that I still use today. I’m so thankful for her giving and teaching spirit.  What a gift it was!

There’s a bit more to come, so stay tuned.  Thanks for reading!

Does this bring to mind some things that you’re most thankful for about your mother?

Happy Halloween!!!

Halloween just isn’t what it used to be for me.  I’ve definitely done my fair share of trick-or-treating.  In fact, growing up in Ohio, we used to dress up and go out as early as possible all around the neighborhood and fill a large paper grocery bag with candy until it was so full that we could barely carry it.  Then we’d go back home, just to get another empty bag and head out again.  My favorite house to go to was the one that gave out hot apple cider and fresh donuts!  Mmmmm…

As a youngster, part of the fun of Halloween was figuring out what kind of costume to have my mom make.  She never used a pattern and NEVER bought those cheesy costumes with the stiff plastic masks from the 5 and Dime store.  We always came up with unique ideas and she just figured out a way to make it work.  I guess that’s what you do when you have 6 kids and not a lot of money or ways to get to the store.

I’ll admit that one year she got a little TOO creative and decided that I should be Mother Nature for Halloween.  Now what would you imagine Mother Nature to look like?  She decided that I should have leaves sewn all over my leotard (which later became dead and brown) and that’s all I remember of it.  I also recall that my sister was a beautiful sparkly silver Christmas package with a huge red bow in her hair that year and she won a prize for the prettiest costume at our neighborhood Halloween Party.  People just kept looking at me and asking, “What are you supposed to be?”  (Not my most fun Halloween to be sure.)

I do know how to get in the Halloween spirit, as evidenced by this photos of me as an adult.  I’m the scarecrow on the left and yes, my belly was stuffed with straw.  This was at California Institute of the Arts where I worked in the Accounting office.  My boss, Christina (on the right) was so excited about Halloween that she would take vacation days just to decorate the office.  We won the CalArts contest almost every year for the best decorated office on campus.  She was the mastermind of it all.  I was just there to help.  That was in the mid-90’s and may have been the last time I dressed up for Halloween.

I have had a lot of fun continuing the tradition of creative costume designs with our kids too.  It was always a challenge for them to come up with an idea and for us to make something from nothing.  Often times it was a matter of some thrift store shopping with a few alterations, props, accessories or make up.  Other times it was just whatever we could do to bring an idea to life.  As they got older they created their own costumes and they were much more creative than I ever was.

These last 2 shots are the first time we dressed Amy up for Halloween.  She was 17 months old and I debated and debated about whether to do anything.  On Halloween Day I decided it would be fun, so we went down the street to the nearby Salvation Army Thrift store and I bought her whole costume.  I love the one of her looking at her own face in the mirror.

So for those who love this holiday, have an awesome spooky day!  I’m perfectly content to decorate for Autumn and avoid all that scary stuff.  I enjoy watching others celebrate the holiday and that’s good with me.

In fact at the very moment when this is scheduled to post, Terry and I will be on our way to North Carolina to visit his Dad and wife, so we’ll pretty much miss Halloween altogether unless they have trick-or-treaters at their house.  But we’re o.k. with that.

Have a Happy Halloween everyone!

This is post # 299…I’m trying to decide what to do for 300. Any ideas?

This picture is kind of in honor of Halloween. Not too spooky, but we know the holiday is all about dead people. This is the graveyard where Paul Revere is buried in Boston. We only had about 6 kids come to the door last night. Probably because we didn’t get home until well after dark, so the little ones were probably already done by then.

In case you didn’t notice, I posted a slide show over on the right side of the page of my favorite pictures from vacation. Hope you enjoy them! I’d love to take the time to caption them all, but that would take way too long. Sorry.

Tonight is the reception! We went over last night so the A/V guy (Don) and the Caterer & Lighting guy could set up their equipment and get one last look at the yard. It’s already starting to look like a party. I’ll head over there mid-afternoon, to work on the last minute prep before the guests start arriving. Terry’s going to help with running the A/V equipment so I don’t have to mess with it. Don showed him everything last night, so we should be good to go. I really have very little to do tonight. It feels strange not to have a bazillion things to finish up, but that’s what it’s like when you can pay people to do most of the tasks. It’s very nice.

Please pray that things will go smoothly and that the bride, groom and host couple are all happy with the results.

Halloween Costumes

In the spirit of all that is Autumn…

Here’s a fun pic of Amy & Kevin the first Halloween that we spent in SCV 1986.

Amy was a ballerina in a hand-me-down tutu (is that how you spell it?) and Kevin was a farmer, of course. We generally created costumes from thrift store finds and they turned out o.k. Nothing spectacular, but they had fun. The kids both have pretty creative minds so the fun was in the ideas, not necessarily the costumes.

Let’s see…here’s a list of a few of the costumes that they wore, not in any order. Sometime I’ll post some of the pics.

Indiana Jones
Lumberjack with full beard
Mormon Missionary
Peter Pan
A Nerd
A Bum
A Hippie

Bunch of grapes
50’s girl
70’s girl
Gift-wrapped present
Black Cat

I know there’s more, I just have to dig more through my old photo boxes. Some day I’m going to do a scrap book album just of their Halloween pictures. They are just so DARN CUTE!