Toddler Memory


I think the subject of memory is fascinating. I’ve repressed unpleasant memories; I can think of 2 I definitely suppressed, only to be reminded of them later, and remembering it happening. Huh-suppressed or repressed? Not sure.

Anyhow, I used to have this flash of a memory. In the memory I’m at my great Aunt Mary’s river cottage, and my view is out the screen door, ground level. That’s all the memory was. I loved Aunt Mary’s cottage. There was a ladder leading up to a balcony that surrounded the whole place, where all the kids slept.

About 8 years ago an aunt passed, and my Mom’s cousin, who is a bit younger than her told me when she saw me she remembered she and her husband babysitting me at the cottage when I was about 2. She said I crawled out the screen door. As soon as she told me that I “remembered” the scene and realized that was what I was remembering all these years. I was surprised a memory from that age would be even a little conscious.

Verrrry inter-esting, lol!

I leave you with a picture of a couple of felt bowls I made in a wet-felting class a few months ago.



That is the writing prompt from Mama.

I had a Granddaddy–Granddaddy White.  I’ve written about him before.  I wonder if I have a picture of him on my computer.Yes, you can find it here.

He had an olive complexion, but his eyes were blue as the sky.  I was young when he died.  I remember him as a jolly fellow.   I vaguely remember him pretending to be Santa Claus, slamming the door and saying Ho HO HO!  He passed a week after I turned six.  I wish I’d known him more because I think we share a lot of similarities.  He loved people, just like me.

He was a drinker, but got sober in the last few years of his life, and stayed in recovery.  He had gone to this place called the Shepherd’s Home.  I think I wrote a poem about him.  Let me find it…. Here it is!  Read the poem and you’ll learn a lot about Granddaddy.  I love him so much, and know he’s with me sometimes.  He was 61 when he died.

My Mama had 2 fathers and lost both of them.  The first one, Oswald Allen, left when she was a baby.  She met him a few times during her life.  He disappointed her a lot, but I also don’t know how much my grandmother had to do with it.  I don’t know much about him, except when & where he died.  He had another family.  I communicated with his nephew a while back and learned a bit about him.  Her 2nd father was her Daddy.  His name was Grady Fussell.  He was a grocer, and from what I understand a very kind, gentle person, loved by many.  Sadly, he had a massive heart attack when he was 39 and died.  Mama was 15.  Once this lady, my Mama’s best friend’s mother, told me ‘oh I remember that day, I had to go out to the tobacco field where she was working and tell her.  It broke my heart.’  Well, it broke my heart when Miss Verena told me this years ago.

Memom married a third time, and Bob was the ‘Grandpa’ I knew from Mama’s side.  He was a bit of a drinker.  But he was so much more.  Very, very smart.  He was quite frank, and I believe that turned some people off, but it never bothered me.  I’ve written about him before.  Let me see if I can find it.  Here it is.  I should categorize and tag my posts better.  I didn’t feel particularly close to Bob, but I had a psychic reading several years ago and he showed up.  The psychic described him perfectly, actually mentioning this person who’d shown up was a soldier & lion’s club member!  I knew it was Bob.  He donated his body to science.  Anyhow Bob told me he always thought of me as a granddaughter and it made me feel so good.  He made a big impression on me when I was a child.  He passed when I was 12.  I have a picture of him, holding my little brother & I’m sitting on the arm of the chair.  Oh, can’t find it now, and I’m getting tired.

Here is a pic of Bob holding my baby brother, David, and me sitting on the arm of the chair.

jule bob david 1970


I hope I’m not a total bore!

There used to be a bumper sticker that read “4th of July in Belhaven”. This was in the 70’s, I suppose.

I’m sure I’ve discussed Belhaven before. The town is on a peninsula in Beaufort County, NC. It’s South of Hyde County & North of Pamlico Co by road.

My parents grew up there. Dad’s folks were from Bertie Co. & Washington, the county seat of Beaufort. Not to be mistaken with the charming town of Beaufort south of Belhaven near Morehead.

Mom grew up there. Dad was born in Norfolk, lived in Manteo & moved to Belhaven when he was about 12.

Anywho, there is a big Independence Day celebration in Belhaven every year. The town swelled from about 2000 folks to about 20,000 when I was a kid.

And, I could sit on Granny’s front porch on Main St. & watch it all. It was the most fun. At 9 pm, Avon Skin So Soft slathered on, we went a block over to Aunt Nellie’s to watch the fireworks from her pier. The story of the year the whole caboodle of fireworks exploding prematurely & the (possibly inebriated) operators diving into the water to escape was often retold.

When I was 12 the small community where we lived had its first 4th of July celebration. This was in Beaverdam, Hanover Co, VA. It was 1976, the Bicentennial. I remember the lady who organized it all riding into the Ruritan park on the hood of a white car.

My friend’s Mom was an artist, and both of her parents were a lot of fun. Her Dad had an old open box truck from the 30’s or 40’s. Barb J painted the stars & stripes on the truck & my 2 best friends & I spent a few 4ths (into our early 20’s!) on the back of that truck in the parade. I’ll have to find a picture.

Afterwards we’d go to Lake Anna & ski. Fun, fun times. I always missed Belhaven, though. It was hard to go back after Granny & Memom weren’t there anymore. However, I have lots of relatives there & spent several 4ths there in recent years.

One year my friend and I went to the park here in Richmond. There is a stage called Dogwood Dell & we sat on a blanket & listened to Patriotic music & mellowed way out. They had fireworks there. Later, we were driving on a parkway & pulled over (along with many others!) to watch the fireworks from the baseball diamond.

Tim likes a quiet 4th. We love to watch the Boston Pops & fireworks on PBS. A few years ago our elder son was in Boston on the 4th & saw this stunning fireworks display live.

Today has been mellow. Took a walk with Penny the dog & my sweet friend TT. I also sat in the sun awhile. Decided if I wasn’t doing any house or yard work I was not going to feel guilty, just enjoy it.

Our Internet & TV (Fios) have been down since last night. They are supposed to come & hopefully fix it by 2 pm. If not, I may just drag Tim to some live fireworks.

I’ve had a hard time reading books lately. I’ve gotten so into long-form magazine articles, I wonder if that is why. I ordered Tom Grimes’s novel City of God a while back. The book is stamped “no longer the property of Spokane library”, which amused me.


1st Post of 2013


Well, it’s been a bit rough this past several weeks because Elsie died Friday, 7 December, or early the following morning.  She ran off (something she never did) and either kept running because she panicked and couldn’t hear me calling her, or she may have run off to die.   She was found the following morning in a kind woman’s yard.  She was dirty, but no blood or appearance of having been hit.  The 2 days before she left she was drinking a lot, a whole lot, of water, and I was thinking I’d need to take her to the vet to see why.  My heart is broken, but it will heal.  I will always have her in my heart.  She loved me and I loved her and we had almost 5 wonderful years together.  RIP, my Baby Girl.  I love you forever.  You were a beautiful girl.


November 23rd


Today is my birthday.  It is my favorite day of the year.  I love the Thanksgiving holiday.  In the past,  because my birthday was around or on Thanksgiving, but now because I reflect on how very much gratitude I am blessed to possess.

I was born about 5:20 am the morning after President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.  That has always cast a bit of a pall and fascination around my birthday.  Strangely, 23 November was the birthday of Denise, the first wife of my husband, and Mommy of my boys.  I’ve written some about Denise or grief here, here, here and here.  Today would have been a milestone for Denise, her 50th birthday.  I feel sad for Tim, the boys, her folks and sisters, nieces and friends.

Tim and I were talking about it this morning, and he read some words to me by Kahlil Gibran, from The Prophet.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent

knowledge of the beyond;

     And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart

dreams of spring.

     Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.


     Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd

when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid

upon him in honour.

I have some friends and acquaintances with my birthday.  A few months ago we lost one, Annie Mae.  She fought cancer for 60 years!  Her kindness was renown among her friends.  I was especially attracted and amazed by her incredible kindness to children.  She made delicious chocolate pie.  She loved God, her husband, Billy, and her children.  Her soul is one of the gentlest I’ve known.

Gibran says:

For life and death are one, even as the river and sea are one.


The Henrico Citizen has this amazing piece by its managing editor, Patty Kruszewski.  She lost her daughter to a hit and run driver this year.  It captures so well the agony and, yes, joy that accompanies a tremendous loss.  The price and reward for having loved another.

Gibran tells us in The Prophet our capacity for joy is only as large as our capacity for sorrow.  The full passage is here.  I love the line “Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.”  Tim and I have talked about that so much.

So, with compassion and love I’m thinking of the losses of my loved ones.  I’m thankful for my family and friends.  Life is good.







On a chilly, sunny day.

Flat terrain, near the Pamlico Sound.

Just a church and some houses.

My Uncle Guy Swindell helped build the church.

On our way to Lake Mattamuskeet,

were Virginia, Tim and me.

Uncle Guy was my great-uncle,

and Virginia’s stepfather.

I met a Spencer,

surely a relative in this tiny, swampy place,

home to my ancestors.


the wood,

carved, dark, dusty.

narrow, spiral steps.


the steeple.

Church at Fairfield, Hyde Co., NC

Three Generations, No Imbeciles, Lombardo.  I just couldn’t continue, I think because my attention span is very short right now.  Lots going on.

However, I did read 2 other books this week, and started another.

What It Is by Sarah Burleton.  Quick read, a memoir by someone who was abused horribly by her mother.

Return From Tomorrow by George Ritchie w/ Elizabeth Sherrill.  It is Ritchie’s account of his after life experience when he was at boot camp in training WWII.  It is quite fascinating.  I believe his co-author, Sherrill, originally wrote about George Ritchie in Guideposts magazine.  They state in the book that Ritchie’s story was the inspiration for Raymond Moody’s research into after life experiences.  I found the book very inspirational.  Ritchie is a Christian, and believes the name of God is Jesus, based on his experience.

I am now reading a very entertaining book about the marijuana trade in the 70’s & early 80’s.  It is called  Jackpot, High Times, High Seas, and the Sting That Launched the War on Drugs by Jason Ryan.  It is very interesting, I love historical books that recount events that didn’t happen very long ago.  I’m also dying to see if I recognize any of the characters, because in the late 80’s or early 90’s a fugitive smuggler who was a pilot was captured in Richmond, and, sadly, broke the heart of a girl he was seeing, who I knew.  Small world, no?

Plus, my sister, Betsy, is visiting from IN, I left a job under duress 2 weeks ago, starting a new job next week, closing on a house next week, youngest going to FL on a chorus trip next week, and moving the following week.  I guess that’s about it!