Gypsy's Travels

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"Wordless Wednesday" - Paintings from USAF Collection

"Going Home" by Phillip Wertzgerber

"The Pave Hawk and the Pironette" by Melvin S. Brown, Jr

Artist Bill Lacy with his painting
"Welcoming Committee"
(You can't see the little group of penguins on the right.)

"Foundations of Freedom"
Painting depicts Freedom with the American Flag and a B1b Bomber
by David Blair
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Air Force Artists are not compensated monetarily; they donate their work to the USAF collection. These artists are nationally known for their work in various media, but must be juried into the Air Force Art Program before receiving accreditation as an Air Force Artist. The Air Force Art Collection is on permanent display in Washington, D.C., at the Pentagon, the Smithsonian Air Space Museum, and at Major Command Headquarters.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memory Box - One Wrong Step"

"I remember.....
.....When it was time for me to go register for classes and to tour the Baylor University Campus, Dad was recovering from surgery on his Achilles tendon. Poor Dad hobbled around the campus on crutches and when he returned to the doctor, his incision was green."

DH tore his achilles tendon when he stepped into an elevator without looking (he was waving goodbye to me). The elevator did not properly meet the building floor and he hyperflexed his foot, tearing the tendon. He was in a full leg cast for several weeks, but he managed to do most of the things that he needed to do. Since we had a 2-story house, I served him breakfast in bed and he did everything he could before coming downstairs. The thing he disliked most, was my having to drive him wherever he wanted to go.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day - "Thank you"

Our generation has always known war. We were born with it and have lived with it most of our lives. My dad (on the left) and my uncle (right) were both career military so it was a way of life for both families. My dad served in WWII and Korea, a brother in Vietnam, my son-in-law in Bosnia and Iraq (3 tours). We have a proud history of service to our country.

This Memorial Day, I give thanks for all our freedoms and say "THANK YOU" to all the veterans, and their families, who ensure those freedoms. Like the bumper sticker says - "If you can read this, thank a teacher; if you are reading this in English, thank our military."
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Saturday, May 24, 2008

PhotoHunt - "Shoes"

The theme for today is "Shoes." These were photographed in Italy, near the cobbler's shop. Zoom in for a closer look at the variety.

More interesting "Shoes" here.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

From the Memory Box - "The TR4"

"I remember when Dad got the Triumph. DD-Ki, DS, and I pushed it up and down the driveway at the lady's house trying to get it started. Although Dad was worried it wouldn't start, it did, and led to many adventures for the two of you."
Actually, I believe you might be remembering when we got the Triumph for DS. We have had several Triumphs and each has its own story. This one was made the same year DS was born and it seemed fitting for him to drive it off to college.

Dad's theory was that it was simple enough for DS to learn about car mechanics and keep it running. It would give him some means of transportation but not allow any extravagant trips or carrying a lot of people. I really think Dad was bestowing his own dream on his son.

The Triumph ran well enough to get him home occasionally.
"It doesn't go very fast," he said. We just smiled
One day he announced with great pride that he had the best parking space on campus. It seems he did not take it out very often, so he just kept moving it to a better parking place at each opportunity. Now, he had the best one and he kept it all semester.
We stored DS' TR4 for many years after college as he moved around the country and needed more reliable transportation. It is in the process of being restored and should be available for driving before too many more months. Hopefully, now he'll have time to get my TR3 up and running.
I have many tales of our Triumph days that I can relate in future posts. For details of some of our trips, see here.
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Thursday, May 22, 2008

From the Memory Box - "Children and TV"

"I remember your saying 'If I could figure out how to hook up an exercise bike to the TV, I would do it!'"

Yes, this was an oft repeated lament. I was one of those mothers who was always shooing children outside to play. That is difficult when the summers are so hot and humid. We had only one TV and it was in the family room. Children sneaked in at every opportunity, turned it on with the sound down low, and lazed around until I discovered them. I figured if the TV were hooked up to run off an exercise bike, they would either get more exercise or watch less TV.

There were also restrictions on what they could watch. Besides the usual no-nos, I outlawed such shows as "The Flintstones." That Flintstone woman was always putting her husband down, making him look incompetent and foolish. It was a message I didn't want washed into my children's brains. I was well aware that several programs that were banned at our house, were viewed at the friend's homes. My thinking was that the children were conversant with the programs so they did not feel left out at school, but they realized there was something wrong with those programs since they were not allowed to watch them at home. We talked about them, but it was never a very important conversation to any of us. TV was just not that important. Only rarely did we ever watch it during our meals, and that was because it was something of particular interest. They never had TVs in their rooms, so that was not an issue.

My ultimate and, in my opinion, most successful plan was that each child could watch 30 minutes of TV, under the same common rules (no violence, etc.). If they wanted to watch an hour long show, they had to negotiate with the others for a combined time. It seemed to work and the different ages had little interest in watching the older or younger ones programs so viewing time was decreased overall.

So what was the long-range effect? I only know that for my grandchildren, TV is a special dispensation.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - "Make it Fit"

Something was too wide for the door. Well, what would you do?

Photographed in Italy.

More photos on Wordless Wednesday here.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

From the Memory Box - "Weekend Isolation"

"I remember when we used to have stores and sell our junk in our doorways to one another."

That must have been when you were banished to your rooms "until they were cleaned." I would warn you in advance, then begin the sentence on Friday. You were only allowed out to go to church, visit the bathroom, and go to the dinner table. Of course, it backfired on me. All of you stayed in your rooms, quite happily, all weekend. You did not have TVs or radios in your rooms, so you read and hung out by the doors to talk to one another. You exchanged books by sliding them across the hall from one room to the next. Monday morning you went off to school with nary a thing having been accomplished in your rooms.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Odd Shot Monday - "Multitude of Motorcycles"

Not only are there a multitude of motorcycles, there is an odd little car in the middle.
Taken in Florence, Italy.
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Sunday, May 18, 2008

From the Memory Box - "Lost Shoes"

"I remember losing our shoes at someone's house in the neighborhood and you had to call around in the morning to find them."

Now this is one I don't remember at all! Most of the time all the neighborhood kids were playing at our house, so it is a surprise to me that you lost your shoes elsewhere. You probably had to pull them off to go in someone else's house.

The neighborhood was quite small, so calling around was not a big deal. Calling before you had to leave for school might have been bad timing. The bus stopped right in front of our house and would wait a minute or two for you if you were running late. Later, after the neighborhood had built up a little more, the bus stopped at more centrally located spots. When you missed the bus (the driver no longer waited), you had to run to the end of the street ( we lived near the beginning of a loop) and flag the bus down and get on. I think the other kids gave you a hard time about that, so it didn't happen more than one time for each one of you. "It was so embarrassing!"

If you completely missed the bus, I would take you one time. If you missed it again, you had to stay home and take a note to school the next day stating that you were absent because you had missed the bus. That did not happen more than once. Fortunately, all of you learned valuable lessons from these simple acts, but I was not voted "Mother of the Year."

Saturday, May 17, 2008

PhotoHunt - "Candy"

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This might look like fruit, including cactus fruit (tuna), but it is really made of marzipan. What a neat fruit bowl this would be.
Photographed in Florence, Italy.

Friday, May 16, 2008

From the Memory Box - "German Dancing"

"I remember Kr and DS doing German dances. We would go to the restaurant and all do the "Chicken Dance."

The kids had a great HS German teacher who also sponsored a German Dance Group. Kr & DS also danced with a community group that did, mostly, German dances. We had great fun watching them perform at various festivals and, you're right, we could all do the "Chicken Dance" with great fervor.

I LOVE to dance and attempted to join the community group. One practice session had me spinning so much that I walked sideways after we finished, so I gave it up. DS took great delight in doing the polka with me because he so enjoyed seeing me too dizzy to walk a straight line afterward.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tornadic Turmoil

Well, tornadoes are the talk of the town after the wild weather we had last night. It is no wonder since the devastation of the small town of Jarrell, Texas, just shy of exactly 11 years ago. On 27 May 1997 a category 5 tornado ripped through the town leaving horror in its wake. I live in Georgetown, Texas, only about 20 miles away. Just as survivors of hurricanes on the coast pay their respects to a storm's fury by leaving town, so do savvy residents in the possible path of a tornado prepare for the worst.

My neighbor and I were at a concert of choirs when the director made an announcement near the end of the concert.
"A tornado warning has been announced. Do you want to leave now or hear 'The Hallelujah Chorus'?" he asked the audience that overflowed the building.
A vote ("Baptists vote on everything," he said with a smile) overwhelmingly opted for hearing Handel's music. Afterward, our hearts full of the night's musical offerings, we all departed in good humor, without undue haste, but with great purpose. It was dark, windy, and raining, but there was no tell-tell hail which might indicate a tornado in the immediate area.

At home, I implemented a simple plan of opening the door to the half bath in the hallway. This room has no windows, is protected by outside walls, and stays fairly well stocked with bottled water, a flashlight, and a blanket. I added a pillow and cell phone. This dry run reminded me that I need a battery operated radio so I can maintain my flow of information. Fortunately, I did not have to use it, but I was pleased with my readiness. A tornado does not give much warning before touchdown.

DD's said they were prepared as well. That was harder since they have small children to oversee and to avoid undue alarm. See DD Ko's preparation here. The community has sirens that sound in emergency situations. We hear them tested every Wednesday at noon. DD Ko said theirs went off several times, which tends to discount the veracity people assign to them. Ours did not go off, but I sleep soundly and I doubt I would have heard it. I stayed up until most of the danger was past, otherwise I would have nested in the half bath for safety.

Amazing to me was the apparently large number of complaints to the TV station which was tracking and broadcasting the storm information. Some viewers were upset over the interruption of a popular TV show. Although the station ran the show on a sister station, they announced it would be aired at 1 a.m. for anyone who missed it and wanted to access it. Obviously, some of the populace did not realize how serious the situation was.

This was not my first brush with a tornado. When I lived in Colorado, one swept by one night leaving our house intact, but taking the garage that stood a few feet away. I never stop to question the fury of the spiraling winds.

Memory Box - "The Scam"

This is DD-Ko's story.....

"When I was a Junior in HS (or maybe a sophomore), I had a lunch money scam going on. It didn't start out to be one, contrary to what was thought. Dad would go out to the car and warm it up for me so I didn't have to get in a cold car. (I don't think I ever did thank you, Dad, so Thanks!) Anyway, while he was warming up the car one day, I asked Mom for lunch money - a whopping $1.25 at the time. Mom gave me some and when I got to school, Dad handed me $1.25 for lunch. I didn't say anything, and this continued for several weeks. Finally, one day while the car was warming up, Dad came in and asked Mom - while I was standing right there - for some quarters for my lunch money. Mom told him she didn't have any because she had been giving me lunch money for the last several weeks. Dad looked over at me and said, "So have I!" By this time they were both looking at me, and luckily I remember Dad kinda' laughing. I never got in trouble for it. Whew....."

I can hardly qualify this account with a response. Most of our children ran a scam at one time or another, but they have grown into responsible, honest adults. Most of their enjoyment appeared to have come from trying to get the best of Mom & Dad. Even when I took them grocery shopping, I was at risk. One day I got almost to the checkout stand before I noticed my basket was full of expensive, frivolous items. I might not have noticed until later except the children had gotten very quiet. THAT attracted my attention. They waited with shining eyes and an air of expectancy until I looked down and saw my filled basket, then they all dissolved in laughter.

Is it any wonder they had to be graduating Seniors to before they were allowed to drive themselves to school?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

From the Memory Box - "Learning from Tapes"

"Remember how you put all your notes on tape so you could listen to them as you carted us around? The sounds of children fighting were in the background."

I enrolled in Nursing School when my children were deemed old enough to function, at least somewhat, by themselves. It was quite a shock to our home system to have this stay-at-home mom going back to school. Time was of the essence. DH did what he could but he was travelling a lot at the time so I tried to make every second count. I had no family close enough to help and would only call on friends in case of a real emergency.

There was a ton of reading and absorbing new information. One of my techniques for covering information, was to read certain notes into a tape recorder, then play them back as I drove to and from classes more than an hour away and as I delivered the children to their various activities. It was not what the children wanted to hear. I sometimes played tapes when I went to sleep, thinking my subconscious would remember it even if I didn't.

Eventually, I realized it was taking too much time to listen to all those tapes and I reverted to my original study habits. It is not easy for an old dog to learn new tricks but, with patience and perseverance, it can be done.

I finally graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The next day, my children lined up to present their physical complaints one by one and I gave them the benefit of my new-found expertise.
"That's the same thing you told us before you became a nurse!" one protested.
"Maybe so, but now it is official!" said DH.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Odd Shots Monday - "A Step Back in Time"

We took a step back in time Saturday at the Old Settler's Park in Round Rock, Texas. The Williamson County Historical Museum sponsored a pioneer day with the theme, "Home, Sweet Texas Home." It was well attended, but not overly crowded, so we felt comfortable letting the children have a little more freedom than we would have otherwise.
Throughout the day, the various participants we met were very interested in imparting information about their particular area. The Buffalo Soldiers had set up a typical campsite with many interesting artifacts that the children were actually encouraged to touch. Wearing a wool Army uniform coat, the spokesman of the group had chosen authenticity over comfort. In the sweltering 90 degree heat, he enthusiastically talked about some of the items from their predecessors' everyday life.

A well-worn deck of playing cards held images far removed from today's world.
"How can you tell this is a Jack and not a King? You are right! He doesn't have a crown."
"What is this toothbrush made from? Yes, wood. And this one? No, they didn't have plastic then. Yes, it was bone."
He asked Em to read the words on a small tin before he opened it. "Pumice Stone," she said.
"And where does pumice stone come from?" he asked the large group that had gathered around.
Seven-year-old Abs was the only one to raise her hand, which she did wildly, waving it around and calling out, "I know! I know!"
Looking at her with some disbelief, he asked for the answer.
"Volcanoes! It comes from the lava when a volcano erupts," she shared excitedly. How was he to know she had just finished reading books on Pompeii.

We moved on to lunch. Free hot dogs were provided until they were gone. That didn't take long when some families were carrying off 2-3 per person. We stood in line for at least a half hour to get hot dogs for the two little children in our group. The rest of us opted for the "authentic dutch oven meal" which cost $3.00.

The scene was picturesque with all the dutch ovens holding Hoppin' John and delicious biscuits, flanked by a simmering pot of beans. The volunteers remained very amiable in spite of the wood fire and charcoal heat raising the temperature in the immediate area.

Our family gathered on benches in the shade close by, to eat our delicious lunch served in a bowl, much as the pioneers would have done while on the trail. Small concessions were made to the times - disposable bowls, utensils, and a blue container of water.Hot weather in the Hill Country is very tolerable when there is shade and a slight breeze.

Fortified with food and water, we perused the rest of the pioneer offerings. The children picked the seeds from cotton so the lady could card and spin the fibers into thread. They enjoyed corn muffins spread with butter fresh from the churn. They thought washing clothes on a rub board with homemade soap, then hanging them out to dry, was fun. Been there, had to do that, not fun for long.

The authentic one-room schoolhouse had been moved to the park. The "Schoolmarm" gave us a lot of information on the history of education in the little building. The children may not have gone to school as long as they do now, but the level of education was much higher in the years they did go. Of course, there were fewer children in a classroom and the older ones helped the younger ones. They practiced their writing on slates with chalk. The quill pens were used sparingly. I was left with the amusing mental image of the "Schoolmarm" chasing chickens and turkeys to replenish the quill supply.
Children were easily amused by simpler toys in the pioneer days. I often wonder what they would think of the high-tech no-brainers we offer our children today.

The girls made corn shuck dolls. These would have been a delight to young girls who had just finished hours of shucking corn and had a bit of time to play.

Junior was delighted by the different pull toys. Simple items that would have been hand carved and sanded after the days work was done. A true labor of love from a tired father for his beloved child.

Another gift from simpler times was the gift of amazement. It is hard to amaze the children of today who have never known a time when men had not walked on the moon or flown in space ships. popular musical groups have blue faces and pyrotechnics, history happens in our living rooms on screens almost half the width of the room itself.
Abs was amazed Saturday by a simple "magic trick" with a dollar bill. The bill appeared variously on a small wooden board, sometimes under a gray ribbon and sometimes under an orange one.
Abs doesn't usually sit still but she sat quietly for 30 minutes, turning and
examining the board and the money, until she finally understood how it worked.

The look of wonder on a child's face is priceless.
It was a full day. We were hot and tired, but very happy.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Monday, May 5, 2008

Odd Shot on Monday - "An Unexpected Photo"

Apparently, in the 1940's, photographers snapped photos of passersby on the street. This is my great aunt walking down the street, minding her own business. She is probably in a hurry, based on her stride and no-nonsense air. She might be watching her reflection in the store windows or taking stock of the new fashions displayed. The taxi at the curb helps date the photo. I wonder if she had just come from the "Optical Company" noted on the sign and she is wearing new sunglasses. She must have liked the way she looked to have bought this photo from a street photographer. It is not a Polaroid. Did she pay up front and give out her name and address? Was there a studio nearby and she went in later to pick up the photo? This was probably downtown Houston. I don't think she worked there, I wonder why she was there and did she visit often enough to pick up a photo, or was it mailed to her. We'll never have the answers.
Do you make notes on the backs of your photos, or will your descendants be speculating?
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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Dating Vintage Car

I am still trying to date the car in my last post. Now I have a starting point. I believe it must date between 1920 - 1922 based on photos I found on the Internet. Since my photo does not show the whole car and it is not very clear, this might be as close as I can date it.

Top photo is of a 1920 Model T Touring Car and the bottom one is a 1922 Model T Touring Car. These photos are borrowed from Hubcapcafe - just giving credit.

Thank you all for the tips!

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

PhotoHunt - "Time"

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"A Moment in Time"
These family members captured in a deteriorating photograph. I have soft-focused the edges to cover the glare and sharpen the subjects. I wonder what model car this is.
More photos @ PhotoHunt