Friday, January 31, 2014


This cloudy morning rests quietly on the earth's layer of white. As January serenely slips away, winter's picture postcard still clings to the mountains. How soon it's stamped and mailed won't depend on the calendar. Winter could pack in a hurry with warmer February days or linger past it's time with snow into spring. The itch to be long past the cold and snow is vexing. But our years are long and time grows short. We will wait. Years ago, we were warned about wishing our life away. 

Don and Phil dreamed their life away. Phil died in 2013:

I can make you mine
Taste your lips of wine
Anytime night or day
Only trouble is
Gee whiz
I'm dreamin' my life away

Johnny Burnett did some dreaming, too. He died in 1964 from a boating accident:
 Well, I'll keep on dreamin'
Keep right on dreamin'
Dreamin' till my dreamin' comes true
 Bobby Darin had a dream lover. Sandra Dee? They are both gone, now.
Every night I hope and pray
A dream lover will come my way

Gene Pitney wanted to love his life away. He's been gone since 2006:
 Yeah, I want to
Love my life away

I wanna love my life away
I wanna love, love, love
Love my life away with you


Thursday, January 30, 2014


Another below zero night, but no new snow on the ground, this morning. A nice, crisp morning, too, with the sun shining through the trees wanting to melt the snow in the corners of the porch. But the power that burns skin on hot,summer days is too weakened by it's winter position to melt any snow on this frigid, January day. Snow piled at the curb and along the walk will wait for warmer days to be slushed by the sun.
On those cold winter days of so long ago, our legs were warmed by knee socks held tightly above the calf with thin rubber bands. The tops would stretch, and those things just wouldn't stay up on their own. Boys, on the other hand, wore long pants or dungarees (that's what we called "jeans", in those days), a ready protection from the cold. A girl wearing pants "out" wouldn't be proper, you know. They would only be worn at home.
Were car coats a fashion new to the fifties? A red, hooded one resides in my memory. No thought was given as to why a "car coat" was called a "car coat". It had a name, and it's name was "car coat". A younger brother had a red car coat, too, just like mine. So "unisex" wasn't alien to the fifties. Was he embarrassed to be wearing a coat like his sister's? Was I embarrassed to be wearing a coat like my brother's? It might have crossed my mind.

 * car coat
   a hip-length overcoat or jacket originally designed to be worn while driving a car.
    What is a Car Coat?
1957 Advertisement for Car Coats
 Adorable car coats. Still such a classic look.
Eddie Fisher - Dungaree Doll
 No. 7 on both the Billboard and Juke Box national charts in early 1956.
Dungaree Doll 
Dungaree doll, dungaree doll
Paint your initials on my jeans
So everyone in town
Will know we go around
Together, together, together
Dungaree doll, dungaree doll
Paste my picture on your sleeve

So everyone can see
That you belong to me
Forever, forever, forever

I want you to wear my orange sweater
The beat up sweater with the high school letter
Gonna make a chain of paperclips
And chain us together while I kiss your lips
Dungaree doll, dungaree doll
promise me you never will fall
For any other guy, tell me you are my
Dungaree, Dungaree
Dungaree Dungaree
Dungaree, Dungaree doll

Hello doll
Your my dungaree doll, dungaree doll
Paste my picture on your sleeve
So everyone can see
That you belong to me
Forever, forever, forever

I want you to wear my orange sweater
The beat up sweater with the high school letter
Gonna make a chain of paperclips
And chain us together while I kiss your lips
Dungaree doll, dungaree doll
Promise me you never will fall
For any other guy, tell me you are my
Dungaree, Dungaree
Dungaree, Dungaree
Dungaree, Dungaree Doll
Dungaree, Dungaree
Dungaree, Dungaree Doll
“It shocks me how I wish for...what is lost and cannot come back.”
Sue Monk Kidd, Traveling With Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story  

Wednesday, January 29, 2014



An even colder night of below zero temperatures, in the mountains, and students will spend another day off from school. But there is no new snow to be shoveled, today. The sun came up so bold and bright in the eastern sky, this morning, to shine through the bare branches of the winter trees. Let the meltdown begin of snow piled high at the curb and in parking lots. With January soon to be gone and February pushing it's way into the valleys and mountains, we've begun the trek toward spring. In time it will come, it will surely come.
In those long ago years, with winter hard upon us, some in the class of 1964 might have been carrying in buckets of coal or armloads of wood to help keep homes and families warm from the cold. Was it a pot belly stove or a Warm Morning that you huddled around on those arctic, winter days that settled on the valley? Were your evenings spent with popcorn or brownies for munching? Were you dreading that walk to school through piles of snow or standing out in the cold waiting for the bus? You probably thought nothing of it at all. That's just the way it was. We were younger and hardier, then, in those good old days in the mountains.


How much wood would a woodchuck chuck
If a woodchuck could chuck wood?
He would chuck, he would, as much as he could,
and chuck as much wood as a woodchuck would
If a woodchuck could chuck wood. 

Making popcorn balls on an idle day at home, might be something the class of '64 would have done.
Old-Fashioned Popcorn Balls
1 cup Karo Syrup, Blue Label or Green Label
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vinegar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 quarts unsalted popcorn

Combine first four ingredients in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture boils. Continue cooking, stirring almost constantly to hard ball stage (260 F) or until a small amount of mixture forms a hard ball when tested in very cold water. Remove from heat; quickly add butter and blend. Slowly pour over popcorn in large bowl, while mixing well. Form into balls, using as little pressure as possible. Butter hands, if desired. Makes 15 about 2-1/2 inches in diameter.
Pastel popcorn balls: Follow above recipe, using Red Label Karo instead of Blue or Green Label, and substitute granulated sugar for brown. Add 2 teaspoons vanilla with butter. Tint syrup desired shade with vegetable coloring.
Old-Fashioned Popcorn Balls Recipe (1950)
You're retired. You know you don't have anything better to do. Watch popcorn popping in slow motion. Gav and Dan show you what popcorn looks like when it... pops.
 (Stand clear of the splattering oil.)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Good Morning, Class of '64
  Last night was a below zero night, here in the mountains, and a below zero night wants an extra warm cover on the bed. With central heating that most houses have nowadays, extra warm covers might not be as important as they were in our growing up years. If you didn't sleep close to the heat source, your room might have gotten a bit cold during the night. You'd have been thankful for a quilted or hand knotted cover made by Mother or Grandma or some other family member or friend who had a desire for piecing quilts in their spare time, or, maybe, out of necessity. Back then, you probably didn't know how lucky you were to have a hand made work of art covering you during the night. You are even more fortunate, still, if you have one, today, that you can display on your wall or quilt rack.
From "The Patchwork Coverlet"
Day after day the pattern grew;
Each block was deftly set in place,
And rows of tiny stitches tell
A tale that time cannot efface.
Of patience, skill, housewifely pride,
Of women's love for pretty thing,
Of fingers trained such work to do
By those who know the joy it brings,
Of time within the home well spent,
The heart with homely tasks content.
Amy Smith
Glad memories are woven unawares
In blending pieces of each favorite dress!
And so this quilt is eloquent today
With happiness that passes not away.
 Aunt Dinah's Quilting Party (Seeing Nellie Home)
 In the sky the bright stars glittered
On the bank the pale moon shone
And 'twas from Aunt Dinah's quilting party
I was seeing Nellie home

   I was seeing Nellie home
   I was seeing Nellie home
   And 'twas from Aunt Dinah's quilting party
   I was seeing Nellie home

On my arm a soft hand rested
Rested like as ocean foam
And 'twas from Aunt Dinah's quilting party
I was seeing Nellie home

On my lips a whisper trembled
Trembled till it dared to come
And 'twas from Aunt Dinah's quilting party
I was seeing Nellie home

On my life new hopes were dawning
And those hopes have lived and grown
And 'twas from Aunt Dinah's quilting party
I was seeing Nellie home

Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days.
 Doug Larson

Monday, January 27, 2014


Many students in the mountains and valleys have another day off from school today. That makes six in a row for some of them. More snow and below zero 
temperatures, with wind chill even lower, are predicted, so more days at home, or two hour delays, could be in their future. 
Only one snow day has a dwelling place In my memory (and no delays). A two part morning movie was being shown on a TV station out of Virginia. Wishing and hoping didn't give us another snow day, and the ending of that movie remains a mystery. There were no recorders, in those days, to tape programs to be viewed later. That movie is probably on YouTube, somewhere, if I could only remember its name!
Doris Day - Snowfall
Snowfall, snowfall
Glistening snowfall
Snowflakes falling
Winter calling
Frozen lays, everyplace
Down they come
Twirling, tumbling lightly
Brightly, lovely snowfall
Lightly, brightly, lovely snowfall
Lovely snowfall

This website claims to be able to predict a snow day based on mathematical and meteorological calculations.  
An old-fashioned treat to make when the snow is fresh and clean, if pollution doesn't worry you. Was this a family tradition during your growing up years?
1 cup milk (any kind)                
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract                
1 pinch salt
8 cups clean snow or shaved ice
(optional topping: sprinkles or chocolate syrup)
In a large bowl, whisk milk, sugar, vanilla and salt together until combined. Go scoop up some fresh (clean!) snow, and immediately stir it into the milk mixture until you reach your desired consistency. Top with sprinkles or other ice cream toppings if desired. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014


More snow is falling in the mountains, today. A blanket of it already covers the ground and rooftops. In our growing up years we might have found a hill, nearby, to carry our sleds or cardboard boxes to. We might have slid down the hill on our bottoms to make a path for the sleds and boxes to follow. We would have slid down the hill and trudged back up till it got too dark to clearly see where we were going. By the time we remembered to go home, we might have snow caked on our coats and leggings or bits of ice dangling from our sleeves. Our cheeks would be red with cold and our noses would be dripping. We had ridden the snow like surfers ride the waves but we had taken the frozen hill in heavy coats, boots and gloves. It was good when snow fell in the mountains.
We might have made a hot cocoa drink after a day in the snow. The hot chocolate drink mixes used today didn't exist for us back then. Maybe they existed in other places, but not in the kitchens most of us might remember.  
Hot Cocoa


3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 
1/4 cup sugar 
4 cups milk 
1/4 teaspoon vanilla 
miniature marshmallows


Blend cocoa and sugar in a small bowl. In a medium saucepan, heat milk to scalding. Mix about 1/3 cup of the hot milk into the cocoa-sugar mixture, then pour cocoa mixture into hot milk in the saucepan; stir until well blended. Stir in vanilla. Serve with mini marshmallows. Serves 4.
Hot Cocoa For A Crowd

Mix 3/4 cup cocoa with 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan. Gradually stir in 1 quart warm water, set over low heat, and heat, stirring now and then, 8 to 10 minutes. Add 2 quarts milk and heat to scalding. Serve in mugs, sprinkled, if you like, with cinnamon or nutmeg or topped with marshmallows.

Hot Cocoa Recipe
How to make hot chocolate from scratch… Quick and easy!
HERSHEY'S "Perfectly Chocolate" Hot Cocoa Recipe


 Whenever there is cold and snow, you talk or write about cold and snow. On this Saturday, in January of 2014, we are having a lot of cold and snow. In those long ago years, that dwell in our memories, a cold, snowy Saturday could probably find us outside in snowball battles with friends, sledding down the nearest hill or building snowmen in the yard. Saturdays could also find us still warm in our beds by late morning. Saturdays meant freedom from school and homework. Saturday was a day at the end of the week to look forward to. Saturdays were for long mornings in bed, and Saturdays in the wintertime were for long days in the snow.
Back in our day, there might have been a favorite, simple meal that was always planned for a Saturday. Nowadays, pizza has become a popular Saturday favorite. Pizza might have been added to menus in the valley sometime in the sixties. Elsewhere they were being made and enjoyed in the fifties. Maybe your family had already discovered the Pizza Pie by then, too. 
Pizza Recipe
(NOTE: We started making this pizza in the 1950's, and I've used the recipe ever since. I like to sprinkle on chopped onion and green pepper. You may add any ingredient you wish. Let sauce set an hour or so to blend flavors before using.)

1/2 c. Milk
1 T. Sugar
3/4 tsp. Salt
3 T. Olive or Salad Oil
1/4 c. Water, warm
1 pkg. Dry Yeast
2 3/4 c. Flour
6 oz. can Tomato Paste
1/2 c. Water
Clove of Garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Pepper
1/2 tsp. Oregano
1/2 tsp. Fennel
4 c. Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
1 lb. Hamburger or Sausage, browned 

Scald milk; stir in sugar, salt and oil. Cool. Measure 1/4 cup water into large bowl; sprinkle in yeast and stir until dissolved. Add milk mixture. Stir in flour; knead for a minute. Place in greased bowl. Let rise 40 minutes. Spread on two lightly greased cookie sheets or pizza pans. Combine the rest of ingredients (except cheese and meat) to make the sauce. Spread on crust; add meat and cheese. Bake at 425ยบ for 20 minutes.
Makes 2 large pizzas
 Retrospect: 1950s New York-Pizza


The essence of nostalgia is an awareness that what has been will never be again. - Milton S. Eisenhower