Saturday, July 27, 2019


    Yesterday was a hard day.  My friend Mary was buried yesterday.  She was one of my best friends and I'll miss her terribly.
    Mary was interested in just about everything but especially was a strong advocate for Michigan and Grand Rapids.  I used to tell her she should make public service announcements and she sort of did when she worked part time for a few years at the Chamber of Commerce where people who were new in town or visiting would stop in  to ask where to go and what to do. She met some very interesting people that way and would come home and tell me about them.
    She quilted for awhile, making a baby quilt for each of her grands (these are her hands) and quilted with a group of women from church for awhile.  But it was funny - when she was done with something, she was done with it and let it go and didn't look back.  " I'm done with that," she'd say.
     I also used to tell her, quite often,  that I wanted friends like she had: lots of them, interesting and interested, and varied enough to always have someone to call when she wanted to either go for investigating walks in county parks, a concert, a play, antiquing, berry picking, it didn't matter.  She had someone in her telephone book that she could call for any event.  Antiquing friend didn't like to walk and walking friend couldn't sit through a concert, so there was always someone.   And if she liked you you were in her telephone book forever.
     Mary had friends that lasted her whole life.  Franny was, she would say,  "my friend from womb to tomb" because their mothers were friends and Mary and Franny met in a sandbox when they were three years old and as life would have it, Franny and her husband ended up in the same assisted living home with Mary.  The boy next door while she was growing up ended up at that same assisted living home in the room right next to Mary's.  She gathered her friends and kept them and brought them along with her.  I heard about many of them for decades but only just met many of them at her funeral.  And, it turned out, they heard all of the stories about me, too.

     Mary moved in across the street from us when my kids were young. Just about immediately after she and her husband moved in he passed away but she carried his torch for the remainder of her days, talking about him and including his quips in her conversations like he was in the next room.  I came to know her three sons and daughters-in-law and her grandchildren and will be eternally grateful that in these past few months they kept me in their email loop as her condition worsened and I reported to them after each of my weekly visits.  We had adventures right till the end.
     Her sons often claimed she loved their dogs more than she loved them.  After her husband passed away the boys gave her a puppy for Christmas.  She called the next day to tell me and said, "A puppy! They gave me a puppy!  I WANTED a slip! Where's my slip??!!" But Mamie turned out to be the best gift ever.  They were a walking fixture in the neighborhood, at parks, everywhere.  Mary and Mamie. They were a real team. 
     She had a fabulous sense of humor that shone through her laughter, her disposition and her off the cuff quips that came fast and free.  We laughed a lot. A lot.
     The last time she was really good was around my birthday.  We went out for lunch for our respective birthdays and we went out for mine this year.  She was slipping and she knew it, "I'm losing my beans" morphed from her former mantra, "I'm fine!  As long as I don't lose my beans" or "At least I still have my beans!"  But after January her beans started dropping out of the bag and then things went faster.

    Mary was 20 years older than me.  While she wasn't my mother, she could have been and the good things I learned from her I will carry with me.
     Ironically, my friend  Fred's funeral is today in California.  Between the two of them they've been in my life for 85 years.  Two friends who knew how to listen and be a friend.  I hope I learned their lessons. The hole they leave is a big one. They will be greatly missed.

Monday, July 22, 2019


Today the heat finally broke so I picked blueberries and made a pie.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Fun Days

Earlier this week the Lowell Historical Museum held a day camp where the kids could choose activities including making a model of a covered bridge, making donuts and cooking eggs over a hobo fire. For my part I helped the kids with with flower pounding and writing/drawing with a quill pen.  The camp is held on the grounds of Fallasburg Village, home of a covered bridge, and where people still live in the actual historic homes.  It's a beautiful, peaceful place right on the Flat River.

 I spent most of the day before gathering flowers.  Friend Karen graciously let me strip her garden, I stopped by the roadsides for some, and took my geraniums and day lilies.  I even stopped at the local McDonald's and asked if I could have a cup full of their marigold blossoms.
 You never know what you are going to get after you've pounded a flower.  You might think that orange day lily is going to give you orange but it's more purple and yellow.  The red roses gave purple, the trumpet vine flowers gave brown.
 This was a  pale purple petunia.
 Some made a sampler of different flowers, some made pictures forming skirts, heads, hair, limbs with different parts and pieces of flowers.  The best intensity was from marigolds, geraniums, petunias, pansies.  It depends on the flower (and what I could find.) The kids were excited to see what they thought they would get was very different from what they actually DID get.

 There was also a lesson in square dancing!
 It was a little daunting at first but by the second time around they had a good handle on what to do.
 With some improvising, of course.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Happy Birthday

Since last fall Adelaide has been planning on baking and decorating her mom's birthday cake.  As luck would have it we celebrate that tomorrow and we have the girls here today so doing the project here keeps it a surprise. Perfect.

This was Adelaide's project so she did it all herself and with a little sideline guidance she made it all happen. 
 Her plan was to draw mom on the top of the cake
 and then I showed both of them how to make frosting roses.

 She did a great job and we know her mom will be surprised and happy with this.  Adelaide is puffed up with pride!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Quilt show 2019

Well, we did it again!  Sunday (June 30) the quilt exhibit I plan and organize took place during our church's annual festival.  I COULD NOT DO THIS  without the help of the legions of people involved with me.   I need quilts, this year fifty-two people gave me quilts for a total of 105. This part alone requires a LOT of telephone time. These people trusted me with their treasures, sometimes for weeks before.   PH and Friend Terry used their muscles and stamina to pack and unpack the cars and carry the quilts into the church.  Quilts are heavy, you know? And it was an almost 90 degree day.    As soon as Father left the altar after Mass we moved in.  I had help from Friends Marilyn, Jan, daughter Lisa, grands Elizabeth and Adelaide, and Aina (whose Terry was helping Bruce and George hang the balcony quilts.)   Parishoners  Carolyn, Kay, Lisa, MaryEllen, Sheila, George, Joan and I KNOW I'm missing someone in here but it's very hectic taking everything out of bags and totes and getting them into pews and if my back was turned or I was answering a question I just didn't know who all may have lent a hand in this part.  Then we strung a rope around the pews and hung "Thou Shall Not Touch the Quilts" signs on the rope (which I made myself the first year.)   In thirty minutes we were done.

When it was over, 5 hours later, many of the quilters came to pick up their quilts so packing up for us was a lot easier.  Still a lot of quilts but not what we came in with.

We knew when we got home the minute we sat down rigor mortis was going to set in.  We groaned and moaned and walked hump backed to bed where I slept for about 40 minutes for the whole night.

Monday I got in the car and returned a majority of what needed to be returned.  There are just quilts for 4 people left but this is 4th of July week and no one is home.  So I rest.

All in all, it was a beautiful display.  People come through the church so very happy as they look, ask questions, wish they could purchase and exclaim.  It's  a very happy day for sure.