Archive for Mar 2014

Planning for this first initial post to tell my Grandparents’ story through their love letters has been more difficult than I expected. I am learning as I go and can only hope to do their story justice. I am learning.

I have learned that the letters begin well before the war. I have learned that there were times when my grandmother would write every single day. I have learned that my grandfather’s handwriting is easier to read than my grandmother’s. I have learned that while my grandfather rarely dated his letters, his voice on paper has a greater degree of eloquence than my grandmother’s most of the time.

As I progress with this project, I realize I am discovering parts of my history. And I am realizing that there are some details in the story that I crave to understand more. I will do my best to figure out those missing pieces to help keep you on track. In the meantime, here is a little background….

My grandmother, Christine, first met my grandfather, Eugene, when she was 12. He was fifteen and good friends with her brother. They go by Sis and Bud.  My grandfather had a twin sister, Evelyn. After chatting with one of Sis and Bud’s daughter’s earlier today, I learned that we aren’t sure if my grandfather did in fact graduate from high school His family struggled through the depression which may be the reason. Evelyn, however, did graduate and my aunt asked my grandmother why Grandpa’s pictures weren’t in any yearbook. She seemed embarrassed by the question, and simply stated that he waited for her. When my grandfather enlisted in the service, his plan was to go Navy. At that point, he had a wife and child and he was told that he could only enlist as a Merchant Marine. It turns out having a family was a blessing in more ways than one for him. While at sea, he was denied a trip on JFK’s ship PT109 due to having a family…a ship that was bombed during that very cruise.

Now, I know I promised one letter per week….but I have decided to share the first three letters in this series all on day one:)  (Side note…anything in [ ] is where I was unable to decipher handwriting)

burlesque 0011 Fairytale Friday: A True Love Story ~ part one

 

Letter1: circa September 1938 (from Christine to Eugene while Christine was attending Pace University)

Dear Bud, 

Gosh I was glad to hear from you. Every morning I looked in the mailbox and never got a letter and the other girls did and I felt awful. You’re the first one to write and it was swell.

There’s eleven students here and we’re on the 3rd floor. Ilse and I have a room together and the other girls are all nice. I just finished eating and had three glasses of milk already. You can have as much as you want at a meal and in the Nurses home there’s an ice box full all the time for you. I ought to get at it if nothing else. We are not allowed to speak to the upper classmen [non nurses]. An awful bell outside our room rings every morning at six o’clock. At seven we eat breakfast but on Saturday and Sunday the first  month you can sleep late but you have to go without breakfast if you do. Ilse and I bought 10 cents worth of sugar buns up to our room and slept till eight this morning. It seemed swell cause you get very tired. You have to stand up most of the time and my corns have been killing me. I took my shoes to a shoemaker last nite and they’re still being stretched. This is an awful neighborhood and I think the shoemaker has bugs so I’m going to air them on the way home. We have classes from eight to five. We have maids to do most of the work but we make our own beds and dust. We can come home weekends during the first month but I didn’t know it in time to let Bill know so we’re coming home next week I hope. I wanted to very much this week. Most of the girls did , in fact there’s only five left and they’re quite near home. I’m going out now with a couple of girls cause Ilse’s going to the beach with Clare, a friend of the family. Tell mother we have to have $1.50 for a book and I haven’t any money and also tell her to write cause she promised.

Thanks again Bud for writing and write again soon. I’m sorry to hear about you and Sis but you’ll get back together again. I know you will so when you write again tell me how you’re making out. Tell Hay I’ll write tomorrow cause I will have time.

Lots of  love, Sis

P.S. Give my love to Moth & Dad and to Hay and Stupid (Frank) (Frank is Eugene’s brother) also to [Brute]

 

Letter2: Tuesday, September 13,1938 (from Eugene to Christine)

Dearest, 

I received your letter when I got up at six P.M. Monday. I really expected to get it Saturday but I suppose you had to write to your family first. By the way, I saw your family last night and told them any contributions would gladly be received. Your grandmother said she would gladly receive any too.

You have probably heard of Jim and Marge having an 8 1/4 pound baby girl. We went over to Joe Sarno’s last night and celebrated the event. Wiley, Sarno, [Munkel], Kretz, Joe Lampe (Joe is Christine’s brother), Stuart, Jim, “Checky”, and I was there. We had a swell time. We bought a lot of food and a big birthday cake and put one big candle on it. We all gave Jim little foolish things like teething rings and baby bottles and such. Later, we went riding all over the country. We drove into [Corsoon's] estate and drove right around the house and yelled like a bunch of indians.  After we got around the house we drove across the lawn and out the other side. By the way I wasn’t driving.

The kids had a pretty dull time at the party in Queens I guess. They stopped in on their way home. That was the first I had seen Rosemary and I haven’t seen her since. You said she was going to make me take her out; well I don’t quite see how it is possible unless I don’t come down next Monday. Joe and I are going to come down in the Plymouth as far as I know. Let me know what kind of clothes to bring. If it has been as cold down there as it is here I think I shall wear my red flannels. I have been wearing my sheepskin coat at night for the past week. We had a heavy frost the night before last.

I didn’t race Sunday because my hay fever bothered me so much. I slept all day. I have been getting a lot of sleep since you went away. My hay fever has been so bad that my eyes look terrible. I look as if I haven’t been to bed for a month. I could hardly see anything Sunday.

You said in your letter that you were having a better time there than you would have if you were home. I’ll remember that.

Well I suppose I must be boring you so say hello to Joe for me. Be a good girl. Au revoir.

Lots of Love, Buddy

P.S. Now I’m going back to bed because it is only 11:00AM

 

Letter3: circa September 1938 (from Christine to Eugene)

Dear Bud, 

Well another girl went home today so there’s only nine left. It was the one with high blood pressure. The lights just went out in our room and a man’s coming to fix them so I’m writing in Barbara’s room. I just washed my head and leave it parted in the middle.  Today instead of classes this afternoon we were taken to Radio City to see an exhibit of a transparent woman. We felt like orphans out for an airing cause we had to trot around after her. It was fun and instead of going home with Miss Robins we went to the automat for supper. 

We got three capsules to take to make us immune to typhoid fever. A green one we had to take at quarter after and then we had to wait an hour for breakfast. We have to take two more red ones Wednesday and Thursday. They used to have injections but they’re trying something new on us. Well have to go to bed and please excuse writing cause I’m doing it on the bed and it’s hard. Tell the newest to the family and give them my love and how is Dad? I’ll probably see you Friday if not I’ll let them know. I heard we start in the [wands] Monday that’s why we got the stuff. 

See you soon + write.

Love, Sis

A little less than a year ago, I found myself in what now feels like a home away from home of sorts. And most of you would probably never understand that concept once you know that I am talking about a gym. Who the hell feels that way about a gym. anyway? But for those of you who HAVE been there, you know exactly what I am talking about. SPRQ Studio may not be filled with fancy expensive machines or have the latest and greatest of…well, pretty much anything. But the latest and greatest is not what makes you fit in the first place. It is your new workout buddies of every age, shape and size. It is the encouragement of every instructor who doesn’t do it because it is their job….they actually care about your goals. It is pushing yourself to new goals and passed your limits. And it is leaving your scruples at the door, because every single one of us has to start somewhere….and some of us have to start more than once, and that’s okay too.

While we are talking about stepping outside your comfort zone, let’s talk about Burlesque. Of all the classes I have taken at SPRQ, this was definitely a favorite. And while my hubby definitely benefited from the outcome, honestly the class was just for me. Burlesque is a sort of strip tease without getting too far out of your comfort zone. It is a dance, an art, designed for you to reach deep inside. To find your inner beauty, your inner sexy, and let it shine. As owner and instructor, Kelli, begins each Burlesque session, she reminds us of this:

As women, we take on a role of the ‘mother’, the ‘caregiver’, the ‘do-er of all’.  We get trapped in the midst of taking care of everyone else. Sexy is defined as a feeling – how you are in your own skin, in sweats, air-dried hair, yoga pants and mismatched socks. Knowing you are sexy lifts us from the inside and shines on the outside.

burlesque 0009 {Litchfield, Maine studio photographer} Burlesque and Bringing Sexy Back! burlesque 0010 {Litchfield, Maine studio photographer} Burlesque and Bringing Sexy Back! burlesque 0007 {Litchfield, Maine studio photographer} Burlesque and Bringing Sexy Back! burlesque 0008 {Litchfield, Maine studio photographer} Burlesque and Bringing Sexy Back!

 

I encourage every woman to try a burlesque class at least once. Sexy is not a shape or a size…it’s a feeling. An attitude. It while it doesn’t matter what you wear, an amazing pair of heels can help bring out the sexy in almost anyone.

Fairytale Friday. This blog series is one that I have been meaning to write for more than a year now. And I fear that if I don’t start it now, I never will. And to not share this story with the rest of the world, would be a terrible terrible thing. A little less than one year ago, I blogged about my amazing grandparents on their 72nd anniversary. In the past year, Grandma’s dementia has gotten worse and they have moved into an assisted living apartment. The whole world around them is constantly changing and undoubtedly confusing. The one constant though, the thing that bonds them, that never changes is their consistent need to love and help one another. They love deeply, with every part of their heart and soul. When I was younger, I longed for the summers where my sisters and cousins would spend countless hours swimming in the lake at my grandparents house. I cherished the big breakfasts my grandmother would make and how her biscuits and rolls were always kept warm by the quilted chicken cover she kept over the basket (you had to lift a wing to reach inside). I have the greatest memories of us kids trying to trick my grandfather into jumping in the lake with use, even though we knew he only liked to go in once a year on his birthday, and I can still picture them sipping iced tea on their deck as they watch the afternoon sun glistening on the lake.

fairlytalefriday1 0004 Fairytale Friday: A True Love Story

Almost six years ago as they were packing up to move from their dream house by the lake, I noticed a pile of mail sitting by the fireplace. I recognized the blue and red edges of the envelopes as air mail and quickly asked if those were letters from my grandfather’s service in World War II. After confirmation that they were, I asked if I could have them. My grandmother immediately told me ‘no’. At the time, my husband and my brother-in-law were both deployed and I managed to convince my grandmother to change her mind. She simply stated, “Fine. But I don’t want to ever know if you read them.” These letters are from before I existed. Before my own father even existed. They are history. They are love. They are beautiful. They are just one more piece to their fairytale. So…with the exception of a few… the blog series shall begin and I will share them with you. I will post one letter every week.  Just don’t ever tell grandma you read them;)

fairlytalefriday1 0005 Fairytale Friday: A True Love Story

 

A one hour school delay for the kids this morning meant dragging out our normal routines at a much slower pace than usual. With the cars snow covered in the driveway and rain drizzling into the slushy tracks from the neighbor’s car, this certainly did not feel like the first morning of Spring. And our dogs weren’t feeling it either.

springdogs 1 {Litchfield, Maine photographer} Happy First Day of Spring!

Now, the one on the left….ya, he’s not really mine. This is the infamous ‘Scrappy’ of Scrappy Lane. He is old, he has a nasty wound on one of his front legs that he won’t leave alone so it will never heal, and he spends a lot of time on our porch when his mom and dad are working. This morning the rains must have gotten in his bones, because he actually scratched to come in. Of course, I always feel a little sorry for the old man and I let him in for a reprieve from mother nature. He might be cute and old and make me feel sorry for him, but there was no way he would still be inside right this minute if my studio was anywhere close to his spot on that couch. Here is the note we left his mom on Facebook this morning:

Dear mom, I am in desperate need of a bath. I didn’t like the rain either this morning, and deb let me in when I knocked on her door. For now, I am resting on her dog couch, but I don’t think she will let me stay much longer because I smell sooooo bad. Love, Scrappy

And her response:

Dear Scrappy
Mommy and Daddy have to work. Sorry you refused to come back in this morning. I know you need a bath but I know as soon as I give you 1 you’ll find mud. Tell Deb thank you for her continued kindness.
springdogs 2 {Litchfield, Maine photographer} Happy First Day of Spring!

 

Ahhh, I guess there is nothing more we can do than wait for a real sign that spring will finally arrive….

springdogs 4 {Litchfield, Maine photographer} Happy First Day of Spring!

Since my stepsister is a maternity nurse, works some crazy hours and lives a;most 45 minutes away, we really don’t get to see our nephew too much. But when we do (after a small battle of stranger anxiety) the kids and I can’t get enough of his smiles. During his past sessions, Jarret wasn’t quite as “cooperative” as we were hoping, but he certainly made up for that during this six month session:)

jarret6months 3 {Litchfield, Maine baby photographer} Jarret ~ 6 month session

jarret6months 5 {Litchfield, Maine baby photographer} Jarret ~ 6 month session jarret6months 6 {Litchfield, Maine baby photographer} Jarret ~ 6 month session jarret6months 1 {Litchfield, Maine baby photographer} Jarret ~ 6 month session