Tootie Goes To School

Today’s guest post is by Jacque.

Since 2008, the year my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and gave up housekeeping, I have edited and illustrated a story book for my mother as a Christmas gift from me each Holiday Season. (Some of you in BBC have seen these).

The stories that comprise each book are memoirs that she wrote in 1984 as part of an Iowa Writer’s Workshop Project that travelled through out Iowa. The purpose of the project was to have citizens of Iowa write about their own stories. The second purpose was to give teachers CEU credits.

My sister, brother, and I knew about these stories because Mom told us about attending the class. When we were children, she told us these stories.

As we transitioned Mom out of her house, the task of cleaning out her house and disposing of many family antiques fell to me. The stories, antiques of a different type, were tucked away in an old file. I confiscated them and began storybook project. There are now six books and I have started on the one for this year: “Potty Talk.” It is about all the functions of a modern day bathroom and laundry, spread throughout the farmstead.

The year 2014 was one of big family events.   Both Mom and Lou’s dad started to deteriorate in health. We experienced nine months of parents’ needing assistance, many trips back and forth to Iowa where they each lived, hosting mom here and the family drama that arrives with all that.

Lou’s dad died in October at age 94. Mom moved to a Memory Care facility in January 2015.


During all that the 2014 book barely got written and I never did post the link to this story on this. So I thought I would use this as a blog topic.  The name of a the book was Tootie Goes to School regarding Mom’s first day of school, which was not much fun for her.

A website called is where I publish and copyright each book so no one can take the stories from her. You can browse the site and find them there.

I also posted the link to one or two of these on the blog in the past.

Here is the link.

Do you remember your first day of school?   Tell us more!

Spring Went Sproing in 1965, Part 3

Today’s post comes from Clyde of Mankato 

In the spring of 1965 my world went as topsy-turvy as did the politics and weather of Minnesota. Do you think the picture is a scene from the The Graduate? My world did not go quite that tupsy-turvy in the spring and summer of 1965..

I have related before on this blog the speed and folly of our rapid courtship. What I want to address is a few large changes in that period of history. First I will remind you that on our wedding day I was an infantile 20 years old; she was a mature 25, the adjectives expressing how people perceived our age difference. What strikes me now as I recall that spring and summer, is what a watershed were the years between Sandy’s gradation year, 1958, and mine, 1963.

In Sandy’s big-city high school graduation class going directly to college was uncommon. Few of her women classmates went to a four-year school. Sandy was in about twenty weddings of classmates between 1958 and 1960, with most of the brides pregnant, which was a large social sin at the time. Almost all of those marriages ended in divorce.

Sandy’s life choices were the big three: teacher, nurse, secretary. She chose the later, not conceiving how she could afford to attend college in that time of little support or encouragement for female students, or co-eds, as they were called then in that derogatory manner. The married women never expected to work outside the home, which almost all of them eventually did. Most of the husbands took unskilled jobs, which they had planned to do, or learned a trade from their fathers. At age 25 Sandy was on the brink of spinsterhood.

In my small-town class, despite being one of the least motivated classes in the school’s history, about one-half of my class went to college, about one-half of that one-half were women, several in nursing or teaching, but others choosing other career paths. Only three or four of my classmates, as near as I know, were pregnant for the wedding.

In weddings for her classmates and mine, the husband was zero to seven years older. A younger husband was very rare. Many assumed that our marriage was doomed, both for the speed of our marriage and for the age-difference. Sandy’s classmates did not know how to deal with me. I gather that the same age difference, 20 and 25, is still regarded as a peculiarity only if the man is the younger.

Throwing Rice

Larger cultural changes were occurring in that five-year gap, too, such as the Viet Nam War and the active objection to it. Civil rights arose. Sandy’s class had one African-American, in a school now dominated by non-white students. My class had one Native-American student. The decade of the 60’s scorned the values and styles the decade of the 50’s. The country turned hard left.

The gap has created some interesting disphasia (my coined word) in our life. When Sandy became pregnant at age 30, which she was not supposed to be capable of doing, the medical world was full of angst at her old age. Our children were born when most of her classmate friends had children starting junior high. Proceeding cultural changes have widened the gap. All but one of her classmate friends have great grandchildren; our grandchildren are age 2, 10, and 12. I know little about my classmates, but they seem to have grandchildren of an age similar to mine.

Her classmates have remained in a narrow world and remained staunch knee-jerk Eisenhower Republicans. Has there been a greater shift in presidents than between lethargic hands-off old Eisenhower and inspiring progressive youthful Kennedy?

All of this change seems to have impacted women more than men. I saw this directly when I was a U of M student. I had none of the interests of the other male students, such as drinking and pursuing co-eds. As a result, I had several friends, whom we called re-treads instead of co-eds. These were women who had married young, often one or two years into college. Now 10-15 years later, they were back in college or had started college. I suppose most of them have since died. They were a fun lot with which to share coffee at Coffman.

How are you disphasic?

A Late Great Morning Show Revival

Today’s guest post comes from Sherrilee

At Blevins Book Club last weekend, a small pocket of us were reminiscing about some of our crusty old favorites from The Late Great Morning Show.  Most of us are still Radio Heartland devotees, but don’t hear the oldies but goodies as often as we’d like.

So it’s time for a LGMS revival!  If we pull together a list of titles, Mike will get them organized and we’ll have a rousing couple of hours of songs that elicit some of our great memories from over the years.  After we get the list to Mike, he’ll let us know the date and time.  No guarantee that he’ll be able to find all our titles and I’m assuming we’ll come up with way more titles that can fit into a couple of hours, but I think we should give it a shot.

I’ll start us off with two:  The Mary Ellen Carter by Stan Rogers and Canned Goods by Greg Brown.

What song do you miss from the LGMS?

What a Bargain!

Today’s guest post comes from Steve Grooms.

The first time I saw Crocs clogs, they were priced at about $50. I don’t often pinch pennies, but I thought, “Those are just a bit of plastic. In no time, somebody’s going to rip that design off. I can wait to buy a copy.”

That’s just what happened. A few years later I saw knock-off Croc clogs being sold in the funky general store in Cornucopia, Wisconsin near the cabin I used to own. The Croc copies sold for $10. I bought them.

I was amazed at how comfortable they were. They weigh less than a pair of sox, and they are as comfy as an old bedroom slippers. When I suffered some medical reversals, the old faux Crocs became the only footwear I owned that still fit. I calculate that I have worn those clogs 2,200 days, give or take 300 days. I got my money’s worth!

I’ve made one other buy in my life that might have been a better bargain.

Dog people often talk about “the dog of a lifetime.” The notion is that most dogs are just dogs, but now and then we find a dog so remarkable it becomes the dog of a lifetime.

Actually, I might have had four “dogs of a lifetime.” Wonderful dogs, all.

Danny carried himself with the gentle dignity of the Dalai Llama. Spook was the most honorable dog I’ve met or even heard of. Katie was similarly fastidious in conduct, plus she was the most loving dog I’ve known.

And yet Brandy was special, even when viewed in the context of such amazing dogs.

She and I were soul mates. We brought a foolish, prodigious style to the sport we loved. Some of our hunts took on epic qualities that only another dog hunter could appreciate. I filled two books with lessons she taught me about pheasants, and many good stories remain to be told.

Brandy was a bargain. She lived over fourteen years. Every day of her life she gave me unqualified love, loyalty and passionate partnership. I paid something less than a penny a day for that, which maybe makes her the bargain of a lifetime.

Have you ever bought something that turned out to be both a treasured possession and a great bargain?

Garden Celebrities

Today’s guest post comes from Renee in North Dakota.

Earlier this week my husband asked if I thought Grover needed to be tied up, since he was going to mow the lawn and Grover was flopping around all over the place.

Grover, full name Grover Cleveland, is an unusual, blood-red peony.

Cuthbert Grant 005

He is planted in close proximity to Beverly Sills, the frilly pink German Bearded Iris, and not too far from Sarah Bernhardt, a pale pink peony that hasn’t started blooming yet. Just around the corner is Cuthbert Grant, a red shrub rose from the Morden Experiment Station in southern Manitoba, one of the Canadian Explorer series of roses. Cuthbert Grant was a Scottish Metis who worked for various fur trading companies in Manitoba and who was involved in the bloody Battle of Seven Oaks, in which settlers and Metis battled the Hudson’s Bay Company. Given his warrior history I can see why they named a deep red rose after him.

We often refer to various plants by their given names. I like it when they are named after people. We had a hybrid tea rose named Harry G. Hastings for many years. I guess Harry Hastings was a famous plantsman in Alabama or Georgia. It was a sad day when Harry didn’t bud out in the Spring. Since we called him by his first name for so many years it was sort of like losing a member of the family, or a close friend.

Cuthbert Grant 001

Grover is a very pretty, old fashioned peony that is really red, not raspberry or maroon or magenta, like most red peonies. You can see him and Beverly in one of the photos. Husband tells me that Cleveland was the only president who got married while in office, and also was the only president who was reelected after getting voted out of office. Was he chubby and red faced? Is that why they named this peony after him? I can see why Beverly the Iris got her name, as well as Sarah Bernhardt the peony.

I suppose that naming a new plant variety is a complicated affair and finding the right name is important for business. I think it would be fun to name plants. Think of all the friends, family, and historical figures you could give a nod to by naming a plant after them. Were I plant hybridizer trying to market, say, a new variety of horseradish, I might name it “Tim” describing it as sharp and piquant, and an enthusiastic propagator.

What variety of plant would you like to name, and what would you name it, and why?

À la manger, en Francais (To eat, in French)

Today’s guest post comes from Barbara in Robbinsdale.

The four of us (my sister and her son, Husband and moi) were on our own for five days in Paris. We learned a lot about food and about eating as the French do one evening at Le Petit Baigneur just a short walk from “our flat”.

We discovered that we should not first have a snack at home. We didn’t realize that ordering from the menu would consist of a (fixed price) a three course meal: a starter (which they call the Entrée); a main course with vegetable; a cheese and/or dessert course(s); and café – a small cup of espresso. And wine, of course. And bread – I learned that the French bread brought to the table is so good it does not require, or come with, butter.

 A glass of wine, and chocolate

That was a lot of food. There is, to my knowledge, no such thing as taking food home with you in a “to go” container. The idea is to order something marvelous (no problem), and then take two or three hours to eat, drink, talk, and ENJOY it. You have to shift gears, especially if you’re an American usually in a rush.

No wonder breakfast is usually a light “continental” affair – i.e. croissants and jam, a beverage, and that’s about it. We could walk around the corner from our flat and find pastries from a patisserie (dessert bakery), baguettes from a boulangerie (bread bakery), or crepes and quiches from a crèperie.

Luckily, our Paris eateries often had someone who spoke some English, so we pretty much knew what we were getting. Our waiter at Petit Baigneur brought us an English version of the menu, and my tiny bit of French helped at times. But there are other differences to negotiate – there are more manners in France – “merci” and “s’il vous plait” are expected. We heard about a brasserie (bistro) where the following was part of the price list, aimed no doubt at unthinking tourists:

  • Une bière ou vin – €2
    (One beer or wine – 2 Euros)
  •  Une bière ou vin avec “s’il vous plait”  – €1.5
    (One beer or wine with “if you please” – 1.5 Euros)

When have you mis-communicated with your server in a restaurant?

Chicken or Egg?

Header Image by Nisargam

I have decided to look at the world a bit more through the eyes of a blog writer.

I was at the Edina art fair a week ago Sunday for a glorious day and while looking at the booths of numerous photographers made the comment that it must be interesting looking at the world with the filter of how would this be for a photograph

It occurred to me today that for the last 5 years and likely 30 more before that our blogmeister has undoubtedly been influenced by the filter of the trail and the docks to flavor spice pervert and steer his brain and perception of the world

I have a new appreciation for the portrait of a wordsmith photoshop artist as a middle aged and getting older every year man.

I hope many of us get the chance to take a swing at posting guest blogs (are they that any more) and discover the fulfillment dale discovered in his 1200 good blogs (and the others too)

Topic before the question or the other way around?

File of topics that are not time related and  Where the heck did he always find the top news tidbit before it hit the morning lead story status on the places that know when to put a 72 point font on a headline.

Top stories for my sons would be sports leads, for my daughters something else again, for Fox News, public television, cbs and the New York Times all different again

So to hit it right once is understandable but over and over is a legacy left for us to ponder.

My first guest blog year and years ago was on Friday the 13th and dale suggested I use that as a topic but that being my first I had other stuff on the tip of my fingers so I told him no. I don’t think it’s come up again but I will craft one for the next Friday 13 unless one of you want to.

Timely is now or forget it. Other ( this one for example) can be used a filler from the blog of the day file I hope we offer to dale to make the summer go by without too many discussions that drone on for multiple days.

We all have different filters and I have enjoyed participating in the interaction to dales blogs with you all over the last 5 plus years

Now I hope I get to enjoy some additional filter results from one and all.  Music , food , art , seeds, recollections, views of life…we can do this baboons with our eyes closed. And as you can see from my typical typos that’s usually how I type.

Which comes first the question or the story?


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