oh say say playmate, come out and play with me…

The two little girls come for visit when they can fit it into their busy days. They aren’t so little any more either, one having just turned nine and the other days away from turning eleven. They are moving farther away as well, so I treasure the visits I get.
They are still in the doll playing stage. I love this age. They go down to my basement where it is doll  and beanie baby heaven . They used to pull out all the dolls and strip them. The beanie babies would be tossed everywhere but as they have gotten older the routine is a bit different.
We had some work done in the basement and while that was going on, the girls were moved away from the main room and I let them set up their “houses” by the bookcase behind the couch, and with each needing their own space, I let them into my fabric storage closet. They have traded spaces once. I am not sure which is the favored spot but when I went down last week I noticed Phoebe’s house was in the closet. The big Mama doll was sitting in a windsor type chair and a book was perched on her lap. The dog (there is always a dog in Phoebe’s house) was on its own rug, and the little girl was tipped over, probably by me. I set her in the chair to hear the story being read and went to examine the other house. At Lucy’s house it was bed time, and pretty neat as we had given the girls time to straighten their houses before that had to leave.
They will come again soon and things will change…  I even kept their houses in tact during their two month long visit to New Zealand. I will miss their houses as they get older and have other interests. I wonder what the next phase will be.

phoebe 1  phoebe 2  lucy 1  lucy 2


Posted in lucy, phoebe | 4 Comments

all because…..

I wasn’t going to buy more fabric (for a while). I turned down an invitation to visit a new fabric source. Instead, I visited my stash in the basement and in the drawers in my sewing room. I put together a lap size quilt, and then another, and then another. They were nice, but not ones I wanted to finish and hang in my living room. So I donated them to the quilt guild that finishes quilts for the kidney center. I hauled out a kit I bought many years ago and began sewing that. The pieces are piled on the sewing table unfinished.
All because a friend came to the Otterbees with a pile of fabric she had bought. We all drooled over her choices. I had seen that fabric in a sample quilt at the store. Nice… but… not for me, until I got out mirrors and tested how it would stack and whack. (This is a plan where the fabric is carefully stacked so the design is laid one on top of another six layers deep, or 8, then carefully cut so you have 6 or 8 identical pieces. (see Bethany Reynolds for ideas)….
One of the fabrics looked like I would love to try it. I raced to the store. I bought six repeats… of course this was a 24 inch repeat so I had to buy four yards! I bought three other fabric to go with it. So much for my plan not to buy more fabric… for a while. I began cutting and stacking and testing my plan…………

Amelia took one look. Not the right green, says she. So we took a day to cruise other fabric shops, finding two greens that would work.

1-photo  2-photo-001

End result…. I now have more fabric in my stash. I will finish this one and may even hang it in my living room, or let Amelia have it…. and return to making kidney quilts until my stash is a little smaller…. maybe…. and please don’t show my any new fabrics for a while.

Posted in quilting | 1 Comment

making the most of a month

Tiananmen Square
Was that really 25 years ago?

I was teaching third grade at a small private school in Florida. The head master of the school had an idea that the last few weeks of school were a drag. To solve that problem he had a plan. All text books were put away. Testing was accomplished. For the last 3 weeks each class was to concentrate on one project. The high school students planned their annual big trip, or arranged internships or were provided time for a choice of independant study. Middle school kids were sent on field trips around the area studying the ecology of the area. That left the lower school to decide what to do.
Kindergarten took on a study of artists, painting in the style of many of the famous artists of the world. The First grade walled off their class room. They were in outer space, learning about the planets and enjoying the job of checking on our IDs if we entered their space station.
The Second grade studied dinosaurs and rattled off the names of dinosaurs I never knew existed. The Fourth grade saved their last three weeks to take on  learning about the state, taking field trips to various important places in the state’s history.
That left me in grade three. With all that travel, I decided it was time for a trip around the world. We pulled down the map of the world and chose places to visit. A dance group came and told us about their dances, inviting some of us to take part. (after 25 years I don’t remember where they were from.) A gentleman came and played the bag pipes for us (and the whole neighborhood) and we learned about Scotland in his wonderful accent.
We scanned the news daily to see where current events would take us and it was then we saw news of the Tiananmen Square protests. One of our dads had been there and came to speak with us, answering questions and predicting the outcome. It is because of his prediction that I remember it so well. He was wrong about the outcome…. He was optimistic things would change for the better. From my point of view, it didn’t.
Our world travel was limited, but I think we all learned to listen to news of the world and locate where it was happening, and perhaps someday to really travel the world.
I will also add…. it is the best way I have ever ended a school year. We were all apprehensive. It was a lot of work. But we all agreed, it made the last weeks of school go by so fast.

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Baby X2 bump

Baby X2 bump


Twins…both my grandmothers were twins, one with a sister, the other a brother. All four times I was pregnant I hoped it would not be this time. My four were born within a five year period and twins would have been even harder. It didn’t happen.
But now my grandson and wife will have twins this fall. Not sure if I will know if it is boys, or girls or one of each. My hope is that it all goes well.
Lucy and Phoebe and a friend came for a visit last week and I announced to them at snack time that I had names for the twins. I said I had named them Permilla and Percy. Those are both family names. I got a puzzled look from my granddaughters and a very polite look from their friend, Rose. I wasn’t sure if her look was a question about why I was naming the twins, or my choice of names. Lucy wanted to know about the names so I said, “I give new babies names like that so that no matter what name the parents choose, it will be an improvement.”

A relieved look crossed Rose’s face. Lucy wanted to know what her name was before she was born. I am not sure. She might have been Mehitable…. but that isn’t a family name.
In any event, boy or girls, I have made quilts for the babies. Their dad, Alex, had a baby quilt as did my other grandchildren. I was so happy to see how much he loved it… to shreds. Every summer when he came to visit it was smaller, as his mom trimmed and refinished the edges. These two quilts are already small. I already have plans for bigger ones as they grow, and I know if it is boys or  girls or boy and girl.

baby quilts

Posted in Alex and Jo | 1 Comment

medical intervention or rather inspiration

A visit to my new doctor last week brought to mind two stories. Dr. V. was accompanied by a young college student who was pre-med with the dream of being an OB-GYN Doctor some day. I had a short chat with her when Dr. V. left the room.
It reminded me of a cousin who baby sat my grandchildren in the summer. Muffy was a high school student when she took care of Corbin, my spina bifida grand son. It gave her the inspiration, some day, to become a doctor. She graduated from Med School and is now a pediatrician and gives Corbin credit for her desire to become a doctor.
My other story is about when my son made a go-cart and proceeded to ride it down our hilly street. Of course it didn’t have brakes so he slammed into something and needed a trip to the emergency room.
Katie, a little younger, begged to go along with us. After a long wait for service, she announced to the world; “They do it a lot faster on TV.” Bill’s injury was minor and he recovered to enjoy a few more scrapes and bruises before he grew up.
Katie has become a physical therapist…. and I hope she works speedily to help her patients, like they do on TV.

Posted in bill, katie | 5 Comments

my life as a student

I’ve been doing more thinking about teachers pets and – the rest of us. My own experience is as the “other one.”  I was not a bad student, neither was I brilliant.
My memories of school begin with the second grade play and the fifth grade note passing. From there on, except for one year, I attended private girls schools. I sat in the back row of a smaller group and said as little as possible. My sophomore year was in two public high schools due to a move in the middle of the year. I have a picture of my class… I am way at the side trying to be invisible.
College… Radcliffe, I was told by my geography teacher that I could never get into Radcliffe…. I did, probably because my mother, her sister, my grand mother and my dad’s sister all went there. At Radcliffe I sat in the back row and kept my mouth shut. I was what my dad called an able C-man… as was he and the rest of the family. C, back in those days was an acceptable grade.

Family took care of my early married years. Four kids within five years is plenty to keep me busy.

Then the kids were all off at school and I found my strength. I started working at the school as a volunteer, then took on a girl scout troop… I was no longer in the “back row” keeping my mouth shut. I had found my niche.
The principal at the school suggested I become a paid aide. Then he suggested I get my teaching credentials. From there it was classroom teacher… grades 1-2-3 and combinations of those grades.
Someone believed in me. Someone felt I could do something.
I was never a teacher’s pet, but somewhere along the line someone believed in me and I found my voice. How I wish we could find the voice, the niche, the talent of every child., and not wait until they are grown. I had wonderful parents and relatives who cared. Not everyone does.
My strengths in school were math and art. I am sad when I read of art being dropped. Suppose my only strength was art?

As I think back on this “back row” person, I think about my major move to Florida where I taught for 6 years in grades 1 and 3. I found my niche in a quilt guild. I taught  quilt classes. Then another move to Mass… again a quilt guild and in a very short time I was president of a 300 member guild. This person had found a voice! I was not in the back row. I had gained confidence. Maybe it is confidence we need to instill in children, that they can do something. That what they have to say counts. That they can ask questions and be made to feel their question is worth asking. That maybe, they might be good in art or sports or music and the academic stuff is tough but worth it.


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Mother’s Day

IMG_1070I am sitting in my favorite chair on Mother’s Day remembering my mother. She was born in 1906 in Erie Pa, the middle child of three. I know very little of her early life, or rather I forget what she told us, (me and my sister). She loved to tell stories of her childhood and she told them well. There was a time when I asked her to write them down and she wrote only one, the day a mouse was found in my baby crib. What I wanted was the tale of a time she got lost and a person in a horse and buggy found her and took her home. The fact that she lived in a horse and buggy era was so foreign to me.
Momie graduated from Radcliffe college in 1929. She was an English major. My dad graduated from Harvard in 1928 and I guess I don’t need to elaborate on where they met. They were married in 1930. My sister arrived in 1931 and I in 1933.
I would tell tales of my early years with my mother but I can’t. She was found to have tuberculosis and spent several years in an sanitarium. I do remember waving to a face in a window of the place and being told that was my mother. We had what today you would call a Nanny, named Jeanette, to care for us while my mother was in the hospital and Jeanette remained with until WW II when she joined the Wacs. She was our second mother even after Momie came home.
We lived close to our elementary school. Lunch was not served at the school. We walked home for lunch and then back for the afternoon session. My mother took pity on the long walk some children had to make to and from school, so she would have hot soup on cold and rainy days and we walked home with friends who shared lunch time with us and then went back to school.
She was a church secretary for our Congregational church. I do recall her struggling with the ditto machines and mastering making carbon copies. How she would have loved the ease of printing today. I know she would have mastered a computer happily.
WW II took us to PA where we attended a small Quaker school. She became a substitute when teachers were sick… except my class. One try at my grade and we found she and I did not cope well. I recall very well trying to figure out who this teacher was… my mother or Mrs Morse. I spent that day in the office with my work, not as a penalty but because she saw how conflicted I was.
Back to MA after the war and the church job. Later teaching grade 4 at my school until she found her hearing loss was too much to handle a classroom.
She took Braille lessons, translating books or papers for the blind and often drove blind people to appointments or meetings.
In the summer we lived in the grandparents summer place on Cape Cod. She became cook for all the relatives and guests with a good friend sharing the care and feeding of us, her friends children, and whatever relative, friend, or friend of a relative might show up for the week or weekend.
Did I hear her complain…NEVER… it was a lot of work but she and her friend, Marg, would laugh and joke and get through the day. One day the two of them took off in the car. I assume they had had enough of a house full of kids, a baby sitter and who knows what else. They drove to a very fancy gated island on the Cape where they told the guard they were to clean for Mrs ???? — some made up name. They drove around the island to see how the other half lived and came home laughing about it and telling us of their adventure.
When I left for college I was greeted every week with a letter from Momie… “Deda dear… love Momie” I could count on it. Even if there was little news the letter would arrive. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, something, anything cheerful to say hi and let me know she loved me and remembered me. Even after I was married and moved away, those letters would come and I wrote nearly every week in response. In fact I have my letters which she saved for me…. note books full of them telling of my life and events, sometimes not very noteworthy, but saved for me to remember in later years.
Happy Mother’s Day Momie… I know you are hanging over a cloud like the cartoon… smiling at me. Telling me all is well with my world….. and I am listening even though I didn’t used to.
Posted in Morse relatives | 2 Comments