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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Chocolate Chips



I still love them but chocolate chips sure got me into some trouble when I first encountered them.

It was at the end of World War II and my family moved back to Atlanta from the farm where we’d lived during the war. Atlanta was so overcrowded that Dad could not locate any house or apartment to buy or even rent. We had to move into his sister's large home and place our furniture and household things in storage.

My aunt and uncle were also sharing their house with a soldier, stationed at Fort MacPherson, and his wife Marge, who had a day job. The house was crowded but all the adults, including my parents, had jobs and my brother who lived at home went to boys' high school, on the other side of town.

I was enrolled in the 6th grade and had a rather long walk to and from school. I came home in the afternoons to that big, empty house and was very lonely.

Sometime that fall, Marge showed us a bag of chocolate chips -  the first I'd ever seen. She said she was going to save them to bake Christmas cookies. She placed them on a shelf in the refrigerator.

A few days later, after coming home from school, I got to thinking about those chocolate chips. Pure chocolate, she'd said, not bitter but kind of sweet. I'd seen a picture of the tiny teardrops on the package, which I often examined when I was looking for a snack. My aunt was quite strict and did not encourage snacks at all.

I finally gave into temptation. I snipped a tiny hole in the package, quickly removed two or three chips, and carried them upstairs to our bedroom. I carefully sucked them one at a time. Oh, such heaven! I can still taste them.

After that, I allowed myself three chips, each afternoon, after school but never on weekends, of course. I just carefully worked the chips out of the bag without removing it from the fridge.

About two weeks before Christmas, I was reading, up in our bedroom. I heard screams and loud shouts coming from the kitchen area. It seems Marge had decided that was the day she'd planned to make her cookies but alas the bag only contained five or six chips. Guess I'd missed some!

I was immediately called downstairs and confronted with the pitiful, flat bag. I folded and confessed the dirty deed.  I was scolded severely yelled at by everyone but my mother. Her attitude was, what did you expect when you put chocolate in front of a child?

School holidays began shortly after the awful incident. I was sent to stay with my mother's sister who had a daughter my age. My dad rented a tiny apartment, which was all he could find, and we moved into that.

My oldest brother came home from the navy and my parents just put beds in every room but the kitchen. We didn't care that the tiny apartment was crowded.

It was a wonderful Christmas. We were all together again, and shortly after we found a lovely home to buy.

Chocolate chips became more readily available and I've been making cookies ever since.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Antique Fashion Observations



Don’t antiques have to be one hundred years old? Well, heckfire, I only have twenty years and three months to go! My Aunt Daisy lived to be 102 years old, active, mentally sharp. She didn’t discuss her ailments so I don’t know what they might have been. I started thinking about this when I saw a picture of Scarlet and Tara, today.

I have witnessed a lot of changes in fashion in my lifetime.

I was born on the last day of 1933. You never saw women in public wearing pants. I was grown before I saw that.

Back to the picture of Scarlet. She had on a dress with a hoop skirt underneath.

When I sang with the Men’s Glee Club, at UGA, I was required to wear long dresses over hoops while performing on stage. I loved those dresses, but my mother had to make me a petticoat out of a white bedsheet. The petticoat had to go over the hoop skirt because otherwise the hoops kind of showed through. (The dress went over the petticoat.) One had to learn how to move around in the hoops, because if you were not careful, the hoop would tilt waaay up on the side, and show off your undies. I know for sure that hoop skirts and modern cars do not belong together.

From time to time, someone would ask to borrow the hoop, which was fine but few had my 22 inch waist. Those were the days!

Lots of things have changed just in my lifetime. I remember my dad being horrified that my sister in law had gone to downtown Atlanta wearing shorts. It just wasn’t done back then but she had grown up in Myrtle Beach where shorts on the city street were common. I was a teen then. I was allowed to wear shorts to play tennis but not golf. The only long pants I owned were my brothers’ old jeans which seemed huge around the waist but alas, not the bottom……

As a young teacher, in Atlanta, I had to wear skirts, stockings, and dress shoes. Since I taught my class’s P.E. I did keep loafers to wear outside. The clothing situation was the same when I taught in Augusta.

I bought my first ‘’pants suit’’ after we moved to Tennessee, about 1971. Don’t think it was long after that women began wearing much shorter skirts. I didn’t, but I think young women had a good time with them and got lots of attention from the weaker sex [men].

Two piece swim suits were available from the time I was a teen but I was not allowed to have one and didn’t mind at all. No girls in my crowd wore them.

My daughter was about three years old when the first bikini suit showed up at the Augusta Country Club pool [about 1965]. Most of us young mothers spent the better part of the days at the club pool, watching our little ones, and trying to stay cool. We could bring a lunch or just order it. Often dads came from work for a swim before we all went home. They kept suits in their lockers or I just kept a suit for Tony in my swim bag. In those days, few houses, in Augusta, had central air so the pool was a popular place to cool off.

You should have heard the buzz around that big pool when the bikini lady arrived. I seem to remember that she was a new bride from somewhere up north. Anyway, the first night after she arrived, everyone went home and told the husbands. The very next night, ALL the daddies arrived after work for a swim because it had been such a terribly hot day…… I immediately went home to ‘’prepare dinner,’’ leaving Tony with two babies to look after. Later, I found out that all the other wives had followed suit.

Lately, I’ve noticed that political candidates are not wearing ties with their dress shirts. Surely they are more comfortable, especially in the summer heat. Don’t know if that will continue when the weather cools.

People certainly dress more sensibly now.

Early fall football games, at UGA, required nice dresses or suits, heels, hose, and often, hats. The temps could have been in the 80’s at least. I believe common sense has prevailed and women dress more for the weather, these days.

While I don’t like clothing that is immodest [?] or shows too much skin, I am glad to see fashion that is much kinder these days. However, I will never appreciate being treated to the sight of a male person’s underpants or, God forbid, his fanny. The urge to sidle up close to him and dump a cup of icy drink down his pants is almost overwhelming. I often see one such guy at the Kroger but so far have managed to reverse my trusty scooter and go the other way. I often pray for self-control.

More often, I pray for an icy drink…

 Church clothes in 1971...