Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hubba Hubba

One of my favorite places to hang out as a child was our babysitter's front porch across the street from our house. She and her friends always had You Ain't Nothin' But a Hound Dog playing on the record player. I found three copies of this print, all the same, in my mother's photo drawer. That's my brother sitting beside the babysitter. All three photos had been chopped, removing the other person in the picture. From that little macho possessive smirk on my brother's face (hubba hubba baby!), I'm wondering if he had a crush on the babysitter and cut the other person out of all three prints! Tee hee.

In all honesty, it's more likely that the woman sitting on the other side (maybe my mom?)thought the picture made her look fat and eliminated herself from all the pictures! But I like the first alternative best!

By the way, Shirley, the babysitter, was THE most beautiful girl in Oswego, Kansas. Being the beauty she was, Shirley was never in want of boyfriends. When a guy would come to pick her up, we'd stand across the street and wave, calling the name of a different boyfriend. If it was Jimmy picking her up, we'd yell "Hi Jerry!"

Life can be so simple -- yet so fun!

(We were BOTH little smart asses -- a family trait passed down from our father.)

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Gods Were Angry

you never know

which neighborhood bully god

starts it

but some days

are better

than others

for touring

Thursday, January 29, 2009

One Thin Dime

Recently when we were going through Craig's parent's papers, we all had a good laugh over an old letter from the bank Craig's father had saved. It had to do with a refund that was owed to Craig's parents on the purchase of their home. (They paid $6,000 something for the house below in Dodge City, Kansas back in the early 1950's.) Anyway, the letter was a profuse apology from the bank for overcharging them 10 cents. One dime. And the banker had enclosed the dime in the letter.

I was watching CNN yesterday at the gym and saw a short news clip about Afghanistan. I know you've probably seen it, but the current state of that nation is shocking. Desperation and poverty abound. The clip showed women and children in the street trying to scoop up spilled diesel fuel with their hands to put into small containers and carry away to be used for heat or sold. They interviewed men standing all day in the cold snow hoping someone would hire them for a day's labor. The men were hoping to earn 6 cents a day. Yes, 6 cents a day. The unemployment rate now is 40% with half the population living below the extreme poverty level. One man standing on the corner in the frigid cold said that really, he would rather be dead than continue living this way.

I immediately thought of the dime that banker had refunded to my father-in-law back in the early 1950's. And the big laugh we all had over the letter. It's mind boggling that the one thin dime would represent more than a day's labor to that poor man. It made me wish I could reach through the television screen and give handfuls of dimes to all of them.

I promise to return to my usual programming tomorrow!

Freaky Fotos from Isla

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I Was Born by the River . . .

No, I wasn't born by the river in a tent. But I love the song and everything it represents now with the inauguration of Obama. I thought it would be great with some old Neosho River and Oswego, Kansas hometown pictures. The river was a big part of Oswego, Kansas lore.

Supposedly, the river helped protect Oswego from tornados because of the town's position on a bluff above the river. Supposedly, the town was named for a suicidal Indian with a Norwegian accent who yelled os' we go as he jumped from the high bluff into the river below (that tale came from my dad). Smirk smirk smirk. As a child, I believed the lore. We got our water from the river, ate catfish from the river, parked by the river, explored and hiked along the river -- you get the drift. And supposedly, Oswego was Catfish Capital of the World. Wish I had a $100 bill for every town with that designation.

Neosho River bridge.

Neosho River dam down below the town park.

Old town water plant.

The big building is the Oswego Hotel. I saw it listed for sale online recently. People keep trying to make it into something!

A town celebration back in the early 1900's.

The town bakery on Commercial. It was still there when I was a kid and they made the best creme horns and cookies. We used to hit the place after school. The downtown was fairly thriving up through the 1960's.

My grandmother in front of my grandfather's garage. He sold and repaired cars. He lost the business during the Depression.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Freaked Out Favorites!

One of my 2009 resolutions was to learn new things. I finally took the time to figure out how to use Photoshop. Here are some of my favorite Southwest photos dressed up in new pop colors.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Stella Myrtle -- Pioneer

Keep your fingers crossed that I'm not struck down by lightning for posting this! This is Craig's grandmother, Stella Myrtle. He's talked about her ability to petrify small children and dogs with her stern dirty look (the Stella Myrtle) for years, so I cracked up when I saw this black and white among the photos in his mom's apartment. She is an intimidating sight to behold. She thought Craig and his sister were extremely spoiled children. Stella Myrtle was extremely religious and thought cards, dancing, women in pants, movies, alcohol, etc... were the Devil's work. But the woman had to be a rock to raise six kids by herself during the Depression. Her husband died in 1932 in the midst of the Dirty 30's leaving her to support and raise the children on her own.

Kansas Dirt Storm -- 1935

She dictated a short story of her life to a nurse in the Kansas Soldier's Home at Fort Dodge, the old folk's home where she died in 1972. She was born in 1887 eighteen miles southwest of Dodge City on her family's homestead. She talks about her parents moving by covered wagon from Moberly, Missouri to Dodge City in 1886, blizzards where her father used a rope to get from the house to the barn, her mother hauling water for livestock and household purposes a mile and a half by sled from the nearest stream, attending school in a one-room schoolhouse, and marrying Mr. Rabourn in 1906. It's a real Little House on the Prairie story.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


We took a little detour in New Mexico. After spending the night in Santa Rosa, I noticed a little blip in the local guide about Puerta de Luna. The name sounded so romantic! It's 10 miles south of Santa Rosa down a curving road in the Pecos River Valley. We're always on the lookout for cool retirement locations in the Southwest. Someplace less sizzling in the summer than Phoenix. Some little town with quaint homes, shops, and scenery! An undiscovered Winthrop, Washington or Bisbee, Arizona with fairly close access to an urban area with shopping and good medical care. (We don't ask for much!)

Remains of Rosa de Lima chapel on the road to Puerta de Luna.

Driving down to Puerta de Luna along the Pecos, it was beautiful. We saw a couple of large haciendas and thought maybe this was the new valley of the rich and famous. The scene above with the historic church in the distance told us we were nearing our destination.

Old church.

Down the same road as the church, there were some small houses of interest. One had an artsy flair (that's being kind) with an old Conoco sign out front.

Old hovel.

As I was taking photos of the local color, a shit-kickin' large black dog came barreling down the road. We normally keep the windows locked, but Craig had unlocked so I could snap pictures from inside the car. So Saby, in her excitement, rolled her back window down and was hanging out whining and carrying on. (Yes, the Wonder Dog CAN hit the button and roll her window down.) Anyway, the big black dog was barking, gnashing teeth, growling, jumping around -- you get the picture. So it was a moment of panic getting Saby securely back inside the window and getting the hell out of there! Nothing like attracting a LOT of attention when you're taking photos in a 'rustic' neighborhood. Tee hee.

We moved on down the main road in search of the town square. I was thinking quaint shops, a bakery stop, some photo ops of historic buildings, etc... We never found it. I did see one other residence of note before we decided to cut our losses and head back to the interstate.

Another rustic casa with used car lot out front.

While the Pecos River valley was beautiful, this little village was what I would call 'off the map'! I read a description of Puerta de Luna online again and I'm sure we missed something. It describes an old courthouse, square, and historic adobe buildings. The description and name sounded so intriguing, but I'm still marking Puerta de Luna off the retirement list.

No offense -- Puerta de Luna-ites!