I just took an online class to create this “Laundry Day” collage and it sure did cause me to recall many memories of the times spent hanging clothes out on a clothesline when growing up in the 50’s in Illinois.
I don’t believe in happenstance. As a believer I believe God directs, leads and guides our daily activities to bring about His way and will in our lives and in others lives.
Thus, the reason for my poem and the events that occurred in my life today.
This morning I, for no apparent reason at the time, decided to open up a packet of old pictures that had been packed away in a chest for years.
The package contained many memories of me and a good friend, pictures taken 20 years ago of us at work dressing up in various costumes to celebrate different holidays. Such fun times we had during those days.
Looking at those pictures made me smile as I remembered
and that led me to want to reconnect with this friend whom I’d not seen nor talked with in 20 years due to me moving away and other ways life sometimes gets in the way of people staying connected.
I did an internet search and found her husband of 57 years had passed away just two months prior to this day.
I felt so sad for her and how she might be feeling that I wanted to call and talk to her but I had no phone number for her and an internet search offered no help in that area as cell phones now offer no phone directories or ways to look up phone numbers anymore.
So I went to the only other option I could think of—Facebook—and there she was! I found her, friended her and we were able to reconnect and speak on the phone.
Why do I feel this was divinely orchestrated?
Because she said today was exactly 2 months since her husband passed and she was in the middle of selling her home and moving to an apartment and really was feeling sad and lonely. She said hearing from an old friend was a timely blessing to her day.
Tonight my grand-daughter and her boyfriend came over for supper. We ate, had cake for dessert, played cards, talked and laughed. The two hours of time went by so quickly. After they said their goodbyes, I looked around at the empty chairs and quiet house and was reminded how fast time goes.
I grew up in a time when people rarely ate out, at least those I knew. My family always ate meals at home around our big Formica kitchen table where conversation was shared along with mom’s wonderful home cooking.
I learned to cook and bake from my mom and aunt, most of my friends did also. It was just an ordinary part of life back then.
High School had Home Ec classes and Shop classes as part of our learning experience, to prepare us for living as adults.
There were some restaurants, but our family rarely ate out. A treat for us was to occasionally eat a light supper out on a Friday night shopping trip downtown at Woolworth’s lunch counter. We would order toasted egg salad sandwiches with pickles on the side and potato chips. As we waited for our food we would watch what was called the “dumb waiter” open and close as it carried food up and dish tubs down as the kitchen was downstairs from the counter above.
So cooking my meals at home during this time of quarantine has not been a big change for me at all, as that is what I usually do anyhow. I feel it tastes better and is less costly to do so, although I do occasionally like to order a pizza or sub sandwich at a local restaurant as a treat.
But many people during this time of virus, are having to learn to cook as they stay home in quarantine. It is a new experience for them as they were accustomed to frequently eating out. They are now sharing recipes and pictures of their dinner creations on Facebook. The family dinner table is being restored, and ordinary things like ovens, and mixing bowls, are being used again.
That is the good I see coming out in all of this. That is the part of this I hope has some lasting effect, as immediate families grow closer together and spend more quality time at home, and life slows down to bring appreciation of ordinary things.
I was 4 years old, and it was my delight to have grandpa ask me if I wanted to come inside his old country kitchen and knead his package of margarine for him.
As a treat, he would reward me with a bottle of sarsaparilla from his refrigerator.
During World War II there was a shortage of butter in the United States, and oleomargarine (later called Oleo) became popular, except the dairy farmers banned the artificial colorings put in it that made it look like butter, therefore it was not yellow looking like butter, it had a whitish un-appetizing look kind of like lard. So to get around that law and enable a change to its looks, to make it more marketable, margarine makers created a capsule of yellow dye and placed it inside inside the plastic package of margarine.
After purchasing, the consumer could break the capsule that was inside the package, and then knead the package to distribute the dye, thus turning the margarine to a yellow color.
Around 1955, the artificial coloring laws were repealed, and margarine could once again be sold colored like butter.
That is when Oleo became very popular and was banned in many dairy states across the US.
I grew up in Lake County,
Illinois, just one mile from the Illinois-Wisconsin state border.
In Illinois Oleo was legal, in the dairy state of Wisconsin, it was not legal.
During the early 60’s there was a lot of illegal Oleo buying going on across state lines. People would come from Wisconsin into Illinois to buy cases of Oleo.
Many of the Truck Stops and gas stations along the border would sell Oleo and thus “Oleo Wars” took place as businesses would compete with each other to have the lowest prices.