My grandmother on my mother’s side was an old-fashioned woman.  I remember as a kid going to visit her and my aunts, who still lived at home. My aunts were Anna, Wynne and Alice, the youngest.  They were working girls, staying at home to take care of my grandmother and going out to work.  Anna and Wynne worked in the silk mill and hard work it was, so I’ve been told by my mother, who also worked there when she lived at home.

My grandfather, died as a result of the “Black Lung”, as it was called, from working in the coal mines.  So Grandmother was left as a single mother at an early age with eight children.  That was a time before there were any Unions in the mines or any union benefits.  Grandmother had to struggle to keep the family together.  So the older children were taken out of school when they graduated from eighth grade and sent out to work.  Then they helped the younger children to finish school and some of them even went to college.

Aunt Cecelia and Aunt Alice being among the youngest, were sent to Teacher’s College to become teachers. The both got a good jobs teaching at a local Junior High School.  They of course, made more money than the other children.   Aunt Alice also had handsome boyfriends courting her on a continuing basis, as she was a good-looking woman with a sparkling personality.  I think she was the tallest one in the family also, at least by my calculations.  I think she was about five foot, nine inches in her bare feet.

Mother took us many times to visit my grandmother, especially in the Summer it seemed, and we usually enjoyed ourselves.  We kids always got treats and were allowed to go out in the big backyard and run around with our cookies and lemonade.  My grandmother always wore long dresses to her ankles and the colors were always dark.  She wore her hair in a bun, so she always seemed older even when she was not that old.

She was from the Old Country, Ireland.  She lived in County Mayo, southern Ireland and was a staunch Catholic.  She came to the U.S. when she was fourteen with her mother and her sisters and brothers.  Her father had come first and got a good job and settled into a nice house in Northeastern Pennsylvania, coal country, before sending for his family.  The Coal Mines were to play a large part in both my grandparents and my parents lives.


The Lady in the Mirror.

Mother at Christmas
Mother at Christmas

Today’s post is one that I originally published a while ago.  I changed it a bit hopefully for the better.  So here it is again.  Hope you like it!

Today’s post is supposed to be about an overheard conversation, wherever you may have heard it. Could have been anywhere, at home, in a coffee shop, a restaurant, etc. Not sure that this qualifies as an overheard conversation but it’s certainly a story that has been told and repeated many times in our family. And it bears repeating I think but I will let you be the judge of that.

My Mother was a great story-teller.  She kept my girlfriends interest when they would come over to visit.  Sometime the stories were about the supernatural and graveyards at midnight and would scare my friends so much that they were afraid to walk home in the dark of night.  But they would always come back for more.

When Mother got older, she moved in with my youngest sister and her husband.  My sister would take mother to all her doctor’s appointments and they usually stopped at a coffee shop on the way home.

This particular day when they went to a coffee shop they had frequented, they were seated at a table facing each other and there was a large mirror all around the restaurant taking up most of the wall, which mother was facing.

They had finished their sandwiches and were just enjoying their coffee and chatting.  Mother said that she noticed these two women sitting nearby, who had their heads together and were chattering away.

“Don’t look now but those two women haven’t stopped to take a breadth since they came in, especially the older one,”  mother said.

“No, don’t look, the older woman is really taking over the conversation.  What a chatter box.  The younger one can’t get a word in edgewise.  Poor thing.”

“She is still at it!  Going a mile a minute.  Haven’t seen her stop flapping her lips since they got here,”  mother  said in an irritated voice.

Now my sister was going to turn around to see these two, who were annoying mother so much. “No, don’t turn or they’ll know we are watching them,” mother insisted.

But by this time, my sister was too curious and had to get a look at these two gossips especially the older one.  So she turned slowly, pretending to pick up her dropped napkin and get a look at the women. When she turned back to mother, she was laughing so hard that tears were in her eyes. “Well I’m glad you think it’s so funny,” Mother said with a frown on her face.

“Mother, those two women you have been watching in the mirror are us!  And here you are getting annoyed at yourself.  Because you are that older woman.”

Well, mother’s face was red as a beet for a few minutes.  When she thought about it, she had to laugh at herself.  But then she said, “Oh, I guess you are going to tell everyone about it now!”

 The story was passed around the family for years after, along with a lot of other stories about mother that were just too good to keep to ourselves.


Merlin and Lady
Merlin and Lady

This is a photo of my cats Merlin and Lady.  They make a cute double.  Merlin is no longer with us but he will always be in my heart.  He and Lady would get into playing rough sometimes but they really loved each other as you can see here.


Merlin and Lady in rotated photo
Merlin and Lady in Rotated Photo

This is the rotated photo.  The photo works both ways but I think I like the top one best.  What do you think?  The rotation does give you a different perspective.

My Treasure

BOY WITH POPSICLE Done with acrylic paint
Done with acrylic paint


This is a painting I did a few years ago.  This is just half of the painting, the bottom half has more vivid colors.  Just wanted to show a bit of my work here, since I consider it my Treasure.  It is probably the thing I love to do best, painting, with writing being the second best thing I love doing.

I took some time off from painting and am having a hard time getting back to it.  I do not have very much room in my apartment to set up my easel and all the things you need to paint which are many.  I actually need another room or studio.  I suppose it sounds like I am making excuses for not painting and I probably am.  But I am thinking about taking a water-color class soon and hopefully that will jump-start me into painting again.  I hope so.

This is for today’s lesson in Photo 101.  I did take a photo of the painting, even though it was awhile ago, as someone else has the painting now.



A big part of the landscape in my small town is the ocean and the harbor, so I thought I would use this picture.  The original picture had a trash can off to the right and the bottom of the picture had more of the sand than I thought was needed for a good photo, so I cropped in both areas.  I think the photo is more in balance after being cropped.

This is for Photo 101:  Landscape and cropping.