Some time ago, I posted my grandmother’s essay about the figurine painting that went on on her back porch. Reading it I remembered the figurines she painted, especially “Top of the Hill” and the seated lady with the roses. Since then I have scoured both my mother’s house and mine in an unsuccessful attempt to locate them so that I could post pictures of what she described for you.   I’ve not given up, but I’m still looking.

My grandmother was interested, involved and proficient. She had a penchant for perfection and was not satisfied with less. Whether she was knitting, crocheting, quilting, appliqueing, cooking, canning, ironing, trimming bushes, entertaining, playing cards, whatever it was, she threw herself into it wholeheartedly.

I think that was the secret of her good nature. She lived each day as if it were the only one.

Pondering Generations

Today’s post is a birth announcement.

Luke Christian Andreasen was born at 8:41 a.m. on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 in Okinawa. I learned of it on Monday evening, November 26, in Kansas. Time is not static.

Luke is not my grandson. He is my daughter’s grandson. He is my grandson’s son. He is my grandmother’s great-great-great grandson. Suddenly, I find my place between three generations of ancestors and three generations of descendants. Seven generations.

I remember my grandfather’s father as an old man. His was the first death I remember. He was 96 and I was six when he died.

I remember my grandparents as no particular age at all. I remember my mother as young and harried because she was making a living on the railroad during WWII. Later we became good friends, very good friends.

My children are now adults, and I number them as friends as well as family. My grandchildren are scattered in age from nearly 31 to not quite ten.  They are scattered geographically, also, from Florida to Okinawa to Kansas.

My great-grandfather lived twenty miles away, I shared a home with my grandparents and my mother. My children were raised in our household. I have visited my children and grandchildren  in Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Colorado and Maine.

I am to this great-grandson what my great-grandfather was to me – a fact, not an influence.  Or maybe…

Who knows?

The sun is shining this morning, and again from my back porch the world looks clean and bright from the good heavy rain that came last evening, without tornadoes.

I see there was some washing away of soil on the south lawn. I must see what kind of grass seed to put there, or maybe some more Bermuda grass would do, although it is pretty shady over there.

A little squirrel is in the walnut tree just outside my west window. He is scolding someone of the animal family just beyond my vision. I find little piles of walnuts here and there on the yard where the squirrels have dropped them, no doubt thinking, like people, that they will get them later.

That reminds me of our beloved little Boots, a black cocker spaniel. When we would have a cook out on the lawn, he would give us no peace until we would give him an ice cube.  Then he would go to the spirea hedge and bury it. The next time we were outside, he would try to find it. He would go to the exact spot and dig, but of course by that time the ice cube had melted and was no longer to be found.

You could just see that “what-the-heck” look on his face when he could not find it.

Boots, like the rest of my family, is not here now. They only come once in a while as they all  have their homes and families that keep them busy. And that’s as it should be. I’m happy for them.

Just now I see a robin red breast sunning himself in a  spot of sunlight on the lawn. He turns first one side and then the other, raising each wing in order for the warmth to reach his body.

I always take my pencil and tablet with me to the porch, for there is always something going on outside that is interesting, either my neighbors or nature’s family. I see  a lot from my back porch, mostly good.

This essay was written by my grandmother, Lucile Ann Bigler, more than half a century ago. It was found, undated, in a small box of her manuscripts.  Date is 1960-something.

My back porch was not idle very long after the newly weds were transferred. Our next tenant was military personnel, a Lieutenant and his wife and their dog. He was stationed at the army base a few miles west of us.

His wife was a very beautiful girl. We got along well together, our visiting of course was done inside our quarters, for there was not much room for more than four people at a time in the apartment.

The dog was coal black and she always cleaned his feet before bringing him in from the daily walk on a leash with her. Otherwise he was in the porch most of the time. He was so well behaved one never knew he was around. In the evening they would take him out on the back lawn and all three would play ball. Blackie really enjoyed these romps.  We  would sometimes watch these games and really enjoyed watching. I am not too much for having animals in the house, but Blackie never did any harm inside, and they kept him so clean there was never any odor in the apartment.

La Delia had beautiful blond hair and always went dressed, ready for going out or any thing. It almost put me to shame the way I have to dress. I cannot do yard work or laundry in a spick and span house dress. I’ve got to really have on work clothes. Some women can work and look like they have just emerged from the proverbial band box, but not me.

La Delia spent a lot of her time with me. And the evenings that the Lieutenant would be at home, they would have a game of bridge with us or maybe a session of table tapping. which prove to be a prime source of fun.

Tim, the Lieutenant, got the biggest kick out of it. When he would get certain answers from the table, he would jump up and run around the table laughing and saying “Just wait til I tell the boys at the base about this. Will we have fun!” I hope they did, for it was not too long before their turn came to move.

I still can’t see through levitation anyway and I don’t understand it. I was a very strong skeptic until I had played all sides of the table.  My good neighbor is a firm believer in the truths of the table’s answers, and I must admit that it hit the nail on the head enough times to make me wonder if there is really some occult power that sees all and knows things that the other two players can’t possibly know.

These things come to memory as I sit with my coffee in my back porch.

This essay was written by my grandmother, Lucile Ann Bigler, more than half a century ago. It was found, undated, in a small box of her manuscripts.  Date is 1960-something.

** WWII was a time when people sought all kinds of reassurances – including a revival of spiritualism of which table tapping is a part. It was used as a parlor game, easy, cheap and diversionary. All one needed was four chairs, a card table and some friends with questions. You could pass an entire evening without spending any money or using any ration coupons. Sometimes the answers from the table were accurate enough to have you questioning whether there was a force on “the other side” that knew all and told all.

In fact, God is the one who knows all. But Satan is a master counterfeiter. He can and does mimic God in enough ways to fool those who are not firmly grounded in the Word.  The occult is real, it simply isn’t the real truth. Having been a part of some of those sessions as a child, I had to work through recognizing the occult for what it was.


All the questions that made a difference in those sessions were rooted in fear. Fear is a lie of the enemy. It doesn’t come from God. But the war played on our fears and people grasped at straws.  I’m grateful that we grew beyond those years.

When the war years came along, living quarters were badly needed, and thereby, caused another change in my back porch. Housing was so scarce in the community, caused by the two military bases that were newly established near here, that the military families were living in anything that had a floor, four walls and a roof.

I decided to try and do my bit, so we had casement windows made, and sis and I had to do some of the work of hanging them ourselves. With the intermittent help of the men in our lives, we put insulating paneling on the ceiling and house wall, sealing off the dining room door from the porch side. We cut a door in the south end for a front entrance and put a solid wall with a door in the middle to replace the trellis.

We built a closet and storage place in the living room end, and after papering and painting, installed a circulating gas heater. We hung draperies and put in a wide bed that half of it rolled under the top half, making a davenport for day time us. A double dresser, chairs and a floor lamp composed the furnishings for that room.

The kitchen end was painted and papered fresh, and we put linoleum on both floors. Hot and cold water, a sink, cabinet and cupboard were already in this end from the laundry having been there before. The former playhouse served for a walk in closet and extra storage. A drop-leaf table, two chairs, and all housekeeping needs were installed.

We moved all the laundry equipment and garden tools to the basement with a silent prayer in our hearts that there would be no floods or seep water as long as we would need to use it. Our prayers must have been heard, for we had no floods for as long as we needed to have the laundry in the basement.

We placed a new electric stove in the new kitchen, but there was no room for a refrigerator or bathroom in the back porch, so we had to share these things in the main house. I must say right here that we all got along fine sharing these things, and never to my knowledge was there any friction.

Our first tenant was not of the military, however. We were just putting on the finishing touches when a young man from the railroad came and wanted the newly renamed “apartment.”  It would be just right for two, he being newly married.

They were here for several weeks, and we liked our newly weds very much. But all junior railroaders are moved about from place to place, as need arises, and it was so with our young people. They were moved to some where else.

But in just about a year, they came through our town and stopped to show us their fine little baby boy, that I am very sure was conceived in my back porch. Where there were only two in there to begin with, it turned out that our porch always had three tenants of some kind.

This essay was written by my grandmother, Lucile Ann Bigler, more than half a century ago. It was found, undated, in a small box of her manuscripts.  Date is 1960-something.

This morning as I drink my coffee, the song of the lawn mower keeps me company. After the nice rains that we have had, the grass has been growing so fast the boy has to mow more often. However since it is getting so close to September, I think about one more cutting will do, as I don’t want the grass too close cut when fall and winter sets in. It is too apt to kill the grass

My altheas are in bloom now – pink and red – and the four-o’clocks are a riot of color. I have one ever-blooming rose that is having a hard struggle to survive, poor thing. I have been away for two years, and it was neglected all that time. It is the last of eight plants. There is a sad story about all of them that I have never had the courage to tell until now. I will admit I am ashamed to do so – almost.

Four years ago, sis and her husband gave us four beautiful potted rose bushes to start a rose garden as a father-and-mother’s day gift. I treasured them and brought them through one season just fine. But when the next summer came, the aphids and other pests were so bad I decided to spray everything about the place.

I hooked the spraying attachment to the garden hose, put in the solution and did a thorough job. While putting away the attachment after cleaning it, to my horror, I saw that I had use the weed killer instead of the bug killer. I hurriedly hooked up the sprayer again to wash all the plants, hoping to save them. Then I waited a few days to see if anything would happen. It did. Everything died.

The ivy vines that covered the trellis outside my back porch that covered the west side so well, one of the altheas, all of the roses, everything looked sick — including me.  I hated it about the roses most.  To tell sis?  Oh, no, I’d have to do better than that.

So I took samples of earth from the rose bed and the weed killer can to the greenhouse to see if I dared to reset plants in the same place. They told me it would be safe, so I bought four more identical potted roses and replaced the dead ones. Sis never knew, and won’t unless she reads this somewhere.

That is the reason that I have only one rose bush now and a silk-pod vine instead of the lush ivy vine on the trellis of my back porch.

This essay was written by my grandmother, Lucile Ann Bigler, more than half a century ago. It was found, undated, in a small box of her manuscripts.  Date is 1960-something.

How welcome the sunshine this morning after the dark and forbidding evening of yesterday. Severe weather with possible tornadoes was forecast for “the next six hours.” About six o’clock the northwestern sky began to grow dark. Then clouds, black as night, came boiling up over the sky, blotting out the heavens, just as it did that day long ago on Golgotha.

With all the lightening and thunder, winds and prospects of a tornado or two, knowing that hurricane Cleo was wreaking havoc in Florida, and student riots over Viet Nam, I still had to keep one eye on the threatening storm and the other on the Democratic convention in Atlantic City.

I am not partial when it comes to watching political conventions. I watch both. The Republicans in San Francisco were first.

TV is the only way we little folks over the country have to see and get to know the national candidates of both parties. And, let’s face it, I love conventions at a distance. I would not like being in all that crush of people and maybe have my feet killing me at the same time.

As a bystander, as it were, I thought there was not too much difference in them. The Republicans had some members that were not too enthusiastic about part of it, but showed it in a nice gentlemanly way, with one of my favorite news men being arrested and escorted from the floor by two policemen. I never did know why.

The Democrats had their sit-inners which I thought was not very nice either. They were finally allowed to stay, but some of the more timid picked up their marbles and went home. Or so it looked to me from where I sat,that was nicer than to sit. Taken by and large, it was a nice convention.

I felt sad for Mrs.  Jacqueline Kennedy, and Attorney and Mrs. Robert Kennedy, for the poignant memories that were evoked of our late President. It had to be, for it was his program that is being carried out, and the memorial had to be observed.

This essay was written by my grandmother, Lucile Ann Bigler, more than half a century ago. It was found, undated, in a small box of her manuscripts.  Date is 1964.

Note from Judith:  With a little internet research, I located the newsman she mentioned,  John Chancellor.  I was a little surprised because I remember her admiration for Walter Cronkite as well.

At the 1964 Republican National Convention, he was arrested for refusing to cede his spot on the floor to “Goldwater Girls,” supporters of the Republican presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater. When security came to get him, he was forced to sign off: “I’ve been promised bail, ladies and gentlemen, by my office. This is John Chancellor, somewhere in custody.” He then became the director of the Voice of America in 1965, at the request of President Lyndon Johnson, a spot he held until 1967.


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