Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Honor the Heroes

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California is ripe for the burning, as wildfire season kicks in. 

Last year was a record for the wildfires suffered in California. One fire lasted two months, finally reaching containment in December.  It was huge in the numbers of deaths and acreage of land burned.

What kept more from dying and homes from being burned? Firefighters. Heroes.

This week is Fireman Week, and should be honored by all. Please remember this, and thank every firemen you see or meet.

History of Firemen from 1920s, 6 minutes long 

Brave then, and brave now.

They don't even flinch. 3 minutes long

Our community of elderly people (we are the age of their children) depends on the vigilance of the firemen just down the street. They are live-savers, literally. 

There is a homemade strawberry rhubarb pie from my kitchen with their names on it.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Creased, folded, photo in hands of memories

Great-Grandma Annie Praul Shive Johnson
A creased and tattered photo--
Held, shown, and stored in a shoe box for decades.
Hard evidence of a life lived
and remembered
Around in a circle on Christmas morning at Grandma's house, that is snapshot where I still see my family, frozen in time.  Photos have a way of capturing the smiles and memories that cannot be stored on a chip, flash drive, disc, cell phone...

A photo brings back sounds of laughter, of dishware placed onto the stretched out table.  Then it would have said the table was a mile long and the browned turkey as big as the sun. Lots of children noises filled the room, children laughter and some tears.  Just a quickly as they started, they stopped when grace was said and dishes filled.

A photo inhales wafting mashed potatoes with gravy cascading down the mountain and onto stuffing.  Creamed, buttered, fragrant, never-ending--amazing food, enough to feed entire towns. 

Then pies.  Queens of homemade pies, that's what Grandma and Mom were. Name any filling and these queens could whirl to place perfect pies, steaming hot, crust golden brown on the table.
 Front row: Robert, Bill, and me (with my new doll)
Don, Mary, Dad and Mom Christmas 1959

A photo can be held, placed lovingly an album, where smiles and bright eyes will look at it, talk about that day.  Remember...Mom nearly spilled the gravy...apple pie was...

A photo is taken of people of people frozen in time. "Hold still. Bill, stop it..." Click and wind. Click and wind. Then the roll of film would be put in an envelope, sent off, and returned. Open the envelope. And Christmas is re-lived over and over.

Food and family without end

A photo will travel across decades to find its way into hands of one who calls back that day with all its senses.  One who will caress faces of those long gone, saying, "I know when this happened."
Grandma and Grandpa Cardiff at home

A photo kept safe for decades in a box emerges into my hands. I can still smell the pies and feel the love all around us.

Can one do this with a digital? Can one hold the photo and feel all that?

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Veterans of Steel, Homes of Steel

Lustron homes, a novel home for a unique time in history
After WW2 ended, veterans came home wanting normalcy in their lives.  They wanted wives, children, jobs, and a place to live.  #1, #2, and #3 were readily available, but finding affordable homes was not.  

But then American ingenuity kicked in. The Greatest Generation had struggled through the Depression and then WW2. What they needed would be created and now.

Lustron Corporation, a division of Chicago Vitreous Enamel Corporation, was founded in 1947 and began to construct 15,000 homes in that year and then 30,000 (according to this info above) in 1948. The houses cost between $8,500 and $9,500

These houses were unique, to say the least: all steel

The houses are made of steel, top to bottom. Cabinets, closets, kitchens, doors, walls, door jams, support beams---everything is steel.  (Notice the built-ins throughout the house in the YouTube video below.) Houses were pre-fabricated and assembled on site, in two weeksSteel slates are on the roof. Enameled steel square panels cover the exterior. No repainting, roof repair, termite damage are in these houses.

4 minute video

 Sears and Roebuck had perfected the mail-order houses and Lustron houses were equally well-designed. To try to describe the process is impossible in just a few words. So the reader may find the information at the site above.

Only about 2,500 or so homes remain, some on the Registry of Historical Houses.

What amazes me is that my hometown of 3,000 has seven or more of these houses in Illinois.  They are all occupied and enjoyed by people whose names I know. Five of the seven are shown below.

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Newspaper article from hometown newspaper

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Newspaper article from hometown paper

And these are the houses in my hometown:

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North of the town in a more rural area

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This house was occupied by State Congressman Paul Findlay in the 1960s

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Note the square panels, made of enameled steel. Most houses have replaced porches, since they are of wood which decays.  
On North Franklin St.

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The Johnson family lives here.

These homes have lasted for nearly 70 years. 

Pretty amazing. A need arises and then some creative individuals come up with a solution, American ingenuity at its best in an incredible time.

P.S. The largest number of homes are in Ohio (a plant that built the Lustrons),  and Illinois.


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Always remembered

Even now, their faces are still clear in my mind.  The way their eyes sparkled when talking about their students. The way they smiled at each child who came their way.  I remember them.

Even now, I can hear their voices, telling stories about their days with their students. I remember them.

Even now, my late friends are still part of me.

These precious women left this earth when breast cancer took them.  

Did you know...

One in eight women will develop breast cancer.

In the U.S., there are over 3.1 million women with a history of breast cancer. This included women who have been diagnosed, have been treated, and/or are currently under treatment. 

Every person knows, will know, or has known a woman with breast cancer.

85% of breast cancer diagnoses occur in women who have absolutely no history of breast cancer in their family.

One out of one-thousand men will be diagnosed with breast cancer. 

Some of my friends were cured, but some were not. I remember both. Do you?

Recently, my mammogram results necessitated a needle biopsy. Results were benign, God's Hand with me all the way.  This will require frequent mammograms and ultrasound.