Tuesday, April 25, 2017
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“It’s in the third or fourth drawer down on the right side of my Mom’s dresser,” I told my husband. I was recovering from surgery after breast cancer and needed a light wrap over the shirt with pockets on the inside that held my drains. I could not easily open drawers, so asked my husband for help. I had never worn the bed jacket, but I remembered exactly where it was. In fact, I had never seen my mother, who was rarely sick at all when I was growing up, wear it. But, I took in much of my mother’s furniture when she came to live with us for two years after her stroke. Her dresser, nearly... (Read More ...)

Español: Armadura de caballero en la armería del Alcázar de Segovia (España) (Photo credit: Wikipedia) I was sitting next to a guy at the bar mitzvah party for a friend’s son and we struck up a conversation. He had recently gotten remarried and was ruminating about his observations on women. “I understand that women like to be wooed and won,” he said. “But, I thought after you won them, the wooing part was over.” I don’t consider myself an expert on relations between men and women. I dated only a little in high school, not even enough to go to either my junior or senior prom. In... (Read More ...)

He introduced himself to me on the phone as “Dave.” singer, dancer, comedienne, and actress Carol Burnett, receiving a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia) But, I soon found out all his friends called him “Georgia.” He had lost his Southern accent by the time I met him three-and-a-half years after he arrived on that Michigan State campus. A natural ear for languages and years of singing let him drop his Southern drawl in favor of broadcast English, the non-accented English heard in the Midwest. But, his friends and fraternity brothers kept the reminder of his... (Read More ...)

Great-great Uncle Walter Tuller signed up for Company C of the Ohio 5th Cavalry regiment on January 28, 1862. He survived the bloody battle of Shiloh, but was dead by August, of a sniper shot from a cornfield as his cavalry company pushed into Mississippi in General Grant’s Western campaign to take control of the Mississippi River in the Civil War, restricting the South’s ability to get supplies. Chromolithograph of the Battle of Shiloh, American Civil War (Photo credit: Wikipedia) My uncle, Don Notley, a geologist, never knew his father because my grandfather was banned from the family... (Read More ...)

When I was growing up, pistachios were red. They were dyed and your fingers and tongue were always red after you ate them. Pistachios (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Why were they red? In 1912, brothers John and Frank Germack, ages 12 and 7, immigrated from Syria to New York, where they started a food wholesale business, importing foods from the Middle East to satisfy a large and growing immigrant population from Greece, Turkey and Eastern Europe. Eventually, the company expanded to Detroit, where they set up the Germack Pistachio Company in 1924, specializing in Turkish pistachios. During the Depression,... (Read More ...)

U Iron your socks don’t you? Day 28 of 365 (Photo credit: DieselDemon) A soon-to-be cousin from the other side of the family, young and single, at a recent family wedding asked me if it is true that men have to be trained after they are married and if they are trainable. My husband and I looked at each other and both said, “the iron.” My husband broke the ice. “Both people train each other to what they need.” Then, I told the story. On some occasion, I no longer remember whether it was a birthday or Christmas, but let’s just say it was Christmas, my husband gave me an iron. He knows... (Read More ...)

Laugh-In was a comedy factory on television in the 1960s and 1970s the way Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show are today. Regular cast members included: Publicity photo of Dan Rowan, Dick Martin, and Judy Carne as she joins the Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In cast. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Lily Tomlin Goldie Hawn Ruth Buzzi Chelsea Brown Judy Carne Henry Gibson Arte Johnson All were featured by nightclub comics and show hosts Dan Rowan and Dick Martin in Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. Celebrity guests included: John Wayne Rita Hayworth Tiny Tim Jack Benny Johnny Carson Sammy Davis,... (Read More ...)

They read like the 1930s relics they are. They are tiny little booklets, tasseled and corded so women could tie them to their wrists, with numbered lines so dance partners could sign up for the dances they wanted when they asked permission to sign a girl’s dance card.  Photo of a dance card from a June 26, 1899 dance hosted by the Sphinx Senior Society at Dartmouth College (Photo credit: Wikipedia) These are from my Mother’s college scrapbook. None had the numbered lines filled in. All were reserved for and signed by her date of the evening. Fifth Annual University of Michigan Union Formal Friday,... (Read More ...)

Borge Madsen filed a patent for the slide fastener, the plastic zipper that makes plastic bags resealable, for the Ziploc® bag on January 27, 1951. The patent was issued on October 14, 1952. A Ziploc plastic bag. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) He sold rights to this and a couple of related patents to the Flexigrip company, which used them to make those plastic pockets for pencils in three-ring binders you may remember from school. But, where they really hit their stride was in small, resealable bags for storing food. In 1961, Flexigrip licensed a patented plastic zipper bag from a Japanese company,... (Read More ...)

On August 6, 1945, the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, killing between 90,000 and 166,000, half on the first day. Col. Paul W. Tibbets, Jr., pilot of the ENOLA GAY, the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, waves from his cockpit before the takeoff, 6 August 1945. 208-LU-13H-5. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) On August 9, 1945, we dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, killing 60,000 to 80,000 people. You can argue, as we did, that there would have been more than a million American casualties, including at least 400,000 deaths, if we invaded Japan, as we were preparing... (Read More ...)