Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December 7, 1941


On this day in 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese. The next day the U.S. declared war on Japan and became embroiled in World War II.

This is a day to remember our fathers, grandfathers and others who fought so gallantly until the war's end.

Thinking of my late father-in-law,  Arnold K. Jerome Sr., who served in the Army Air Corps in Egypt and Africa.

Arnold K. Jerome Sr.
1916 - 1979

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Just When You Think ...

Just when you think you have seen it all, something comes along to prove you wrong.

In this morning's newspaper, there was a wedding announcement that made me shake my head, look at it again and then burst out laughing.

Under the title of "H*ll Froze Over!" the notice says that the couple "took the fiery plunge" recently. "We swore that day would never come to pass, we are quite certain that Hades has completely frozen over." No mention of where the wedding occurred or the names of the attendants. The parents' names were not listed, although I wouldn't be surprised if that was at the request of the parents.

I can't decide if this young couple just has a great sense of humor or if they are thumbing their noses at the rest of the world. Whatever the case may be, I wish them luck.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The World We Live In

Each generation sees changes in the way we live. During our own lifetime we have seen man land on the moon, the de-segregation of public schools, the anti-war movement during the 1960s and the impeachment of a president. Think about the changes earlier generations have seen. For example, our grandparents saw the advent of the telephone, automobile and travel by airplane.

The following article, which appeared in the Henderson Gleaner and Journal on Sunday, 14 April 1929, is how the world looked at that time.

"The world moves. The George Delker wagon and buggy company at Henderson has closed doors and will be sold in the near future. Sixty-three years ago the concern was established and within a few years was known all over Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. It made buggies and wagons that served well and lasted.

But the wagon and buggy business is on its last wheels, so to speak. The wagon and buggy gave us only poor roads and it took a great deal of time to travel via a horse-drawn vehicle between Henderson and Evansville. Nowadays an auto makes the trip easily within an hour's time.

There are those of us who miss the old-fashioned buggy ride when the chap with a green derby and a rubber-tired spring buggy was the Beau Brummel of the town and the envy of all the other young men who treated their sweethearts to long walks along lover's lane in lieu of vehicular transportation. But the buggy is a memory along with peg top trousers, the watering trough, the cigar store Indian, the village smithy and the tandem bicycle. The horse-drawn vehicle played its part in the settlement of the country as prairie schooner after prairie schooner wended its way across the continent, as Virginian and Kentuckian forded the river and came to Indiana and Illinois.

It was the symbol of another era, the pioneer era, even as the auto is the symbol of the present age."

Another article in the same issue of the newspaper says:
"Today the world is literally at our doors. A spin of a dial, and we listen to the President in Washington, or a football game in San Francisco. From our talking machines the greatest of operatic stars sing to us, the foremost dance orchestras play lively syncopation of our choosing. Our automobiles stand ready to whisk us over smooth boulevards to new scenes. Monday is no long blue; the family washing is done by electricity; so too is the cooking, and the preserving of food, and the sweeping of floors. Yes, the world we live in has changed ... changed marvelously for the better."

If they only knew.

Look how far we have come since 1929. What would our grandparents have thought if they heard us talking about cyberspace, instant messaging or computers?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering ...

When the events of 9-11 began to unfold, we all knew something terrible was happening.  When the first airplane struck the Twin Towers, I immediately called my brother and each of us watched on TV as the second plane struck the other tower. We talked about how these attacks on our country would affect us and wondered who was responsible.

But that was not the last  life-changing event we would see that fall.

About a month later, my brother was hospitalized for the removal of a brain tumor. 24 hours later he had suffered a stroke and began to sink into a coma. It was painful to watch the connection to him wither. When it became evident that his condition could not be reversed, we let him go.

So, every year on the anniversary of 9-11, I remember not only what happened in New York, Washington, DC and Pennsylvania, but also what happened a month later in Kentucky. The two events are intertwined in my mind.  The pain of the two events has dulled with time, but neither will be forgotten.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Labor Day and the First Day of School

In my day many years ago, Labor Day signaled the official end of summer. School didn't start the middle of August as it does today. School waited until we were done with summer and ready for Fall.

Labor Day itself was spent with my best friend's large extended family. The whole clan gathered at a park and spent the day playing volleyball, softball or dodge ball. The only person allowed to rest in the shade of the big, old trees was Grandma. Seated on a fold-up chair with cushions, she yelled at us if we missed a return or dropped the ball, but was quick to call us over for a hug or pat on the back. But her primary job was to shoo hungry children away from the food waiting on the picnic tables and that was a full-time job!

Late in the afternoon we stopped to rest and share a meal. Pop-tops were removed, dishes unwrapped, paper cups brought out - fried chicken, ham, salads of every variety, deviled eggs, chips and then dessert. Oh my! Apple pie, chocolate cake, cookies and brownies - we had it all. Of course, we had iced tea, lemonade and Kool-Ade for the little ones.

After the meal, some people dozed, others read and the rest pulled their lawn chairs together to visit and reminiscence about previous picnics. By the time we left, the youngest ones were dragging.

My thoughts were already turning to the next day - the First Day of School.

The past few weeks had been spent finding just the right clothes to start out the new school year. No slacks or shorts in those days; we always wore a dress and new shoes, often of the black and white saddle variety. Baths on that Labor Day evening were extra long, hair was washed and clothes were laid out for the next day. There was no arguing about staying up late -I was exhausted from the long day outside and, besides, I was anxious for the next day to arrive. After what seemed like just a few minutes, it was time to get up, eat, dress and start the new school year. Nothing could surpass the anticipation of a new clothes, new books and a fresh start.

School days are behind me and my children are grown now. Although I have no one to get ready for the first day of school, I can't help thinking of those days back in the '50s.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Beyond My Understanding ...

Some things are just beyond my understanding. For example ...

Why does it take twice as long to pack for a trip as it does to unpack from the trip?

The library book you reserved and hoped to read while on vacation isn't available until the day after you leave on your trip.

The picture on the box of that low-fat, low-calorie frozen dinner looks nothing like what is inside the box. And tastes nothing like real food either.

The only missing issue of the newspaper is the one containing the obituary for your ancestor?

The class reunion and street festival you have been looking forward to all year are scheduled on the same day.

You have never used that item and probably never will use it, but it's on sale so you buy it.

The lost TV remote turns up the day after you buy a replacement.

No matter how much we plan otherwise, frustrations seem to be part of life.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Rest In Peace, My Friend.

An old school friend passed away this morning. We had known each other since we were 11 years old. We went from playing softball to listening to records in music store cubicles. She married first and was  later a bridesmaid in my wedding. We both had children.

Then we lost touch as we built our lives in different locations. Periodically, she would call and we would promise to get together and "catch up," but we never did. Finally, we re-connected just a few months ago. By then, she was suffering from a terminal illness. She joked a lot, but the pain was evident as she talked about what she would have to endure before the illness took her.

She isn't the first school friend who has passed and with the death of each friend, it seems like a piece of my childhood disappears.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Cemetery Reclaimed

The final resting place for a number of African-Americans has been cleaned, mowed and fenced near my home in Newburgh, Indiana. The Old Colored Cemetery, as it has always been known, is located on Bell Road, north of the Newburgh Post Office. The effort is being conducted as an Eagle Scout project by a local young man. With help from friends and family, the cemetery now looks like a park.

For an unknown reason, the cemetery has been renamed as Bell Cemetery. The Warrick County Historian has told me a Bell family lived nearby, but members of this family are not buried here. Only two tombstones  remain - one for Georgia or George Willingham (died 1906) and another for someone named Stella.

Reclaiming cemeteries seems to be a fairly common practice for scouts working toward becoming an Eagle Scout. They are to be commended for this community service. The Hedges Cemetery at the end of my street was also a scout project and continues to be a popular place for neighborhood folks to stroll on summer evenings.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Our parents have passed away and some of our siblings have gone, too. We are now the "older generation" in our family. The oldest is 74 and the youngest - well, isn't so young any more. We are the Joyce Cousins - the grandchildren of Lycurgus Mino Joyce and Beatrice Mary Smith, who married 10 December 1902 Hardin County, Illinois.

We came from several states to share a meal and some memories in the area where our great-grandfather, James Pinkney Joyce, settled in the early days of the Civil War. No matter where we live, Hardin County is still where we connect to our past.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Please take a moment to remember all those who have fought to keep our country free.

God Bless The USA

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mansker's Station

Just a short drive from my home in southern Indiana is a great place for a day trip. Mansker's Station Frontier Life Center is located off I-65 (exit 97), in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, just north of Nashville. It is the perfect place to learn a little history by seeing and hearing about life as it was.

The reconstructed fort is approximately one-quarter of the size of the second fort built by Kasper Mansker and represents the way it looked in 1779. Mansker's first fort was destroyed when it was attacked by Indians. Mansker was one of the Longhunters and a contemporary of Obadiah Terrell

After watching a brief film on the history of the fort, interpreters in period costume take you through the fort, explaining the function of each building. It was interesting to me that cabins with hard-packed dirt floors were warmer than cabins with planks floors as cold air came up through the cracks in the wooden floors. In one cabin, the cracks between planks were stuffed with rope to block cold air.

Nearby is the following sign:

Just across the wide lawn is the Bowen Plantation House, which was built circa 1787 by Revolutionary War veteran, Capt. William Bowen and remained in the Bowen family until the 1960s. It is furnished as it looked in the mid-1800s and is also open to the public.

Goodlettsville is a bit off the beaten path for tourists, but it is a wonderful day trip and the fort and plantation house provide glimpses of life we don't often see.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

As we approach Mother's Day, I want to pay tribute to my mother, A. Lavern Croft Joyce Workman [1919 - 2006]. Although we spent a lot of time together through the years, I never really got to know her as the complex person she was until after she moved to Indiana the last year of her life. We spent many hours, days and months together as she dealt with the problems connected to health, aging and death. Although it was painful to watch her health fail, I treasure the time we spent together.

Thank you, Mother.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Signs of Spring

The signs of spring are everywhere.

From dandelions popping up overnight.

To splashes of color from wild violets

To the riotous color of tulips

To elegant dogwoods and signs of the primary election

To performing that weekly ritual

Spring is finally here!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Only Memories Remain

Memories keep both people and places alive. Without memories, our families and the places they lived would cease to exist.

In the 1940s my grandfather bought a house in Salem, Kentucky. He also owned the Salem Feed Mill, just up the alley from the house. Both of my grandparents died in that house. After their deaths, my parents bought it, remodeled it and moved in. I was grown by then and never lived in the house, but spent vacations there. Going to Salem and visiting the grandparents were favorite times for my children. We lived in the metropolitan area of a large city with all of its dangers of traffic and crime so the only time my children were free to run and play with no supervision was in Salem.

This house in Salem had been around for a long time. Mother believed the house was the former home of "Old Doc Elder," who had lived there in the 1890s. I suspect it was older with its wide baseboards and tall ceilings.

My parent's home in 1987

And from the back yard in 1980:

Several years after my father died in 1975, Mother decided it was time to downsize and leave the maintenance of an old house to someone else. The house became home to another family, but we all kept an eye on it as former residents tend to do.

The house was bought and sold several times and eventually ended up as a rental property. Windows weren't as shiny, flower beds weren't tended and it took on a forlorn appearance. Then came the ice storm of January 2009. A large tree branch fell through the roof. When no attempts were made to remove the branch or repair the damage, we knew the old house was doomed.

This winter the old fireplace, doors and window frames were removed, then the hardwood flooring was taken out. Finally, the house was demolished and became nothing more than a pile of rubble.

All that remained 20 March 2010

The house was located just one block off US 60, the main road through Salem, and easily seen as you head south toward Burna, Smithland and Paducah. While I know the house is no longer there, it remains forever in my memories.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

South Carolina Ramblings

My excursion last weekend was a bit farther that normal. On Thursday, I flew to Charleston, South Carolina to visit the other half of my family. Charleston is one of my favorite places and has so many places of interest.

On Friday we visited downtown Charleston. I love the color of the City Market on Meeting Street against the bright blue sky. The United Daughters of the Confederacy operate the Confederate Museum on the upper level of the Market.

The mode of transportation varies from automobile to bicycle to horse and carriage. A carriage ride offers a great view at a pace slow enough to absorb the sights and smells.

On Saturday morning we visit the ruins of Biggin Church in Berkley County, near Moncks Corner. The first church was constructed in 1711, but was burned three times. The ruins are from the church built in 1761. The church was used as a depot by British troops during the Revolutionary War. As they retreated, the church was burned and later rebuilt. The church was used up to the Civil war and the cemetery is still used today. Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox of Revolutionary War fame, was born near here.

It takes me a while to get used to seeing the Confederate flag.

After all that history, it was time to take a break and enjoy the sun.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday Morning Excursion - Again

A little excursion this morning took us to the far west side of the city. We had lunch at Wilson's General Store, where this menu was posted outside the door. Thank you, no, I did not order this delicacy. Click on the photos for enlarged views.

A drive down the highway and then off onto a lonely road found us in front of this old school. Could this be the old Darnell School? Directly behind it is an old, empty house. What memories these two buildings must hold!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Rolling On the River

One of the things I miss most about living right on the river is watching all the traffic. This morning I took a drive down my old street and watched a barge pushing its load of coal. While I miss the activity on the river, I do not miss the wind that always seems present.

For an enlarged view, click on the photograph.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Saturday Morning Excursion

A Saturday morning excursion resulted in a view of the past. The old barn is still stately, even with part of its roof gone.

The door swings freely, revealing hints of former use.

No, it isn't Kansas. It's a corn field in Posey County, Indiana.

Click on each photo for an enlarged view.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

No Spring In Sight

A couple of bright, sunny days the middle of last week fooled me into thinking maybe, just maybe, spring was on the horizon. Not so, it seems. Mother Nature isn't about to let us off easy - we had about 6 inches of snow dumped on us Friday night and Saturday morning.

This photo was taken along the riverfront in downtown Newburgh, Indiana on the 27th of January 2010.

What a difference a few days make. The following photo was taken in the same place this morning, the 31st of January 2010. Notice the river is high with quite a lot of debris.

I'm not giving up, though. Surely Spring is just around the bend. Isn't it?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Waiting For Spring

Looking at the date of the last entry in Rambling Thoughts, I couldn't believe it has been over three weeks. January is a hard month for me - the holidays are over and it is just a bit too early to start checking for signs of spring. This is the time when I start projects that keep the hands busy and the mind occupied.

I have been doing some volunteer work at my local library. It is basically drudge work, but satisfying. It consists of sorting, de-stapling and filing donated genealogical research files. In most cases, the material was the work of someone who is now deceased.

This volunteer work has inspired me to do some organizational work of my own. When I moved to this house, I stuffed many boxes of papers and notebooks into a walk-in closet (actually the size of a good-sized room). With Christmas decorations, a bookcase full of books and photograph albums and out of season clothes, this room is stuffed. Now I want to go through all the boxes and notebooks to see what should be saved and what can be discarded as I also have the data on the computer. My family research files are contained in several filing cabinets in the garage and they will remain there.

So, if I don't post as often here, it's because I am caught up in sorting, filing, discarding and waiting for spring.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Shoe Tree

While driving through the bottoms near Ellis Park on this cold, sunny New Year's Day, we spotted something that made us giggle. At the point where Waterworks Road meets Weinbach, there is a Shoe Tree.

I've seen the Mystery Tree on Edisto Island, South Carolina, but had never seen a Shoe Tree. Don't you wonder who threw the first shoes into the tree? Did they come prepared with an old pair of shoes? How did other people know about the tree? Ah, the stuff of legends. If you want an enlarged view of this tree, click on the photo.

You can see other Shoe Trees here