Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nuts—or Raisins—or Chocolate, oh my!

If you live in a rural area and/or attend any church anywhere, you probably know that the best food in the world is found at church events.

In the mid 1970’s, I was given two church cookbooks; neither was from the church I attended at the time. One was given as a wedding gift.

On the outside they look grimy and faded, smeared with ingredients and an occasional chocolate fingerprint, but inside they are filled with tasty recipes, some passed down through generations, others perfected by their own changes.
Two of my favorites:

Mississippi Mud Cake


Sour Cream Raisin Pie and Pie Crust

A final note. Because I used to have two family members who didn't like coconut, I've never put coconut in the cake recipe. However, I may try that one day since I LOVE coconut and chocolate together.
If you want to learn a little more about me, I'm over at The Writing Nut today being interviewed. 


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Minnie Writes Home

My paternal grandmother, Minnie Pitts Powell, attended beauty school. While there, (I believe) she wrote to her parents using this postcard.  


During one of our conversations, she told me that what she really wanted to be was a nurse. Her parents didn’t think that nursing was an honorable profession, since she would have to see naked men, so she became a Beautician.

Minnie wrote home, but addressed it to herself.
Photo: Minnie as a child. Cora Pitts, photographer and older sister, took the picture.
Minnie wrote home.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Love through a Baby Book

It bears repeating that my mom, Joyce Dugan Powell, is awesome. When I think of love, I think of her. She took lots of photos of her children growing up (and still does). She put together photo albums for us—later in life and kept a record of our babyhood through a baby book.

< Here’s mine.

And here >

Love describes what our mom does for her children, but also who she is.
Here's the woman who inspires LOVE, with her perfect baby. (Apologies to my sister and brother for my perfection.)
And here she is again with that perfect child.
That's Love through a Baby Book!


Saturday, April 12, 2014


I have a fascination with my grandfathers and I think of them often. I knew my grandfather, Hurschel Powell, until my 12th year, then he died of Parkinson’s disease. My other grandfather, Frank Dugan, died when I was six months old. My mom, dad and a baby Teresa lived with them until I was six months old. He died thereafter of a heart attack.

This little keychain charm was my grandfather Hurschel’s. It says on the front, Royal Gorge. That’s all I know about it. 

My grandfather was:

Tall and handsome
Served in the military
Married my grandmother

He was a kind, fun loving and great example for a granddad.
And he had a cool keychain charm.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Julie and the Dress

This time the antique is me comes from me—a halter dress. The year (I think) is 1973 and my friend *Julie and I have been asked to help with (I think) handing out graduation programs for the class before us.

Julie is my best friend—has been since the age of three. During our friendship, where you saw one of us, you saw the other. When we were both asked to help with the school function, we said yes and then planned to sew new dresses--alike.

One day after school, we go to the town’s fabric store to pick out matching halter dress patterns and identical Dotted Swiss fabric. The fabric we pick is tan cotton with the “dot” being a raised tulip. Separately we return to our homes and sew ankle length, halter style dresses.

The first time we see each other, and the dresses, is the evening of the event when I walk through the exterior doors to the lobby to join Julie. As I approach her, I see that something isn’t right—her dress seems lighter in color than mine. When I finally get close enough, I realize that one of us has sewn our dress with the wrong side out. In our despair, we try to convince each other that the other has made the mistake. However, the fact remains that we will be standing side-by-side all evening, wearing what should have been twin dresses. And since we live nearly twenty miles outside of town and people are arriving, there’s nothing to do but bear the embarrassment.
For an hour, Julie and I stand side by side handing out programs, knowing people are wondering why our dresses were alike, but not.

The night ended, and we lived.

So who has sewn their dress incorrectly? She who put the dots on top or she who put the dots--under.  I’ll let you be the judge.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ironing Board


I don’t know the exact story on my ironing board, but it is a homemade ironing board and belonged to my grandmother Minnie Pitts Powell.
The hardware that causes the legs to fold, I believe, was purchased and attached to the wood.

My grandmother performed the duties of a housewife (for that time) and mother: laundry, cleaning, sewing, canning, cooking, tending garden and ironing and without modern conveniences. Life was hard work then.
Along with those duties, my grandparents also milked cows for their livelihood.
(Pardon the bench in the background.)
Hurschel and Minnie (Pitts) Powell and dog

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Holiday Book

Along with church, gifts, food and family, my rural Christmases included Christmas stories. This Ideals book was given to me by my Aunt Sharron Powell Grantz, 1965. I read it many times, as a child, and not always at Christmas.

After my children were born, I read Christmas Stories that Never Grow Old to them.  However, my daughter felt that the stories were sad.


My favorite story in the book is The Little Match Girl. It is a sad story, but sometimes life is sad. Without sadness and hardship, stories would be boring.

Thanks, Auntie Sharron, for my Holiday Book: Christmas stories That Never Grow Old.
Sharron, Bobby, Ronnie (my brother), Me, Tim
(Bobby and Tim, children of my Uncle Donnie Powell)
A long, long time ago--on a bitter cold New Year's eve--a poor little girl with bare feet was trudging along through the cold deep snow. (Adaptation from Hans Christian Anderson)
The memories of my book live on.