Saturday, October 25, 2014

Friends and Séances, Love and Regret

Hattie, Jewel, and I are spending the night at Katie’s house because we’re too young to cruise the streets of the small town, where we go to school, in cars we don’t own and with dates we’re too young to go on—officially. Instead, we play records and dance, talk about friends and enemies and 1971 fashion. Jewel changes clothes, under the clothing she’s wearing, like a magic act. I change in the only bathroom in the house, while Hattie and Katie strip down to dress in their PJs, in front of everyone.

As I walk back to Katie’s bedroom, I stop to stare at her brother’s vacant room. He’s out on a date with an older girl that I’m convinced stole him from me. My junior high crush is long gone, but not the memory of belting out, for him to hear, Loretta Lynn's song, You Ain’t Woman Enough to take my Man, with Katie singing back-up—a regrettable performance. Later I conclude that love is time consuming and heart wrenching—made of sweetness, until it sours and easily replaced with new love.

Back in the bedroom, the four of us occupy Katie’s full sized bed, crisscrossed, propped on our sides—talking again. That’s when I bring up the accident of my childhood friend. I tell them she had fallen off a hayride wagon and underneath its wheel. I tell them how I’d heard, that the wheel ran over her head, but how she stayed alive to call out for her mom and dad, when someone found her. Then she died. I say it’s sad that she won’t get to be with her family again, except in heaven, or grow up like we’re doing. No one says anything until Katie says, we should have a séance to see if she wants to talk to us. 
Someone says we need a candle so Katie sneaks one into the room along with matches to light it and places it on the floor. As if we’d done this before, we form a circle around the candle then sit with crossed legs and hold hands. Katie decides the lights should be off and leaves the ring of girls to flip the switch, then in the candle light, she joins hands again.

No one points out the waltzing shadows unleashed on the walls, by a single flame. With wide eyes we stare at each other, eyeballs dancing from friend to friend, chests heaving with anticipation—and fear.  For whatever reason, I take the lead and call out to my friend asking if she is in the room and to say something if she is. One of the other girls says something, but its muffled in my ears because there is a deafening pressure, and they need to pop.  
We’re still holding hands when the flame stretches upward, then flickers in an attempt to stay alive, but doesn't. The hush of darkness lasts only seconds before screams pierce the silence. Hysteria rouses us to race to the door, tromping each other until someone flips the switch and the lights come on.

“What was that?” Katie says, in spastic breaths.
“Who blew out the candle?” Jewel demands.

Each girl shakes her head—no, but we still challenge each other with raised eyebrows.  The  séance over.
*Names have been changed to protect privacy.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Frank Dugan Loved to Sing

"Songs of Inspiration"
My grandfather Frank Dugan loved to sing.

I sang in a band during my high school years, later--solo at church functions. Once I sang for 200 plus people at a church revival, other smaller revivals, a women’s (church) conference and a wedding.  

I love singing, too.

One Sunday after I had sang for my church, a man who grew up with my mom, told me that my voice reminded him of my Grandpa Frank’s singing voice. I knew that my grandpa loved singing, but no one had ever compared my voice to his. 
I have a songbook of his. This well worn songbook has his name written inside, in my grandmother's handwriting. 
Frank Dugan.

The first song in the book: There Shall be Showers of Blessings

I can imagine that he sang with zest and perhaps sang to me once during the six months we lived with him.  Someday I'll hear Grandpa Frank sing again--in heaven. Perhaps we'll sing together.

The last page.
Here's my post on and photos of Frank Dugan's family.

And.that's.a.wrap! My third A-Z Blogging Challenge has been completed. In the process, I've brought out of hiding family treasures to share with you. I hope you enjoyed my posts.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Yesteryear and Sibs

My blog posts wouldn't be complete without a mention of my own siblings and a couple of photos.

A long time ago, my dad and mother gifted me with…a little brother and sister, but not at the same time. (You thought I was going to say a puppy or pet chicken, didn't you?) They were thoughtful folks. And I didn’t even have ask for their gift.
First there was just me.
 (I can't believe I found the picture of me and my rocking chair after I posted about the rocking chair.)

After that, there was just me and my little brother.  He was okay until he learned how to talk and told me my clothes didn't match and other things.
Then it was just me, my little brother and a brand new baby sister. The day she came home from the hospital with all of her cuteness, my little brother told the parents to take her back. Although cowboys always know best, they decided to keep her anyway.

In time she grew on us, well she grew on me. Our brother liked gourds better.

About the time the brother accepted her, I was having second thoughts because she had better hair than me.
Joking aside, they're pretty great for siblings as long as they remember who remains number one.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Belva Dugan--extra special

Born and raised in Missouri, my Aunt Belva Dugan (on the right) lived in Texas most of her adult life. The oldest of eight children, Belva married once, but after a few years, her husband divorced her. They had no children. She was a career woman.
My aunt was a wonderful woman, sweet and easy to talk to. She sewed and crafted, but I remember her most for her faith in God.
She left behind a sweet devotional book. I am its caretaker.

This is Aunt Belva's Streams in the Desert devotional book given to her by a Sunday School Class.

I am so happy I have this book. Why?

I can’t even count the times; I’ve visited this book in times of grief and hardship. Somehow it gives me new things to think about each time and if a book can comfort, it does.   

Two of my favorite poems wait for me inside its covers. 
Belva Dugan as an infant. My ears stuck out like that, too.
Belva Dugan first born daughter of Frank and Sadie (Stafford) Dugan.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

White Bowl

No one ever left my Grandmother Sadie Stafford Dugan’s home, hungry—or at least I didn’t. With a house full of mouths to feed every Sunday after church, there was lots of cooking going on.

Three foods I associate with my grandmother’s cooking: pan of dressing, boiled oatmeal (never instant) and green beans from the garden. Can green beans melt in your mouth? Grandma’s did.
Grandma Sadie raised eight children with my grandfather Frank. She had a lot of practice cooking and not with modern food or conveniences.

The bottom Grandma's bowl is beautiful, too.

This is my mother's family of origin.  Little Grandma Sadie is in the middle of the photo. My mother's (Joyce) head is between her parents.
Grandma Sadie and I during the time we lived with my grandparents. Dog in background, photo bombing, name unknown.
A white bowl, green beans and a precious grandma. Enough said.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Vintage Picture

Today’s treasure from the past is simple and precious. This picture was given to my grandmother Minnie Pitts Powell, at Christmas, by her mother Lula Wright Pitts when Minnie was 12 years old.

I’m unsure if my great grandmother Lula purchased the picture as one unit or if it was her idea to sandwich the paper picture of fruit between the metal frame and cardboard herself. The cardboard is roughly cut which makes me think that it might have been Lula’s creation for her youngest child Minnie

On the back of this (my) vintage picture, my grandmother recorded its history in her handwriting: 
"A Christmas Gift from my mom when I was 12 years old."
This gift must have meant something to my grandmother. Not only did she keep it, she wrote a bit of its history on the back.
See photos of Minnie and Lula here. 


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Unique Brooch

Some called them pins, some call them brooches. I called them either/or depending on the day and my mood. This vintage brooch is not a family heirloom, but could be one day since it now belongs to me. This is how I became its owner.

There was a dear woman who worked for our school district for many years as the special education director. I considered her my friend. When she decided to retire, I was saddened.

My collection of brooches

On one of her last days with the district, she brought a collection of her brooches, to the school, that she wanted to share with the people who had admired the ones she'd worn over the years. Because I had a little collection of brooches myself, I was thrilled when she asked if I would like to pick one out of her collection for mine, to remember her by.

I picked this unique one—a large snowflake with clear rhinestones. (I wish the photographs actually did the pin justice.)
Guess what?  I do think of her when I wear it.