MY LIFE HAS SEEN A SERIES OF HOBBIES

My Life Has Seen A Series Of Hobbies

My life has seen a series of hobbies, interests and passions come and go, ever changing, evolving and, I hope, growing.  It seems like I start something, but once I become fairly accomplished at it, I either become frustrated with it, lose interest, or decide something else is more interesting, and go on to the next exciting project.  I admire the people I have known who zero in on a hobby, project or cause and have stuck with it through thick and thin over their lifetime.

Collecting

The first hobby I recall was collecting salt shakers.  I think it began when my family was making occasional trips to the Washington, DC area from western New York to visit my aunt and uncle.  We often stopped along the way for lunch at restaurants that had an Amish theme.  There I found little salt shakers representing Amish characters.  That set me off on a life-time fascination with all things Amish, but also, for a time, collecting salt shakers.  I must have had 50 sets in my collection by the time I sold it at auction (for peanuts) when I sold my home after my husband died.

Genealogy

I became fascinated with genealogy at a rather early age, but never pursued it as a passion until the 1980′s.  My grandmother passed on to me, a scrapbook that she had been putting together for most of her life, with family and local articles of interest.  When I finally decided to get involved in family research, I along with an aunt, jumped in with both feet.  We traveled al over New York State in search of cemeteries and records that would give us a clue as to our ancestry.  It proved to be a very fruitful venture, and my research eventually compiled ten three-ring -binders of material on the various lines.  But, it seems that I finally got burned out by all the research and decided to leave the hard tasks to someone in the next generation to follow through on.  However, I still brake for cemeteries.

Quilting

Another, rather short lived passion, was quilting.  The first thing I did when I retired from my job at St. Bonaventure University was sign up for a quilting class.  I really enjoyed working with all the lovely fabrics and making a beautiful piece of fabric art to pass on to family members, some of whom did not share my enthusiasm for this “old timey” craft.  This time, it was old age that got in the way of my hobby.  It didn’t take long before I found I was developing nerve pain in my thumb and wrist from working with the needle and thread.  So, once again, I put the hobby aside and began searching for something else to while away the time.

Birdwatching

Bird watching caught my fancy for a while, a hobby I still enjoy, but now it is from the view out my window.  I joined a local bird club and went on outings to find unusual species, and participated in the twice-a-year national bird counts.  Then I met Chuck who, although he shared my interest in birds, did not share my interest in counting them or searching out their hideaways.  So I backtracked and became a window watcher. Other things have held my interest for a while, but disappeared for various reasons.  Golf – loved it until my knees and back began complaining.  Calligraphy – used it for my Christmas cards one year and I’m sure the recipients thought I was showing off.  I was; enough of that.  Various forms of needlework, embroidery, crocheting, etc.  went the same way as the quilting – became painful.

Volunteering

My volunteer activities have come and gone as have my other interests.  I have been a docent at the St. Bonaventure Fine Arts Center, worked for the Friends of the Library, volunteered at the local historical society, and worked in the library as a volunteer in the technical services department.  These all held my interest for a while, but I eventually began to feel burn-out and a need to step back and re-evaluate whether or not I wanted to continue these projects. Maybe I’m just a fickle person.  I guess I am always looking for a new challenge once I have become accomplished at something.

Now, it seems, it is writing that is consuming me.  It has always been something I enjoyed, but in the past year it has become the one thing that I have enjoyed more than all the rest of the hobbies, with the possible exception of genealogy.  Yes, my life has seen a series of hobbies, passions and interests come and go, but I think this one will stick with me to the grave; or until my fingers and brain give out and I find myself putting gibberish on paper, or in this case, the computer.  Please let me know when it becomes unintelligible.

There are a few things left on my bucket list to try:  photography, cake decorating, painting.  I don’t think I am going to live long enough to attempt those hobbies.  But, you never know.

Married To An Old Man

I’m Married To An Old Man

I never dreamed I’d be married to an old man.  But Charlie turns 80 years old on Tuesday, January 28 – and that’s really OLD!  Of course the fact that I will be 78 in April is a different story.  I’ll have to  think about that when the time comes.

I have to say that, for an old man, he’s in pretty good shape.  He still has all his teeth – although how much longer that will last is a question.  Do you believe – he takes no prescription medications!  Not one.- well a B 12 injection that I give him once a month.  But his heart is pumping like a 40 yr. old, his cholesterol is to die (or live) for, his blood pressure actually runs on the low side, and his liver tests come back normal (imagine that).

He’s Still Cheerful And Helpful

Yes – he lost his prostate several years ago, his legs are giving out and his brain is close behind.   He can’t tell one end of the remote control from the other, the heat control from the air conditioning control, and gets lost getting out of the driveway.  But he still has a positive attitude, never grumbles about what he’s lost, or his bad luck in life, takes out the trash, fills the humidifier and is my second set of eyes when I am driving.

He loves to talk – and talk – about his days in the jet flying machines.  Who can blame him for that.  He still dreams about his 200 acres – now gone nearly five years, and all the big bucks he caught.  Can’t blame him for that either.  He likes his wine – that’s a negative – but it’s better than the martinis he used to like!

Perhaps He Should Been A Cowboy

He spends his days reading, what else, books on all the great jet fighter pilots and their narrow escapes and daring do’s.  He spends his evenings watching WWII or cowboy movies.  He often tells me, “I shoulda been a cowboy.”  Every now and then he lets me switch on a girlie flick, but I usually let him prevail.  After all, what else does he have to look forward to.

There are days when I wish I had been a “cougar” and married a (much) younger man.  But, most of the time I am happy with my lot, and my Charlie.  He’s a good man, with an even temper and a cheery disposition.  Happy 80th birthday Charlie.  This old lady is happy to be married to an old man.

My Childhood Christmases

My Childhood Christmases

My childhood Christmases remain imbedded in my brain better than those of more recent years.  But I guess that is the way the brain works when you get old – you remember the long ago occurrences and forget yesterday.

The Early Memories

The first Christmas I can remember is when I was four years old.  World war II had just started a few weeks earlier.  My family was living in Alexandria, VA and my father insisted my mother take my sister and I back to New York State where we would be safe in case of an enemy attack on the nation’s capitol.  I had to leave nearly all my Christmas presents behind and board a crowded troop train for New York.  It was devastating for a small child.  My great aunts tried to make up for the loss my sister and I suffered, by bringing a few gifts to my grandfather’s home where we were staying.  Two gifts stand out in my mind. They were both books; The Night Before Christmas and a book of nursery rhymes.

As I got older, the memories are not so much of the gifts as they are of the family traditions. Of course we always had a “real” tree  since the artificial ones had not yet come into being.  There is nothing like the smell of a newly cut evergreen tree to put me in a Christmas mood; and ours were always freshly cut.  My father would take his saw and head for the woods, usually with a daughter along for company.  It was a major production getting the tree to stand perfectly in the tree stand.  Then the decorating began.  When my father was younger he had made many hand-made paper oragami ornaments for the tree, all decorated with glitter.  Oh how I wish I still had some of those, but as the years went on we got tired of them and, not realizing their intrinsic value, threw them out with the worn out aluminum icicles.  Those are another thing you don’t see much on trees these days.  The last thing added to the decorated tree was one or two packages of those icicles, making the tree sparkle as the tree gently swayed from motion in the room.

Dad Was The Heart Of Christmas

My father was the heart of Christmas in our family.  He loved the holiday and always saw to it that we had all the things that made Christmas special.  He loved ribbon candy  We could be certain that he would come home some night from work with a box of ribbon candy for the family to enjoy.  I was the odd man out on that one.  I never really cared for hard candy of any type.  Then there were the chestnuts.  Dad always managed to find an evening to roast chestnuts for the family to enjoy.  They weren’t “roasted on an open fire” as the song goes.  Dad did them in the oven, but they were just as tasty as the open fire variety.

My parents always arranged for a visit from Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.  I have to admit that, at times, it was a disappointing encounter.  Some of those jolly old St. Nicks just didn’t look like the one in my book.  But mom explained that they were just helpers; Santa was too busy to come on Christmas Eve so we had to make due with one of his helpers.  I was pretty sure that one of them was my Uncle Emmett, but I couldn’t figure out how he got the job.

I remember the year that I no longer believed in the jolly old man.  Christmas was ruined for me that year.  But I tried to make the best of it and worked especially hard to be sure that my younger sisters still believed.  By the time I had children of my own, it was so much fun making Christmas for them, that I almost became a believer, once more.

Church Was A Big Part Of The Celebration

Some of the best Christmas memories come from participation in the St. Andrews Methodist Church Christmas activities.  Oh how I remember the year that I was chosen to play Mary in the Christmas pageant, and the boy I had a crush on was selected to play Joseph!   Singing all the beautiful Christmas carols along with the church choir, especially the emotional O Holy Night, remains high on my list of the best memories ever.

In remembrance of my childhood Christmases I wish you all a Merry Christmas.