1 Nephi 1: 1, 3
...therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days. And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.

^^That pretty much explains this blog.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day 2011

In honor of Mother's Day, I thought I would give a little genealogy tour of all my ancestor mothers.

I'll start with me!
These are my children at Zannah's wedding in 2011, on my birthday, March 11. From left: Jewely, 21, me holding a picture of Elder Tim Knight, 19, on his mission at the time in Chicago; newlywed Zannah, 25, Alexander, 27.

I am the oldest of eight surviving children, from left sitting: Christine, 12; Susan, 25; Andrew, 19;
Standing:  Jeffrey, 13; John, 15; Kathy, 17; Warren, 18; Henry, 22. July 1979.

My mother is Edith Catherine (Kay) McNelly Tobelmann Doran. Below is my favorite picture of my mother.  She was Harvest Queen her senior year of high school, 1950-51.

She graduated from Downingtown Junior-Senior High School, 1951

Her mother, my grandmother: Mary Louise Kessler Blumberg McNelly Loebe

She was one of six surviving Kessler children.
My grandmother is the little girl in front with the big bow in her hair
circa 1907-1909

Four Generation photo, Christmas 1987: From left:  Kay, 54; Mary Lou, 84; Alexander, 4; Susan, almost 34

My grandmother's mother: Lucy Richmond Boggs Kessler Walts Lively (yes, she outlived 3 husbands), 1871-1956

My great-grandmother's mother: Lydia T. Smith Boggs, 1850-1927, standing next to the chair.

Lydia's mother, my great-great-great grandmother:Frances (Fannie) Cochran Smith,1814-1895

There are many more for which I do not have photos.  This is just one line of my ancestral mothers.  I have many more that I am proud of, and hope I do them justice as part of their posterity.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

As a Child, What Were Your Chores or Responsibilities?

I was the oldest of eight children.

For a long time I had a notion that my parents adopted me to be a babysitter.  At 10-years-old I was watching my brothers and sisters while my mom left and did errands.  I would never do that to a 10-year-old, but she figured my Aunt Grace (we called close friends and neighbors "Aunt" in those days) lived right next door if there was any trouble.

At 10 years old I could diaper a baby with real diaper pins and wring out the diaper in the toilet.  In fact, when I had my own kids, I vowed I would never put my hand in another toilet with a poopy diaper. You can imagine I was the choice babysitter for everyone in the neighborhood as well.  When I was 13 I was getting babysitting jobs over 16-year-olds because of all my experience with babies.  At least I got paid for watching those kids...

I had to dust and vacuum and keep my room neat (hardly ever accomplished).  My mother must have had a thousand knickknacks and bric-a-brac and she wouldn't just let me dust around them.  I had to take them off the tables and hutches and dust the shelves and then dust the knickknacks, too. 

She had a ceramic rooster collection.  I will never have a rooster collection!!  I hated those roosters, especially the fighting cocks.  What were they thinking?!

On Saturdays I had to clean the bathroom.  OK...I had five brothers!  Can you imagine what the bathroom looked like after a week?  And we had these tiny pink tiles on the floor and bigger pink tiles on the walls.  Tile is impossible to keep clean in a bathroom full of grout.  Yuk!  It's the reason I slept late on Saturdays, or tried to.

I mainly had to take care of whatever baby was drinking a bottle or needed to be fed in a high chair.  I realized, when I left home, I didn't know how to cook (except peel potatoes, which I also vowed I would never do again--and never have!) because I always fed the babies while my mother cooked.

If I could, I would sneak out the door quietly, but if ever my mother caught me sitting and reading a book, she would yell at me to do something helpful/useful!

I figured out at an early age that my mother would never disturb anyone in the bathroom.  You guessed it.  I did most of my reading in the bathroom.

Still do!

Describe the Neighborhood You Grew Up In

I lived in the same neighborhood, though in two houses, until I was six-years-old.
First I lived with my grandparents, then moved a block away.
The neighborhood was safe and most of the houses were built in the 1940s-1950s, but they were new at the time.
My grandparents built their home new and we were the second homeowners in the next home down the street.
The neighborhood had either elderly people and empty nesters, or new families.  It was safe.  If we were walking around the neighborhood, we knew the neighbors would be looking out for us.

There was a small butcher shop about two doors down from my grandparents' house which was a mom and pop grocer.  That was a great hangout out for popsicles and soda during the summer.  My friend, Mona, would tap into her blue, plastic piggy bank and we would buy a twinsicle for a dime and split it.  Sometimes we would go around the neighborhood and collect Coke bottles and other soda bottles in my red, metal wagon and we would take them to the butcher shop for pennies and buy Tastykakes or popsicles or Bazooka bubblegum.  Tastykakes were 7 cents and you got three of them in a pack.  Bubble gum was a penny.  We loved to read the comic wrappers.

The butcher was in the back of the shop.  I remember you went in and told him what you wanted and he would cut it up and wrap it all in brown paper that hung from a roll on the wall.  Then he would tie it up with string that as also hanging from the wall.  There was no milk in stores back then because we had milkmen deliver millk and leave it on our front porch during the night.  I remember almost every day, my mom opening the front door to retrieve the milk from the silver, metal milk box.  We also had a dry clean guy that drove to pick up my dad's white shirts.  And we had a bread man, too.  I remember always begging my mom to buy sweet rolls.  She did sometimes, but not every time.

Mona Trace was my best friend.  We played on her swing set in her back yard which overlooked the railroad tracks.  When engines would go by we would pull our arms down and up and the engineer would wave and blow his whistle at us.  What fun!  We did acrobatics on the bars of the swing set and pretended we were princesses or acrobats or girlfriends of astronauts that were in a TV show we liked.  Commander Perry!  And there was a western, Laramie, and Mona would be the girlfriend of the blonde guy (she was blonde) and I would be the girlfriend of the brunette guy (I was brunette).  I think his name was Jesse.

Sometimes we would play with Eddie Short next door.  He lived with his grandmother and they had an apple tree.  We loved to pick the green apples off the tree in the summer before they were ripe.  To this day I love green apples.  Maybe because they remind me of my happy childhood.

One time we got caught in Mona's garage.  It was set off away from the house.  For some reason we pulled the door down and we couldn't get it back up again.  We started pounding on the side of the metal garage and screaming "Help!  Help!"  Then Eddie started crying!  Mona and I laughed.  We just thought it was so funny that a boy, who was about three years older than us, would start crying and we, girls, didn't.  All of a sudden, Mrs. Trace opened up the garage door.  I don't remember her yelling at us or anything, but I'll never forget Eddie Short crying!

Summer lasted forever when you were four and five.  We never knew what humidity was.  When you're a kid it doesn't bother you.  We would go outside after breakfast, make a short stop home for lunch, then go back outside for the rest of the day until dinner.  At night, sometimes we would have picnics and show slides on the side of our house on Olive Street and invite the neighbors.  The kids would catch lightning bugs until bedtime.

When we moved to Scott Drive, it was a different type of neighborhood.  It was in a suburban-rural-type area with no sidewalks and miles from town.  You had to drive to get anywhere.  There was no corner store and only a few houses.  From the top of Scott Drive you could see all of Coatesville.  It was fun to go there.  I would ride my bike a lot and pretend it was a horse.

I had a good friend, Laurie Mundy, and we played Barbies and made dream houses with our mothers' Good Housekeeping and Better Homes & Gardens magazines.  Our future selves were always Breck Girls.  We each planned to have about 5-6 children and we glued our future living rooms, bedrooms, etc. onto construction paper.  We tied it up with yarn and made booklets.  It was our favorite thing to do on a rainy day.

Laurie had a Magic 8 Ball.  I always wanted one.  It was so much fun.  It would capture our attention for a long time as we asked it questions--until the answer was one we wanted! Laurie also had a tall, thin black cat bank.  Sometimes we would take out the stopper and empty out all her pennies and count them.  There was no mom and pop grocer to go spend the money on, so we just counted the money and put it all back in.

During the summer we played with Laurie's brothers' friends and all the other boys in the neighborhood.  We built forts in the woods.  There was a lot of homebuilding going on and we would siphon wood and nails from the builders and contractors and confiscate our fathers' hammers and make forts in trees.  One time we had 3 forts in a triangle and you needed a ladder to get up into them.  We would collect acorns from the oak trees and put them in brown grocery bags and keep them in the forts, saved for acorn battles.  Boys did things like that.  Mainly Laurie and I would climb up there when there were no boys around and bring our lunches in brown lunch bags with sandwiches wrapped in wax paper.

Next door to my house they were building a new house where the McGhees would soon live, and there was a huge pile of clay dirt.  One evening, my dad helped me build a fort out of that clay.  We dug and pounded the dirt into tables and chairs and we even had lunch there, in the hard red clay dirt.  I bet my mom loved that load of laundry!  Our clothes were all red and muddy and dirty.  But it was fun to do and pretend to have a house.

When I was older, I used to go up to Pike's Peak (the people at the top of the street, named Pike, had a big front yard that sloped down).  There was a big boulder rock there and I would take my diary there or even an old typewriter I found in the attic, and I would pretend to be Jo in Little Women and write stories there.  As I recall, I even wore a beret, just like Jo in the book.

Mostly I would go to Pike's Peak and ponder.  There was also Spackman's Pond.  I would walk down there, mostly with Laurie, and sit near the drain pipe and ponder.  It was beautiful there.  I wonder if Laurie remembers the time we were sitting on the cement by the pipe and throwing stones at a stick in the water. All of a sudden, the stick moved and a big, red snake peaked its head out of the water and stuck out its tongue and looked at us!  We screamed and ran away up Moore Road as fast as we could!

What do you remember from your childhood neighborhood?  Was it a safe place to live in?  Did it have sidewalks?  Did you live near stores?  Did you play in the woods?  Did you build forts or play with Barbie dolls?

Describe Your Childhood Home

I had a few childhood homes. 

I was born into my grandparents' home on Olive Street in Coatesville. That's me in 2012, with blonde hair, visiting back east.  I had the front bedroom (the window far right), and my parents slept in the fixed up basement apartment (sans bathroom).  My grandparents had the back bedroom, all were quite small. There was one bathroom, a living room, dining area and kitchen. It was a quaint 2-bedroom ranch house with an ample back yard for gardens and fruit trees. It was built with my dad's GI bill in about 1950 or so.  I spent the first three years of my life there. It is very like my first purchased home in Telford, a ranch style, only we had three bedrooms.

Added 2017--the hedges and rose bushes are gone

Added 2017--to the left is where the cherry tree used to be. My grandmother's clothesline is till there.

Added 2017--this back yard used to be full of fruit trees and a big garden, and hedges all around it

My second home was right down the street at 1417 Olive Street.  It was a 3-bedroom stucco Tudor-looking home with living room, dining room and kitchen on the main floor, 3 small bedrooms on the second floor and garage and basement on the first floor.  The back yard was large.  Funny how I remember the basement most of all from that house.
My mom would do the laundry down there and I would play with my dolls.  She had a wringer washer/dryer.  I can remember that thing moving up and down as it chugged the laundry clean.  Then my mom would hold the laundry through the wringer to flatten it like pancakes.  Then she would set up a clothesline in the basement during the winter to dry the clothes (summer was an outside line). All the while she would listen to soap operas on the radio.
Meanwhile, I had a knock-off version of a Betsy Westy doll.  I had a bath-a-net for her and I would bathe Betsy while my mom did her laundry.
The basement was also where I had a place set up to do my painting.
I can also remember when my grandmother's dog, Pinky, had her puppies.  I played down in the basement with the puppies there.
This photo is recent (2012). Our house didn't look like this. The bottom was brick, but the top was stucco with wood--Tudor style. I'm not thrilled with what this family did to the house. Orange siding with red brick . . . uh . . . no.
Added 2017--they added a front porch and a garden 

Added 2017

At the end of first grade we moved again to a home north of town at 1107 Scott Drive.

It was a 4-bedroom split level to accommodate our growing family of six at that time, soon to be grown to 10 in the next few years.  It was red brick and wood siding.  That is where I spent the remainder of my childhood.  In the beginning I had my own room.  When Kathy was born, I shared my room with her and any subsequent baby that was born, as a crib was incessantly in my bedroom. We always had two cribs, one in my room and one in another room that housed either my brother, Henry, or my grandmother when she lived with us for awhile.

Consequently, my dad made over the attic into a boys dormitory when I was about 16.  I got my own room; Kathy and Chrissy shared a room; Henry got his own room, too; and the rest of the boys: Andrew, Warren, John and Jeffrey took over the dormitory. My parents, of course, had the master bedroom/bath.

We had 2-1/2 bathrooms.  The main floor was the kitchen, living room and dining room.  A few steps up into the bedroom area, then a few steps up into the attic dorm.  A few steps down from the kitchen was what we called the play room or rec room.  There was also a laundry room and a powder room.  The 2-car garage was off the play room.  In the beginning we did have 2 cars in there, but as my mom began her careers in Home Interiors and quilting, the garage was turned into a warehouse/workplace for her, then a quilt shop.

We had 3/4 acre in mostly oak trees and others like poplar and some evergreen.  My dad was like a master gardener and built lots of gardens with all the stone that was dug out of our yard.  He never could grow grass much because of all the shade trees, but he loved to grow flowers.  We had beauties all over the yard.

With as big as our family was, it astonishes me that we didn't have a vegetable garden.  That was something I undertook when I got my own houses later.  But, like I said, we did not have much sun except in the front yard, so I guess my dad just stuck with flowers, which he loved.

As a result, a few of us siblings have green thumbs like my dad and his dad before him.  Gardening is one love that runs in the family.  I hope my children will inherit that love of plant, tree, flower and vegetable gardening.

How many childhood homes did you have?  What did they look like?

What Are Your Special Gifts or Talents?

In my profile I say I am a "has-been" and it's true.  When I look back on all the talents I had and which are not too great now, I think how lucky I was to have been able to do all these marvelous things.  I can't carry a tune very much anymore, dancing is out of the question, my eye sight is horrible, so playing the piano is difficult and I don't do calligraphy anymore either.  I still paint, and now I have been able to tell about my life through writing.  Writing is my newest hobby.  And I love blogging.

I think the first 'talent' or hobby I loved was.... coloring and painting.  From the time I could hold a crayon I loved 'color.'  It was such a treat to get a huge Crayola crayon box, remember?  How many crayons were in that huge one--the one with the crayon sharpener?  96?  Of course, it was only a few times we ever got a 96 box, huh?
I also loved to paint.  Of course, I didn't know there was anything else besides paint-by-number.  My dad used to do them and I pestered him to get me some.  I think he was reluctant, but he got me some and I loved doing it.  It was probably the first compulsion I ever had.  I never went out of the lines!

I think I was getting over chicken pox in the first picture here. I must have begged my mom to let me paint. She set me up outside on the picnic table. I loved to do paint by number. My dad was proud of me when I did.

So painting and drawing.  I loved it all.  I used to sit up til all hours of the night drawing.  When I heard my parents coming to bed, I would quick turn out the light and pretend to be asleep.  Sometimes, if I dared, I would turn the light back on and continue.  I was a night owl even then.
My first oil painting was done when I was in 8th grade.  My mom was taking oil painting classes at evening school and I decided I wanted to try it, too.

I came upon my 8th grade sailboat painting only recently. I found it in a closet at my mother's house in Florida. I decided it was time to bring it home. I was 13 in that picture (for some reason, I loved that button-down shirt).
From the time I was 6 years old I think I said I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. Finally, when I learned calligraphy in 1980 and beyond, I felt like a real artist.

I also started piano lessons in first grade.  I loved playing the piano, even though I had to take lessons from old Sister Gertrude Mary, God rest her soul.  My grandmother gave me a tiny piano when I was a toddler and always praised me when I knocked out some noise on the little keys.  I thought I was destined to play the piano and I swear that is why I wanted to play.  I thought I had some talent!  lol

I love the photo of me with my little piano my MeeMaw gave me for my first birthday. It gave me incentive to take piano lessons in first grade.

Then I got to high school and discovered I loved to sing.  Funny story...I joined the Girls Glee Club in 9th grade.  I was so shy (actually shocked and bewildered) when I got to public high school after being in Catholic School.  I went from a class of 21 to a class of 656. Glee Club was something I looked forward to.  We were singing "When You Wish Upon a Star" from "Pinnochio."  At one point everyone stopped singing.  I was watching Miss Wamsher and I didn't see her give any signs of stopping.  Then I realized I was the only one singing.  Everyone else had stopped.  I was so embarrassed!  She asked, "Why didn't you try out for Bel Canto?"
I answered, "I went to Catholic School and nobody came to audition us there."
Well, Miss Wamsher tried to change my schedule so I could be in Bel Canto.  I was mortified!  I was just starting to make new friends and feel comfortable.  She couldn't change my schedule (I wish now that she could have because I missed a whole year of being in a choir), but the next year, she went to all the Catholic schools to audition the pupils there for Bel Canto.  I did feel pretty good about that.
In 10th grade I was finally happily ensconced in Bel Canto.  I also auditioned for Scott Singers and got in.  I earned the Music Award that year.  It gave me a lot of confidence.

Pictures: 1. Bel Canto, 1969-1970; 2. Scott Singers (I'm smack dab in the middle); 3. Wee Three: me, LuAnn Stern Glaister, Nancy Pollock Cole; 4. Meistersingers, 1971-1972; 5. My first District Chorus, 1971 . . .

Bel Canto 1969-1970

During 10th grade Miss Wamsher got 3 of us girls together that played guitar (?) or tried to, to form a little trio.  Nancy Pollock and LuAnn Stern and I first performed Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" for a Spring Concert.  We decided to add to our repertoire and she allowed us to perform with the Bel Canto and Scott Singers when we went to civic groups.  We called ourselves Wee Three.  We performed all through high school for churches, civic groups, and entertainment for anyone who would have us. We got matching daisy shirts (we thought they were so low cut in those days!), and we performed at the Old Maple Inn (in the picture) for a retirement party--hired by my dad. I think we got paid $10--total!

When I got to C.A.S.H. (Coatesville Area Senior High), I auditioned for Meistersingers.  That was my life in high school--singing and performing. 

Mr. Daghir was our music director.  He was like a second father to me.  He groomed me for District Chorus and Regional Chorus, which I participated in in both junior and senior years.  I still have the albums we made. 

In my junior year, I was 8th chair in 2nd soprano.  In my senior year I auditioned and got 2nd chair, but the 1st chair was sick during Regionals, so I was 1st chair in 2nd sopranos during Regional Chorus.  I couldn't believe it!

In 11th grade I auditioned for Laury in "Oklahoma" and got that part!  I loved it!  I decided then I wanted to be an actress on the stage!  Musicals were the best!

Photos: 1. "Many a New Day," performed as Laury in Oklahoma!; 2. me and Fred Martin, who was Curly singing "People Will Say We're in Love;" 3. Chester County Junior Miss Talent Competition, 1971--I won the talent portion--and I got a big trophy! I sang a medley from "Showboat," I made my costume, and I recorded myself playing the accompaniment. I even did a little soft shoe. 4. 5. Bloody Mary in "South Pacific," 1972.

Laurie in "Oklahoma" performing "Many a New Day"

 At the end of 11th grade I was asked to try out for the Chester County Junior Miss Pageant.  I set my sights on winning the talent award.  I figured I wouldn't be able to win the whole thing (due to my klutzy-ness, which didn't let me down during the evening gown competition when I tripped. . .but that's a different story), but the talent award, maybe.

That summer I made my own costume to sing a medley of songs from "Showboat."  Unfortunately, sewing did not become one of my talents.  But I played the piano accompaniment on a reel-to-reel tape and I sang "Cap'n Andy's Floatin' Show," "Old Man River," "Why Do You Love Me?" "Can't Help Lovin' That Man," and I made up a little waltzy-type dance to "After the Ball."  I did win the talent award and I still have the trophy!

I also performed in "South Pacific" in my senior year as Bloody Mary.  I sang "Happy Talk" and "Bali Hai." 
I was in my glory on that stage.  But I didn't want to be the comic relief. I wanted to be Nellie Forbush.  But my friend Sally wanted to try out for Liat, so I told her I'd try out with her and do the Bloody Mary part with her.  I could tell by the look on Mr. Daghir's face that he was pleased with my performance.  I was so upset I slammed the door when I got in the car to go home.  Sure enough. . .I was cast as Bloody Mary.  But I have to admit, I loved it.  It was so fulfilling to see people jumping to their feet when I came out for my bow.  Oh, how we all wished we could perform it for weeks and weeks.  Alas, we only had 3 performances.  I decided right then I wanted to major in Theater Arts in college.

I love that last bit in ithe newpaper article.  I guess I could do everything but chew gum!
After high school I hit a dry spell with performing, but I continued my art with a course in the Famous Artists School.  A representative came from Connecticut to sign me up.  I didn't want to.  My mom wanted me to.  I think SHE really wanted to take it, but I did it anyway, reluctantly.  I had to paint what they wanted me to paint and I didn't like that.  It was sort of like taking piano lessons.  When I had to play the lesson I was bored.  When I quit lessons, you couldn't drag me away from the piano.  I felt it was like a duty to paint and it wasn't fun.  I guess I was learning something (doubtful, though), but it was not fun.  It was a chore.  In fact, I only had a certain period of time to complete the course and, while I was in college, I also had to struggle to complete the paintings for this blasted course.  It was hard to do homework and then paint. I completed the course and got a little certificate which probably doesn't mean anything now.
In 1978 I joined a band.  I met up with a friend who worked with me at Sam Goody at the time and she asked me to come and sing with her new band.  The name was Syren and I was a singer and we performed in the Philadelphia and Wilmington areas.  OK. . .MY DREAM COME TRUE!!!  We sang original and cover tunes.  I did percussion and sang and occasionally played guitar when they were singing my songs.  I started writing songs about the time I picked up a guitar in 8th grade.  When I was in Boulder I bought myself a good guitar and really started writing songs then.  I was so happy the band was willing to perform them.  I was a folky.  We did folk, rock and jazz--Joni Mitchell, Jackson Brown, Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac, Bonnie Raitt, and more I can't remember now.  Mostly our own songs.  Wendi was the prolific writer.

Photos: 1. Syren, taken about 1978, from left: Henry Farkas, piano and moog synthesizer; Wendi Bourne, guitar and vocals; Jay Mitlas, bass; Ray Taglialatella, drums; and me, vocals, percussion, and some guitar; 2. Trio with Wendi and Henry playing at the Wheelpump Tavern in Flourtown, Pa., circa 1980; 3. Wendi and I at the radio station, Gene Shey show on WHYY--1980; 

From the band was also formed a trio with Henry Farcus, the piano player, Wendi Bourne and me.  We sang at the Wheelpump Inn every Wednesday and on weekends we weren't performing with the band. 

We sang and played together, then each of us did solo performing so we could take breaks. 
I played the piano and sang and played the guitar and sang when it was my turn.
Wendi and I also did a duo thing and sang at restaurants.  It was so much fun.  I was in my glory!

When the band folded in 1981, I was asked to join an Appalachian clogging team, the Skipback Cindies, another dream come true.  Let's face it, I am a klutz.  I've had more accidents trying to be athletic--swimming, diving, skiing, riding my bike--but Appalachian clogging I could do!  YAY!  I loved it!  We performed all over southeastern Penna., Delaware, NJ, NY, Long Island. . .it was so wonderful being able to perform, and actually say I was a dancer!!!

Photos: 1. Cindy Dalrymple, me, and Sue Henderson Hay, waiting to perform on stage at Lincoln Center Outdoors, Summer 1981; 2. Skipback Cindies Summer Tour 1981--walking the streets of NYC, waiting for our performance time; 3. posing on stage--that's me in the middle in the purple dress--yes, I was that skinny; 4. 5. Southampton Park, Pa., July 4, 1983, a few months after having Alex. I wore the yellow, post-prego dress--Ha!; 6. Rochester, NY Folk Festival, 1984--my last dance; 6. Me, age about 4. I guess my dream of becoming a dancer came true--and I guess all those dance lessons finally paid off.

    Southampton Park, July 4, 1983

During all this time of being in the band and teaching evening school and dancing, I was also teaching piano lessons.  I was a traveling teacher.  I also sang solo at a piano bar in the Washington House in Sellersville. Background music, but I got tips!  When I would play and sing at home growing up, my dream was to be able to sing in a restaurant and put a glass on the piano for tips like in the old movies. 

Photo: Me and my little sister Kathy. I was 12 and she was 4. I adored her then and still do now. She is one of my best friends.

When baby #1 (Alex) came along in 1983, I decided to teach piano at home.  I lost about two-thirds of my students (I had about 25) but I also had a baby to take care of.  I stopped singing solo, too,

because I missed my baby too much!  
So when baby #2 came along, I decided to leave dancing and singing and teaching piano, and went back to art. 

About the same time I was in the band and dancing, I took quilting lessons in Skippack.  I am not a sewer, but I can sew a straight line to make a quilt, and wield a needle to quilt the designs.  I love color and this satisfied my joy of picking out colors and patterns and making a useful throw or wall hanging. My mother was a quilter and sometimes she would make a quilt top and I would quilt it for her. I sold some of my quilts at a shop in Peddler's Village too, as well as some commission work that I picked up when I did craft shows on the weekend.

I began to take Calligraphy classes in Doylestown in 1980.  The latter was right up my alley.  I realized I never really felt like a true artist until I learned Calligraphy.  I was able to go to numerous Calligraphy Conferences and taught classes through Souderton Areas School District's evening school/community education from 1982 until 2010.  I also taught other classes pertaining to calligraphy and paper art as well as One Stroke Painting.  I did decorative painting and sold my bird houses in Kathy Davis' cute boutique in the Montgomery Mall.  I taught private art lessons at home, too, up until I moved to Utah.

The photo appeared in the Souderton Independent in March 1985, two months before Zannah was born. Ellen Jamison did an article on me because I had an exhibit hanging at a bank in Telford. In the picture I am working on adding names to an old family Bible that belonged to a Mr. Souder of Sellersville.

Again . . . in my glory. 

About the time I found out I was pregnant with Jewely, in August of 1988, I was asked to audition for the lead in a Christmas Opera, "Amahl and the Night Visitors," the Reading Stake was performing in December 1988.  I got the part, then the next day took the EPT.  I called the director, Jane Kessler, and told her I would be about 5 months pregnant during the production, if she still wanted me.  She said she didn't care.  I would just look fat.  Haha!  It was the greatest thing I ever did musically.  Whoever knew I could reach a high A?  Never before or after!  Thank you, Jane, for having confidence in me.

Photos: 1. The cast of "Amahl and the Night visitors." I played the Mother; 2. Me and 10-year-old Matthew Kammerer who played Amahl.That's little Zannah on the right in the background, coming up on stage to see me. She freaked out a little when I was battling with the kings over "All That Gold."

Later, I discovered writing.  Long story, but I ended up being a newspaper reporter for about 15 years.  I even won an award in 2005--second place in feature story writing--2005 Pennsylvania Keystone Award. Tim accompanied me to a banquet in Harrisburg and everything.

So you see, like George Baily. . .I've really had a wonderful life!

Some of my art pieces:

And then there's crochet. I am thankful my Granny Tobelmann taught me how to crochet when I was in 11th grade. I started making cloche hats, like the one Jennifer Cavileri wore in "Love Story." I made them for my friends too. It was good practice. She also taught me how to embroider--just in time for the fad of embroidering on your jeans. LOL.

Sarah Schoendorfer Huchstep's twins sure made great models for my cocoons. As newborns, they fit in the same cocoon, Two Peas in a Pod. Almost a year later, for Easter, I made them bunny and carrot cocoons, which they modeled beautifully.

This was a long read.  I hope you aren't too bored, but my daughter Jewely wanted to know the answers to these questions in this book.

So, what are YOUR special gifts or talents?  A talent doesn't have to be artistic.  You can be a caregiver personality type and that is your special gift.  You can be an excellent mom and that is your talent and gift.  You can be a car mechanic, a cook, a financial advisor, a seamstress, a civil engineer, a nurse, a web designer.  Everyone has different gifts.  Think about what a boring world it would be if we all did the same thing.

The trick is to love what you do and be grateful for everything you have.