A Stroll Down Memory Lane: 1973-74

Al and I moved into our home on Seattle’s Beacon Hill in November of 1973.  The house was built in 1925. I was attracted to it because it felt like a house in the country. For the last 43 years, I have continued to feel as if I am living in the country even though in reality I’m only three miles from downtown Seattle.

I grew up in the army and my family moved every three years. I resolved that I would never do that to myself or my children and I didn’t. Recently, I came across some photographs that I had taken in 1974.  I did a major remodel in the mid-80’s so the inside of the house looks very different than it did when we moved in. I doubt there are many people in my life now that would remember it ever having looked like this. In fact, I even wonder if my son and daughter will recognize it.

When we bought the house, it was considered a one-bedroom house; the upstairs was seen as an attic. In 1973, this was that bedroom. I believe I made the yellow curtains. This room was converted to a meditation room in the late 80′ and still is.


The basement had a small area that was finished. We considered that to be the “family room.” I laughed when I saw the paisley chair in the photo. I shouldn’t have been surprised since the wall-to-wall carpeting we had in the dining and living rooms upstairs was burnt orange. After all, it was the 70’s! I haven’t seen a phone like the one in the picture for a long time.


The rest of the basement was unfinished. There was a laundry chute that went from the main floor to the basement. Or to be more accurate, there was what looked like a cabinet door in the hallway of the main floor. If you opened that door you found a hole. When we threw the laundry down the hole, it landed on the basement floor. I was horrified when, as adults, my son and daughter laughed about how they used to jump down that hole. I wonder what else they did that I don’t know about.

The pipe on the left side of this photo connected a wood stove to a chimney.


I was excited that we would be able to have a garden. Here are pictures of some of the vegetables from our first harvest. I still have the pan that is in the last photo.

I’m trying to figure out what the vegetable is that is in that pan. It doesn’t look like lettuce. Could it be mustard greens? They seem too light green for that but I don’t have another guess.

My pride and joy was the basement pantry. I know we had concord grapes in the yard but I doubt I would have put grape jam or jelly in a jar that big. We also had cherries but the fruit in the jar looks too small to be cherries. The jars next to that one seem to be filled with pears.

I remember canning pickles but I’m stumped by the jars in the bottom left corner.  I made applesauce in those days, I think, but the contents don’t look like applesauce. It looks a little bit like corn but the raccoons ate the only corn we  grew.


On the back of the next photo, it says “photo of part of our back yard.” The blue spruce looks like our blue spruce. The trees to the right of it look like our neighbor’s trees. The view looks like our view. What is weird though is that our clothes line was a pulley style clothes line. It went from a high pole in the yard to the side of our kitchen porch.

Since the lines were on a pulley, there should have been only two ropes not three. And it looks like there was a totem pole in the bottom third of the photo. I don’t remember anything like that. The structures on the right side of the photo are completely unfamiliar. I sent the picture to Al to see what he thought. He can’t figure it out either.


Here is what that same shot would look like today. The pulley is still there but since the trees have grown so much, it had to be placed further out in the yard and is much higher. Now it is connected way up on the blue spruce.

As you can see in the 1974 picture, in those days I could show the whole blue spruce in one photo. Now it takes two photos to capture the entire tree. I would guess the spruce is at least 150 feet high at this point.



I have really enjoyed looking at these photographs from my past. Thank you for accompanying me on my stroll down memory lane.

cropped-senior-salon Shared on Senior Salon

My Memories of Prince

This morning when I heard that Prince had died, I cried. I probably cried when Michael Jackson died too, but I don’t normally react to the death of celebrities in that way.

In the early 80’s, Prince’s music touched me deeply.  I loved his “Purple Rain” movie and album. I was particularly moved by the song, “When Doves Cry.”

In 1988, I took my children to their first rock concert.  It, of course, was a Prince concert. I have never forgotten the experience of being there with them. My son was 13 at the time and I believe that concert was an important event in his life.  As I remember, my daughter, who would have been 11, was bored; it wasn’t her kind of music.  I wonder how she remembers that experience now!

I haven’t been able to insert YouTube copies of Prince singing “When Doves Cry”  into this post, but I found one performed by another musician.  I hope it brings back good memories for some of you.

Thank you Prince. May you rest in peace.

The Spark Reignites

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

I have very few memories of my childhood, most of which was spent as an “army brat” moving from place to place. As I have been thinking about those years lately, I realize that there is a theme in some of my happier days.

While I don’t know for sure, it seems like most of those pleasant memories may have occurred during the four years I lived in Germany. We were transferred to Pirmasens, Germany when I was in third grade and we moved back to the U.S. after I graduated from sixth grade.

Some of my childhood memories:

• Making forts. When I was really young my brothers and I made forts inside our house, often under tables. Later we made forts in the woods near the apartment building where we lived.

• Playing outside. There were times when I would leave the house in the morning and only come home for meals and at bedtime. I would play with my friends in their houses and outdoors. In those days, children were given a level of freedom that would be unheard of in today’s world.

• During fourth grade, I remember making a large system of small trenches in the school playground. I then filled the beginning trench with water and watched as the water flowed throughout the network.

• I loved butterflies.

• In fourth grade, I also remember crawling under the schoolyard fence and going into the woods to collect snails. When I crawled back under the fence, to return to the schoolyard, I saw my teacher, Mrs. Pollen, and my mother, who also taught at the school, watching me.  Uh, oh.

• My grandfather was a dock master. When we visited my grandparents during my younger years, I would catch fish using a drop line off of the side of the dock.

• I remember hunting for crawfish. That could have been in North Carolina before we moved to Germany or it could have been in Georgia, the place we were stationed after Germany.

As I think of these events, I realize how important outdoor activities and nature were to me when I was young. While it did not continue to be a life theme, there were exceptions.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

I had loved my experiences of camping with the Girl Scouts and when I traveled across the country with my church youth group in 1965. After Al and I married in 1971 we took trips to Mt. Baker and to National Parks such as Zion, Bryce Canyon, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, the Redwoods and the Grand Tetons. At least one of those trips we took after Sreejit was born.  In some places we camped, in others we stayed in cabins.


When Al and I bought our house in 1973, I loved gardening and canning.

In the 80’s I took my children and one of their friends to places like Zion National Park.


In the early 90’s, I had a strong desire to have a tree house in the magnolia tree in my back yard. I had planned to have a simple structure built, but the carpenter I hired couldn’t do simple. He constructed a beautiful seven by seven foot structure that even had a skylight!

Tree house

I slept in the tree house from April to October for five years. That era ended the night two large raccoons blocked my path to the tree house. It wasn’t the first time, but it was one time too many. I started sleeping  in the house again. At first the cells of my body screamed with grief. Being contained within the walls felt like moving from freedom to prison.

In the 90’s there was a period of three or four years in row where I explored Bryce Canyon on my own.


For the most part though, my outdoor activities had petered out over the years. I was too busy with work, raising children, and life in general. As I reflect on how I am living now, I can see that the spark has reignited. Gardening is again a priority for me. I have become fascinated by nature, whether it be flowers or creatures such as ants and slugs. A considerable amount of my time is spent in writing and editing the PNW GreenFriends newsletter. A part of me that has been long dormant is waking up.

I grieve that children nowadays don’t have the freedom that my generation had as children. Children are not allowed to roam freely for most of the day. Because of all the violence that surrounds us, parents naturally feel a need to keep their children close and well supervised.

But that is not the only difference. Today, children, teens and even adults are so focused on technology that there may be no time or interest in immersing themselves in outdoor play and nature. Texting, videogames and social media all too often fill their days.

Several years ago, I was at a church when the pastor gave a sermon to the young children. He talked about how in the “old days” children spent their days playing outside on this green stuff. He continued talking about grass as if it was something the children had never seen. He then encouraged them to go outside every day and do activities on that green stuff, activities that would cause them to sweat, something else he thought they were unfamiliar with. While it was a funny sermon, it seemed like an important one to me, then and now. If, as a culture, we keep going the direction we are going, where will we end up?

It is my hope and prayer that all of us will either reconnect with, or experience for the first time, the joy that comes when we immerse ourselves in the natural world, and by doing so may we discover that all beings on this earth are interconnected and can learn to live in harmony with one another.

Written for DungeonPrompts: What did you forget?

I Remember When #2…….

Photo Credit: blackhistorycollection.com


I remember when:


  •  There were separate toilets for “whites” and “coloreds” in the southern United States.

  •  I worked for a short time picking fruit in South Carolina in 1970. There the “white” workers were given a toilet to use while the “colored” workers had to use an outhouse.

  • There were department store restrooms where half of the toilets were pay toilets.  You had to insert a dime into a metal box on the door in order to get access to the toilet.  The pay toilets were kept clean, the others were dirty.

  • In 2014, I went to a restroom in a public building near Seattle and found a sign on one stall saying “This toilet is reserved for e-cigarette employees only.”  (I am choosing to not reveal the name of the company that did this.)


Is a new form of segregation starting?


To read more “I Remember When’s” go to https://livinglearningandlettinggo.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/i-remember-when/



Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

On June 29 and 30, Amma conducted programs in Atlanta for the first time.  At one point, my daughter Chaitanya asked if I wanted to visit Martin Luther King, Jr.’s church and the other buildings at the MLK National Historical Site.  I jumped at the opportunity. We went during the short break between Amma’s morning and evening programs.  Our plan was to see as much as we could this year, and view the rest the next time we go to Atlanta. The first place we visited was Ebenezer Baptist church.  Starting in 1960, Martin Luther King, Jr. co-pastored that church, along with his father.  As we sat in the pews, a recording of one of Dr. King’s speeches filled the air.  I closed my eyes and imagined myself being present at the time the speech was first given.  I would have been content to stay sitting there for hours. When I looked around, I noticed many people were taking photographs.  I resisted doing the same, but in time changed my mind; I wanted to be able to share this memorable experience with others.

At King Hall there were many exhibits about the lives of Dr. King and his wife Coretta Scott King.  In addition, the hall contined rooms that were tributes to Rosa Parks and Mahatma Gandhi.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

In Rosa Parks’ room, there were many pictures and mementos.  I was particularly drawn to a quilt that was hanging on the wall.

Among the items in Mahatma Gandhi’s room were one of his walking sticks, a pair of sandals, a portable spinning wheel, and framed quotes.  I was not aware that Dr. King had so much respect for Mahatma Gandhi.  I also didn’t know he had traveled to India.  Dr.  King once said: “To other countries I may go as a tourist, to India I come as a pilgrim.”

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Next we went to the place where Dr. and Coretta King’s bodies are interred.  It was beautiful and felt like very sacred space to me.

We had planned to visit the home where Dr. King was born, but once there we discovered they only let visitors in twice a day and you have to get tickets ahead of time.  We did appreciate having the opportunity to see his house and stand on his porch, but will have to wait for a future visit to go inside. 20150629_162706 We spent the last half hour of our visit at the National Park Visitor Center.  Below you will see parts of the huge mural that is across from the entrance to that building.  I wish I had had time to look carefully at all that was contained in that artwork. Inside the Center there were enough exhibits to keep us busy for most of a day.  Several of the displays were interactive.  An example is in the picture below, where visitors were able to walk alongside statues of the civil rights marchers.  We will definitely spend more time at this Center in the future.

The night before our visit, I read about the National Historical Site in the tourist book in my hotel.  I found a story that really surprised me.  In preparation for writing this post, I learned more about it. When Martin Luther King, Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, not everyone supported the decision.  The first ever integrated dinner in Atlanta was planned to celebrate it.  Black business owners signed up to attend but the white business establishment wanted nothing to do with it.  J. Paul Austin, chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola, and Mayor Ivan Allen brought some of the prominent white business leaders together.  The message Paul Austin gave them was:

“It is embarrassing for Coca-Cola to be located in a city that refuses to honor its Nobel Prize winner.  We are an international business.  The Coca-Cola Co. does not need Atlanta.  You all need to decide whether Atlanta needs the Coca-Cola Co.”

The event sold out within two hours! 20150629_165301 During our time at the Site, I experienced deep emotions and many memories.  That era had affected me and my life decisions profoundly.  There is no doubt that Martin Luther King, Jr. contributed significantly to making me the person I am today. I feel blessed to have visited Dr. King’s memorial site and look forward to returning to it in the future.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Express Yourself

These are the treasured photos that come to mind when I think of the phrase “Express Yourself.”









This post was written for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Express Yourself

Challenge directions:

Today, we challenge you to show us what “express yourself” means to you. It could be the delightful, gummy grin of a baby grand-nephew, a message of love written with a biplane in the sky, the clenched fist of anger and frustration, or even a lunch with an attitude. This topic is wide-open and I can’t wait to see what you do with it. Have fun!

Container of Memories

The Daily Post Photo Challenge for this week is:

Boxes, tanks, wrappers: for this week’s Photo Challenge, show us something that contains something else.

As I pondered what I might use to meet the challenge, I remembered a container of objects that I keep on the top shelf in one of my rooms. I hadn’t looked in it for years.

When I opened it and spread everything out, I was struck by how many of my life stories this container contains!

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I Remember When…..

120px-You_Can't_Do_Business_with_Hitler_rehearsalI remember the days before television. I ran home from school so I could hear the next chapter of serial stories on the radio!



800px-Mimeograph.svgI remember mimeograph machines, tiny printing presses that worked by forcing ink through a stencil onto paper. That was how we made copies of documents.  No photocopiers.  No Kinkos.


I remember traveling alone by train.  I believe I between 7 and 9 years-of-age and was going from Florida to New Jersey. Continue reading “I Remember When…..”

A Treat for Us!

I have so few memories of my childhood, but occasionally snippets come to my mind. One of those snippets has surfaced several time lately.

My mother loved to make desserts. Pies, cakes, bars, cookies, puddings– all were regular features in our house. Seven days a week, we expected and were given a desert for both lunch and dinner. When my mother made pies, I knew a special treat was in store for us. Continue reading “A Treat for Us!”