David's Reformed Church Congregation

David's Reformed Church Congregation
Congregation of David's Reformed Church, Montgomery Co, Ohio, Circa, 1900

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories ~ December 6 ~ Santa Claus

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories
~ December 6~
Santa Claus 
I don't remember ever going to see Santa Claus.  I do remember "hearing" him walking around in the toy department of whatever store I was in and feeling very scared that he might come see me and want to talk to him. Thankfully, he didn't notice me and he went on his "merry" way to greet some other child who was going to be happy with the attention.
When I had my own children I wanted to make sure they had the opportunity to share in the joy of Santa. When my oldest son was born, he was only two months old at his first Christmas, but I was determined that he was going to have his picture taken with Santa. My reasoning was that if he had pictures of himself with Santa, it would be easier to get him to go visit him when he was older. So, off the three of us went to the Dayton Mall for a Santa picture.  Daniel was an angel for the entire time we had to stand in line. He slept. We handed him over to Santa. He slept. He never even opened one eye during his entire visit with Santa.  It made for very cute pictures though!
The mall was okay for the first couple of years, but I wanted a richer "Santa" experience for my boys.
Thankfully, at the time one of Dayton's department stores held breakfast with Santa every year and on the Saturday after Thanksgiving it became our family tradition to be there. The store's restaurant was small and reservations had to be made, so it was a nice, intimate feeling occasion. Each family was seated at their own table and the breakfast was served by friendly waitresses. After breakfast, some of Santa's helpers arrived and we all did a "countdown" for Santa's arrival. In he would walk with jingle bells ringing and he would visit each and every child!  After his visit, he would head for the "big Santa chair" where he would sit while all the children gathered round and one of his elves would read "Twas the Night Before Christmas".  The best thing about this Santa was that he would also share the true meaning of Christmas with the children. What a joy!
Then, the breakfast over, Santa would head downstairs to his "SantaLand" where he would listen to the children's Christmas lists and have pictures taken. I wouldn't trade those years for anything and I will be forever grateful to Elder Beerman's for hosting those precious breakfasts. They no longer hold those events; the store where we went has even been torn down.  I feel very blessed that we were among those families who were able to meet Santa in such a personal way.
“The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.”

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories ~ December 5 ~ Christmas Recipes

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories
~December 5~
Christmas Recipes
 This particular post is a "Repost" of my Christmas Food story from the 2010 Advent Calendar. Thought it would be nice to share it again.
There is nothing quite like holiday foods. My earliest memories of holiday food at Christmas revolve around Christmas Eve at my uncle's home.  Of course, the main thing on my mind was presents and how soon we would get to open those presents. And, we wouldn't get to open the presents until after dinner. So, let's get this dinner thing over with as soon as possible.  All of the kids would eat dinner at the kitchen table, while the adults would eat downstairs.  Our parents would fix our plates and give us each our own bottle of Coca-Cola.  After we ate the "nutritious" stuff, we could have those wonderful cookies that were sitting on the table in the dining room.  My mother's side of the family was very large and we had literally "tons" of food to choose from.  I don't remember specific dishes here, but I do remember how much we all loved having our own bottles of Coke. No wonder we couldn't go to sleep that night!
Christmas Day was spent with my father's side of the family.  All the food was wonderful, but there were several items that became staples in our holiday traditions.  My aunt made a delicious dessert called Cherry Delight.  It consists of a graham cracker crust, cream cheese, Dream Whipp, and cherry pie filling.  I think my brother could have lived on Cherry Delight alone!  She also made Divinity Fudge like I have never tasted before.  My mother started making buckeyes every year and she continues to do so.  We also have a cheese ball each Christmas that even my kids look forward to.  We usually don't make any of these things at other times of the year, because they are so associated with Christmas that it wouldn't seem right.  It may not be politically correct or even medically sound, but I think at Christmas there is nothing wrong with eating something just because it tastes so good!
“The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.”

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories ~ December 4~ Christmas Lights


Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories ~ December 4 ~

Christmas Lights

One of the things I look forward to during the Christmas season is turning off all the lights and watching television by Christmas tree lights.  So much do I enjoy this that I have tried to think of some way that I can keep Christmas lights on in my living room all year long. There is something very peaceful and cozy about those tiny, twinkling lights. My childhood memories are of the old, big colored lights that hung on our tree and in our windows. You can see them in the picture above, hanging merrily on our Christmas tree.  My brother and I would close the white living room curtains and the colored lights shining through them made a perfect backdrop as we co-hosted our Christmas "variety" shows to an audience of one thoroughly entertained border collie! We never had outside lights, but we certainly enjoyed those that hung outside our neighbor's homes.
It seems each year we see fewer homes decorated for the season. I'm not sure if it is because of the cost of the lights, the electricity they use, or maybe the fact that everyone is so busy now that it is hard to find the time to build the displays.  I am very grateful for those people who believe it's worth the effort they put into it to make the season even more festive! Thank you, neighbors!
Merry Christmas!
“The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.”

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories ~ December 3 ~ Christmas Music

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories ~ December 3

~Christmas Music~

I usually start listening to Christmas music in September. I haven't this year, but my standard policy is that it is never too early for a good Christmas carol.
I can remember the days when it was hard to find Christmas music on the radio except for on Christmas Eve itself. But, thankfully, I think just about every city has a commercial radio station that is playing carols from before Thanksgiving to Christmas Day. (and sometimes the day after!)
Even though there are a few really good new Christmas songs, I prefer those recorded by my favorites; Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Barbra Streisand. The recordings made from the 1940's through the 1960's are my preference, even though I enjoy new performers like Kelly Clarkson and Michael Buble' there is just something missing from today's music.  Maybe it's because memories attach themselves to the music that surrounded them and they are always there when you hear that music again. All I know for sure is that at this time of the year, hearing the mellow tones of Crosby and Sinatra gives me that "Christmas Feeling".
“The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.”

Monday, December 2, 2013

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories ~ December 2 ~ Christmas Cards

Our first Christmas card, 1981

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories ~ December 2

Christmas Cards

I will admit it. I love Christmas cards! It matters not whether I am sending or receiving!
 I loved getting to the mailbox first when I was growing up, hoping that mom would let me open the cards first. (Usually, she didn't!)   I especially liked the ones that were sparkling with glitter or personalized in some way. By the time all of us in the family combined the cards we received, we had quite a collection of festive scenes hanging around the house.
When I was in high school, for a small fee that went to charity, we could have Christmas cards sent to our friends in their "home rooms".  It was fun anticipating if I would be one of those people who received cards that morning!
Once I had a family of my own, we started a tradition of including photographs in our cards. When I look through them now, the memories of those years come flooding back. How glad I am that we took the time to take those pictures, even when the kids didn't really have the patience for it!
When my oldest son was little, I began a Christmas scrapbook into which I placed Christmas stories from magazines, photos, cartoons, and Christmas cards sent to us from friends and loved ones. It begins with cards and letters we received from the first year we were married, 1981 through the late 1990's.  Stuffed inside the covers are letters and cards that still need to be mounted inside from more recent Christmases.  It is bittersweet to read letters from loved ones who are no longer sharing the holidays with us, but I am very grateful to have the opportunity to remember special times.
In this "internet" world, we are sent "cyber cards", which are nice enough. But, somehow, nothing can touch the fun of going to the mailbox and finding a bunch of colorful envelopes filled with Christmas greetings!  (Confidentially, I even turn the envelopes upside down so I can't see the return address. That way, I can be surprised when I open the card and see the name inside!)
So, get those pens and address books ready!
It's Christmas Card Time!
“The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.”

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - December 1 ~ Christmas Trees

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - December 1 ~ Christmas Trees

How appropriate that we start the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories with "Christmas Trees".
The picture above is from 1962 or 1963.  I was too little to be up at the crack of dawn with my brothers, who are obviously waiting to dig into the presents on this Christmas morning.  When I was young, prior to 1971, we always had live Christmas trees.  I don't remember a lot about them, except for the fact that we always had tinsel and those lights that once one burned out, they all stopped working! There weren't a lot of "fancy" ornaments on our trees, but they were always beautiful and magical to me and they were always the focal point of our celebrations; the perfect spot for those "Christmas Portraits".
Mom, Christmas Portrait, 1962
(note the tinsel on the floor!)
One year my father came home with a new-fangled "shiny, aluminum" Christmas tree. Instead of tinsel and Christmas ornaments on the end of each branch appeared a "star burst" pom-pom in alternating colors of red and green.  To top it off, we it included a color wheel that noisily spun around while reflecting it's red's, blue's, yellow's, and green's against the silvery tree.  While it was beautiful and it eliminated the "pine tree" allergies of my brother and myself, somehow, we missed that green tree with it's shiny bulbs. 
The year we moved into our new home in 1972, my father bought a new artificial green Christmas tree. It was the one I was to have until the year I got married and had a little tree of my own.  It was a beautiful tree, although nobody could have mistaken it for a live tree.
It never really mattered whether the tree was live, fake, silver, or green. What mattered was the joy that came every year when we gathered underneath it's branches on Christmas morning. I carry those memories with me today and I hope I gave my children some of those same special memories to carry with them throughout the Christmases of their future.
Merry Christmas! Let's get the season started!
Me with my brother's, posing in front of one of our last live Christmas Trees
“The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.”

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Through His Sister's Eyes

Rick, during his college years

Last Sunday morning, the Lord called my brother, Rick home to Heaven.

 In the week that has followed, through many tears,  I have had the joy of reading remembrances of him written from people whose lives he has changed in a profound way.  On Wednesday evening, my family and I stood for 4 1/2 hours while hundreds of people from all the parts of his life came to pay tribute to him and express their love and sympathy over the loss of my very beloved brother.  On Thursday morning, we celebrated his life with a funeral service filled with the music he would have loved and with a sermon that shared the good news of eternal life through Jesus Christ; exactly the way he would have wanted it preached.  He always said the first thing he wanted to do when he reached Heaven was to see the face of Jesus and the second thing would be to hug my dad and tell him how much he had missed him.  Now, I have one more person waiting to meet me when I get there. 

Throughout this week, I have heard many stories from college friends, church friends, and colleagues.  I have heard from those he led to Christ, baptized, and couples he married.   I heard many stories about lives he had saved, couples he had married, and those he had mourned with while loved ones were buried.  My brother, Brian had stories from his unique position of being not only Rick's only brother, but a fellow pastor who shared things with him that only he could. 
But, now it's my turn to share the memories that only I can, as Rick's only sister; his "baby sister".

I was trying to bring back my earliest recollection of being with Rick.  I have vague memories of a vacation when I was 3 years old, but my first actual memory of being with my brother was an early Saturday morning when I was 4 or 5.  This would have made Rick about 13 or 14.  By this time, he was already heavily involved in sports.  Baseball, basketball, football...you name it, he played it! I believe this particular morning it was intramural bowling.  He would get up very early on Saturday mornings and eat his cereal as he read the sports page before his ride would pick him up.  I would sit next to him and look at the "funny papers", even though I really couldn't read!  Even then, I just wanted to be next to him.  Of course, he was never around long.  Up and out the door he would be. I learned to share my brother very early on.  It would be a necessary skill throughout my life!   I would relish the times when he and all his friends would show up to play basketball on our basketball court. Friday nights in the summer meant groups of his friends playing cards on the carport and putting up cots and sleeping bags for a night under the stars.  As I got a little older, I gained an appreciation for the fact that he had some very cute friends so the constant "bounce" of the basketball didn't seem quite so annoying.  How I loved the Saturday night high school basketball games and the summer baseball games.  Even though I was young and didn't pay too much attention I learned to say "Good game, Rick", whether or not he had actually been in the game. He would just smile down at me and "Well, Thank you."

Sometimes, I would get lucky and he wouldn't have any place to go or do for a little while and he would take me to the park or to what we called "The Icee Store".  One of my favorite memories was when he walked all over the neighborhood with me looking for "Icee Bear" points on the sides of empty Icee cups so that I could earn a beach towel with the Icee Bear face on it!  (Back before people were ashamed to drop their trash on the ground you could find these cups all over the place!).  When I was afraid of the "see saw" in the park taking me too high off the ground, he would stand up and move the other seat down and up......just high enough so I wouldn't be scared.   On Saturday evenings while my parents were at card club, he would make my brother and I his special "secret" potato chip dip of mustard, A-1 sauce, and parmesan cheese that we would eat while we watched  "My Three Sons" and "Time Tunnel". Afterwards, I was the "crowd" as he and Brian would play "Big Time Wrestling" as "Flying Fred Curry" and "The Sheik".   I craved time alone with him because there wasn't much of it.  He was always doing something, running somewhere and I would tag along whenever I could.

After he gave his life to Jesus in 1971 and he felt the call to the ministry, my favorite times were those Sunday mornings when he would preach in various churches in the community and around the state.  I can remember those early sermons and I learned my first Bible studies from my brother.  When he met his wife, Elizabeth, I had to learn to share him yet again, but this time with someone who would also be my sister.  I will never forget the night he came home and told my parents he had asked Elizabeth to marry him....while he was still in high school.  As a 10 year old, how much fun it was to be with the two of them during those early years of their life together!

 But, time marches on, as it always does. He graduated from high school and went to college.  Back in the days before the internet, when long distance calls cost a fortune, Rick would call home on Sunday nights from a pay phone in his dorm. I was allowed about a half a minute to say hello, after which I would go to my room and cry my eyes out because I missed him so much. I waited for those weekend visits home as much as mom and dad, and they would end much too soon.

  Marriage came, and fatherhood soon after and during those years, I grew up as well.  As we aged, even though we had our own families, he remained my hero.  He was always here for me....never farther away than a phone call. He performed my marriage ceremony, baptized me and my husband and our sons, put up with my husband's love for the Bengals, and led us as we dedicated our children to the Lord.  When our father passed away, he held our family together with his faith and his strength  He became a "bampa" to three wonderful grandchildren, who have their own special memories of the great love their grandfather had for them.

I was so blessed to have Rick as my brother. I used to tell him that he reminded me of "Charlie Brown" and he used to tell me that even though I was his "baby sister", I was really much more like "Lucy" than "Sally"!  If you had to hand pick the qualities you would want in a brother, Rick had them all. I loved him with all my heart.

And now, I have to share him again. This time it will be harder because I can't pick up the phone to call him, or IM him on the internet. I can't even send him a round of "Family Feud" to help me win.  I'm not sure how I am going to get through it, but I will.  He would tell me that my faith will get me through it and that I need to be strong in the Lord.  But, what will keep me going the most is that fact that I know someday, when I reach the gates of Heaven, he is going to be there waiting for me  My hero, my brother.
                                                                 I love you, Rick

Friday, June 28, 2013

Remembering Rosemary

                                                        My Dear Friend, Rosemary

I was six years old when I met Rosemary.  I don't remember the exact date or even what season it was, but I think it was summer.  She and her husband, Harlis, had moved into the house diagonally across the street from ours and I had been told they had two little girls.  That was exciting to me because I had two older brothers and most of the kids in the neighborhood were not only older than I, but were also boys.  Even the two best friends I had had were boys, and only one of them still lived here.  It was one of those boys, Jimmy, who facilitated my introduction to Rosemary that day.  We usually met each other outside in the morning and on that particular one he greeted me with the information that we were going to have to go to the new neighbor's home to ask if their daughters would like to play with us.  I was a little nervous about this because I tended to be fearful of meeting people, but there was no talking him out of it because those were his orders for the day.  So, off we went, walking across the yard to the house and we knocked on the door.   A beautiful lady answered  and with a sweet southern accent she said "Well, good morning."  We asked if her daughters, whose names were Dana and Diana, would like to come out and play and with that began a friendship of 45 years that changed the course of my life and that of my family.   When she opened her door to us that day, we walked into a home that literally enveloped me in love.  Throughout the years that home was a haven for myself, my parents, and my brother in various ways at different times.  What my family saw in that home was a love for and a relationship with Jesus like none we had ever seen before and because of Rosemary we found that relationship ourselves.   While Dana and Diana were riding bikes and playing kickball, Rosemary and Harlis were becoming my parents dearest friends.  I could usually find my mother sitting at Rosemary's kitchen table as they shared coffee and stories, laughter and a few tears.  Dad and Harlis could often be found talking boats and fishing. I know they cherished those friendships.   Life, as it always does, brought many challenges that sometimes caused distances in our friendships, but the love that was at the heart of them always remained.  There are some memories that are so clear in my mind that I can close my eyes and see it all again.  I can still smell  and almost taste the chocolate chip cookies Rosemary made.  I can see her snapping green beans to the "whish-whish" sound of the gauge on the pressure cooker as it sat on the stove.  I can hear her saying goodnight prayers with Dana and I as we were tucked into bed at night after going to Bible school.   I can see her hugging the many children she cared for, including my own.  I remember her beautiful handwriting on the countless greeting cards she gave me and I can hear her strong voice singing the old gospel songs.  In this day, when few people even know their neighbors, I was blessed to have Rosemary as a friend; someone who still greeted me with open arms the same way she did when I was six years old.  Recently we saw each other at a fast food restaurant.   We sat down and talked for just a few precious minutes. We talked about our children and grandchildren and her great grandchildren.  We talked about my job loss and she asked about my mother and she shared stories of the vacation from which they had just returned.  We said goodbye that day, stating as we always did that we needed to get together and visit.  When I was told on Tuesday that Rosemary had gone home to heaven, I felt like she had taken a part of my heart with her.  She has left a void that cannot be filled.  There is a song that says "I have more to go to Heaven for than I had yesterday" and that is certainly true for me today.  I know she is there, along with many other loved ones who have gone on before, and she is preparing her new house. Someday, when I get there and I am going to go knock on her door........ and I know just how she is going to answer.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Shopping Saturday ~ Moler's Dairy

If you grew up on the east side of Dayton, Ohio in the 1960's and 70's you would probably remember the giant statue of a cow that stood on Smithville Road outside the Moler's Dairy factory.  She was a popular attraction for many, many years before the dairy closed down and the land was sold for apartments and other small businesses. We had two major dairy companies in business in the Kettering area when I was a child. The Borden Dairy had it's own mascot, Elsie the Cow and her face graced the front of the Borden building for many years.  Elsie and her family made sure that moms across the area knew it was important to provide their families with healthy dairy products!  My interest in the dairy business had less to do with milk and more to do with the wonderful "frozen" treats that our next door neighbor would bring home from his job at Moler's Dairy.  He didn't really even speak to us kids too often, but in the summertime he would often show up at home with enough frozen ice pops for all the kids on the block. To this day, I have never tasted any that were as flavorful as those treats! We also had our regular milk and juice deliveries from the milkman who drove a blue dairy truck through the neighborhood every day.  How different things are today! Can you even imagine having someone being able to make their living now by making home deliveries of milk and eggs today? Ah, the "good old days".

Friday, January 4, 2013

Funeral Card Friday ~ Royal Neighbors Resolution

This doesn't exactly fit into the category of a funeral card, but it is a "Resolution" written on the occasion of the death of my great, great grandmother, Ella Jacks Adams on 9 February, 1902,  and printed in the Sabina, Ohio newspaper.  She died at only 39 years of age, leaving her husband David Henry Adams and her children, Tillie, Dessie, and Elby to mourn her passing. 

My great, great grandmother, Ella Jacks Adams

In Memoriam

Violet Camp, 2622, Royal Neighbors of America, of Sabina, O., have been called to mourn the death of our esteemed neighbor, Ella Adams, who was one of our charter members and is the first missing link in our circle. She was called home, Feb. 9, 1902.

Whereas, It has pleased our Heavenly Father to call from our midst our beloved neighbor; therefore be it

Resolved, That in the death of our neighbor our camp has sustained a severe loss of a true and faithful member, whom we shall sadly miss. And be it further

Resolved, That the entire membership of our camp extend their heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved husband and children in their hour of trial and affliction, and further be it

Resolved. That a copy of these resolutions be sent to the sorrowing family, that copies be sent to the local papers, that a copy be spread upon the records of this camp and that our charter be draped in mourning for a period of thirty days.

Imogene Blakley,
Almeda Gaskins,
Ella Duff, Committee

The above resolution was offered by The Royal Neighbors of America, Violet Camp 2622.  The Royal Neighbors is a national organization formed by the wives of the Modern Woodmen of America in 1888. Their desire, as you can tell from the organization name, was to become "good neighbors" and offer to help to those in need.  If you click on the their name above, you can read more about their history and their vision.  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday - NCR Blood Bank Card

              The NCR Blood Bank card I found in my father's old wallet

I know that it might sound strange to consider a "blood bank" card one of my treasures, but this one is special.  My father worked as a toolmaker at the NCR corporation in Dayton from the late 1950's until the company cut the majority of it's manufacturing workforce in the 1970's.  I found this card in an old wallet of my father's, along with a few miscellaneous receipts.  I love the fact that it depicts the old NCR logo, but most importantly, it gives my father's blood type and it states that he contributed to the NCR Blood Bank.  The funny thing is I can remember hearing the story of how he could never donate blood after this because he fainted during this first time.  So, this is a treasure for many reasons; not the least of which is the smile it brings to my face when I remember that story.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Portrait of My Mother

                                              Portrait of my mother, Marilyn Norris Shoemaker,
                                              as painted by my Aunt, Jeanne Norris Crago.
                                              circa, 1968.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Another Christmas Past?

Another Christmas Past?

Happy New Year, 2013.  I have now "celebrated" 50 New Year's celebrations and 50 days of Christmas. During the last couple of months, I have spent much time reminiscing with the ghosts of my Christmases past. Last year in my Advent Calendar of Christmas memories I shared many of my favorite stories and thanks to this blog, I am able to go back and read them again. While doing so, I couldn't help but remember some of the joy and anticipation I was feeling during those early Christmas times. The scent of the Christmas tree, the colored lights shining behind the white curtains in our living room, watching the snow softly falling in the glow of the streetlights, thinking I heard Santa walking softly around my house while I pretended to be asleep, believing the red lights on the radio towers were Rudolph's nose.... 
Ah, the magic that is childhood.  How quickly it flew by.
Even at 50 years of age, I still find myself at times seeing those towers and remembering how I stood outside my house on Christmas Eve, believing that red light just might be leading Santa's sleigh through the night sky and sometimes I feel the goosebumps at the thought of what might be waiting underneath the tree.
Many of the people I spent those wonderful holidays with are no longer with me, but the memory of my loved ones is so clear in my mind that they are always here in spirit. This year I seemed to be missing those people even more than usual, so I created an Ancestor Christmas Tree and on it I placed photos of many of my ancestors and those of my husband as well.  It is a reminder of those wonderful past Christmas and New Year's Days.  I labeled the reverse of each photo so that my children and grandchildren will know their names and I plan to have the tree up again next year when my new granddaughter will be able to appreciate a Christmas tree for the first time.  It helped me hold onto a little bit of "Christmas Past".
Photograph of my great grandmother, Margaret McBride Marling, on my Ancestor Christmas Tree.
50 Christmases?  No. That can't possibly be true! I know it was only yesterday I was wishing for that talking doll.......
Happy New Year, 2013.  May it be a blessed year for us all.