Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Birthday parties decades apart

"February 4, 1990:  Nancy, Mary, Rick, Dale, Dane, Bill, Jayson, Jayme, Dorothy Jo, Johanna, Irene and Greta were here for my birthday -- soup (4 kinds), and sandwiches, cake, ice cream.  Nancy and I rode to Lincoln with Dale and Dane.  I went to Tom's."

Some of those same people were at a birthday party for me this last weekend.  Two of Grandma's guests were kids aged 10 years and 17 months at the time.  They are now 40 and 23 years old.  Three people at Grandma's party are no longer with us, but nine at my party either were not yet born or not known to me back in 1990.  So time goes on and families shift and change, but birthday parties are always fun.  Especially when there is good conversation with cake and ice cream on the side.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Pinochle, really?

"February 2, 1990:  I had Pinochle Club."

This is what wikipedia.org has about the history of Pinochle:  "Pinochle derives from the game bezique. The French word "binocle" also meant "eyeglasses". The word is also possibly derived from the French word, "binage", for the combination of cards called "binocle". This latter pronunciation of the game would be adopted by German speakers. German immigrants brought the game to America, where it was later mispronounced and misspelled "Pinochle." Auction pinochle for three players has some similarities with the German game skat, although the bidding is more similar to that of bid whist. During World War I, the city of Syracuse, New York outlawed the playing of pinochle in a fit of anti-German sentiment."

That was enough to confuse me.  The rest of the article is very long and tells of melding and marriage and I don't know what else.  I think I know now why I never learned to play Pinochle.  The part about Syracuse, New York was not confusing, but I thought it was rather interesting.  I wonder how long the ban stayed put.

I have many, many fond memories of playing cards either with a big bunch of the family (Squeak!), or just one-on-one with either Grandma or Grandpa.  But Pinochle only entered the conversation if someone grabbed the wrong deck of cards.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Quilt finished, Sunday recipe

"January 20, 1990:  Finished Greta's quilt.  We had 3 to 4 inches of snow.

Snow flurries on the 24th and 27th."

In a little over two weeks, Grandma had finished hand-quilting my mom's quilt.  This would have been a full-sized quilt for a single or double bed.  Not bad for a woman almost 80 years old.  I remember quilts in frames at Grandma's house.  They and the frame would pretty much take over the dining room.  I don't remember where Grandma and Grandpa ate or played cards when there was a quilt in the frame.  I found a list of recipients, dates and names of patterns representing at least 70 quilts.  One had 1,549 pieces.  Another was made from embroidered blocks my great grandmother, Anna, did in 1940.  Grandma pieced those blocks together in 1986 and did the quilting in 1989.  I think I know where I get my procrastination gene.

I decided to include in this blog recipes I remember Grandma making.  I'll try to do this on Sundays until I run out of recipes.  Not that she didn't cook and bake a lot of things, I just don't know how many I will find to share.

Choco-Cherry Nut Drops

2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 unbeaten egg
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1 c. margarine
1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped nuts
1/4 c. chopped maraschino cherries

Cream margarine and sugars.  Blend in egg and vanilla.  Beat well.  Add dry ingredients, which have been sifted together, gradually.  Stir in chocolate chips, nuts and maraschino cherries.  Drop by rounded teaspoonsful onto greased cookie sheets.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes, until done.

I remember these cookies as being pretty darned good, and not overly sweet.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The previous life of the Honda House and confusion already

"January 12, 1990: Up until yesterday the temperatures have been about normal.  Yesterday and today are very, very windy.
January 5, 1990:  I put Greta's tumbler quilt in the frame."

So, why is January 12 before January 5?  Second post and a mystery already.  Perhaps Grandma wrote January 1 and then remembered it was the 2nd but forgot to cross out the 1.  I think this is not something to dwell on but something she would shake her head and laugh about.

Clarification about the Honda House comes from my pro bono family historians.  We may have to ask others, but Mom and Nancy think the Honda House half was once a chicken coop.  It makes sense because that half has windows, not something normally installed in a section meant for storage.  And they remember that my great-great grandfather who built the house did keep chickens.  So, either the Honda House was the coop, or the coop is gone and we still don't know about the Honda House.

Mom and Nancy did say that the cob house also held coal at one time.

Lastly, Grandma's mention of a quilt.  She was a prolific quilter.  She might have liked the modern rotary cutters and other sewing and cutting short-cuts, but she hand-cut all her pieces after tracing around cardboard templates.  A serger or electric sewing machine?  Nope.  Grandma sewed everything she ever made on an old treadle sewing machine.  Of course, it was what she was used to so she was good at it, but when I tried a treadle machine, I was mainly able to make the needle go backwards.  Much more on quilts later.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Here we go!

From 1989: "Howard fell Dec. 23 and hurt his back.  He finally went to the doctor Dec. 28 -- muscles bruised and strained, but no cracked ribs.  He took some powerful pain pills."

No date on this entry, but at the top of this page was "1990" so I am inferring the 1989 since she is writing about December.  My grandfather (Howard) would have just turned 82 when she wrote this.  He was very fit for a man his age and it is not outside the realm of possibility that he fell either chopping wood or going to and from the Honda House to crack black walnuts.  Of course, he could have just slipped and fell. 

The "Honda House" was a small outbuilding on my grandparents' place where my uncle used to keep his motorcycle....a Honda -- bet you saw that coming.  I don't know what that half of the building was previously used for, but everyone called the other half the cob shed.  There were plenty of kid-attractive treasures in the cob shed, but more in the Honda House.  Over time, and long after the Honda was gone, the Honda House was essentially Grandpa's mancave, long before the word was coined.  It eventually came to hold a radio, refrigerator, wood burning stove, an intercom so Grandma wouldn't have to holler at him to come in for meals, and an adopted stray cat.  More on the Honda House and the fun I had as a kid there later.