Thursday, February 22, 2018

Comforting Family Recipes

There are 2 family favorites that I have to make in the winter - Chili and Vegetable Soup.  I do not remember ever using a recipe for either of these dishes and really can't recall where these 2 recipes came from.  While most would not even call my chili "Chili", it's the only way that I have ever made it.  My sister even makes her chili about the same as I do.  We just can't figure out where it came from.  You see, we put spaghetti in our chili.

I do not measure the ingredients either.  It is just about a pound of hamburger seasoned with chili powder, dried minced onion, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce and hot sauce.  One can each of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and dark kidney beans and the spaghetti.

Last year I brought back some boxes of old letters from family members.  I want to go through them and scan so all of us can have copies.  They are so very interesting.  I also brought back a couple of my grandmother's recipe books that she had put together of family recipes, household hints, and recipes she had cut out of newspapers.  We knew that we were missing some recipes of dishes she use to prepare when we were kids, so we were hoping that they would show up in these other books she had.  Sure enough, I found some that we had not seen before - Boiled Calf's Head, Pickled Pig's Feet, Creamed Sweetbread.  I think I will just keep those in the book and let someone else try if they wish.

OK, back to the Chili.  Found a recipe by my grandmother called "My Chili" and it includes spaghetti.  The other ingredients are close to mine so maybe this is where I got the idea to use spaghetti.  Her (Cliffie Weisenauer Shockney), recipe is as follows:

2 cans kidney beans
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups water
1 small can tomato puree
1 large can tomatoes
1 small onion
1 pound ground beef
2 cups cooked spaghetti

Brown ground beef in skillet.  Put beans, salt, pepper, water, tomatoes tomato puree and onion in large sauce pan.  Cook over medium heat.  Add browned ground beef and cooked spaghetti.  Cook slowly for 30 to 40 minutes.

Add chili powder to taste may be added.


I don't think I will change how I make chili, but at least I now know why we put spaghetti in ours.  There is also a difference on how I make vegetable soup and how my grandmother made it, but will save that for tomorrow. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day

In looking through some of the old pictures that I have, I started thinking about all the ladies that
make me who I am.  There are some that I will never have pictures of, but I do have pictures of quite a few.

This collage includes me (baby) with my mother, Rebecca Joan Smith Beheler and all the grandmothers listed.  Top row includes from left to right:  Samantha, Edna May and Mattie.  Middle row includes Mary, Lovina and Mariah.  Bottom row includes Bertha and Cliffie.  

Mother                                                    Rebecca Joan Smith
Maternal Grandmother                             Cliffie Weisenauer Shockney
Paternal Grandmother                               Edna May Eades Beheler
Great Grandmother                                       Bertha Northcutt Weisenauer
Great Grandmother                                       Mattie Hancock Beheler
Great Great-Grandmother                                Samantha Smiley Northcutt
Great Great-Grandmother                                 Mariah Saul Weisenauer
Great, Great, Great-Grandmother                        Lovina Kagy Saul
Great, Great, Great-Grandmother                        Mary Gwinner Weisenauer

Happy Mother's Day to all these beautiful ladies
 and thank you

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day

Mother's Day is coming up in a few days and so I have been thinking about my mother.  She has been gone for almost 9 years already.  Just can't believe it has been that long.  In going through old letters and cards that our mother had saved over the years, I found so many beautiful Mother's Day cards that she had received from family.  The picture of our mother was taken September 8, 1946 and is one of my favorites.  She had such a beautiful smile.  

A verse inside one of the cards and written by Linda Lee Elrod says it all....

Mother--such a simple word
that means so very much... 
a little hug, a great big smile,
a warm and gentle touch.

Mother--such a simple word
to cover all the ways
she's helped you out, and picked you up,
brought sunshine to your days.

Mother--such a simple word 
for someone held so dear,
for someone who is cherished
even more with every year.

Mother--such a simple word,
and, yet, there is no doubt,
six simple little letters
spell what love is all about. 

Happy Mother's Day

Monday, May 8, 2017

Borried Time

A 1937 Letter From Mariah To Cliffie  

When you first look at old family pictures of relatives you never knew, there doesn't seem to be a connection between you and those long forgotten family members.  Most of the time, you aren't even sure who they are or if they really are related.  But, after looking at the pictures over and over and putting names to faces, you do start to connect.  In fact, just looking at pictures of the family reunions, vacations, activities and reading their stories, you start to feel part of the family. 

I have found and come to know quite a few old family members and there have been some that I wish I could actually have a conversation with.  Mariah Saul Weisenauer is my great, great-grandmother and lived in Plevna, In.  My great-grandfather and her son, Ed Weisenauer, I did know and we use to have family reunions at his farm.  He past away in 1976.  Mariah is seen in a lot of the old family photos and is one of the those that I would have liked to have met.  In pictures, she seems prime and proper and very disciplined.  I seriously doubt that you could get away with much around her.  

In going through the old letters, I found a letter written on a Sunday evening, March 28, 1937 from Mariah Saul Weisenauer to my grandmother, Cliffie Weisenauer Shockney.  It was written a year before my great-grandmother, Bertha Northcutt Weisenauer's, death on March 6, 1938.  It looks like it was written in pencil.  I typed the letter to make it easier to read and tried not to correct too many words or punctuation.

                                                                                                                                     Sund Eve March 28, 1937
Dear Children
I wonder how you are this eve had a nice Easter I hope.  It was nice sunny day but rather cool.   lot People was disappointed I suppose.  I am glad I don’t try to make a big spread with new things for this day if I’d went any place I’d wore my winter duds.  I was home all day but the day does not seem so long you see, I don’t get up so early then till I get my morning work don and get breakfast over the four noon is nearly over we have been having such tarable weather for the last 4 or 5 days worse for one then in the dead of winter but I hope it won’t last long but acorden to the old Jermon rine (?)
 March will go out like a lion.  I had your card yesterday you misted my birthday just a few days the 23 is the date I was 73.  Just think ten more years I’d be 83 and that is pretty old.  I’ll never live that long I’m shure nor do I want to its different with old People then it is with younger People.  Old People have nothing to live for they just  drift from day to day if they have always been active why they think that is the way to be happy and it is I am shure I’m happy doing what chores I have to do I know everyone thinks I shouldn’t be doing what I am doing but I’d quit some day.  Can’t tell just when, I’m living on borried time now.

I hope you got all your sewing done I gess you have ben quite busy this winter now you better rest a bit.  I was at your folks last Sunday.  John’s Stella’s and Charles and his best girl was there.  Had a nice time your Mother is not very good.  It seem so odd to be there and she can’t do much she lets the children do just as they please she don’t bother what they are preparing for Eats  I don’t believe she’ll ever be any better but one can’t tell with the ambishon she has got as long as there is life there is hope.  Gil and Della are not very well.  Della haven’t ben well all winter but Gil was doing so well till the last weeks I think they boath had the Flu.
Della said they both are so weak it seems like Gil’s stomach bothers him again.  You know he has ulsers of the stomach but was getting so much better he has ben on a diet since last September.  Just light foods and milk, but Della trouble is her Kidneys.  They throw so much poison in hi system I think that Climate down thare is not good for her.  I don’t want her to go next winter she got sick soon as she got down thare.  I do hop you all are well as for myself I’m ben fine all winter I took some Cod liver oil last fall and it helped me that would be good for Ache yess Ache.  How are you and how are you doing in school do you like to go to school when you mother writes to me you write to me to and tell all about every thing

This Cod liver that I took are in tablet supposed to be one teaspoon of oil in one tablet  I got them from the Rolla man.  Answer soon  from Mama 

Here is a picture of a family get-together around 1937.  Mariah is in the middle with the dark flowered dress.  My grandmother is standing to the left at the end.  

This letter tells you so much about her thoughts and feelings at that time of her life.  I was especially struck by her saying that she wasn't sure that she would live another 10 years. Mariah died on 2-9-1947.  She would have turned 83 on 3-23-1947.  She almost made it another 10 years.

This is probably going to be one of my favorite letters, although I'm just starting to read all of them.  And, still can't figure out what 'Jermon rine' or 'Ache yess Ache' means.



Enjoy reading and meeting my great, great-grandmother, Mariah Theresa Saul Weisenauer b. 3-23-1864 in Bloom Twp, Seneca Co, OH and died 2-9-1947 in Liberty Twp, Howard Co, IN.  Mariah married 2-13-1881 to Henry Jacob (Jake) Weienauer.  Jake had died 10 years earlier in 1927.

This letter is 80 years old - wonderful family memories

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Bertha Northcutt Weisenauer Memory Record

The Old Family Letters

Many moons ago before the internet, cell phones and no long distance charges, people would write letters to each other to keep in touch.  There are several large totes full of  letters and notes between members of our family – our grandmother, great-grandfather, great aunts and uncles and our mother.  Even found some letters from me to my grandmother and mother.  There are some surprises, too including letters from relatives in Ohio that we may not have recognized if it weren’t for all the old family pictures that our grandmother and mother had saved.

One of the most precious booklet we found was the Memorial Record of Bertha Northcutt Weisenauer, our great-grandmother.  She had died in 1938 so my brother, sister and I never knew her.  Here is a picture of our great-grandfather and great-grandmother, I believe is their wedding picture around the year, 1900.

Bertha Northcutt Weisenauer was born on August 30, 1884 in Lebanon, Boone County, Indiana and died on March 6, 1938 in Greentown (Plevna), Howard County, Indiana at home.  Included in the Memorial Record booklet are the newspaper obituaries of her death.
Our great-grandparents, Ed and Bertha Weisenauer, had been married for almost 38 years and had five children including our grandmother.  There are many saved letters between the five children, their dad and my mother to read – a lifetime of memories.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Progression of Life

Last August I came across a poem called "Alzheimer's Poem" that really touched my heart.  I found that the poem is actually titled "Do Not Ask Me To Remember" and written by Owen Darnell.  I located a copy of the poem on the blog 

My mother suffered from dementia before passing away in September of 2008. My brother, sister and I battled this disease for her the last couple of years of her life.  We don't know when it started or if she even understood what was really going on.  There were times that she seemed herself and other times, nothing made sense.  I could get so angry inside.

Here is "Progression of Life"  that I wrote in February, 2012. 
Life! It doesn't slow down for anyone. The progression is the same - we are a child, a young adult, middle-age, retired, old-age and then we ............. We can't control the progression. The progression may be short or it may be long. Oh, we can sometimes do things to control the speed of the progression; but the progression is still inevitable.

As a young child, do you remember when an old relative passed away? You know, the great-great uncle that you couldn't remember ever seeing before. He's just an old man - sort of spooky, too. He just doesn't look real lying in that pretty shiny wooden box with the satin pillow and cover; hands folded gently across his waist. The smell of roses consumes you. You really don't feel good and just don't want to be there, but your mother holds your hand close to her side as she talks to other unknown relatives. Her voice is quiet and soft. You feel safe with her by your side.

As an older child, a young child of one of your mother's friend's dies. You go with your mother to the funeral. You don't know too many of the people there, but you understand their sadness. You also feel the sadness seeing a child lying in that pretty shiny wooden box with the satin pillow and cover; with hands gently folded across his waist. The fragrance of roses is familiar. It's sort of scary seeing a child like yourself and you stand close to your mother - and you feel safe.

You grow up and start a life of your own. Through all the ups and downs, your mother is always there to lend encouragement, advice and yes, sometimes a little financial help. She never tries to run your life; she is just your support when you need her. You feel safer just knowing that she is close by - you are still her child. She is still your mother.

The progression of life continues and then it hits you. Your mother is at the old-age phase. She's acting different. Oh, she has always been a little eccentric, but this is different. She talks about things that aren't real. She forgets to pay bills. She is not taking care of herself. She thinks people are going to take her stuff. She thinks other people are you......... We children start talking about what we need to do. There are no good choices for our mother. In order for her to be safe, we are going to have to take her happiness from her. The happiness that she had worked so hard for. The happiness that she so deserved. But, she can't live by herself surrounded by all her pretties and possessions. The hallucinations have taken over.

She walks downtown and sits on a bench outside the Subway waiting for her son to pick her up. There were no plans for her son to pick her up. Her son gets a phone call from the nice sheriff. Her son goes into town to pick her up and take her back home. She knew he was suppose to pick her up.

Decisions were made. She was not happy. While she stayed with me, there were good days and there were bad days. Sometimes we could talk and remember the good times. A lot of the times we argued over stupid stuff - she didn't want to take her medicine, she didn't want me throwing her trash away. She wanted to save everything. She would lock me out of the bedroom. I tried not to get angry, but there were times that I was so angry inside. I tried not to be because I knew she couldn't help it. I just wanted her to be like she use to be. I wanted her to be my mother. I wanted my mother back!

Before I would go to work, I would turn on the TV to CNN. I never understood why she wanted to watch that all day. She could get so upset over politics. I would bring her breakfast and lunch to her. Then, made sure she took her medicine. She stayed in the bedroom with the door closed during the day. She didn't like my dog and my son was also there. She just felt safer in the bedroom. I would lean down and give her a hug and kiss before leaving for work. She would always tell me I looked pretty. One morning she said, "If I can do anything for you, just let me know. I don't have much, but I will help you."

I think it took me awhile to realize why I would get so angry with her. I was angry because I was losing my mother and it was happening right before my eyes. I couldn't control it. I was losing the person that made me feel safe and loved me no matter what. She wasn't fighting the dementia so she could keep being my mother. I wanted her to fight the dementia - wasn't I giving her a pill to help slow that progression down?

Mothers always consider their children still their children no matter how old they are. I had not thought of myself as a child for years. Actually, I'm not sure I ever thought of myself as a child. But, like we never stop being a mother, we also never stop being a child. The anger was really coming from the child in me. The child was losing her mother, the loving, protective (and, sometimes eccentric) mother that made her feel safe and loved no matter what.

She really couldn't help that the dementia had taken over. There was no fight left to fight. It was just the progression of life...............

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Barker House in Edenton, North Carolina

Leaving Nags Head, NC on Sunday, we headed west to Edenton, NC which is just a little over an hour's drive.  We took US-64 / NC-94 to NC-32 / NC-37, the scenic route.  After checking out the Roanoke River Lighthouse, we walked over to The Barker House before heading to the 'Nothin Fancy Cafe & Market' restaurant - southern cooking at its best.

The Barker House was a cozy white frame house with porches furnished with white wooden rockers off the first and second floors overlooking Edenton Bay.  I'm going to admit at this point that I do get confused over when one body of water ends and another one begins so I am attaching a map of the area from Nags Head to Edenton.
The Barker House was built in 1782 by Thomas & Penelope Barker.  After hearing of the Boston Tea Party, Penelope Barker, along with 50 women held their own Edenton Tea Party and all signed a petition promising to boycott British goods on October 25, 1774.  This was one of the first acts of political involvement of women in the New World.  The petition was published by a London newspaper along with a political cartoon supporting the colonists in which women are pouring tea out of the tea caddies while the British tax men stand in the doorway.  Titled "The Patriotic Ladies of Edenton," the original is in the British Museum.  An enlargement hangs in the Barker House.  

"Taking Tea" is very important at the Barker House and is served on the third Wednesday of every month.  Party sandwiches, breads and cakes, sweet treats and other appetizers are provided by the ladies of Edenton.  I had to buy the cookbook with some of these fabulous old family recipes used for tea time.  The recipes were compiled by the ladies of the Edenton Historical Commission. 

While the house has three floors, it is quite small, but is actually larger than the initial home built in 1782.  You can walk around at your own pace, but was not able to go to the 3rd floor. There were several volunteers offering tidbits of information on the history of the home, family and town.  Genuine friendly southern charm.  I love to listen to older ladies speaking with a beautiful southern accent.

The Barker House does have a facebook page if you would like to check Edenton out The Barker House Facebook Page