Saturday, February 27, 2010

Buh-bye to the Most Miserable February I Can Remember

February used to be such a good month. It is my birthday month and, even though this year is a milestone birthday, I was looking forward to it. Operative word, was. Now, I am not looking forward to the birthday I am just looking forward to this miserable month being over!

When I started school, we were arranged in classes by our birthdays so, my classroom was made up of those whose birthdays fell from January 1 to mid-March. My best friend, Roger's, birthday was on the 24th, my friend Kathryn's was on the 26th and mine the 28th -- no wonder I can remember that. February was definitely the month of parties. Those were the days! Not this year, however. (Below is a photo of my 6th grade graduation with the majority of the girls in my class -- a couple were missing. )

This has been a horrible winter. We have had snow at least three times. My grandchildren have contracted some sort of illness that I believe they shared with me. My expectant daughter managed to contract some sort of stomach virus from her husband. The month is a complete blur. Complete.

So, with that said, I am quite anxious to see February depart and some warm weather takes its place. I would like to see everybody well and all my projects underway. I am getting way behind in the project arena. I want my ears to unstop and my chest to uncongest and I am willing to forego the birthday celebration in order to hasten the healing.

On that note, I am going to wish myself a happy birthday, drink copious amounts of water, swallow massive amounts of something to decongest me and take a nap!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

King Aroo

I don't feel well today and even though I didn't feel like doing much, I didn't feel like being completely unproductive either. So, I set about cleaning off the desk. I feel badly about our desk. We have a perfectly good home office and yet my husband schleps the bills and payments to be made to the dining room table because he can't find the desktop. It is usually hidden under DAR papers, genealogy papers, old photos to be scanned and junk mail that neither of us looks at but feels that it might be important enough to not throw away. So, I decided to make the desktop a bit more accessible to him.

As I was clearing things out, I found the little yellowed comic strip shown above. I have been carrying it around with me for some time now because it is important to me. It is the final newspaper comic strip, "King Aroo", drawn by Jack Kent. My copy came from the April 17, 1987 issue of Comics Buyer's Guide.

Jack Kent was an artist in San Antonio. He began drawing the "King Aroo" comic strip in 1950 and continued for 15 years. When I was old enough, I never missed a day of reading it. I remember my father bringing me a copy of a little King Aroo book which I carried around until it finally disintegrated and is no more.

Kent went on to write and illustrate children's books. When my children were small, I joined a book club for them and many of the titles they received were Jack Kent books which we still have in our possession. I believe their favorite was "Socks for Supper". I have since gone on to collect more for my own library of children's books. I believe my personal favorite is "There's No Such Thing As A Dragon".

As I said earlier, this little comic strip is important to me because it was important to my father. See, Jack Kent was a good friend of his. In fact, my father was his best man at his wedding to his wife June. Jack and June have a son, also named Jack, who I have spoken with via email in the not too distant past. Jack Jr. is a nice guy which I wouldn't doubt because his folks were nice people. I wish I hadn't lost his email address.

I remember when my dad learned that Kent was ill. It was a sad day and when he passed away, it was sadder still for my dad who valued the friendship of all those years, it was sad for Kent's fans and for the children who loved his books and the thinly veiled messages therein. So, when I ran across the raggedy, yellowed copy of his last strip, I just had to share it. I searched "Jack Kent" on the internet and found a very recent article written in SA Current. It is written by a woman whose blog I follow - The link to the SACurrent article is It is a great article and if you are interested in Jack Kent, you will enjoy reading it.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the final strip of King Aroo.

The two photos above were taken at about 7 a.m.

Be Gone Winter of 2009-10! Please!

I am feeling a very negative post coming on. I am sick of winter, I am sick of cedar, I am really sick of snow/ice/wintery mix -- in fact, I am just sick, literally. So, I would love to see a little bit of spring -- please? However, I did take some photos the other day of the Fort Worth Blizzard of 2010 and thought I would put them up. They look oddly like the LAST pictures of snow I took because I only seem to stand at the same vantage point -- my garage door or my patio. But, in any event, for all you folks who wish for snow -- here ya go -- knock yourself out. I, for one, am ready to see the back end of winter!

I know these photos probably don't look like much to my northern friends/family but they were taken early in the day. The final amount of snow tallied for the day was between 10-14 inches, depending on where you lived.

I didn't take any photos of yesterday's snow because it didn't stick and frankly, it looked like feathers and felt like sleet. It wasn't really nice except that it seemed like you were in a snowglobe as my daughter in law commented. Today, it is cold but bright sunshine and I have opened all my blinds so I can combat my seasonal affective disorder -- yay, sunshine.

Now, if I could just get rid of my cold/cedar fever/rampant allergies -- whatever it is that has ahold of me, I would be a very happy person.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

February 18, 1923

On this day in 1923 a second daughter was born to Jim and Madge Davis. They named her Alma Elizabeth after two of her aunts, Alma Foreman Baker and Elizabeth (Betty) Davies Carroll. They chose to nickname her Bette, a name she retained until moving to Fort Worth in 1990 when she suddenly became "Alma" -- a name I never got used to.

Bette was short, blond and a bit on the chunky side. In this childhood photo she is standing on the left with her older sister, Velma, her cousin Florence who is holding her brother, Jimmy.

Bette lived her entire life in San Antonio, Texas where she attended Edison and Jefferson High Schools. On November 14, 1942 she married her high school sweetheart, Pat Boyett, and began a marriage that would last until her death in 1996. They were a fun-loving couple that lead interesting lives but the greatest thing my mother ever experienced was grandmotherhood --- she adored her grandchildren and, I am certain, would be quite enamored with her great-grandchildren. I am sorry she isn't here to see them -- she would love them -- I like to think she does.

I guess the word that would best describe my mother would be that of caretaker. We were a close-knit family and my mother took care of everybody -- me, Joy, sisters, mothers, and fathers. I don't think she knew the word "no".

She was a good mother. She was always determined that our house would be one that the kids wanted to come to and she opened our door to any friend or cousin that wanted to come over. Friday was grocery shopping day and she made sure the fridge was stocked with cokes, the pantry with snacks and the record player was in good working order. She was always there to celebrate my achievements, to sympathize with the broken hearts and to encourage me as I fought my battles. She sewed dresses and costumes, rolled hair and polished nails. She raised me with a strong sense of right and wrong. She instilled in me the love of God and home. She taught me that no job was too menial to be done correctly and she taught me to care about others and hold family dear. She was a good mother and I still miss her.

So, on this day -- her 87th birthday -- I celebrate her, mourn her, remember her and thank her for all she did for me. I wouldn't be the person I am today if it weren't for her.

Happy Birthday, Mamma!