Tuesday, December 30, 2008

1956-The Red Coat with the Toggle Buttons

In 1956 I was actually taller than my brother "Little Wally"

In a family of seven children clothes were handed down on a regular basis—and Wally was happy to be wearing a red coat in this picture that was actually mine. It was a great coat as I remember—had toggle buttons and a hood. Great for sleigh riding—building snowmen. We were obviously heading out somewhere in this picture—in Mom's '53 Cadillac in the background. I probably wouldn't be riding out the window on this day as I did on others— because it was obviously a winter day—too brisk for that!

Fast forward to Christmas 2008—52 years! (..did I say that?)
My brother Wally surprised me with a gift that made me smile! He first presented me with the picture at the top of this post—and when I opened the box and saw the red coat with the toggle buttons I immediately recognized it. ......He was finally giving it back to me!

Just to assure you that the coat would not fit him now, here's one of my favorite picture of my "little" brother Wally—taken a "few" years ago when he was on the road with my Dad, Mr.Sawdust

Wally is son #4—named after my Dad. He is an incredibly gifted woodworker—and all around nice guy—a great brother!

These pictures were taken with my "baby" David—youngest of my four children.
Even he's taller than me!
(...and he always makes me smile!)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Jeff!

(This was a great 50's toy—it was a Doepke Yardbird—a little train
that ran on a track in our back yard.

The metal train car moved around the track by
cranking the handle between two kids—
definitely a team effort!)

I was blessed with SIX brothers—each one is special to me—each one so different; each having his own gifts and special qualities.
Today is the birthday of my older brother Jeff. Older, yes—but only by a year— born two days after Christmas. When you're born so close to Christmas, your birthday often gets lost in all the commotion.
I was born December 19th....not quite as close as December 27th.
Remembrance of the birthday of a brother as special as Jeff should never get lost—even for a moment.
He is a kind, gentle and compassionate person—always looking for ways to do do nice things for others.

I'm told that when I was born, Jeff was not thrilled. He was still a baby himself—only a year old. My mother tells the story of a time not too long after my arrival when Jeff tried to push my carriage down a hill...but all that is behind us.
Jeff is the brother who built the greatest forts and little houses when we were kids—and the brother who can restore just about anything. And he is the brother with the greatest imagination; creator of a family of "paint brush people"—each with its own individual personality.

A few years back he created a chair—a one of a kind creation—made up of numerous paint brush people.
But as they say-
a picture is worth a thousand words...

My brother Geoffrey with his incredible carved chair—
each head intricately carved-
Notice the spindles on the back of the chair-
each one an
individual "paint brush person" The seat was also hand-rushed by Jeff.

Happy Birthday Jeff!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Make-over: The Little Log House

Back in the 50's my brother Jeff (#3 brother in the line of 6 brothers) —could put together a fort or house in the woods that was quite unbelievable! He would take a few of my dad's tools, (pay for it later) hammer and nails, saw, spare lumber— gather some fallen branches and construct small houses that we could really play in.

His most advanced project though, for an eight-year-old, was the houseboat; complete with built in bunk beds and a balcony overhead. We were all excited on the day of the launch, standing on the banks of the swamp in the woods behind the house. It is a good thing we were not on board, though. It sunk immediately!
His creative endeavors have continued, now a master at carving and furniture restoration. Sometime I'll share some of his amazing carvings here. But this is about something nice he did for us last year just before Christmas....

We live in a log cabin and the original builder constructed a miniature cabin and placed it at the end of the driveway to the house. It was in bad shape after years of neglect. I wanted to find a way to restore it rather than put it out of its misery. The picture above is the "before" picture...it definitely needed a friend!

I asked my brother Jeff if he could put a new roof on it and he agreed to—loaded it up into his truck and drove it away. A few months later he brought the little cabin back and true to form Jeff amazed us! This is what it looks like now...

Jeff even installed lighting inside so the windows light up at night.

........Thanks again Jeff!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The "Happy Meal" of the 50's

PB&J and a cold glass of Bosco was the "Happy Meal" of the day!

Add a half an hour of Johnny Jelly Bean or The Merry Mailman and we were in Baby boomer heaven!

(...of course today the show would be called
"The Merry Mail-Person")

*The little folks in the black and white picture above are from left to right-Jimmy John, Carl, Suzanne and Wally.