Monday, September 4, 2017

Home in the 50's Mid-century Style

I grew up in a home built the year I was born, 1956.  I loved everything about our home.  The curve front porch with two iron chairs.  Two huge oak trees growing together in a canape of shade.  My mother never wanted to cut them because they were so pretty.  I planted jasmine in the front so they didn't have to be cut.
My favorite thing about our home was the carefully prepared living room. The oil paintings above the sofas were given to my mother from her brother, Alvis Hon while serving in World War II in Europe.  
The paintings told a story of winter spring and fall in Paris, France. The oil paintings were the heart of our home because they showed the history of  men and women who fought in Europe so we can have freedom today.  My mother bought two lamps with pink roses to bring out the ceramic roses she displayed on her mahogany table.  
The antique clock of Shakes-spear revealed the time with a chime every hour.  It was given by my dad's Cousin Rose we called Aunt Rose because she was so dear to us.  
 The Duncan Phyfe  Mahagony table displayed her collection of crystal baskets.  The furniture was inspired by one of the nineteenth century America's leading cabinetmakers.  He interpreted European Neoclassicism for homemakers in the United States.  Duncan Fife was born in Scotland and immigrated with his family to Albany, New York  in 1784.  He changed his name to the spelling of Phyfe.  It is an American story because he opened his own business as a cabinetmaker in New York on 2 Broad Street.  He obtained wealth through hard work and talent.  His clients were the nation's wealthiest.  As homemakers of the 50's purchased Duncan Phyfe tables they knew it was a well respected brand.  My mother repeatedly told me the brand so I would remember.  It was hard parting with the table because she loved it so much but I didn't have room at home.  

  The oil painting stayed in the family because it was given to us by Aunt Rose as a gift.  She said keep it because it was painted by the Heath Candy Bar Air, Jean Heath.
 She used her talents to paint portraits of people.   We haven't decided if we will donate it to the Candy Bar Museum.   Two Royal Doulton figurines are placed beside the painting with care.
  John Doulton founded Doulten Lambeth pottery in 1815 pottery with John Watts in Lambeth, England.  They produced canisters, pitchers and various stoneware objects.  

My mother had a whimsical flair as she placed Christmas bulbs in a basket all year long.  They reflected in the long mirror next to the light oak door.  Remembering the 40's was read with nostalgia as she remembered USO dances with service men on leave.
Her brass collection of red voltive candles shown with glory on the piano.  
Her handmade drapes reflected in the mirror.  
I was with her when she picked out the fabric at Cutting Corners.  She made hand made pillows to match the valance of pink, and burgundy roses.  We both liked the design of French Country.  The crystal lamp was purchased thirty years earlier at an estate sale.  It had three tiers of crystal prisms. 
The precious pillow in between the two hand made pillows was made from Aunt Graces pillow from the twenties.
I chose to add it to my French Country Living room,  giving it a special home on a chair for conversation.
My parent's dining room was filled of memories when my mother cooked Thanksgiving Turkey.  She had a church that lit up on the top of the colonial hutch from the 50's.  Norman Rockwell prints showed life in America.

She loved her wooden tulips on the windowsill with graceful swans.
Next to the dining room was her pink kitchen with original tile.  She was such a great housekeeper it still looked fresh from many scrubbings with a can of comet.  Her stove was the original hot point pink.  She loved to gaze outside the window as she worked in the kitchen.  
A reef of pink roses hung on the door.
My parents added on the extra room in the eighties.  My mother was an excellent seamstress and recovered the couches with her own two hands.  It took her a month to sew each stitch.  
My dad loved to sit in the soft cloth chair recliner and watch TV.  There were many places to sit as we watched football after Turkey dinner.  
The pink tiled bathroom had a display of valentines she saved in a picture frame.  My mother made the pink drapes and shower curtain to match.  
Old photographs of the McPherson clan hung on the wall.  My Grandma Kemper's wedding announcement showed the union of Kemper and Palmer.  
My dad once tried a case in 1957 at the Supreme Court of the United States when he worked as an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board.  I wish I knew more about the case as he didn't talk about it much.  But my mother was wise to hang it in the hall way as part of our family history.
Photos of my parents wedding day are also part of family history.  
So many people move around that a family wall of photographs are often forgotten.  I promised my mom I would hang them on our walls at home. 
We had the typical estate sale where no one really knows the history of the items.  Strangers came into the home to buy treasures.  This is an iron toy of selling coca cola in a buggy.  My grandmother drove a buggy of children to school to make extra money when her husband died of an ulcer operation.
This basket was given by Aunt Rose.  She said it was very old.  I was told the millennials don't like to polish silver and use old china.    I hope the people who bought her things appreciate the stories behind them.  I am writing this story as a way to remember my mother and dad's house.  It was purchased in 1957 for under twenty thousand dollars.  I was only a year old when I moved in from Birmingham, Alabama.  
 The three watercolor pictures hung in the front bedroom.  A set of encyclopedias were  purchased with the loving idea of educating us.
 It was difficult giving up the home where we played kick the can in the grass and hide in go seek with the neighbor children.  The fifties and sixties is a time where families worked hard to provide the American dream for their children.  It was a time of hope and promise.  The homes were built with a sturdy foundation of pier and beam.  The kitchens were pink because the wives of the home liked the color.
I am grieving for my mother today.  She lived to be a ripe old age of 95.  I am grieving for a time when I could go home and feel safe among my mother's carefully prepared living room of love.  

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Hoover Dam Tour

Hoover Dam Tour took you inside the amazing slab of concrete in an elevator going down 300 feet.  The first stop was the generator room.  The generators are seventy feet tall.  It shows the amazing capacity to create electricity to many cities.  It covers Nevada, Arizona, and California.

Hoover Dam impounds Lake Mead, the largest reservoir when it is full in the United States.  It is located near Boulder City, Nevada and Las Vegas.  The purpose of the dam was to prevent floods and produce or make hydroelectic power.  In 1928 Congress approved the project and construction  began in 1931.  It took a team effort to accomplish the goal layer by layer of concrete.

A million people visit the Hoover Dam each year.  It was named after President Herbert Hoover.  The construction was a giant effort that used many  thousands of workers.  The lives of one hundred men were lost while constructing the dam to block Lake Mead.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Classics On The Square at Historic McKinney

A local classic car and truck enthusiasts group called Morning Maniacs meet in Historic Downtown McKinney the last Saturday of the Month.  Cars of the past park in neat rows as men and women do "car talk."  Pontiac made the classic Catalina with a long stripe of shiny chrome cutting the car into the top one fourth of the sturdy car.
Car shows are a wonderful way of admiring design features of the fifties and sixties.  Pontiac first designed the Catalina in 1959 but the peak of its popularity came on a wave of excitement in 1963.  The name came from a resort island off the coast of Los Angeles.
Doris Day lost her bikini on a glass bottom boat off the shores of Catalina.

My dad drove a 55 Chevy and loved it.  He became a loyal Chevrolet man for years. It was a huge turning point for the manufacturer because of its success.  It had an optional V8 Engine designed to be smaller but more powerful.  It changed from a 6 volt to a 12 volt electrical system.  It had luxury options such as power windows, power seats, and power steering.
Look inside and feel the luxurious black leather seats.
Classic cars have unique boxy shapes with a row of black polka dots.
Some cars come in neon lime green.
Bright yellow pick up trucks look like a primary color from a child's crayon box.
The first generation Corvette was introduced in late 1953. Callaway Cars Inc. is an engine design company that played a role for changing the Corvette Sport Cars.  It was a show car for the New York Auto Show.  The buz got started, so GM made a production version to sell to the public.
Bright shiny chrome engines are carefully maintained.  
The old McKinney Courthouse watched down with long  historic columns.   It could tell stories of people driving their new shiny cars in the 50's and 60's. 
 Classic car shows are a way of connecting the past with the present. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Solar Eclipse of the Sun August 21st 2017

On Monday, August 21,2017, millions of Americans watched the first total solar eclipse to unfold from coast to coast in the United States for nearly a century.

   It was visible in a seventy mile wide and 2,500 mile long zone in the US.  It drew one of the largest audiences in human history.  I was at a teachers workshop so we all came outside to take photographs.

The moon completely covered the sun and the sun's atmosphere.  The corona can be seen.

The moon passed between the sun and Earth and blocked all or part of the sun for up to about three hours.  
A pinhole was pricked on a piece of white paper to cause the reflection of the sun on the as-fault
.  Special glasses were worn to protect your eyes.
Reflections of people holding papers with a pinhole reflect on the hot Texas pavement.

I took these photographs from Dallas but if you were in Carbondale, Illinois the duration of the eclipse was the longest.  The sun was completely covered for two minutes and 40 seconds.  
It is an event people will remember for a lifetime.  What were you doing during the solar eclipse?

Some say it is a message to mankind.  

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Lake Texoma Weekend Getaway

How to create a perfect Lake Texoma Weekend Getaway.  First pick the adorable lake house close to the water but surrounded by trees filled with birds chirping.  The home has enough chairs to relax and talk by the open fire.
There's a hammock to rock side by side while you read a good book.
There's a marina close by for a quick dinner if you desire at High Point Marina.
Watch a glorious sunset reflect on the sunlit waters of shapes and colors.
Listen to the sounds of birds chirping in beautiful Lake Texoma.
Birds are happy because there is Haggard Nature Reserve close by.
Hire a guide who knows where the Stripe Bass Fish hide in the crystal blue waters of Lake Texoma.
The boat may go up and down a little but the guide is taking you to the perfect spot.
He has special equipment so he knows where the fish are swimming to depths of 8 to 10 feet.
Pull on the line and wait to see the surprise.
Use  your muscles to real in the perfect catch.
The glorious Texas, Oklahoma sun reflects on
waters filled with wildlife.  Wild birds fly above the surface of the water.
Birds know where the fish are swarming in pools of fresh water.
Cook the delicious Stripe Bass fish on an open fire filled with smells of cedar burning.
Eat a delicious dinner of Creole spiced fish cooked on an open fire.  Yummy!!!!