Thursday, September 8, 2011

Third Grade Memories

“I was scared to go to 3rd grade”, my mother told me over the phone… “Why?”, I asked…


My mother grew up surrounded by family…grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins by the score…

The O.S. Stapley Family in Phoenix

…most of the time, that was a wonderful thing…but sometimes……?

Mom’s Uncle Steve was just two years older than her…her cousin Jeannie, just one year ahead of her in school.


“We sure hope you don’t get Miss Vickery”, they’d tell her, over and over again…”She hates us—she won’t like you, either!”


First day of school, scared to death…”I DID get Miss Vickery!”, laughed Mom…


{It was fun to copy both sides of her report card, shrink it down, and make a little book of it—it will open and you can read everything—even Miss Vickery’s comments!}

“Looking back 60-plus years, I can imagine that part of the problem was the fear and anticipation itself, but nevertheless…”

Karen's school book 1947_edited-1

“…my memories of 3rd grade are only ‘scary’ ones”, she said with a giggle…

hpqscan0006_edited-1 {I love that Mom gave herself a STAR on this workbook page!}

“…and maybe I shouldn’t have listened to my older uncle and cousin, because I’m sure they took great delight in scaring me…

hpqscan0005_edited-1 {My mother is quite an artist—so fun to see her artwork in her earlier years!}

“…anyway, I will NEVER forget 3rd grade!”

hpqscan0002 {Copy of Mom’s 3rd grade report card…signed by Miss Vickery herself!}

Not that fun and wonderful things didn’t happen for Mom that year, but as far as the classroom goes, it wasn’t all that great! (We’ll save some stories for other days!)


A fun new collection of papers from Graphic 45, “An ABC Primer”, inspired this delving into Mom’s grade school memories today…


I also happened to have brought some of Mom’s school composition books and workbooks home with me from our visit this summer…perfect timing!


A scanned sample of her work, along with her school picture from 1947 (3rd grade) made the perfect focal point for my layout.


Third Grade…..what kinds of memories do you have?


See you soon with something new…


Monday, September 5, 2011

Guardian Angels

I don’t remember when it started, but my family has had this tradition for a very L-O-N-G time…

When we are leaving for a vacation by car—or when a family member is leaving to head back home—we pick a perfect rosebud and place it on the dashboard of the car for good luck and safety on the road.

All around the country…wherever little branches of our family are…this is what we do.

In the early morning of the day we left for our trip to my parents’ house in June, I picked one such rose—slightly opened, and extremely fragrant—to see us safely on our way (along with a heavy dose of  prayer, of course!)

We’ll leave the rose on the dashboard for a while…



{The sweet angelic image for my card can be found on Crafty Secrets’ “Little Blessings” Creative Scraps.  The beautiful printed paper is from their new “Creating with Vintage Patterns” CD}


Just a few days after our arrival in Utah, we headed south for northern Arizona—a big family reunion to attend…

We stopped along the way for a break near the little town of Beaver.  Nothing very remarkable about Beaver, except for the fact that in that little place is a spot I’ve always wanted to visit…

Louisa B. Pratt with granddaughter Ida Francis Hunt

My fourth great-grandmother, Louisa lived a great part of her later life in this little town…it was here that her granddaughter (pictured above with her), my 2nd great-grandmother, Ida, would come to spend time with her…

…and it was here that she passed away and is buried.

Louisa Barnes Pratt_edited-1 {Louisa Barnes Pratt, 1850’s}

Louisa is very special to me.  She inspires me.  The words she left for me in her journal come into my mind when I need them most.  She has helped me get through some pretty tough times…and I expect she always will…

She was a woman with a great sense of humor…a woman of great faith…a woman of great courage…a woman of great wisdom…and I love her.


To me, she has always been one of my guardian angels.  No wings…no harp…just a loving guardian of those she has reason to be concerned for…her family.

 Louisa Barnes Pratt

Being the only cemetery in the town, we knew we would find her here…

As soon as we parked the car, I picked a direction and headed out into the grassy plots…and walked right to her grave.


This is not her original headstone…we were to find later that weekend that the original had been badly broken and had been replaced some time ago…


We sat on the ground around her…told her we loved her….I told our girls some of my favorite stories about her…and then it was time to go……………..


As the others walked away, I needed just another minute or two with Louisa by myself…


Shoes removed, I wanted to feel just a little bit  closer to this amazing woman…



As I headed back toward the car, I regretted not having any flowers to leave on this too-long neglected grave…

…and then I remembered….

I ran to the car, took the perfectly dried rose from our home off of the dashboard, and ran back to Louisa…


…a humble offering, to be sure…but one from home.  One given with love.


During the rest of our trip, I often looked at the place where our travel rose always rested, now left bare...

I like to think that I traded the rose for something much better…our very own, very watchful, very loving guardian angel…

Vintage Angel