Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Quilt Gardens Offer a Unique Visit

The Quilt Gardens at Elkhart, Indiana offer "over a million vibrant blooms." The quilt-patterned gardens feature eighteen large gardens and twenty-one hand-painted murals.

The gardens are free and are on display through October 1. Each garden is unique, with individual stories behind each intricate design.

What a lovely way to celebrate flowers, quilts, and art!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Amish Solar Powered Phone Shack


My friend Chris and I went on a day trip to Holmes County last week.

We discovered this solar powered phone shack (I think) on the roads around Trail.

This area was the only place we saw the solar power on outbuildings, but we limited our road trip to Berlin, Walnut Creek, a bit of Bunker Hill, and Trail.

Many Amish bishops in Holmes County are trying to persuade their parishioners to give up the cell phones that were allowed for business, and make use of black box phones instead. 


I wonder if the solar screen is to power the black box phones? Innovative idea!


Friday, July 27, 2018

Christmas 1966 - Most Popular Toys!


Toys conjure up memories from our childhoods like no other object.

This is a list of the popular girls and boys toys from 1966!

Santa brought me a Francie doll that year, and I loved her mod clothes and long blonde hair. She was younger looking than Barbie, and much groovier, too. 


I was in fourth grade that year and baby dolls were still in my room, but the fashion dolls were very much on everyone's Christmas list. I already had a Midge doll, from Santa's 1964 pack. 

Is your favorite toy on this list?

Happy Retro Christmas Memories!



Thursday, July 26, 2018

Weird and Wacky News from the 1960's

Chaos and turmoil were part of the changing 1960's. News reports were filled with the Vietnam war, riots, sit-ins, hippies, communes, and flower power.

Americans were uneasy and restless, but some of the weirdest news stories could still bring smiles. Odd, but true, they were.

What is it about these kinds of tales that pique our interest? A few headlines from these chaotic days are told on the website Weird News of the 1960's. I'm sure many, many more tales could be unearthed, but here are three samples of headlines on this site:


  • A couple who loved being part of the "buried alive" movement.
  • A toddler accused as a reckless and incompetent operator of his tricycle.
  • Tomato squeezing in divorce court.


Follow the link from Weird News of the 1960's to read about some of the news stories that show us some things never change: There will always be a few kooks and whiners among us! We might as well enjoy them.




Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Things Were Changing in the 1960's!

My Boomer novel, The Whole World and All, due to be published this year, is set in the 1960's. The beginning of my main character Annie's story is set in 1966.

How many of these 1966 events do you know about? (Or have even heard of? ) One thing I love about the 1960's: It was a colorful era!


1966 McDonald's begins using frozen french fries. 
1966 The U.S. launched its first weather satellite, ESSA-1.
1966 'Summer In The City' by the Lovin’ Spoonful hit #1 on the charts.
1966 Mississippi is the last state to repeal Prohibition.
1966 The first episode of the TV show 'Star Trek' airs. Chemically synthesized food on the Enterprise - we seem to be getting close to that now.
1966 Simon and Garfunkel release their album, 'Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme'
1966 Ingredients are required to be listed on food packages. The first Truth in packaging law.
1966 American Roman Catholics are no longer required to abstain from eating meat on Fridays.
1966 Quaker Instant Oatmeal is introduced.


More to come as my novel progresses closer to its publishing date, so stay tuned!




Saturday, July 14, 2018

If You Live in Amish Country ...

If you live in Amish country, you know how frightening it is to be the driver of a car that suddenly comes upon a buggy. 

One hilly, winding road in our area of Ohio is traveled frequently by the Amish and Conservative Mennonites. I bite my nails when we take that road, concerned we might pop over a hill and find a buggy in our path. 

Yes, the buggies are quaint, but I'm always nervous for the Plain folks who are traveling on fast moving roads in a slow moving buggy.

This article in The New York Times describes how rural New York communities are grappling with the increased buggy traffic that's come with Amish moving into their areas. It truly is a tragic event when a car and buggy collide - for the Amish and for the English.



Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Mennonite Hair Art

The Victorian era was well-known to be a time in history when people were fascinated with ways to memorialize their deceased loved ones. 

Hair art, that is, hair taken from loved ones after their death and fashioned into all kinds of memory pieces, were quite common. But who knew that even the Plain people used hair to, not only memorialize, but to honor their families?

This article from Mennonite World Review gives a fascinating glimpse at art formed from hair, and the story behind some of these creations.






Friday, June 29, 2018

Do the Amish Play Sports?

Do the Amish play sports? Yes! We watched Amish young ladies in Mt. Hope one year playing in a volleyball tournament. It was serious business! This article from The Wooster Daily Record, a few years back, describes sports among the Amish. Volleyball and softball seem to be the favorite games.

One caveat - the author of this article is a bit off about rumspringa. It's not about "tasting the world" before joining the church. It's more about joining the youth for singing on Sunday nights and the beginning of finding a good match for a spouse.

And part of that rumspringen experience is similar to English teens: Sports!