Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring has Sprung

Spring has sprung,
the grass is riz,
I wonder where
the birdies is...

My Dad used to quote this-I don't know if my great aunt Hallie invented it or if it is an old poem from another source. Anyway the birdies is here! Every morning is a chorus of different birds as they migrate and move in and out of the area.

My great aunt, who we just called Hallie, was one of my grandmother's two sisters.  I remember her as an old lady married to a slightly nasty little man named Albert. They lived down the road in a tiny shack they called the Doghouse. Everything inside was painted red, the outhouse was attached to the back and they had an actual root cellar. My dad eventually built them a little house around the one good room of the Doghouse, tearing down the rest. There they lived till Albert died and Hallie (a few years later) went to a nursing home.

Hallie and Albert used to spend their days walking from the center of town up the street to my grandparent's farm just up the road from us. They would visit several people throughout the day, passing gossip from house to house, smoking their corncob pipes and umm-umming between gossipy tidbits. Albert had nicknames for everyone--I was Goldilocks, a neighbor was Little Penny P...., No Bigger than a Dime, there was a woman called Itchyfoot. They were legends in our small town.

Love the coveralls!
When I was a teen, Hallie and Albert always managed to get to our house around suppertime. They sat around all through the meal, commenting and umm-umming around their pipes. Hallie sometimes smoked little dark brown cigarette-sized cigars called The Acts. Albert smoked Prince Albert pipe tobacco in a can. ("Well, let him out!") Occasionally he would flash a mischievous smile as he lit a firecracker and scared us all. The boys liked him, but Mom and I were usually disgusted or embarrassed, especially if I had a friend over. He liked to leer at the girls--ewww.

Fur over baggy blue jeans
After Albert died, Hallie confessed that they had never married, though they had been together 50 years. Without Albert around, I started to appreciate Hallie and her sense of humor. She loved to play cards and drink little bottles of Knickerbocker beer. My brothers and uncles spent time doing both with her. I had moved away by the time she was put into the home, when she could no longer take care of herself. She became the darling of the nurses there, quoting little poems and lyrics.

I inherited a couple of Hallie's photo albums--the pictures show what a character she was, even as a girl. She often dressed as a man and hammed it up with cigars and wine bottles. She and her friends camped out and hung around in Enosberg Falls, Vermont. There are pictures of her with her sisters and brother and their mother, my great grandmother, who died before I was born. It was so good to see them as young people, and see how they lived. This picture of Hallie in her white dress inspired some of my "Victorian Cheek" note cards (above). Pictures in the older album inspired many other art pieces, including my "Ghosts of Christmases Past" ornaments.

I now seek vintage pictures and albums at tag sales and antique stores. Pictures tell stories, and each one of us might see a different story in any given picture. In case you hadn't noticed, I love taking my own pictures. I am surrounded by humor and beauty--if I can capture some of it, what fun!

Sweet Emily
Now that I've "gone digital", I take much better pictures than ever before, and I can just toss the rejects with no loss. I love being able to enhance, crop and edit my own pictures. Last weekend, my friend Emily taught me how to use the macro to get close-ups. This is cool!

I'm currently petsitting for a couple of little yippy dogs. I call them Zippy and Humpy, for reasons I won't go into here. Their owner was amazed when I told her they are sitting quietly-evidently they seldom sit still for her. Often people tell me their dogs are so calm when they come back. My theory is that I bore them into a coma, as I spend lots of petsitting time on the computer or watching TV. 

Hanna, aka Zippy
But today was exciting--first the landscapers were here for the whole morning. The dogs were totally unsettled and excited about that. Then Ellie actually bit the UPS man! I never should have opened the door to him. THEN, just as I was ready to head out for a meeting, Hanna escaped out the gate that the landscapers accidentally left open. The neighbors helped in the search-thank you!!! It took 45 minutes to find her! 
Ellie, aka Humpy
I enjoy the TV when I petsit because I don't have TV reception at home. I have Netflix and catch up on HGTV often on the computer. Mostly I read and pour over the many magazines that I am addicted to, or I drag out piles of paper and make things (including messes!) I'm working on having some art to show you all soon.

Happy Spring, all!


  1. Hello! I am so sorry to hear about your dear kitten. Losing fur buddies are always hard to take.

    I'm excited about your idea for a Rustique Tag Sale! You could be the next Farm Chicks! What a great idea. I wish you lots of luck and energy. Keep us posted.

  2. Hi Sherry-
    I love the story about Hallie and Albert- you need to turn that into a book!! The vintage pictures are great!

    I admire that you are furthering your digital skills- actually I'm jealous- I'm hopeless in that area--

    Enjoy your pet setting- sounds like the perfect excuse to catch up on things!

    Love hearing from you!

  3. Dear Sherry,
    So sorry for you to loose your sweet kitten...
    About your family, I must say those two people seems to have been very special, and aunt Hallie have lived in some wayes a colourful life.It must be wonderful for you to have some of the ephemera from her life, together with your own memories -such great photoes of her Sherry.
    It is alwayes fantastic to have little pieces from our family`s lifes-like you have here- and to use for our art, is a beautiful way of giving them new life..
    Wish you a lovely week-end dear.

  4. Sherry,

    I love hearing and reading stories from years ago. What a neat post!
    My great grandmother smoked a corncob pipe and my grandfather smoked Prince Albert too!
    Have a great weekend!


  5. Hi Sherry,

    Wow, what great stories and photos! I love hearing about people's family and lives. I'm cracking up about how you calm the animals by the time the owners return. Doesn't matter whatever you are doing is working!

    Have a good week,

  6. what a great story about your aunt.

  7. Apologies for taking so long to pop over and visit, Sherry. Family stuff and junk.
    Glad to hear spring has found you! LOVED reading about your aunt and seeing your art. :)


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