Museum of Me – The Outdoor Games Edition | June 2022

Museum of Me – The Outdoor Games Edition | June 2022

Greetings dear museum visitors! For those of you expecting a visit to The Great Locker Room of Outside Games Memories… I am sorry, but there just is not that much sports participation in wee Kat’s life. In fact, there almost is not enough even share. But… if you follow along closely, you will find some bits and pieces of games-related things, and finally, a bit of a surprise (a surprise for Kat, most certainly!)

Let’s start at the very beginning…

Here we have a 4-year old Kat standing next to the snowman her mother had made. I don’t remember this day very well, but I do remember that I did not make the snowman. No games to be found here… but I did like to play in the snow!

Let’s head to the school games exhibit, shall we?

I’ve never liked the word team. I’ve always equated it with being picked last and getting nailed in the groin with a dodgeball. — Jordan Castillo Price

This quote aptly sums up my experience with outdoor games (i.e. dodgeball) as an adolescent… (although you could sub in head for groin in my case!) Yes, I was the kid who was always… and I mean always… picked last for any school sports event.  I don’t recall there being t-ball when I was in grade school. I remember some baseball games on the playground, but again… I was picked last and spent my time sitting in the outfield.

1st grade innocence… pre-dodge ball and by the time I got to middle school I knew exactly how to avoid the “picking for teams” issue.

I was the most singularly uncoordinated child on the planet. Eye hand coordination with a moving object… slim to none. (Think baseball or tennis… oof, so bad at it. Think basketball… that whole dribbling and running at the same time thing… yeah. Could.Not.Do.It.)

I was forced to take swimming lessons the summer I had my tonsils out… I still have nightmares about that experience. And while I can swim… it is on the “barely” scale. I don’t fear the water but I do have a healthy respect for it.

Although – this was not an outdoor activity – I did love calisthenics with Miss Kriger in Middle School… especially, leg lifts with your hands under your bum to Seals and Crofts Summer Breeze. And every time I hear that song, I think of that very thing…think of it, yes but I most certainly am not doing them! LOL Come to think about it, the best part of calisthenics was the music… oh and Miss Kriger, of course!

Thank goodness for Miss Kriger, she saw right through all that last picking nonsense… she picked the teams. (also I have no clue who the bouffant babe is…lol)

So, you might be wondering when I might be getting to the actual outdoor games content of this post…. wait no further, here it is!

High school brought new opportunities for me (plus, I was spending a lot more time at my grandparents house, a much calmer environment… and one I could invite friends to visit!)  A friend, Mary Jane Wehrmeyer, was an amazing golfer  – a shining star as a freshman on the golf team. She talked about golf non-stop and by my sophomore year she  had convinced me that being on the golf team with her was exactly what my life needed.

But, I had never played, did not have clubs, and had that eye hand coordination thing working against me. However, the coach, Mr. Maatman assured me he could help me learn golf, he would figure out clubs for me, and he ignored the whole eye hand conversation and so I eased my way into the golf team. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that my eye hand coordination was much better with a stationary golf ball. I could hit it! At least some of the time! The lack of golf clubs was not an issue because for practice and when we played at “home” (The West Ottawa Golf Course now called Three Fires Golf Club… what the heck? lol) I could use a set of clubs from the course. If we were “away” Mr. Maatman brought clubs for me to use. And suddenly, I discovered that being on a team could be a very personal sport. (And no one was throwing dodgeballs at me! Hahaha)

I began to look forward to practice every day after school. Walking the course, learning how to play, being outdoors with friends… but quiet. It was really a lovely escape. At the spring school sports banquet the following year, I even got a participation award. Looking back at this, the key to my golf enjoyment lay entirely with the coach who believed that showing up and trying every single time was worth noting. I did so love Mr. Maatman….please take the time to read his obituary… I will wait for you all  before continuing on.

Lovely, wasn’t he? He really was an amazing human.

But back to the exhibit… Golf was something that stayed with me beyond high school… although I did not play regularly like like I did in high school. I did work as a server for several summers at Clearbrook Golf Club in Saugatuck where one of the perks was being able to play the occasional round of golf!.

Sadly, golf and I parted ways permanently the year I tore my rotator cuff… but the lessons of golf are still with me. Relax..shoulders down, take a deep breath, and always…always… replace your divots! Good life lessons for anyone!

Thank you all for visiting today and I would especially like to thank Kym for inspiring all of us museum curators… I hope you enjoyed this little journey to Kat’s Very Brief (and incredibly unspectacular) Life with Outdoor Games!

Have a great weekend everyone!

 

Museum of Me – The Outdoor Games Edition | June 2022

Museum of Me | May 2022

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ― Charles W. Eliot

Greetings, Gentle Readers!

This month is all about reading…specifically Your favorite book as a child/kid/teenager…

Let me get my docent hat on and begin to tell you all about The Reading Life of Kat!

This week there was great debate over what book was my actual favorite… there are oodles. Truly. Oodles. Do I talk about Laura Ingalls Wilders Little House Books? Or maybe Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series? Those were absolutely beloved books of my youth. Deeply beloved. Or maybe I should talk about E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, or Stuart Little, or The Trumpet of the Swan… yep, deeply loved one and all. Or perhaps John Peterson’s The Little’s series… gosh, I loved them as well!

And so the Favorite Book Debate began… and while I loved every book mentioned above, none of those are what I am going to talk to you about today.

This exhibit has one book with some absolutely magnificent characters. It is a story of survival, over-coming loneliness, and so much more.

Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins was a “turning point” book for me as I was growing up and it is a book that has stayed with me all these years later.

I am pretty sure that I had no idea what a Caldecott Medal winning book meant back then, but yes… it is absolutely an award winner. It was published the year I was born in 1960… which I don’t think I realized either when I first read it.

I clearly remember getting this book from the library for a Summer Reading Contest. It was a time when I was living at my grandparents house and I can remember laying in bed reading it late into the night (at least for a 10 year old girl!) Karana was a true heroine… a survivor… smart and capable. And who can forget Rontu, Tainor, Lurai, Mon-a-nee, and Rontu-aru! Karana overcame adversity, made friends with her enemy, and survived for eighteen years…alone…which to 10-year-old-me seemed like an eternity!

I remember having long conversations with my grandparents, describing to them life for Karana on her island. My grandpa was decidedly more interested than my nana was and he and I imagined how we might survive if we were stranded somewhere! But my grandpa’s favorite part was her befriending birds… such a smart choice!

I spent lots of time “being Karana” as a child… I desperately wanted to get a dog I could name Rontu. (I eventually got a dog, who got named Mitzi) And there were plenty of times as a child when I imagined being “left” permanently at my grandparents house (which did finally happen but not until I was a sophomore in high school).

Beyond my 10 year old self, this is a book I have read again too many times to count… and in each reading, it loses nothing, but rather, with each time I have read it I have gained new insights… it is absolutely a book that is a patient teacher!

If you have not read Island of the Blue Dolphins, today I would encourage you to do so! And if you’d like to take home a copy of the book, you will find one in the Museum’s Gift Shop! (Haha, yes that is my Amazon link)

Thank you so much for stopping by today and visiting this Museum of Me exhibit! A big thanks to Kym for all her work on this (and for the gorgeous new image!)

I wish you a great weekend from a house that at long last has a sofa! See you all back here on Monday!

 

 

Museum of Me | April 2022

Museum of Me | April 2022

In a perfect world, I would read all instructions clearly. Sigh.

That’s right. Last month I shared a job I used to have… which is this month’s prompt.

So…

This month, I am sharing something I collect…which was last month’s prompt!

Anyways, I have a deep love for antiques and I am so fortunate to have so many amazing pieces, with an emphasis on painted American furniture. Big, bold, fill-up-the-room pieces. And I enjoy them (and use them) every day! I have some antique textiles and even some fun antique barware. I like thinking about the history of the piece and especially about the maker who made them. I like them for their beauty, but they were made for their functionality… a necessity for their daily life.

But what about the pieces that I don’t use… the extra special treasures I am so fortunate to have. Well those are the pieces that I truly love… and the ones that hold some beautiful bits of my family history.

First up is an incredible quilt (sorry there is no “full photo”… the weather has absolutely hampered my getting a good picture of it in the yard… it is not super large, but it covers a full sized bed, with no overhang) This quilt was made for my maternal grandparents…it was a wedding present to them in 1932 – for their bed – which had to be way smaller than a full sized bed – by my grandpa’s Aunt Eleanor. It is entirely hand stitched… and it is a true treasure. Most of the fabrics were “recycled” (although they did not use the word recycled in the 30’s) from clothing that her family wore. It eventually became the “quilt on the grandkids” bed… yep, when we spent the night at Nana’s house… we slept under this quilt.

There was not a lot of room for extravagances in my grandparent’s lives. They struggled financially and I don’t know where the Hummel figures came from, but two of them were in my nana’s corner cupboard as long as I could remember. (The one on the left, I found in an antique shop some 40 years ago… the set of angels should have been 3… but I have never found the accordion playing angel to add to the collection)

However, my nana was so proud of those two angels… though we were never, ever allowed to touch them! They get the same treatment here… they are safe in Steve’s Grandma’s clock cabinet in our dining room.

My nana was absolutely a use it until it dies and then find another use for it girl. The other treasure I have is her clothes pin bag…  and yes, she made it. As I recall from the story… and this was very much alive and in in use by the time I was born in 1960… it is from an old pair of curtains that had faded. But my nana never just got rid of anything that could be repurposed into something else and so as the story goes the sun had faded some areas of her kitchen curtains… and so my nana cut out the faded bits and with the remainder made curtains for her garage (because doesn’t everyone’s garage have curtains?) and the final “scraps” became her “new” clothes pin bag. Curiously, the hanger that was originally in the bag rusted and had to be thrown away. Yep… the bag has outlived its original hanger.

The other special pieces are two things that hung prominently in my nana’s house. The Ten Commandments (dated May 4..er…5 1944… signed on the back …both times… by my Grandpa – although I am not sure why he did that twice nor do I know the why behind the two different dates… however, I love having a reminder of his beautiful handwriting) and The Morning Prayer (which used to glow in the dark… really. I remember thinking it quite spooky, back in the day!) Both of these pieces now live on the wall in my “office”… the room with my sewing machine, that cupboard with my stash. It is nice having bits and pieces of things that my were part of my grandparents lives  still visible and with me today.

And there you have my very tiny, but oh so precious collection of Very Special Things.

See you all back here on Monday! Have a great weekend!

 

 

Museum of Me | April 2022

Museum of Me… the travel edition | March 2022

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Yes, today we are heading to a destination that feels light years away. Back to my pre-children life…and specifically, What I Used to Do At Work!

Once upon a time… after I was a struggling waitress, and before there were kids… I used to be a travel agent.

This was back in prehistoric travel times when travel agencies had specific computers that you could access an airlines schedule… via each individual airline (AA, UA, USAir, etc… each entity would set up an office with a terminal… yes, one of those very same clunky old things they had at the airport counter back in Olden Times)

I actually went to “travel school” at the Herman Miller Headquarters in Zeeland, Michigan (taught by the lovely woman who was, at that time, responsible for all their corporate travel). It was curiously a lengthy course, 6-weeks as I recall and it was not free! I think it cost in the area of a whopping $150 (which in the mid 80’s was a good bit of money, at least on “waitress pay!”) Anyway, I remember being more than a bit overwhelmed. Not only was there oodles of things to learn, it was the first time I ever worked with a computer. And there was so much memorization… the most important of which was all the airport codes. (Life pre-Google required a lot of brain bandwidth! lol) If you did not know the airport codes, there was no way to look them up on the computer. Really. So LOTS of memorization and yes, there were tests… about which I remember stressing over… greatly. But I passed and went on to use almost none of the things I learned in the 6-week course (outside of the airport codes) because back in that galaxy… technology was moving at warp speed. (Yes, beam me up Scotty speed!) Within a couple of months of being hired by Pathfinder’s Travel (which is still in operation and owned by the lovely, lovely, lovely gentleman who hired me) the airlines moved from having a “terminal” in our office to allowing travel agents to access their system directly via a DOS computer… (So all the things I learned for ONE airline, I now needed to learn for ALL the airlines… or at least all the airlines that serviced the airports in my area.)

I did a mix travel coordination for both corporate travelers and leisure travelers…both fun but very different clients! However, neither was the reason why any sane person would go into the travel industry. One went for the perks… which back in prehistoric times were really awesome. My office had a regular cache of dozens of tickets – honestly, more than we could use in the time allotted – and they were replenished on a regular basis.

This did not include accommodations, but a couple of phone calls and you could pair a free ticket with free or greatly reduced accommodations, car rentals, and touristy things like museums and this was how I saw a small bit of the world. Literally. Which for a girl from Holland, Michigan, living in a family that did not vacation… anywhere… it was so amazing!

NYC, Washington DC, California. Florida. Washington, Idaho, and a large chunk of Canada. Japan. British ruled Hong Kong. Mainland China (a mere two years after they opened up for tourist travel… which is a story all by itself). The Netherlands, England and Scotland are just some of the highlights of my “work benefits”.

Most of this travel I coordinated with Rachel, Heidi and Sam’s dad… before we had Rachel, Heidi, and Sam… he would be working and if there was a free ticket and I could join him away I went. I liked this kind of travel…last minute, no itinerary, no group… and most of the time it was really just me… he’d be working and I would be on my own. My gosh, good times.

I have had the incredible fortune to stay at places like  The Roman Camp in Callendar Scotland (my gosh, it was divine), The Grand Hotel in Amsterdam with all it’s incredible history, The Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong, and The Hotel Intercontinental in Kowloon (where we had our own butler… what?!?) with a view of Victoria Harbor at night that was just magical. And I have seen Kabuki Theatre in the Ginza and stayed in a hotel next-door to the US Embassy in Tokyo (When Walter Mondale was the ambassador!)

Sometimes the perks of being just a travel agent were incredible… and they helped build some of the most amazing memories ever. Like the time I went to a koffee house in Amsterdam, but really wanted to be in a coffee house, and the lovely lovely people who enjoyed my faux pax… and just gave me coffee… yes for free. Or the time I decided I wanted to visit the Ueno Park Zoo in Tokyo…during morning rush hour…but how incredibly helpful every single person was to this very naive American…. so helpful that even the rush of workers coming up from the subway all made space for me to make my way down the stairs. Added to those memories were the life skills I learned… how to exciting it is to step outside your comfort zone and be immersed in new things.

Good times… such very good times. (And all before cell phones… yes, you read that right, before cell phones!)

Once we had Rachel… work soon ended. I did not “earn enough” to cover daycare expenses and thus began my life of Being  Just a Mom for a good number of years.

And when I finally did go back to work, the travel industry had changed dramatically (with a significant reduction in those perks) and so I set my feet on a different pathway… with fond memories of what once was my my life in a galaxy far far away.

These days, the extent of my travel is limited to a quick trip to Erie… or an annual trip to Michigan. Would I like to do overseas travel again? Yes! There are so many places I’d like to go and see.

A huge thanks to Kym for these Museum of Me prompts!

Have a great weekend everyone! See you all back here on Monday!

 

 

 

Museum of Me | April 2022

Museum of Me | February 2022

“Without Valentine’s Day, February would be … well, January.” — Jim Gaffigan

Welcome, Gentle Readers to the second exhibit of the Museum of Kat. We are going to be using the Way Back Machine today and I also have the BIG flash light just in case because we are going to the furthest depths of the Museum… watch your step and no lagging, please! Stay with the group so you don’t get lost on the way to our Valentine’s Day Exhibit.

You might think it is curious that we are so fixated on being loving for one day a year and if you do, I think your thoughts are on the right track! One thing I have learned in life… one day does not make love. One day does not make the year special. In fact… I think that how you show love on the other 364 days of the year are far more important than any single Valentine’s Day.

But I digress…today we are going to an exhibit on the Love of Extended Family!

So let’s go back in time… Stay together, please, the Way Back Machine can be fussy and leave some of you in an area that has not been curated… scary places, trust me!

We are going back to in time to a very much younger me…. I think I first realized that Valentine’s Day might be something to take note of was in school. Now I went to school long before anyone worried about a child’s self-esteem… suffice it to say, I never, ever brought Valentine cards to school to share with the other students. I was not the only child in this predicament… but we brought nothing, we were not allowed to participate in the “card exchange.” Sad, I know… but we all survived.

If you look at the sum of this exhibit, you might think it is very sparse on material…and you’d be right. However, it is not sparse on content. The content is incredible and despite the fact that I have been dreading this month’s exhibit because of the lack of content (I honestly worried that I’d have to post the Valentine’s Day cards from my ex… oy! lol)

But I persisted! And on a whim I opened a long forgotten box of things and found some treasures.

My sister, Susan, my Nana – Mae Jacoby-Huxhold, me, my Grandpa – Oliver Emil Huxhold, and Great-Aunt Marion Huxhold-Bollendorf. You can’t see in this photo, but my Grandpa is standing with the aid of a cane… this was the last year he could maneuver himself outdoors. 

Rather than talking only about the treasures… I am going to talk about the treasure givers. I was one very blessed child to have not one, but two incredible and amazing Great-Aunts. My gosh, I loved them so much. Now… I looked high and low through so many boxes for a single picture of my Great-Aunt Sylvia (who lived in Kenosha, Wisconsin almost her entire life) but I could not find any pictures with her. What I do have is this fabulous picture from July 1965… My Nana (on the left) My Grandpa (in the back), and my Great-Aunt Marion (on the right). My sister, Susan, is in my Nana’s arms, and I am standing in front. This picture was taken at my grandparent’s house… and I remember this day very well. Aunt Marion and Aunt Sylvia were my grandpa’s sisters. Aunt Sylvia, was the second child of five, my grandpa was the middle and the youngest of two boys, and Aunt Marion was the fourth child… the second of three girls. (Oldest brother Albert, was named after their father, and youngest sister, Kathryn… who I am named after!) Aunt Marion and Aunt Sylvia were maiden aunts for most of their lives, but then came Uncle Fred Bollendorf. His first wife died, and his second marriage was to my Aunt Marion. We all loved Uncle Fred… he was the perfect addition to our family!

Whenever they came to visit my Nana and Grandpa, I always, always spent the night… and I slept downstairs with Aunt Sylvia. It was the best… that picture above… it was the first time I spent the night and Aunt Sylvia was so worried I would wake up and want to go home. But nope! I spent the entire night and in the morning we are all treated to the absolute best pancakes in the world made by my nana. The memories of time spent with these ladies are some of the sweetest ever and I cherish them!

Aunt Marion and Aunt Sylvia were the only people in my childhood who sent Valentine’s Day cards to us (My mom, dad, sister, and me) At least that is how it started.

Now I am a card saver… I think I have every card I ever received… honestly. So I am not sure what happened to any other cards they absolutely sent. All I have are these four, but I am so happy that I have them!

This card, which is 3-Dimensional, was sent to my entire family.

I have no idea what year this card might have been sent. The envelope is long gone… the price of the card though… 50 cents.

Then we have the cards that were just sent to me! Treasures, I promise you!

This sweet little bunny was from my Great-Aunt Marion

Again, I have no idea at all of a date on this card… but I believe this predate’s the “group Valentine” since the price is priceless… a whopping 15 cents!

Finally we have a card with some dates! Aunt Marion sent this in 1974 (I guess by age 13, I knew who was sending me this particular Valentine, but I love the “Guess Who”). It included a Love Stamp that in February 1974 was 8 cents. I know… it seems insane to me!

I think Aunt Marion knew I spent every moment I could in my Nana’s kitchen!

Finally, I have one single solitary card from Aunt Sylvia, which seems unlikely to me because I have dozens and dozens of letters from her. But one card was all I manage to save…

While I like the others very much, this one is my favorite.

Suffice it to say that flowers for Valentine’s Day are lovely and chocolate is too! But nothing beats these little bits of sunshine that I had all but forgotten from my childhood.

I hope you have some little bits that make you smile on Valentine’s Day too!

Thank you so much for visiting this very nostalgic exhibit. Now, if you all stay together once again the Way Back Machine will get us back to the present day! I so appreciate your taking the time to stop and listen today!

A big thanks to Kym for being the Master Curator for these posts!

Happy Early Valentine’s Day and I will see you all back here on Monday!

Museum of Me | April 2022

Museum of Me | January 2022

I thought it might be fun to join Kym once a month and invite you all to an exhibit of My Museum…

and then I saw January’s prompt: Something you were really good at as a child (either something you still do — or something you “grew out of” doing)

Hello fun… come back here…where are you going?

Okay so in all honesty, Gentle Readers… I worked very hard at being invisible when I was a child… or I tried to excel at being invisible at all moments. (I am very certain that I have grown out of wanting to be invisible, but it took years and years and years of work.)

Second to being invisible was escaping…

The thing I found best for accomplishing both of those things was reading and though I did not read until I was well into first grade… once I began reading I discovered the incredible world of books that were just waiting to “take me away!”

Since then, with the exception of those sleep starved years of young child parenting, I have been an avid voracious reader.

I started with good old Dick and Jane and I honestly don’t remember any other books until I discovered The Little House Books, which I loved and read over and over. I also loved any book about animals, so I had a long running Black Beauty phase as well.

I then had an “angsty teen” phase with Harlequin Romance books… I know… wut?! I can’t believe I am even admitting this here! Ha!

That angsty teen phase gave way to the so much better (NOT, LOL) “bodice ripping” books which occupied my reading hours for a good many years.

And then came the kiddos… and a whole new world of books opened up. Eric Carle was a particular favorite of mine (as well as my kids!) And I just loved that the girls (especially Rachel) adored The Little House books. And then came Harry Potter! We were the ultimate Harry Potter Family! We read them aloud together each day after homework was done. The best of times were sitting around the dinner table talking about Harry’s escapades!

Once I returned to “regular adult reading,” I no longer reached for a trashy romance novel. But I really did not have a clue about what I even liked to read! So I just began reading all sorts of genres and I discovered I liked epic “style” novels. (Think Mario Puzo, John Jakes, and James Michener style novels… I loved them!) And then I fell down the “mystery” hole and have really never climbed out. I do so love a good mystery.

And when I think now that I can “go to the library” from my iPhone and check out a book it just amazes me how far reading has come! I can pick an eBook or have an audiobook read to me!

I no longer read to become invisible, but gosh Pandemic Life has absolutely reinforced that you can absolutely “escape” in a book and find yourself in a place you never imagined.

Thank you for visiting My Museum today! I hope you all have a weekend that includes some reading! See you all back here on Monday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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