Living With the Heart of a Child

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“Some memories are unforgettable, remaining ever vivid and heartwarming.” ~ Joseph B Wirthlin

It’s a wonderful thing to live as an adult with the heart of a child, still full of wonder.

We’re never too old to engage in childhood activities like taking a trip down the sliding board, pumping higher and higher toward the skies on a swing, wading in the waters of a rippling stream, getting messy with finger paints or diving into an ice cream Sundae with such zeal that it ends up all over our face.

The day after Christmas my son, his gal, my husband and I walked into Michael’s Craft Store, looking for a picture frame for a photograph of the two of them they had given us for Christmas.

“Pick out a frame you are happy with,” said Marc, “it will complete the present.”

Before we were finished shopping my son said “Mom, did you see what’s at the front of the store? You might be interested. Go pick one out for yourself.”

“I followed his orders and have enjoyed being a child all over again – all wrapped up into something that used to bring me hours of pleasure as a child.”

According to this article from Business Insider, I am not the only one who is having fun revisiting my childhood!

coloring book2

On some of these long, dark winter evenings, coloring has been a good change of pace from reading.

This blog is brought to you by the author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

 

Celebrating Non-Traditionally

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We didn’t know we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun!” ~ Unknown

Is there a Thanksgiving from your past that was


more memorable than any of the others?  I have several. They were all spent at the beach with our two first cousins, Joe & Hope, rather than at home in suburban Baltimore. Of course, my mother’s brother Uncle King, who was always the life of the party was in attendance along with our aunt Dot, whose good humor matched her life partner’s. Uncle King is one of several outstanding characters in my memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

These special turkey days were back in the 1960s before Ocean City, Maryland became a year-round beach resort. The place was empty, a good reason to visit during off-season. Friends and neighbors thought we were crazy spending the holiday on a bitter cold beach rather inside sheltered around our huge fireplace in the house.

As soon as we arrived at the beach cottage our Uncle King made us gather. He started itching to play cards and we’d play so many rounds of gin rummy throughout the weekend our eyes became bleary.

Walks on the beach and building sand castles were customary. Touch football on the shore was a challenge because of the strong fall gales, and running quickly is difficult to achieve when the surface beneath your feet is soft. But to young children the ocean breezes slapping at our faces added to the adventure. We’d start a bonfire on the beach, wrap-up in blankets and sleeping bags and anything else we could find to keep us warm and outside playing.

vintage-thanksgiving-turkey-with-pilgrims-family1A few days prior to Thanksgiving Day, we and our cousins planned for the traditional “Landing of the Pilgrims on the Beach.” The live theatre experience was always requested by our parents. The re-enactment involved lots of hilarity. Our lines got mixed up or forgotten and we’d have to ad-lib and try to remember what we said the year before.

Lots of hot cocoa for the children, and more potent libations for the adults along with a bounteous feast of food graced the table all weekend. We were squeezed like sardines into the rented little cottage but that added to the family togetherness.

Today I’d like to say thanks to my parents for insisting that sometimes we do things a little differently than the traditional holiday experience. They are a large part of why being a “Batton” was so much fun!

Bubble Gum, Bobby Socks, Malt Shops

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The best things in life comes in threes like friends, dreams and memories.” ~ Mencius

It’s Friday! Let’s have a little more fun thinking of the past.

Yesterday’s blog motivated me to dig up some more nostalgia that I hope you baby boomers will enjoy. I don’t know about you but, when I think bobby socks, I automatically think bubble gum. Who among you remembers these lyrics?

Does your chewing gum loose it’s flavor on the bedpost over night?

Does your mother say to spit it out, and you swallow it in spite?

For those baby boomers who are considering writing memoirs and are having troubles getting started, I am giving you a few writing prompts in today’s blog. Here’s your homework over the weekend. Chose one of them and jot down your thoughts.

bubble gum and bobbie socks

I know, you don’t like homework and I can hear y’all whining now “What a drag! The teacher gave us a heap of homework over the weekend. I was going to go down to the malt shop for a frappe and hang out. Then to the sock hop. Now I’ll have to stay home and write!

Well, here is a little homework help. If the picture and lyrics weren’t enough to stir your memories, perhaps this video will.

Have a great weekend everybody. This weekend shake a leg and get your own T-W-E-E-T, T-W-E-E-T thing going.  See you right back here on All Things Fulfilling on Monday!

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Bringing Memories Alive

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We do not know the true value of our moments until they have undergone the test of memory.” ~ Georges Duhamel

Today on Thirsty Thursday, I’m sharing this video purely for a little fun and with hopes of stirring your memories. If you are a baby boomer or even more mature than that you may remember this little ditty. If you remember the song and the era, celebrate! That means you still have some of your faculties intact. Hip-hip hurray!

As you listen, scroll through the images below. What do you associate these pictures with? Write your thoughts down.  Ready, set, get started!

 

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haircurlersLamb chop

ice grinder vintage

desks with lift top

diary with key

diaper pinsgummed reinforcement rings for notebook paper

kukla fran and ollie

line dance

evening in paris

library dewey decimal

soda fountain

pincurls

dippity do

little rascals

That’s all for today on All Things Fulfilling. I don’t want to give our aging readers sensory overload. We will dig up some more nostalgic images and share them in the near future!

This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Importance of Decorating Life

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If the family were a boat, it would be a canoe that makes no progress unless everyone paddles.~ Letty Cottin Pogrebin

canoe

This week we  celebrate Independence Day, so I’ve been thinking about how when I was growing up holiday traditions were a big deal. My mother made each one very special. Even on those days that were of lesser importance she often made memories by the little things she did to commemorate and celebrate life. Thank you Mom, you will always be very fondly remembered for that, not only by your children but also by your eight grandchildren.

I recently came across an article on a website called The Art of Manliness that describes why traditions are valuable to the family unit. I was happy to see such an article on a blog for men because the male population can get in on the action of helping to establish traditions too!

Dads, perhaps you can become remembered for being the “grill master”, or the one who takes the children out for Sunday drives in the country, or the one who says “Grace” at the table before meals. Perhaps you are the guy who makes pancakes on Saturday mornings so Mother can sleep in.

These little things are what children remember from their childhood and they make deep, lasting impressions. The bonds of family are established through traditions. They give us a connectedness and a sense that it’s the small things in life that are important. What can you do to show your loved ones that family ties matter?

memoriesThis blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Once within a House & Yard

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Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action. ~ Mother Teresa

Grandmothers house 2802 Fleetwood AvenueOnce upon a time all it took was a quick glance from the sidewalk and the heart and soul of this place could be felt in an instant. An American flag flew proud and tall on a big pole in the yard. A couple of rocking chairs sat on the small front porch and small pots of flowers crowded the ledge around it. The voices of neighborhood children walking by cheerily yelled out “Hi Baba!” It was a daily occurrence. The woman who lived there was a grandmother of everyone’s dreams.

A huge tall oak tree once grew on the left side. It canopied the property as if it embraced the residents living within the bungalow-style house.  Both front and backyard were carefully and lovingly tended by a bald, kind-hearted man who was called Pop by his grandchildren. He was as equally fine and gentile as his wife.

In the backyard grew lilacs, wisteria and the hugest magnolia tree I’d ever witnessed. So tall that as a young child, I couldn’t even see up to the tippy top. The tree went on forever – all the way on up to heaven. An outdoor brick fireplace in the gorgeously landscaped backyard cooked many a hotdog! Goldfish circled the waters of a four foot cement pond.The sounds of fun and laughter could be heard frequently of a wonderful couple who especially adored the days when their four grandchildren came to visit.

Smells of fresh peach cake, “smoked neck” with potatoes and green beans, yeast rolls and other lovingly cooked food and baked goods wafted outside through the screen door of the tiny galley kitchen. The aromas settled on pots of colorful pansies and petunias and on rows of dinner plate dahlias and gladiolas that lined the perimeter of the yard.

The house still stands, but when I look at this picture, I don’t see any evidence of the life that once graced the place. The tender loving care put  into the house and the children and grandchildren who visited remains only in my memories. This place once made my heartbeat warmly every time I entered in the door.

So what’s the good news on this Thirsty Thursday?  I can still hear the voice of my Grandmother….”Susie Annie, is that you, hon? Want a nice tall glass of ice cold sweet tea? I just loaded up the candy dishes on the buffet in the dining room. Help yourself. There are nonpareils, jelly candies, butter mints, anything you want. The Chiclets are in the top drawer of the buffet on the left.”

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, the award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. Click here for more information on Sue Batton Leonard’s publications.

 

Creative Memory

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A memoir takes some particular threads, some incidents, some experience form a person’s life and gives an account of it. ~ Richard Hell

Yesterday’s blog was all about using images, songs, adages, movies to elicit memories of times gone-by to help write life stories.They  all serve as great writing prompts.

saddle shoe polish

When I saw the image of this widely-used household item from my childhood it triggered powerful memories. Below are the words that I associated with this picture. The words became basis for writing the preface to my memoir.

Once I recorded my thoughts it was easy to compose the preface to the book. Then my words became complete sentences and a little organizing to make sure the writing became a well- developed composition that conveyed what I wanted to share with my readers.

Here are the free association words that immediately came to mind when I saw the image:

 

  • First day of school
  • lunchbox
  • socks with wrinkles
  • foreign speaking doctor
  • bus stop
  • saddle shoes
  • odd odor
  • six years old
  • my mother
  • fear and anxiety

If you want to write your life story but are stumped and having a hard time getting started, dig out some old pictures from the past and see what happens. Here is a great article about the power of creative memory. http://huff.to/1pNAOvL

If you are interested in this thing called “independent publishing” there are many, many blog writings on All Things Fulfilling about the subject. Basically, I recorded my journey as I went through my own publishing process. On the right-hand side of this page, you can search by category – enter words such as independent publishing, writing, memoir, marketing independent publications, e-book publishing, writers, creativity.

That is all I’ve got for today! This blog brought to you by the award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For -information on her  book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected which won 2 EVVY book awards, please visit this link. http://amzn.to/1rOmKUp.