Connections July 4th, 2022 396 Words

On July 4th, I have memories of visiting the graves of family members . Both sides of my family had graves locally. My mother would bring a plant and spend some quiet time besides each plot. My dad would walk among the graves stopping here and there, lost in a memory.
As a child and a teenager, I would amuse myself reading the tombstones noting the birth and death dates. I wished that our tradition in this country was to place a small photo of the loved one for visitors to recall the departed.
We would drive to Plymouth, a nearby town to stop at the graves of my grandparents and great aunts and uncles. My mother’s family members were buried in Chelsea Michigan.
After my second marriage, my husband and I would drive across the state to the east side to visit John’s father’s grave. To my surprise, the cemetery was full of Turnbulls and Farnsworths.
I recognized many of the names from each side of the family.
When I returned home, I asked my Dad about the Turnbulls in that rural area. My Dad told me that there were many Turnbulls in the thumb area. Then he continue to tell me that his cousins had lived in the thumb and invited my Great grandfather and his family to try farming in Michigan. My great grandfather, his wife and the two children one was my Grandfather, moved from Ontario Canada to try farming on this side of Lake Huron.
Though my Grandfather’s family returned to Canada, There still are many Turnbulls in the area.
Wandering through the graves there were many Farnsworths related to the Turnbull’s by marriage.
I find peace in walking where ancestors once stood and lived.
Our country is filled with family connections forming a people. Some of the stories are well worn. Others are unknown. All played a part in who we are as individuals and as a country.
So take some time from your Independence Day to ponder these ancestors in our family and friends who lived and paved the way for us. Those connections build a strong community and nation. Give thanks and consider what legacy we are passing to others. Will we use the forged connections to strengthen us or use the conflicts to break us apart. The choice is ours.
Happy Independence Day.

carolaspot@aol.com
7-4-2022

Roberta Griffen, early avocate for the blind, June 27, 2022 515 words

Today is Helen Keller’s birthday. Most people know of the advocacy and accomplishments of this remarkable woman. But there are many others who paved the way for the blind to be taught to live and have careers. One of these individuals was Roberta Griffen.
Roberta was born in 1867 in Pittsburgh Pa. Little is known about her early years. The opinion at the time was blind and others that were handicapped could be trained for minimal tasks. Roberta stayed home for her first twelve years.before moving to Bay City Michigan in 1879.
She entered the Michigan school for the blind in Lansing with 40 other students.
She learned to braille, use a typewriter, sewing and other skills she would need to have a career. She completed high school in Cleveland where the school offered an expanded program. After high school, Roberta was accepted at Western College on probation. She was to keep up with other students with little accommodations.
She bought all of her texts and paid fellow students to read the assignments to her. Her skilled typing allowed her to type lessons. She was told that she must keep up with her classmates.
Roberta finished college in three years. She supplemented her income by giving piano lessons. Roberta invented an embossed score to read music.
Ms. Griffen moved with her mother to a two story home to give classes in the day and a have living quarters on the top floor. Among Roberta’s accomplishments were working with Helen Keller to standardize the braille alphabet and contractions. Teaching skills to blind mothers while volunteers offered childcare for the children.
Roberta’s passions was preventing blindness in babies. This is what Caused Roberta’s blindness.
In 1913, Ms. Griffen pushed for a reading room in the new library to be dedicated with tools and reading material for the blind. In 1916, the Association for the Blind was formed and expanded to continue to this day. One of 17 libraries for the blind, they formed the start of the National Library for the Blind Network.
Roberta died in 1944 and was one of sixteen women honored in the Michigan Hall of Fame.
I learned that each person can use his or her skills to promote advocacy in their chosen field. Physical or mental challenges can be overcome with assistance and support from others.
Happy Birthday Helen. Thanks for paving the way for the rest of us.


Helen Keller with an imagined cochlear implant.

This is hearing?
Helen awoke in a hospital bed.
She was dressed in a gown with lots of ties.
She felt insect like buzzing first in the front of her head, then to the side and finally in the back.
There was a large hand holding hers.
Quickly, she fingered spelled,”Where am I?”
The hand slowly spelled,”You are in a hospital. You have had a cochlear implant.”
What you feel in your head is the start of hearing. With training you will learn to identify sounds.”
She continued to have headaches as a response to the buzzing in her head.
Helen thought,”If this is hearing, I would rather be deaf!”
carolfarn@aol.com
copyright 6-27-2022

Favorite Flavor June 20, 2022 Under 200 words

When I was little, my favorite flavor was chocolate. Being one of five children, I was limited to getting chocolate on holidays and my birthday. Chocolate made me happy.

I was born with glaucoma. Twice a year, I had to have an eye exam and my eye pressure checked. The doctor wanted an easy patient, so I was put to sleep with ether. I was nauseous and tired after the appointment. I still feel sick if I smell ether to this day.

We drove from a small town to the larger Ann Arbor area. I had never seen people of different skin colors before these hospital visits. I saw a rainbow of people, but I didn’t say anything to my mother.

We went into the waiting areaehere I saw a black man dressed in scrubs .

“I want the chocolate doctor.”

I knew that chocolate was good and didn’t hurt. So a chocolate doctor would not hurt me.

The janitor smiled at me. After my appointment, he came back to give me a piece of chocolate candy.

My white doctor didn’t take the time to calm a frightened child, but a kind janitor and his smile helped me feel better. That and a little chocolate!

***

Chocolate

Choice of most children.

Helps chase away the fear.

One man saw a frighten child.

Care fully, he opened my hand.

On my palm, he placed a piece of chocolate.

Looking up, I saw him smile.

A friendly face.

The terror was gone.

Ending the appointment with a piece of chocolate.

carolfarn@aol.com 6/20/2022

HOW DOES THE GARDEN GROW 6-13-2022 410 WORDS

How does a blind gardener locate, plant and maintain a garden space? Depending on your ability and desire for seasonal plants, most people can enjoy fresh produce. I have a small garden space enclosed to prevent animals from gathering the greenery. I plant cucumbers on a trellis so the fruit hangs down and forms long ccucumbers that are easily found. My vegetables include green beans, aspargus, peppers and and Indian corn. only the asparagus comes up each year. When I had some vision I planted purple beans because I could use the color to locate the beans on the plant. Now I plant pole beans and locate the beans by touch. Asparagus is picked in the late spring by cutting the spears at ground level . They will grow more spears until the weather turns hot. The plant is allowed to grow and mature to produce a feathery plant producing energy for next year’s crop.

Each season, I try growing a new plant. This year, I started Indian corn for fall decorating and feeding the squirrels. The whole garden has a canapy of growing bittersweet. This protects the young plants from getting too much direct sunlight.

On the back porch, I have containers of catnip, basel and cherry tomatoes to use in cooking and making pesto. Beside the pordch, grows chives, mint and lavender for aroma therapy and relaxing.

I will explore with my husband to discover new plants that appear. This year, I found several morel mushrooms growing on our hill near the steps. They can be cleaned and frozen until there are enough for a meal.

I have found a lenten rose in the woods transplanted by a bird to that spot. On the exploring John and I will make notes on new plants to check their progress in the season to come.

A note about weeding. The container garden is easy to weed. The new growth on the edge of the container is probably weeds. If a plant grows tall and feels different than the other plands in the container, they don’t belong.

The plants will attract birds and bees to pollinate your small garden. The aromas from growing herbs create another layer of sensations to enjoy.

So If you start with one plant or a small garden, enjoy the time outside with your plants.

********

A seed planted

grows with sun and water

into a delight.

Carolfarn@aol.com

6/20/2022

Northville Recreation June 6, 2022

The start of summer signaled the end of school and time to relax for most kids, not for our family. It was time to sign up for summer programs with the Recreation Department. We had the options to join a baseball team, sign up to go on bus trips to Bell Isle, the Detroit Zoo or Michigan’s Adventure and Cedar Point or a Detroit Tigers Baseball game. I was too young for most of those activities so I was signed up for day camp each week day morning for 8 weeks.
The camp was located at Ford Field in town. My Mother would drop me off at my Grandma Heatley’s home a couple of blocks from the field.
The field had plenty of room to play games and do arts and crafts. The counselors, high school students, offered a free craft project and other craft work for a nominal fee. I brought my allowance to buy leather pieces that were punched with holes to sew together with plastic lanyard cord to weave and sew crafts together. I sewed many coin purses and necklaces to attach a whistle for coaching a game.
The free activities were making figures from plaster of Paris . We would sit in the sun as the rubber molds of animals and children dried. We would carefully unroll the mold from the cast. Even if the form wasn’t perfect, the casted form could be used as chalk to write on sidewalks.
The next year, the Recreation Department and the Scouts shared a new building located in the middle of town. I was allowed to walk the few blocks to the camp.
Archery and putt putt golf was offered as well as the arts and crafts.
I loved the feeling of independence that the walk offered me.
There were two places of interest along the way down Katy Street. An ancient mulberry tree hung over the cemetery . The small tree grew from one of the grave sites. It had the sweetest berries to pluck on the way for a couple of weeks in July.
The cemetery was an old one, one of the first in the town. The monuments were fascinating to a nine year old. One of the graves had a cement crib on it. I read that two children were buried in it. On a dare, I laid down in the cement grave marker. I thought I heard footsteps approaching. I quickly got up and hurried away.
The Recreation Department had a Pet and Doll show and turtle races as special events. I took prizes for placing in the turtle race and placing first and second in different doll categories. We were given small cash prizes.
Summer was never boring for a youngster in the 1960’s in the small town of Northville.


Resting in the grave

The old graveyard beckoned me.
It’s ancient monuments were worn by time and rain.
many of the interred were young.
One grave was in the shape of a toddler’s crib ,made of cement and mortar.
The names of two babies were on the headboard.
A brother and sister that died in a flu epidemic days apart.
I laid in the bed and whispered to the dead.
“I will not forget you.”
Putting violets on the headstone, I said a prayer .
carolfarn/@aol.com
copyright 6/6/2022

Memorial Memories May 30, 2022 363 words

After reading my brother’s memories of past Memorial Day activities, I was reminded of childhood memories from growing up in Northville.

Our family participated each year in the parade and service at Rural Hill Cemetery. One year, most of my family was involved in marching. Dad was dressed in his Marine uniform as a color guard for the flags of Michigan and the Stars and Stripes. The high school’s marching band marched and played patriotic songs. My oldest brother played in the band. Two other brothers were marching with their scout troops. Finally, I walked with my brownie troop to both of the town cemetery’s. My Dad would visit the military graves to remember those of the town’s youth that never came home. Each service ended with the playing of Taps . One person played while a second then repeated the song as an answer.

The local dairy, Guernsey, drove their largest refrigerated truck to give out chocolate coated vanilla ice cream bars for all the parade participants.

After marching for over a mile and listening to speeches in the hot sun, we were grateful for the cold treat.

Two other memories of Memorial day, were the year I was selected to carry the flag. I was told to never allow the flag to be below the other flags. The flag and it’s pole grew heavier with each step. A friend and fellow scout took turns to carry the flag with me. Both of us had sorre arms for the rest of that day.

My youngest brother, Brian, was the trumpet player for taps. I don’t remember if he played first or was the reply.

After the parade ,the family would gather at our home for a picnic and cookout. This was the first of many outdoor gatherings.

May this day bring you memories of loved ones that went before us. Gather to give thanks for each of our forefathers and foremothers that gave the ultimate price for freedom.

***

granite stones

marking loved one’s resting places.

The stones and crosses a shadow of a reminder of the person.

I touch the cool marker with warm memories.

Carolfarn@aol.com. 5.30.2022

May 23, 2022 rhubarb rubbish pie 420 words

Normally, I am a good pie maker. I look forward to the fresh crops , starting with rhubarb. For those of my readers not from the upper portion of North America, rhubarb is a perennial with large leaves and dark red stems. You harvest the leaf stems by gently pulling the large outside leaf stems from the main plant. The green leaves are discsrded leaving the red stems. They are cut into half inch pieces. The pieces are mixed with a dash of lemon juice, cinnamon, sugar and a small amount of flour. A easy pie to make except this year.

Last weekend, I broke two bones in my left wrist. I gave no thought to the two hand process of pie making. Assembling my ingredients to make my pie.

I asked my husband, John to gather the rhubarb stems and discard the leaves. I cut the stems on a cutting board with a towel to hold the stem pieces in place. The dry ingredienents into a large bowl, the filling was ready for the crust.

How was I going to roll and form the crust? I made a soft oil pastry mixing with my good hand until I had a ball of soft pastry. I tried several times to use the rolling pin to roll out the dough between pieces of waxed paper. The crust was too large to roll and lift the into the pan. I came up with the idea of rolling smaller balls that I could manipulate easier. I formed the crust with my fimgers, like Playdoh. I left the pie open faced. It was odd looking , it looked like a pile of rubish ,but tasted good.

By the end of the hour I had a pie and a mess to clean up. My husband wondered why I didn’t ask for help. I replied that is hard to be a stubborn Turnbull.

Next time, I will make pie making a couple activity.

*****

Grandma Turnbull’s Rhubarb pie recipe.

3/4 cups Sugar

1/4 cup FLour

1 tsp Lemon Juice

3 cups of Rhubarb pieces

1 tbs butter

1 tsp cinnamon

Mix the dry ingredients

Put half the rubarb in a crust of your choice and cover with half the dry mixture

Put the rest of the rhubarb in and cover with the rest of the dry ingredients

Sprinkle with lemon juice and pat with the butter

Bake at 350 for 45 to 50 min.

Remove when it bubbles.

Copyright carolfarn@aol.com

Then and now May 16, 2022 350 words

A fellow writer, wrote about the increased noise in our enviorment in his blog. I noted the changes we are using in keeping up our properties. As a youngster,my job after the lawn was cut was to use a hand clipper to trim and cut the long pieces of grass near walls and sidewalks. This was quiet work. Today we use a weedwhacker to trim the offending weeds and grass in a noisy manner. Lawns were cut with a manual reel mower. Today we use a power lawn mower that not only cuts but will bag the clippings for disposal. This adds to the noise pollution.

This week on our evening walk we heard several motors running. It was the sound of snow blowers running to use up the gas. I remember that a snow shovel’s only noise was the occasional grunt of the person using it to lift the snow.

Today the sound changed to power washers cleaning the aluminum or vinyl siding. We used to put a fresh coat of paint on the walls. This didn’t have to be done every year and it did not add to the noise pollution problem.

This is not counting the cutting, pruning and trimming of shrubs and trees to maintain the aesthetics of our yards.

Some of these new tools are electric, but most run with a gas motor and produce noise and pollution.

I long for the rainy day when the loudest sounds are the falling rain and the occasional clap of thunder. i. I have been told that the birds are singing louder to be heard by other birds. How long can we tolerate this assult on out hearing?

*****

Outdoor sounds

I go to the porch for quiet.

The wood chopper is busy making chips.

I move to the back yard for peace.

Instead I perceive a weed whacker trimming the tall weeds.

In the front yard I look for solace only to hear a trio of mowers.

The sounds of nature are drowned by man.

carolfarn@aol.com

copyright may 16, 2022

Then and now may16 2022 350 words

A fellow writer, wrote about the increased noise in our enviorment in his blog. I noted the changes we are using in keeping up our properties. As a youngster,my job after the lawn was cut was to use a hand clipper to trim and cut the long pieces of grass near walls and sidewalks. This was quiet work. Today we use a weedwhacker to trim the offending weeds and grass in a noisy manner. Lawns were cut with a manual reel mower. Today we use a power lawn mower that not only cuts but will bag the clippings for disposal. This adds to the noise pollution.

This week on our evening walk we heard several motors running. It was the sound of snow blowers running to use up the gas. I remember that a snow shovel’s only noise was the occasional grunt of the person using it to lift the snow.

Today the sound changed to power washers cleaning the aluminum or vinyl siding. We used to put a fresh coat of paint on the walls. This didn’t have to be done every year and it did not add to the noise pollution problem.

This is not counting the cutting, pruning and trimming of shrubs and trees to maintain the aesthetics of our yards.

Some of these new tools are electric, but most run with a gas motor and produce noise and pollution.

I long for the rainy day when the loudest sounds are the falling rain and the occasional clap of thunder. i. I have been told that the birds are singing louder to be heard by other birds. How long can we tolerate this assult on out hearing?

*****

Outdoor sounds

I go to the porch for quiet.

The wood chopper is busy making chips.

I move to the back yard for peace.

Instead I perceive a weed whacker trimming the tall weeds.

In the front yard I look for solace only to hear a trio of mowers.

The sounds of nature are drowned by man.

carolfarn@aol.com

copyright may 16, 2022

Mother’s Day Memories, May 9th 2022

Mother’s Day is full of memories. When I was young, my Mother just wanted a day to take a sunbath after a week of five active kids. My Dad wanted to get her something grand. One year, he brought home a boat for Mother’s day. Mom took one look at the old boat and told him to take it back. She was a poor swimmer and was afraid of the water.

Another Mother’s Day, he brought two twin kittens for the family. Mom refused to allow them into the house. Instead, she had Dad make a pen in the backyard with a shelter for them. They disappeared within a week.

Mom had both sets of grandparents to celebrate the day. No wonder that my mom opted to take some time for herself ,laying in the sun. The doctors had told her to get sun on the large bones in her upper legs to absorb

vitamin D. Later celebrations, had Dad cooking hamburgers and hot dogs while Mom prepared the rest of the cookout food.

I tried to make her something from my craft items. Often if was layered with glue and colorful yarn to hold items for her desk.

Later I discovered how much she loved the memories of those simple gifts.

Cleaning out her drawers after she passed, I found a round tin box that was painted black and had a flower painted on the top. It still held bobby pins fiftty years later.

So this Year, I asked for a flower to plant in my yard and I made a visit to the gravesite of my parents to pray and thank God for them. Happy Belated Mother’s Day.

Mothers

“Mary, Mother of God, help me”, my mom is heard to say.

Often working into the night to prepare for a celebration.

Taking each child’s needs into account.

Her thoughts are for their needs not hers.

Each day she works to make a pleasant home for the family.

Roses now grow on her grave.

Remembered each year with blossoms of May